Steam mops have revolutionised the way we clean our floors, offering a powerful and eco-friendly solution to removing dirt and grime.
But beyond their effective cleaning capabilities is a desire to elevate the experience by infusing a pleasant smell while sanitising our living spaces.
The question arises: What can you put in a steam mop to make it smell nice?
The most common scent-enhancing products used for cleaning include things like essential oils and detergents (dish soap, laundry detergents, etc.).
While these are great for general odour-enhancing around the home, using them inside your mop can cause issues.
Can You Use Essential Oils in a Steam Mop?
Many steam mop owners swear by adding a few drops of essential oils – such as lavender, bergamot, cinnamon, or citrus – to the steam mop water to create a pleasant scent while it’s in action.
However, while essential oils are certainly effective at making your steam mop smell nice, we advise against putting them in the water tank.
The oils will eventually accumulate and leave a sticky deposit in the water tank as they’re heated to extreme temperatures.
This could clog the value and break the mop. If you want to use essential oils, try putting a few drops of essential oils on the steam mop head (not inside the water reservoir).
Can You Use Detergent in a Steam Mop?
Washing-up liquid can be used to clean floors using a mop and bucket, so many assume it can also be added to your steam mop to make it smell nice.
Although initially designed for washing clothes, liquid laundry detergents are often added to steam mops for scent-boosting purposes.
Instead, stick to using specialised steam mop detergents like the H2O Detergent Scents, and only if the mop instructions say it’s safe to do so.
Can You Put Disinfectant in a Steam Mop?
Many people try adding a small amount of scented floor cleaning solution or other disinfectant in the water reservoir of their mop.
However, as with detergents, heating general cleaners and disinfectants to high temperatures can leave an unwanted residue that damages the mop.
Heating cleaners may also lead to the release of toxic fumes, which is a health hazard.
Adding disinfectants to your steam mop is also unnecessary. Steam is a natural disinfectant and is effective at killing viruses, germs, and bacteria by using heat. It leaves your floors far more sanitary than using a disinfectant with a mop and bucket would.
Can You Put Vinegar in a Steam Mop?
Although it doesn’t smell particularly nice in itself, white vinegar is a natural deodoriser and can enhance the smell of any room.
Many people add this natural cleaning agent to their steam mop water to remove unwanted odours.
As vinegar is also commonly used to clean the dishwasher or washing machine, many believe it also cleans the inside of the mop when added to the water.
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t recommend adding vinegar to your steam mop. According to most manufacturers, it can easily damage the water tank or make your mop unsafe for use.
Use another odour-enhancing option and clean your mop according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Will Adding Scents to My Steam Mop Cause Damage?
Adding scents to the mop water will likely damage your steam mop, as most are designed for use with water only.
Adding any of the above oils, detergents, and cleaning agents to the water tank can void warranties, create problems with the mop’s functionality, and act as a health hazard.
For example, on the use of adding products to their steam mops, Shark says, “Do not add cleaning solutions, scented perfumes, oils, or any other chemicals to the water used in this appliance, as this may damage the unit or make it unsafe for use.”
Here’s a closer look at the potential problems that might arise:
- Residue & build-up: The additional scent-boosting substances, such as essential oils and detergents, can build a residue inside the mop that clogs the steam vents and stops it from functioning optimally. Soaps and oils can also potentially damage the internal components of the steam mop, reducing its lifespan, effectiveness, and performance.
- Health & safety concerns: You should be aware of the safety concerns of using certain cleaning solutions in a steam mop. Steam mops generally heat to 120°C, and some cleaning agents are flammable—a dangerous combination. Even if not flammable, some cleaning products may release toxic fumes or create a safety hazard when heated.
- Steam mop warranties: Most steam mops will come with a warranty. The specific terms and conditions of the warranty vary depending on the manufacturer, but most are void if you have explicitly gone against the manufacturer’s advice and used oils/detergents/disinfectants. If your mop then breaks, you might face costly repairs.
How Do You Add Scent to a Steam Mop?
If you want to add scent to a steam mop without (a) causing damage, (b) introducing health issues, or (c) voiding the mop warranty, there are thankfully a few options:
1. Use essential oils on the mop head
As mentioned earlier, you can add a few drops of essential oils to the mop pad to make your steam mop smell nice.
Steam mop pads can be removed and washed, or you can simply replace the pad with a new one after use.
Therefore, the accumulation of oils doesn’t matter. The oils also won’t make their way into the internal components and interfere with the functionality.
Essential oils are available in various delicious scents to cater to all preferences. Some of the best essential oils for cleaning include lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, or tea tree oil, so choose your favourite fragrance and try this tip next time you clean your floors.
2. Purchase a Bissell steam mop
Although most steam mops are designed only to be filled with water, steam mops from Bissell are the exception.
You can fill the reservoirs of these mops with specialised demineralised water that has been scented with pleasant fragrances, such as their Spring Breeze scented water. As you move the mop over your floors, it leaves a refreshing fragrance behind.
Alternatively, you can purchase steam mop scented discs that are compatible with the Bissell mop range, such as these Spring Fresh Scented Discs. They slide into a designated pocket in the Bissell mop pad so that you can enjoy a fresh scent as you clean.
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.