The cult of the steam mop
For months now I’ve been hearing people raving about steam mops. They’re apparently the latest ‘must-have’ household gadget. I was somewhat dubious about what sounded like it was just a very expensive mop. After all, I have a cheap mop sitting in the corner of the kitchen growing cobwebs. I wasn’t really too sure how these new-fangled things actually worked either. A couple of months passed, and like all forms of incessant advertising, the influence of the steam mop groupies eventually led me to investigate them further and consider giving one a try to see if it would make really make my life any better. I was stuck at the consideration stage for quite a while – unable to make a decision if I needed one, and wondering how to choose between the multitude of options available. However, the departure of the cleaner combined with an imminent return to part-time work gave me sufficient motivation to get my act together and just pick one already. I headed off to Amazon and quickly narrowed it down to two mops in a similar price range that I’d heard people regularly praise. The contenders?
Morphy Richards 720020 9-in-1 Upright and Handheld Steam Mop, 1500 Watt
Vax Steam Mop – S2S+ Upright Hard Floor Pro+ With Detergent
They were fairly similar and there were some mixed reviews on both mops. I figured either would do the job, so in the end I was mainly inclined towards the one that didn’t require messing about with detergent. In a few short seconds it was all ordered and paid for. On a gloomy, drizzly morning a few days later the doorbell went and the delivery man plonked a relatively small and light box in my hall. I love the convenience of online shopping and delivery. Once he’d finished checking out the delivery van that was racing back up the road, the Rascal started circling the box with interest. After all, it was only last week that another order had arrived containing the awesome truck he’s been babbling about for days. Luckily he was quite happy with the cardboard packaging from the box, leaving me to play about with the actual gadget itself. Assembly was simple. Click a few things together, tighten a couple of screws, fill the little water tank. Plug in. Ready to go!
I first tackled the kitchen floor between the sink and the bin. It’s generally a warzone of dropped scraps and drips. Regular sweeping doesn’t really do much to improve it. The mop did a fair job, though did require a bit of elbow grease. The rest of the kitchen floor was simple in comparison. I breezed on out to the hallway to obliterate the trail of tea spills that leads all the way into the sitting room. All done fairly quickly. My verdict would be that it’s not necessarily a lot easier to use than an old-fashioned mop. You still have to sweep before (and after if it shifts lumps of fluff and dirt). It’s not heavy to carry, but you still have to scrub a bit at stubborn stains. It did take up some of the lighter ones beautifully though. While it’s not ‘better’ than a normal mop, there are some definite conveniences to consider. I think the biggest selling points for me were no slippery floors covered in pools of water due to my poor mopping skills. No trying to avoid smearing the clean floor with footprints as I trekked back to the sink for fresh water, or dragging a bucket of rapidly dirty and smelly water with me. The floor didn’t seem particularly wet, but was left just a little damp from the mop. It dried almost instantly meaning I could go back over it with a sweeping brush soon after and didn’t have to stop the toddler from rampaging about from room to room. It was a little more effort to move it over the lino floors in the bathrooms, but they were quickly done.
It did take a bit of time to get used to the odd sensation that I was ironing my floors as the steam whooshed, and I pushed and pulled up and down the floors. I got used to that after a while, and I definitely felt like the floors were cleaner than I would have achieved before. Usually when mopping I wonder if I’m just spreading the dirt over a wider surface area. It might just be in my head, but it’s encouraging me to take out the mop a bit more regularly in future.
The next question is whether all the other add-ons and doodads are actually any use or not. But as far as keeping the mop goes, I’m happy to retire my smelly old-fashioned mop and bucket to the garden shed. I can’t possibly use the steam mop any less. It looks much cleaner and sanitary sitting in the cupboard, and I can handle washing the micro cloths it uses regularly. I don’t think it’s going to totally revolutionise me into having permanently gleaming floors, but I do think I might be more inclined to give it a run-about every so often and at least maintain the floors in a reasonable state. It’s super fast to power up and give a quick blast over the much-abused area under the Rascal’s high chair. I’ll have a go at using the extra bits and pieces, but already it checks enough boxes for my primary purpose in buying it. Preventing an inch of dirt accumulating on all the floors. <
Verdict on steam mops? Cautious optimism. Stay tuned for an update on all the fancy extra add-ons once I figure out exactly what to do with all of them…