Steam mops are one of the easiest ways to get a sparkling floor. However,
when is the last time you gave it a closer look?
When did you last clean it?
Have you noticed your mop doesn’t seem to build up as much steam anymore?
What Are These Spots?
That pesky hard residue is never a pretty view. It can be frustrating to see after you had just cleaned three days ago.
It’s even worse when you find it hard to clean spots like the inside of your steam mop.
Hard water scales are from a multitude of minerals in your water. Calcium and magnesium are the main ones that circulate in the water.
When the water is heated, like by your steam mop, the minerals then combine and leave the hard water scales behind.
Causing you to throw your hands up in frustration.
Hard water scales will damage your steam mop and reduce its usable life drastically.
The hard water will not only leave the mineral deposits in the water tank for you to see but in the hoses as well. The hoses that are harder to see and clean out compared to the tank.
The hoses could eventually have so much build-up they don’t flush the water out correctly.
The filters will also clog up. Causing you to change them more than what should be necessary.
The minerals will lead to damaging the steam mops boiler as well. You can buy a replacement tank relatively affordably, the boiler, on the other hand, is a different story.
Are you still unsure if your steam mop has a hard water build-up?
Take a look at your mop, check the corners where water tends to not drain. Does it have a “foggy look”, if so then that is your culprit.
If you use traditional mops instead of steam mop, you may not get the best cleaning result but you can re-use or recycle the mops when it is old.
Where to Begin?
Running the steam mop with distilled or di-mineralized water is the best water to use. That can become a pricy option depending on how often you use your steam mop.
Tap water is the quick go-to and usually an okay option. However, with any water that you use. Maintenance cleaning will be necessary.
Two Methods of Cleaning
- Unplug your steam mop and make sure it is 100% cooled off. If your mop is still warm it could cause yourself to get burnt. Water and electricity never mix.
- If it is possible for your mop model, take out the water tank. There are de-scaler products you can purchase at the grocery or home store. But a quick home remedy is 1 ½ ounce baking soda with one quart of clean distilled water.
- Allow your mop to warm up and stay heated for 1 to 2 hours.
- Then allow the tank to cool down completely. Before step number 5.
- Drain your unit. Try to ensure all the water is out of the tank before reassembly.
Vinegar and Water
The steps are similar; vinegar may be a good secondary cleaner if the first mixture doesn’t wash away all the hard scales away.
Vinegar is a natural antimicrobial. With vinegar being an acid, it will cut through the buildup throughout your mop.
- unplug your steam mop
- Add in a solution of 2 parts water and 1-part vinegar. Some people who are sensitive to the vinegar smell may want a more diluted mixture.
- Let the mixture sit for an hour. This gives the vinegar a chance to clean the tank and hoses
- You can then heat your unit up on the highest setting for at least an hour or however long you can handle the vinegar smell.
- Drain the tank after it has cooled.
Preventing Hard Water Scales
Cleaning out the hard water scales is one part of the problem. Preventing them is a way to cut down your cleaning time along with extending the life of your mop.
Always drain your tank after each use. If your steam mop allows you to remove the tank you can wipe the excess water out to have a dry tank.
Be leery of scrubbing your tank with any abrasive fabrics. This will damage the plastic tank. Once the plastic is scratched it will be more prone to stains.
The scratch marks will also harder to clean next time.
What Not to Do
Some may think this is the last straw hearing about how their hard water is causing more problems. Hard water can plague you in many ways.
That it is time for a water softener to alleviate themselves from these problems.
Unfortunately, after the water goes through the softening system it will contain salt, another mineral. This will damage your steam mop’s boiler.
Distilled water will be the best option for your mop.
Other Tips to Ward off Hard Water Scales
Try allowing your tank to completely dry after using it. Wipe it down the best that you can and then leave out to air dry. Do not use commercial cleaners in your steam mop.
Commercial cleaners could break down the gaskets in your mop. Never leave water sitting in your tank even for a day. The water will leave a residue for sure. It could also cause mold.
Which is even harder to clean than hard water scales?
Clean your mop every couple of months. Use this time to inspect the tank along with the hoses if you have that option.
Some mop heads are hard when they are new. You can soften mop head if needed.
Your steam mop is probably the best cleaning tool you have in your toolbelt.
Make sure you treat as such to make it last longer, and so it is always cleaning at its best. A simple vinegar or descaling rinse will put you on the right track.