How to Clean a Steam Mop (Step by Step Guide)

by Nov 17, 2021Cleaning

Are you cleaning your steam mop? Even though you may find it unnecessary because your steam mop still kills bacteria, it still needs to be cleaned. Regular maintenance is important to ensure that your steam mop cleans your floor effectively. This will not only keep your floor pristine, but it will also extend the life of your steam mop. So whether you have a Shark steam mop or an unmarked steam mop, it needs to be cleaned regularly. In this guide, we show you how to take care of your steam mop so you can enjoy cleaner floors.

How often should you clean your steam mop?

How often you need to clean your steam mop depends on how often you use it. However, we recommend cleaning your vacuum cleaner in depth as soon as you notice reduced steam or no steam at all. Or if there is dirt or accumulation in your steam mop. And you should also deep clean your steam mop regularly at least once a month. Or after about 25 uses. We also recommend following these tips to keep your steam mop clean:
  • Empty the water in the tank after each cleaning. Be sure to clean the tank weekly and descale it every 6 months.
  • Wash your steam mop pillows after each use.
  • Wipe the surface of your detergent and accessories with a soft cloth before and after each cleaning.
  • Replace filter cartridge on your steam mop as soon as it changes color.
  • Descale your steam mop at regular intervals or once a month with a mixture of water and white vinegar. But keep in mind that we should not descale some steam mops. So be sure to check your manufacturer’s guidelines to see if this is allowed.

How to maintain and clean steam mops

We can use this guide for all models of steam mops. and especially on the following shark steam mops: Shark S3501, Shark S7000AMZ Steam Mop, Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop, Shark Lift-Away Pro Steam Pocket Mop. The recommendations for cleaning and maintaining these steam cleaners are the same. However, access to or activation of the various parts may vary, such as removal of the container, filter, brushes or hose.


So be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for your model to find out how to access these parts.

1. Empty the water tank

First, you will empty the water tank after each cleaning. Remove the fuel cap and empty it over a sink. Then put the water cap on the tank. It is crucial to empty your water tank after each use. The mineral buildup in the water can cause corrosion and wear on your steam mop. Especially if you do not remove the water after each use. Alternatively, you can use distilled or demineralized water in your tank to avoid mineral buildup. However, we still recommend emptying the water tank after using your mop.

2. Clean the water tank

If you notice a lime buildup inside your water tank, you should clean it immediately. To do this, take the water tank off your steam cleaner. Then add the descaling solution that comes with your steam mop. If your cleaning machine does not have a descaling solution, you can use white vinegar, baking powder or citric acid and hot water:
  • White vinegar and baking powder have natural antimicrobial properties. So they can be used to remove hard water deposits from glassware.
  • Citric acid is a non-toxic, antibacterial and antiseptic substance. It is found in lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruits. Citric acid works in the same way as vinegar and can eliminate water accumulation on plates and glasses (1).
Use only one of these solutions:
  • ar, add 2 tablespoons to a full tank of water.
  • For citric acid, we recommend mixing 50 mg of citric acid crystals with 1 liter of water. Add the solution to the tank.
  • For baking powder, mix 1.5 ounces with a quart of distilled hot water and add it to your tank.
Close your water tank and gently tilt it back and forth to break the deposits. Let the solution sit for at least 30 minutes up to a few hours. Then drain the solution from your water tank and rinse it clean with water. Wipe the water tank with a damp cloth to remove any traces of the descaling solution. Finally, fill the tank with clean water and turn on your steamer. After the steamer has completely evaporated through a full cycle of water in the tank, it is ready for use.

3. Wash the mop pillow

We recommend washing your mop pillow in warm water after each steam cleaning session. This is because the steam mop pillows release chemicals that are absorbed through the cloth when heated. And these chemicals can be transferred through the steam during your cleaning. We also recommend that you wash your steam mop pillows separately from other fabrics to avoid picking up lint. Some manufacturers, such as Shark, recommend using temperatures below 40 ° C to wash your Shark mop pads. While other steam mop brands recommend temperatures below 60 ° C to clean them. So be sure to check with your manufacturer to find the right temperature to use for your cleaning pads. Make sure you only use a mild liquid cleaner to clean your mop pad. And avoid using fabric softener, hard detergent or bleach as these can damage the material of your mop pads. Emollients can also leave a residue on your mop pillow that reduces their ability to collect dirt and dust. If your mop pads are machine washable, wash them in the washing machine after cleaning. But make sure you only clean them on a hot washing machine. To dry your mop pillows completely, dry them on a low dryer or air dry them for a few hours. Remember that dirt particles, grease friction and repeated washing in a washing machine can cause the fibers of the mop pad to break down. And this can lead to some resistance when you pull or push your mop during cleaning. So for effective cleaning results, we recommend replacing your microfiber pads every 3 to 4 months.

4. Clean the device

Before starting the cleaning process, be sure to unplug it from the electrical outlet. Then wipe the outside of your mop unit with a damp cloth. You should do this before and after each use to prevent dust and other airborne particles from accumulating. Otherwise, these can spread around your home when you use your steam mop. Make sure that you do not allow moisture to reach around the indicator light. Never pour water or other liquid on the unit or immerse it in water. This can damage the device or lead to the growth of mold and mildew.

5. Clean the accessories

Then wash your non-electrical accessories in warm soapy water with a mild liquid detergent. Always make sure you dry your accessories completely before using the steam mop next time. To do this, you can use a dry cloth or let it air dry for a few minutes. For electrical accessories, wipe them with a soft, dry cloth. To remove limescale deposits, you can clean them with a small spray of lubricant. Fill your cleaner with water and place it in a well-ventilated area. Then run a continuous jet of steam through the accessory for several minutes.

6. Replace the cartridge filter

Some steam mop models have a water filter cartridge. These remove limescale particles from the water before it cycles through the device. If your steam mop has a water filter cartridge, be sure to check it every time you fill the water tank. The filter media inside the cartridge is a light color. If you notice that the filter media has changed color significantly or emits less steam, you should replace the cartridge. To do this:
  • Turn off your mop and unplug it.
  • Then place it in a neutral position and remove the water tank.
  • Pull the water filter cartridge out of the tank.
  • Replace it with a new one and push it safely back into the tank.
Finally, place the water tank back on the unit. Make sure the components are securely fastened before turning on your clean steam mop again.

7. Descale the steam mop

As we mentioned before, limescale and mineral deposits can build up inside your steam mop over time. And this can reduce the performance of your steam mopping. The best way to prevent this is to use distilled or demineralized water. This can prevent corrosion and wear, which can add years to the life of your steam cleaner. Some manufacturers sell specific cleaning solutions, such as this demineralized water solution for Bissell steam mops. In addition, the manufacturers of some mops such as Shark steam mops or Bissell steam mops do not allow the use of white vinegar or descaling solutions. For example, they discourage the use of aromatic or alcoholic cleaners as this may damage the device or make it unsafe to use. However, other brands, such as Russell Hobbs, recommend that you descale your cleanser with a mixture of white vinegar and water. To do this:
  • Add a mixture of 1/3 white vinegar and 2/3 water to your water tank.
  • Then move the steamer away from the floor and switch on the unit.
  • Allow your device to produce steam until the solution is completely gone.
  • Then rinse the water tank with clean water.
  • Finally, refill the tank with clean water and release steam until the tank is empty.

8. Clear the blockages

If you have blockages in your steam mop, it is probably a result of limescale buildup. I referred this to as ‘fur’ and is the most common cause of blockage in a steam mop. To clear a blockage in your unit, remove most of your steam mop from the base of the mop head. Also remove the handle if possible. Then insert a paper clip or other thin rigid object into the nozzle to clear the blockage. Some models, such as the Shark steam mop, come with a cleaning pin or nozzle cleaner that you can use. If there is a blockage in your steam mop head, remove the mop pad. Then insert the cleaning pin or paper clip into the steam holes on the mop head to remove any blockages. Avoid using a sharp object to remove blockages, as this may damage your steam mop head. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your model safely remove blockages. A good way to avoid blockages or buildup of lime is to use demineralized or distilled water in your tank. And, if permitted by the manufacturer, regularly descale your steam mop with white.
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