How we test steam mops

Find out how Consumer puts steam mops through their paces.

Man using a steam mop.

We test steam mops on a sheet of vinyl, staining it with red wine, tomato sauce, mud, mustard, coffee and soy sauce. Then we let the whole mess dry overnight, before mopping up any excess with a damp cloth.

The next day, we fire up our steam mops and get to work. Each mop’s performance is converted into a stain-removal score.

We also look at how much water is left on the floor after mopping. Steam mops should leave very little residual water: the models in our round-up with very good floor wetness scores (eight or above) left the vinyl almost completely dry after mopping.

Some steam mops come with various attachments, such as a jet nozzle or brush. We assess these by cleaning soap scum and discolouration from taps in our test bathroom. We give models with these accessories a hand-held mode score.

You’re out of luck if you’re keen on using steam mops to remove stubborn grout stains from your tiles. We tried this on a stained tile surface, and all the models were hopeless at tackling grout stains.

Our ease-of-use assessment looks at:

  • the ease of filling the tank
  • the ease of navigating the mop head, including whether the mop gets tiring to use after a while
  • the ease of accessing and using the controls, and whether the mop head was difficult to attach
  • the steam mop's reach (that is the distance between the power point and the tip of the steam wand, with the wand fully extended if it’s telescopic)

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