Steam mops have revolutionised the way we clean our homes. They use the power of steam to sanitise and freshen surfaces, making cleaning a breeze.
With no reliance on harsh chemicals, steam mops also provide an efficient and eco-friendly method for cleaning.
All steam mops come with steam mop pads. These are essential components that assist in distributing steam effectively for optimal cleaning results, but they can quickly accumulate dirt picked up from your floors.
To maintain their effectiveness, cleaning the steam mop pads regularly is crucial.
If you have a steam mop but don’t know how to clean steam mop pads, we are here to help. In this guide, we walk you through the process to ensure your steam mop continues to perform optimally.
How to Clean Steam Mop Pads
Two methods can be used to clean the pads on your steam mop—either in the washing machine or by hand. Step-by-step instructions on both of these practices are explained below:
Method 1: Cleaning steam mop pads in the washing machine
Machine washing detachable mop pads is the more convenient choice, although it is less gentle compared to hand-washing. Therefore, if your steam mop’s pad is somewhat aged or shows slight wear, opting for a hand-cleaning approach is recommended.
Likewise, if the manufacturer’s instructions discourage machine washing or do not explicitly outline a cleaning method, opt for the gentler and safer hand-cleaning option. But, assuming these issues don’t apply, you can wash your steam mop pads in the washing machine by following these steps:
- Detach the mop pads: Turn off and unplug your steam mop. Allow it to cool down before attempting to remove the pads. Depending on the model, either slide off the pads or unfasten them following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Remove any debris: Pick off any large bits of debris that may have been attached to the steam mop head. Pulling off entangled hairs or threads is also recommended, as these don’t always come off during a wash cycle.
- Pre-treat stains: Check the pads for any stubborn stains. If you find any, pre-treat them with a stain remover or a mixture of water and washing-up liquid. Gently rub the stained area to help loosen the stain.
- Place in a laundry bag: Many steam mop pads can be washed by being tossed straight into the washing machine in a washing machine, but ideally, place them in a designated laundry bag or delicates.
- Wash in the machine: Always use a mild detergent when machine washing your steam mop pads to help prevent damage. Put the detergent in the dispenser draw, throw the mop pads into the drum, and wash with other small items on a hot but gentle cycle.
Method 2: Cleaning steam mop pads by hand
Sometimes, steam mop pads will not be machine washable. In this case, hand washing them is the only appropriate method. Hand washing is less harsh on the pads than being laundered in the washing machine, ensuring no avoidable damage occurs.
To hand wash your steam mop pads, follow these steps:
- Prepare your soapy solution: Start by filling a sink or bucket with warm water and add in a small amount of mild detergent or hand-washing detergent. Mix the soap and water using your hands to ensure the detergent is evenly distributed and that a gentle lather forms.
- Soak the mop pads: Submerge the mop pads in the soapy water and gently agitate the water to help dislodge any entangled debris. Massage the pads gently with your fingers for extra cleaning power, then leave them to soak for at least half an hour in the water.
- Drain and scrub the pads: Drain the dirty water from the sink. Gently scrub the mop pad on both sides using a soft-bristled brush to help remove any final pieces of dirt loosened during the soaking process.
- Rinse with clean water: Once the steam mop head is cleaned, rinse it under cold running water until no soapy residue is left on it. If it is not rinsed thoroughly, the residue will interfere with the functioning of the steam mop.
How to Dry Steam Mop Pads
Whether you have chosen to wash your steam mop pads in the washing machine or by hand, your next task remains the same—you need to dry them before their next use.
While putting the washed steam mop pads in the dryer might be appealing, it can harm the material. Instead, gently press them to eliminate extra water, avoiding any rolling, folding, or bunching of the fabric. Then, lay them out on a rack to air dry before storing or using them again.
Why Do You Need to Clean Steam Mop Pads?
Steam mop pads are at the forefront of the cleaning process. They come into direct contact with the floor or other cleaned surfaces and accumulate dirt, grime, and residue over time.
Therefore, failing to clean your steam mop pads can not only reduce the efficiency of your steam mop but also spread bacteria and unpleasant odours. Regularly cleaning your steam mop pads thus offers several significant benefits:
- Maintains cleaning efficiency: Having clean pads ensures that the steam is distributed evenly during mopping, allowing for effective cleaning and sanitisation.
- Prevents bacterial growth: Bacteria and germs can thrive on dirty mop pads. Regular cleaning helps eliminate these harmful microorganisms.
- Extends the life of the pads: Proper maintenance and cleaning can prolong the life of your steam mop pads, saving you money in the long run.
How Often Should You Clean Steam Mop Pads?
The frequency of cleaning your steam mop pads depends on how often you use the mop and the intensity of the cleaning tasks. As a general guideline:
- Light usage: If you use your steam mop for light cleaning tasks (such as general floor maintenance), aim to clean the pads after every two to three uses.
- Regular usage: For regular cleaning activities, consider cleaning the pads after each use or at least once a week. We also recommend cleaning the pads once weekly if you use the mop to clean bathroom floors or other areas likely to house germs.
- Heavy usage: If you frequently use your steam mop for heavy-duty cleaning, it’ll get dirty almost instantly. As such, cleaning the pads after every use is advisable.
Other Tips for Maintaining Steam Mop Pads
Regularly cleaning steam mop pads is essential for extending their lifespan and ensuring your steam mop functions optimally. Here are some other tips you can use to help prolong their usage:
- If you have multiple steam mop pads, rotate their use—use one pad for one task and another for a second task. This helps even wear and tear and extends their lifespan.
- Always adhere to the care and maintenance instructions provided by the steam mop manufacturer. Before washing your steam mop pads, check the care labels and follow the instructions to avoid causing damage.
- Routinely check the steam mop pads for signs of wear and tear. If you notice any visible debris or residue on the pad during or after use, rinse or clean it immediately to maintain its effectiveness.
- Ensure the velcro or other pad fastenings are in good condition. Damaged fastenings can affect the pad’s attachment to the steam mop, meaning it will not clean as effectively. If damaged, try fixing the fastenings before purchasing new pads.
- Do not use fabric softeners or bleach when cleaning or washing the pads, as they can reduce the absorbency of the material and their cleaning performance.
- When caring for a steam mop, always avoid using powder detergents. These detergents may leave behind a residue that can damage the steam mop and clog the pores. Instead, stick with liquid laundry detergents or laundry pods.
- Ensure the mop pads are thoroughly dry before storing them in a clean, dry place. This helps to prevent mould and odours from forming.
- After washing and drying your steam mop pads, reattach them correctly to the steam mop by following the instructions from the manufacturer. Poor attachment to the mop can hinder its effectiveness and cause extra pad damage.
- If a pad becomes overly worn, torn, stained, or damaged beyond repair, replace it with a new one for efficient cleaning.
By following these steps and tips, you can ensure that your steam mop pads are in excellent condition, providing you with the best cleaning results every time you use your steam mop.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.