If you like to keep your house spick and span, you must’ve used a mop to wipe those floors completely clean.

With so many types of mops to choose from, it can be a bit confusing which one to buy.

One popular type of mop is the steam mop. This uses hot water to clean and sanitize your flooring, protecting your home against germs and viruses.

In this post I’ll help you go through the differences between a steam mop and traditional mop. And which one is best for your home.

Ready? Then let’s dive in.

What is a Steam Mop?

You already have an idea of what a traditional mop is. It consists of a long handle and a microfiber cloth or rag, and is coupled with a bucket in which you pour cleaning solution mixed with water.

You put the mop inside the bucket and use it to sweep the floors. This process is repeated until you’ve covered the entire area.

steam mop on floor
Steam mops are more expensive, but so much more efficient

On the other hand, a steam mop is a cleaning device that uses hot water to build up steam. And once the microfiber cloth is wet enough, you gently sweep the floors and clean them up more efficiently.

Steam mopping allows you to clean up to 99.99% of viruses and bacteria, which makes it more efficient than traditional mops.

Which One is Better For Your Home?

After extensive research I shared the most relevant information and pros & cons of both steam mops and traditional mops. Let’s go over these shall we?

Steam Mop

A steam mop is very easy to use. All you need to do is fill it up with water, and let it boil up to a steam at 245 degrees Celsius.

Usually, with appliances like these, their extra features become a hassle. With a steam mop, however, it’s a doddle. Simply topping up the water is a small price to pay for much more cleaning power.

Steam mops are also much easier to use, and need less push/pull power. They tend to glide much easier over your floor. These reasons are why steam mops are typically used by cleaning companies in places that require deep sanitization, especially hospitals and healthcare facilities. Recently they’ve become more popular in homes as well.

Steam Mop Pros

One of the biggest benefits of using a steam mop for cleaning is that it’s perfect for removing tough dirt and mold by using steam to loosen it up. In a few swipes the mop head can easily pick up the dirt, ensuring a quick cleanup. Some cleaning devices also let you choose between quick and deep cleaning.

Have toddlers and/or pets in your home? You’ll need your flooring to be extra clean and free from germs, with your kids and pets crawling around.

With a steam mop, you don’t have to use any harsh chemicals to clean the floor, which makes it a safe environment for babies and pets. Steam mops kill the most harmful germs in your home.

As I said before, a steam mop also saves you from the hassle of having to put in too much effort in cleaning your floors. It only requires you to fill in water and switch it on. The steam allows you to glide the mop around easily.

Steam Mop Cons

First off, steam mops are powered by electricity or batteries. So you’ll always need a power outlet or charging port. It sucks to lose power in the middle of cleaning.

If you’re thinking about keeping it plugged in while doing the cleaning, please don’t! You’ll run the risk of getting the power cord tangled with the furniture legs and other items. One a little extra tug can damage it for good.

If your steam mop requires a specific type of battery, you’ll need to have those exact batteries every time your mop runs out of power. You’ll also have to ensure that your steam mop is at full charge.

A steam mop costs much more than a traditional mop and bucket. If you have a limited budget, you might have to stick with the old mop and bucket, or you can choose a low-end steam mop. You can expect prices between $50 to $150, depending on the features and other options.

Last but not the least, steam mops can be a bit heavier than traditional mops, weighing anywhere between 6 to 10 pounds with an empty tank.

Once you fill them up, they can become difficult to handle. Even though it doesn’t require much effort for mopping, you can get tired after cleaning the entire house.

Traditional Mops

One of the classic cleaning devices that has been around for centuries is the traditional mop. It comes with a water bucket that you use to mix the solution.

traditional mop on floor
A Traditional Mop requires water, cleaning solution, and more strength than a steam mop.

You dip your mop inside the tub and use it to sweep your floor. It’s awfully easy to do so, which is why it doesn’t come with any instruction. A traditional mop requires nothing but a bucket, cleaning solution, water, and your muscle strength. Except for carpeted rooms, traditional mops are the way to go.

Traditional Mop Pros

Traditional mops have a microfiber cloth or ropes at the end, which are highly effective at removing 99% bacteria. Along with any dirt, dust or grime that’s on your floor.

When you start moving the mop head, the friction between the microfiber and the floor builds a static electric charge on the cloth. This allows you to capture dust from the surroundings, making cleaner much easier.

These microfibers also help you clean up debris and crumbs from the floor, especially in hard-to-reach places. They’re dampened by plain old water or a cleaning solution that takes care of most of the bacteria on your floor.

Another great thing about the traditional mop is that it’s suitable for all types of flooring. This also allows you to tailor your cleaning schedule to incorporate days of quick and thorough cleaning of your house.

A traditional mop also provides you with the convenience of instant cleaning, and it can easily be used to clean up spills. That’s mainly because the microfiber cloth or ropes are highly absorbent and can withstand up to 7 times of their weight in water.

Lastly, traditional mops are CHEAP! They’re much more affordable than steam mops, ranging between $16 to $45.


Traditional mops can be quite heavy and bulky, especially when the microfiber ropes are soaked in water. They require more effort when you’re cleaning the house and in some places, you have to really scrub and put in a lot of effort.

All this effort and strain on your body can become the cause of backache. You may also bend or turn the wrong way instead of standing straight. Another thing that puts a strain on your back is the “wringing” you have to do when your mop is drenched. Since mops carry a lot of water weight in them, wringing them can literally be a big pain.

Another reason why you would want to switch to steam mops from traditional mops is the cleaning solutions. They usually consist of toxic and harmful chemicals.

If you don’t use these chemicals, your cleaning might not be as effective as you want. The only way to avoid these chemicals altogether is to get a steam mop, which doesn’t require any chemicals to carry out the cleaning process.

Which Mop Should You Go For?

With appliances like these, recommendations are based made depending on the space you’re working with, or what you need it for. There are various cleaning scenarios where you may ask which type of mop is better. Let’s have a look at some scenarios and factors that’ll help you make the right choice.

Large Cleaning Area

Kind of a no-brainer. If you’re cleaning up a large surface area, a traditional mop will leave you with a hunched back from all the scrubbing and heaving. On the other hand, a steam mop will simply require you to glide over the large surface area and clean much more easily and quickly.

Quick Cleaning

Are you expecting guests and need to quickly tidy up the place? In this scenario, the steam mop is the magic wand (broom?) you need! Nothing else provides the quickest cleanup for your floor. You just need to wait for the water to heat up and turn it into steam. Once that step is complete, you can quickly clean up.


If you’re on a tight budget, go with the traditional mop. It’s not only cheaper, it also gives you the flexibility of replacing the microfiber ropes. Your mop becomes as good as new without buying the whole thing.

Stubborn Stains

When it’s stubborn stains you want to get rid of, a traditional mop with a chemical cleaning solution is the best choice. Steam mops are great for a one-swipe-and-done type of clean, but they’re not built for applying much elbow grease.

Water bucket, cleaning solution and traditional mop on floor
Traditional mops are the bane of stubborn stains (just add plenty of elbow grease)

Just remember it’ll require a lot of scrubbing and hard work. Plus, the chemical solution isn’t good for your health in the long run.

All in all, it’s a good idea to make the switch to a steam mop.

Should You Mop Before Steam Mopping?

In short, you can but don’t need to. If you’ve been using the traditional mop all your life you may have some trouble getting behind a steam mop. You might not be convinced that your floor is really getting cleaned without the good old fashioned hard work of a traditional mop.

You can argue that all you want. But in my view, you’re just wasting your time! Since steam mops kils 99.99% bacteria, and also uproots the toughest of dirt, dust, grime, stains etc – all with less effort.

So if it’s a thorough cleaning you’re looking for, you don’t need to use your traditional mop and bucket once you’ve got yourself a steam mop.

Not only will it thoroughly clean the entire home, it’ll save time for other chores. Or for just Netflix and chilling!


Even if you enjoy cleaning your floors, there’s no reason to exert yourself and end up with a backache. With a traditional mop that’s more likely to happen. Are you ready to make the switch?

It may be a little costly, but it has its own way of providing a return on investment.

I hope this post helped you understand the difference between traditional and steam mops.

Of course, life is fine with both types of mops…

But is a steam mop worth the hot water? I’d like to think so.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please consider checking out other similar articles below.

Thank you for reading, and happy cleaning!