If you're a clean freak like me you may be thinking about adding a steam mop to your cleaning arsenal. Consumer Reports recently put several to the test.
Steam mops seem like they'd be a more convenient option because you don't have to get a water bucket out, you don't have to drag the mop back and forth to clean it and that steam really seems like it would be tough on grime.
To see how well each mop cleans up messes, testers applied jam, mustard and ketchup to floor tiles. Then, a specially designed device allowed testers to step back and watch the machines go to work.
Each mop made 10 strokes back and forth. Testers took before and after photos, then used photo imaging software to measure the change in the image and give each mop a score.
If you use the $80 Shark Steam Pocket, you have to keep the mop moving back and forth to pump steam to the mop head.
This Bissell PowerFresh Slim out cleaned the other mops, but it costs the most at $130.
For slightly less cleaning performance, Consumer Reports recommends the $100 Shark Genius. Testers liked that you can also flip it over to spray steam directly on a stain and use both sides of the mop.
If tough stain scrubbing is your goal, the $90 Bissell PowerFresh Deluxe is a Consumer Reports best buy. It comes with an extra brush for deeper scrubbing and has very good cleaning power.
Steam mops aren't safe for all floors. All of the ones tested left residual moisture behind, which isn't good for hardwood and laminate floors.
Keep in mind, a wood floor that appears sealed might actually have crevices where water can seep in and cause damage. Also, some wood finishes or older waxes might haze over.
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