Have you ever had to gently pry gum off your hardwood floors that someone tracked in with their shoe or scrub stuck-on dirt off your laminate floor in the kitchen? If so, you know how tiresome and time-consuming it is to hand scrub these messes.

Best Steam Cleaner for Hardwood Floors

Often, people turn to steam mops for their hard floor cleaning needs. With a high-quality steam mop, you can greatly reduce the effort and time it takes to remove any stubborn substance from your hardwood, tile, linoleum, marble or other sealed hard floor.

Top 8 Steam Cleaner for Hardwood Floors

8) Shark Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner (S3501) Review

Shark’s Pocket Mop is a lightweight steam mop that’s easy enough for anyone to use. Weighing just under 5 pounds, the steam mop glides effortlessly across any sealed surface. The ring-shaped handle provides an ergonomic grip, and its soft cover further reduces hand fatigue. Whether you’re tall or short, you can mop without stooping – The 51.2-inch pole is height-adjustable.

Shark Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner (S3501)

Rated at 1,200 watts, the Pocket Mop doesn’t take long to heat. The water in its reservoir reaches a steam-generating temperature in about 30 seconds as soon as you plug in the 25-foot power cord. Once the water heats, a dozen pumps of the handle are all that’s needed to prime the mop. While the hand-driven mop is in motion, the steam distribution is automatic and continuous.

The reservoir is large enough to hold 15 ounces of water, minimizing the number of refills needed during a mopping session. A slender viewing window on the reservoir lets you see the water level at a glance. When it’s time to refill the tank, simply lay the mop flat and unscrew the cap. Shark provides a refill cup, allowing you to bring the water to the mop instead of the tank to the sink.

An oversized floor head creates a wide mopping path, and it swivels 180 degrees for smooth turning around corners. The Pocket Mop comes with two microfiber pads that collect and trap dirt to prevent smears. These pads are reusable, and they dry almost immediately after washing them. A simple yet ingenious loop-and-fastener configuration keeps the pads firmly in place when mopping.

Shark S3501 Review

7) Shark Lift-Away Pro Steam Pocket Mop (S3973D) Review

As a floor mop and a handheld steamer combined, the corded Lift-Away Pro is already a step ahead of the competition. The innovations continue to the Intelli-mop head that leaves your hands clean during pad changes. The head of the 4.8-pound steam mop folds inward and then extends outward, sliding into the four corners of the reusable two-sided microfiber pad. A single button press instantly releases the pad.

Shark Lift-Away Pro Steam Pocket Mop (S3973D) Review

Similar to how you remove the mop pad, it only takes one push of a button to transform the steam mop into a handheld steamer. As a handheld steamer, the Lift-Away Pro is featherlight at 2.4 pounds. Its integrated handle offers a firm grip even during prolonged use, and the trigger lets you control the flow of steam.

Shark includes three handy tools to use in handheld mode. The pocket-cleaning accessory and its 3-foot flexible hose allow the tool to reach into awkward spots. You can switch out the crevice tool with the triangular scrubber to remove gunk from hard surfaces. With the garment accessory, you can even dewrinkle your clothes. The Lift-Away Pro also comes with a flask that attaches to the pole for safekeeping; use it to refill the 17-ounce reservoir.

Although handheld mode only offers one steam level, mop mode gives you three. The electronic controls allow you to choose “dust” for light and quick cleaning, “mop” for large areas and everyday mopping or “scrub” for stubborn messes and high-traffic areas. When you need extra steam, a tilt of the pole sends a strong spray of steam onto the floor.

Shark S3973D Review

6) Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop and Vacuum Cleaner (1543A) Review

Vacuum and mop at the same time, or vacuum and then mop, with the Bissell Symphony Pet vacuum-mop combo. The Symphony Pet produces dust-sifting cyclonic suction, and the heating mechanism generates steam within 30 seconds. Fingertip controls on the handle allow you to select low or high steam with or without suction. A squeezable trigger releases the steam on demand.

Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop and Steam Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood and Tile Floors, with Microfiber Mop Pads, 1543A

You get three types of 11-inch-wide cleaning pads. The Swiffer disposable pads attach to a removable Steamboost tray. These pads are lifesavers for potty-training-fail cleanup jobs, and they smell like laundry fresh out of the dryer. The soft microfiber pad is perfect for daily floor cleaning, and the scrubby microfiber pad cuts through sticky messes. Both microfiber pads have an insert for a Bissell scent disc.

Without a full tank or dirt cup, the vacuum-mop combo weighs 9.74 pounds, making it manageable to carry up the stairs or anywhere around the house. The power cord measures 25 feet in length. Thanks to the turning hooks, you can unwind the cord in an instant.

The Symphony Pet has a filter-equipped dirt cup for dry debris and a 12.8-ounce reservoir for water, both of which are sealed off from each other. The cup features a lever on top that opens the bottom hinged door when you push down on it, keeping your hands clean. Bissell provides a fill cup to save you the trouble of toting the vacuum-mop to the sink.

Bissell 1543A Review

5) Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop and Steam Vacuum Review

The Bissell Symphony steam vacuum is the perfect little helper for cat and dog owners alike. It’s a steam mop that not only looks like a vacuum but acts like one too. The mop’s 3.3-amp motor offers a high level of suction to remove stubborn pet hair and debris. From the digital fingertip controls, you can select from either vacuum mode or one of two steam strengths.

Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop 1543A

Its 1,100-watt heater produces steam in just 30 seconds, so you can quickly kill 99.9 percent of the bacteria and viruses that lurk on your floors. You’ll know that steam is available thanks to the appliance’s steam indicator light. With features like a 25-foot power cord and a D-shaped handle with comfort grip, the steam mop is easy to maneuver.

Simply attach a reusable or disposable mop pad to the bottom of the 11-inch-wide floor nozzle, and the 9.74-pound appliance is ready to tackle any mess your pet leaves behind. To make life easier, this steam cleaner holds 13 ounces of water, and you can open the dirt canister from the bottom by touching the lever.

Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop

4) BISSELL 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop Review

No matter the difficulty of the mess or the type of hard floor, the BISSELL 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop is tough enough to handle it. The 1,500-watt heater inside of this steam mop can heat 16 ounces of water in just 30 seconds. You can choose from one of three steam levels from the electronic on-board controls as soon as the indicator light changes, and you can pour in more water as you go, saving you valuable time.

BISSELL 1940 PowerFresh Steam Mop

To remove stubborn grime and clean tile grout, the mop is equipped with a scrubber that flips down in front of the floor nozzle. You also get two reusable microfiber pads that are infused with an antimicrobial material. Plus, the steam mop comes with several Febreze fragrance discs, which give your home a pleasant aroma.

With its low weight of 6 pounds and its D-shaped, soft-textured handle, you’ll find it easy to maintain control over the steam mop as you clean. The pivoting head of the mop can maneuver around furniture with ease, and its width of 12 inches means it can cover a lot of floor in one pass. Plus, the 23-foot-long cord offers a large cleaning radius.


3) LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Steam Mop Review

With the 5-in-1 Steam Mop from Light N’ Easy, you can steam clean your hardwood floors and every other surface in your home, including carpets, upholstery, mattresses clothing, mirrors, glass and much more. Regardless of how you use it, it only takes 30 seconds for the appliance to generate steam.

LIGHT N EASY Steam Mop Floor Steamer Cleaner

The floor nozzle boasts an 11.8-inch-wide path and 20-foot-long power cord, so you can clean any floor fast, and the steam mop comes with two reusable microfiber pads that are ideal for hard-floor cleaning. You can choose from among three steam settings, with the highest setting giving you up to 25 minutes of continuous steam.

By pushing the release button, you can remove the handheld portion to meet all your above-floor sanitizing and dewrinkling needs. A flexible hose allows you to reach into narrow gaps while the triangular attachment is well-suited for upholstery freshening. It even comes with a tapered nozzle for hard surfaces and tough jobs.

LIGHT N EASY Steam Mop Floor Steamer Cleaner (1) Review

Check out our in-depth LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Steam Mop review

2) SKG 1500W Powerful Non-Chemical 212F Hot Steam Mop Review

This steam mop from SKG can clean in places where many other steam mops can’t go. The 1,500-watt heater can warm the water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit in well under a minute, making it fast and effective. You can control how much steam it puts out by turning a simple dial from low for everyday freshening up or high for tough messes.

SKG 2012 Steam Mops 1500W Powerful 212F HOT Carpet Floor Cleaning Machines Black

It comes with three washable microfiber pads and a glider attachment that pops on and off for carpet spot cleaning. The floor head is shaped like a triangle for deep corner cleaning. For smooth maneuverability, the head swivels around furniture and other obstacles. You also get the works when it comes to accessories, including nozzles, brushes and an extension hose.

With 20 feet’ worth of power cord, you don’t have to constantly search for an electrical outlet. The steam mop is equipped with a shoulder strap for stability, and the reservoir can hold approximately 2 cups of water at a time. For your convenience, the steam mop gives you audible alerts if the reservoir is empty or the mop has been left on standby for too long.

SKG 2012 Steam Mops 1500W Powerful 212F HOT Carpet Floor Cleaning Machines Black (1) Review

Check out our in-depth SKG 1500W 212F Hot Steam Mop review

1) Bissell 2039A Spinwave Powered Hardwood Floor Mop and Cleaner Review

Use less elbow grease and give your arms a break. The 0.9-amp inside of the Bissell 2039A SpinWave Floor Mop rotates the two discs on the floor head in a counter direction of one another to quickly remove stubborn dirt and grime. With reusable soft pads for routine cleaning and scrubbing pads for sticky disasters, there is no mess this mop can’t conquer.

BISSELL Spinwave Powered Hardwood Floor Mop and Cleaner, 2039A

To help you maneuver the mop, the floor nozzle pivots around corners and objects. However, with a weight of 11 pounds, you’d have an easy time using it even without the swivel steering. The cord is 22 feet long, so you can enjoy a huge cleaning radius. Plus, you get a complimentary 8-ounce bottle of Bissell’s Multi-Surface cleaning formula for sealed hard floors.

Another time-saver is its reservoir. With a capacity of 28 ounces, the water reservoir doesn’t require multiple refills per cleaning session. The angled handle keeps your grip firm and your hand comfortable. Controlling the nozzle is easy with just a press of the thumb-touch button.

BISSELL Spinwave Powered Hardwood Floor Mop and Cleaner, 2039A Review

Check out our in-depth Bissell 2039A Spinwave review

A Guide to Buying a Steam Mop for Hardwood Floors

Shopping for a steam mop is like buying any other home appliance – the features determine its quality. When it comes to getting a steam mop to clean your hardwood floors, certain features matter more than others. This guide will help you learn what to look for, so you get the most out of your money.

Best Steam Cleaner for Hardwood

Water Temperature

The time it takes to reach a steaming temperature and the temperature itself are both important. Ideally, the steam mop should heat the water in 1 minute or less to a minimum temperature of 171 degrees Fahrenheit. Steam that’s lower than this temperature won’t be able to sanitize your floors, and it’ll leave too much moisture behind, possibly damaging your floors.


You also want to make sure the steam cleaner is easy to lift. As you steam clean your hardwood floors, you don’t want to keep the steam concentrated in one area for too long. While a comfortable lifting weight is subjective, you should be fine using any steam mop under 15 pounds.

Best Hard Steam Cleaner

Cleaning Pads

Hardwood floors are delicate by nature. Therefore, the cleaning pad you use should not be harsh or abrasive. Instead, use a steam mop that comes with a soft cleaning pad, so you don’t scratch your floors. A cushioned, absorbent pad like one made of microfiber is ideal.

Steam Output

Since hardwoods are more susceptible to moisture, you must be careful with the flow of steam. The steam cleaner you buy should have an adjustable mist output with a low-steam option for your hardwoods. If not, the mop should at least have a start-stop control for the steam. Also, the delivery of steam should be even to adequately cover all areas of your floor.

Best Hardwood Steam Cleaner

Dual Purpose

While not necessary if you’re buying a steam mop just for your hardwood floors, it’s always nice to own a versatile appliance. Some steam mops can also be used as a handheld steamer, allowing you to sanitize and freshen hard and soft surfaces above the floor. There are also steam mops for hardwoods that come with a glider for carpet cleaning.

Water Reservoir

The fewer number of trips to the sink you have to make, the less time it will take for you to clean your floors. Therefore, you need to look for one with a large capacity. For added convenience, some steam mop models allow you to add more water while you’re actively using the mop as opposed to turning it off first and waiting for the water to reheat.

Best Steam Mops for Hardwood


You should also pay attention to the way the steam mop moves. Of course, you want it to be as easy as possible to maneuver. Features such as a pivoting floor nozzle, a chest strap and an ergonomic handle will help you navigate your floors with little effort.


This is another area where ease of use is important. No matter if the controls consist of dials you turn or buttons you press, they should be clearly illustrated or labeled. It also helps if the buttons are on the handle, so you won’t have to strain to reach them.

Best Steam Mop for Hardwood Floors


Sealed floors are covered with a coating of polyurethane or varnish. This protective coating prevents moisture from penetrating through the wood. If an unsealed floor is exposed to an abundance of moisture, it will absorb more water than it can hold. In turn, the wood will begin to swell, leading to mold and rot. Left in this state for too long, the damaged wood will have to be replaced, costing you an untold amount of money.
To clean as quickly and thoroughly as they do, steam cleaners rely on the high water temperatures that create steam. After the cleaner heats the water inside of its reservoir, the water turns to steam, and it’s delivered through a floor nozzle or attachment. Due to its heat, the steam is able to loosen and dissolve the particles that create stains and other messes.
Two of their most appealing benefits include saving time and spending less money. However, there are is another major advantage that comes from using a steam cleaner as opposed to a standard mop or scrub brush. The steam’s temperature is high enough to actually disinfect the surface it touches. If you’re recovering from a cold or have a toddler who constantly puts objects in his mouth, the ability to swiftly sanitize your home is invaluable.
In general, a steam cleaner falls into one of three categories – a handheld, a mop or a cylinder. Each steam cleaner has its own advantages and drawbacks. A handheld steam cleaner is easy to transport, and it doesn’t take up a lot of room in your storage closet. Plus, handhelds are great for spot cleaning.

There are also steam mops. Like a manual mop, steam mops feature long handles. Most stand upright by themselves, and they are suitable for whole-floor cleaning. In addition, there are canister steam cleaners, which hold the most water. However, they are also the heaviest. There are even some steam mops that turn into handhelds.

Before you steam mop your hardwood floors, there is one must-do that you should attend to first. Always dust before you mop. Since hardwoods are dust magnets, these floors should ideally be dusted once per day. By keeping them free of dust, coarse particles are unable to accumulate and scratch your floor.

Strive to steam mop your hard floors one time every week. While the entire floor shouldn’t require more frequent steam mopping, you should address small spots of dirt as they occur to prevent damage to the floor. Additionally, you should refrain from using strong chemicals with your steam mop’s water because these types of chemicals can eat away at the coating on your floors.

As you are cleaning, release the steam in short burst instead of a continuous flow. Otherwise, you may risk warping the wood from an overexposure to concentrated moisture. Also, be sure to attach a clean mop pad before you start steam mopping. Again, this will reduce the likelihood of scratches and dings caused by dirt and dust particles.

While some people do have hardwoods throughout every room in their home, a lot of people also have carpet, tile, linoleum and another flooring. If your house contains multiple types of flooring, you need a steam cleaner that efficiently and safely cleans all the floors in your house.

If you have hardwoods and tile or linoleum, a great steam cleaner for your floors is a mop that comes with gear designed to tackle grout and uneven surfaces. However, if you have hardwoods and carpet, a better choice is a steam cleaner with a glider that you can use to spot clean your carpet.

A bonus to using a steam cleaner to spot clean your carpet is that the mop can sanitize organic messes and wipe out the odors that come along with them.

Best Steam Cleaners for Hardwood Floors

The steam released by the cleaner is hotter than 200 degrees Fahrenheit, but wax begins to melt when it reaches 99 degree. Hot wax can destroy a steam cleaner and your hardwood floor’s finish. Recently applied wax is more likely to ruin than set wax.

Sometimes, you can get away with steam cleaning a hardwood floor that hasn’t been waxed for a few weeks. To test the finish, run the cleaner over a discreet area under a piece of furniture and allow it to dry. If the wax finish is still intact, you should be good to go.

Sanitation is the entire purpose for using a steam cleaner, but you don’t have to apply steam for an extended length of time to glean that benefit. It only takes steam about 10 to 15 seconds to destroy germs. If you’re trying to tackle a sticky, stubborn substance, it may take a few more seconds to loosen the mess.

Prolonged exposure to steam can cause moisture to permeate your hardwood floors. In turn, you risk warping the planks. To be on the safe side, limit the application time to 30 seconds.

Many of the cleaning chemicals on store shelves can cause irreparable damage to a steam cleaner. These cleaning solutions contain chemicals such as benzoic acid, citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, sodium salt and sulfonic acid, all of which are corrosive. When used in a steam cleaner, these chemicals will eventually destroy the cleaner’s internal components.
White vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent. It kills bacteria, dissolves scum and neutralizes odors. Although diluted white vinegar is a great cleaning solution to use on tile and linoleum, it’s not safe to use on hardwood floors.

Since white vinegar contains as much as 7 percent acetic acid, it can eat away at the polyurethane finish that manufacturers often put on hardwood floor planks. Without a coat of polyurethane, the floor may crack and peel or become cloudy and discolored.

Mopping with essential oils like sandalwood and lavender will leave a pleasant fragrance throughout your home, but we don’t recommend it. Adding essential to a steam cleaner’s reservoir will eventually clog the water line and nozzle. A safer alternative is to apply a few drops onto the backside of the microfiber pad before attaching it.

best steam cleaner for laminate floors

Even though standard mops don’t need to be plugged into an electrical outlet, steam cleaners offer many more benefits than traditional mops. They can kill bacteria without the aid of cleaning chemicals, which parents and pet owners appreciate.

You don’t have to haul around a sloshing bucket of water or carefully step around wet spots that take a half an hour to dry, preventing backaches and saving time. Plus, their microfiber pads absorb much more dirt than split fabric or woven yarn.

We understand how aggravating it is to see a layer of film on a hardwood floor. Two causes of cloudy hardwoods are chemical buildup and excessive moisture. Luckily, steam cleaners don’t need cleaning solutions, and it’s hard to over-wet a floor with a steam cleaner. This means residue won’t be a problem.
If you’re only dealing with a few small spots of concentrated dirt like muddy paw prints, you’ll find a steam cleaner to be an efficient performer. However, if the majority of the floor is covered in a layer of thick grime, you may notice that your steam cleaner is spreading rather than absorbing the mess.

The best way to go about using a steam cleaner on a heavily soiled hardwood floor is to have several mop pads in your arsenal. As soon as one microfiber pad gets dirty, exchange it for another. When all the dirt is gone, quickly run over the floor one more time with a fresh pad.

Microfiber is a washable material, and it can withstand about 30 cycles in the washing machine. To keep colors from bleeding onto the cloth, throw it in with your whites, but don’t add bleach to the water – it will break down the fibers. Let it air dry or tumble dry on no heat to prevent shrinkage.
Some species of wood are hardier than others. Similarly, engineered hardwood can stand up better to water than solid hardwood. No matter the species or type, you likely spent a lot of money on your flooring.

To protect your investment, test its moisture resistance by pouring a few droplets of water in an out-of-the-way area and wait a few minutes. If the droplets are still visible, a steam cleaner likely won’t damage the floor.

best steam cleaner for tile

Not all steam cleaners give you the option of changing the flow of steam. Those that do usually offer two to three power settings. For everyday floor maintenance, the lowest level should suffice. Medium flow is great for cutting through dust and dirt while high flow is best reserved for the most stubborn of messes.
Although laminate hardwood floors are made of synthetic material, they are a popular choice among people who want the look of real wood without the high price tag. The downside to laminate is that while water won’t hurt the resin layer on top, it can damage the fiberboard underneath should it seep into seams.

Mopping in small sections will keep your laminate hardwoods intact. Move the steam cleaner parallel to the wood grain pattern, and don’t let the cleaner linger in one spot for more than 10 seconds at a time. If the cleaner has variable steam control, select the lowest setting.

Almost every steam cleaner manual directs people to use distilled water. When water is boiled during the distillation process, the minerals that are naturally found in water are removed. Since distilled water doesn’t contain calcium or magnesium, you don’t have to remove limescale buildup from the reservoir (see below).
Limescale forms from calcium carbonate, which is created by dissolved minerals in the water. When you use tap water in your steam cleaner instead of distilled, you’ll eventually see limescale buildup in the reservoir. You may also notice that the cleaner produces spurts of steam as opposed to a steady flow.

To get rid of limescale in the reservoir, simply wash it with soapy water, rinse it and let it drain until the tank is dry. Flushing out the minerals is also easy. Add a few teaspoons of baking soda to a full tank of water. Then, run the steam cleaner until the reservoir is empty.

As long as you adhere to the 30-second maximum exposure time, there won’t be puddles on your hardwood floors. You can cut down on the dry time by turning on a ceiling fan, but that isn’t necessary. It only takes 1 to 5 minutes for floors to dry, and you don’t need to use a towel.

best hard floor steam cleaner

Steam Cleaners for Hardwood Floors: Recap

The benefits of steam cleaners are numerous. They save you money otherwise spent on cleaning chemicals, and the lack of chemicals means steam cleaners are safe to use around children and animals. You don’t have to lug around a bucket of water or wring a dirty mop head. Most importantly, the steam kills bacteria.

As far as choices go, you have several. Many steam cleaners are of the lightweight stick variety, and some of these are equipped with a handheld unit that lifts off the main body. There are also steam cleaners with rotating scrubbers or triangular heads for corner cleaning, and a select few even suction as they mop.

Maintaining a steam cleaner is easy. If you stick to distilled water, you’ll minimize the amount of maintenance needed. Even though you can’t use a steam cleaner on unsealed hardwoods, they are safe to use on laminate if you take a few precautions. Overall, steam cleaners offer a more efficient way to sanitize your hardwood floors.

best hard floor steam cleaner guide

Recommended Steam Cleaner for Hardwood

2039A 201224 S3601
8 x 16 x 45 in 24.4 x 11.9 x 7.8 in 11.8 x 6.8 x 46.4 in
9.5 pounds 12.45 pounds 6.3 pounds

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