steam mop
Steam mops kill germs and bacteria in seconds, and all you need is tap water. Image Credit: Amazon

The modest mop and bucket may be economical, but it's not the most efficient. Consider all the manual effort that goes into mopping up the grime, including fetching hot water. And once done, we have no choice but to gingerly tip-toe around the house, waiting for the floors to air-dry. If a pricey robot mop or a hybrid vacuum is out of reach, there exists the next best solution to squeaky clean floors: a steam mop.

As the name suggests, steam mops operate by heating water in a tank and producing continuous steam through their cloth-clad mop head. We asked a cleaning expert about the perks of steaming and whether it's enough to sweep away the dirt in high-traffic areas.

"Steam is the best available natural disinfectant. Even though we have powerful chemicals in the market, steam delivers a scent-free freshness of its own. Our clients who dislike the smell of heavy cleaning chemicals request for steam mopping, instead," Azwar Ayttakath, operations supervisor at Day Cleaner Services in Dubai, told Gulf News.

In the kitchen, where you can't risk the lingering scent of disinfectants, a steam mop is a practical choice, added Ayttakath. Say goodbye to stubborn oil stains and spills on your tiles that don't stand a chance against hot steam. Speaking of tiled floors, expect steam mops to give your grout a complete makeover.

"They work very well on tiles with grout, but I wouldn't recommend steaming your vinyl and wooden floors. If the steam penetrates any crack in the wood, it can damage the flooring," advised Ayttakath. Using different nozzles, you can even steam-clean select furniture pieces, like chairs, desks and sofas.

A larger tank capacity will run steam for longer, allowing you to tackle more surface area at once. Plus, the included mop pads are machine-washable, too. Do note that the temperatures inside the tank can reach 100 degrees Celsius and up. With children and pets around, Ayttakath suggests handling the steam with extra care.

Find out which steam mop is preferred by cleaning pros, and browse other best-rated models on Amazon. Get a Prime membership for free, same- or next-day delivery.

1. Best Overall: Karcher SC3 Easyfix Steam Cleaner


  • Heats up in 30 seconds
  • Steam flow is controlled according to flooring - tiles, carpets and wood
  • Includes carpet glider nozzle
  • Prevents limescale from building in the tank
  • Dedicated hard and soft water settings


  • Comes with only one microfibre pad
  • Heavier than most, at 3.1kgs

Ayttakath says Day Cleaner Services relies on the Karcher SC3, when it comes to steam mopping. This upright variation is a straightforward machine, has a large half-litre capacity and arrives with a good-quality mop pad. The Karcher machine alternates between three steam flows, depending on the flooring, with options for tiles, carpet and even wood. For your rugs and carpets, slide on the carpet glider nozzle to deodorise them quickly. It converts water into steam in just 30 seconds, so you can refill and get to mopping without waiting. There's a descaling cartridge in the tank that helps to prolong the life of your unit. Reviewers love that you can adjust the tank to hard or soft water, as well. They do point out that it can be heavy for some, at 3.1kgs.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh66.58 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh46 and two years for Dh65.

2. Best for Quick Cleaning: Vileda Steam Plus


  • Produces steam for 28 minutes
  • Heats water in just 15 seconds
  • Triangular head cleans corners well
  • Compact storage form factor
  • Includes carpet glider and microfibre cloth


  • Best used with distilled water

Amazon's best-selling steam mop has a triangular head that tackles corners easily. The Vileda Steam Plus is designed to slide under furniture and clean small spaces, working continuously for 28 minutes per tank. It operates on three steam settings, like our best overall, and cleans wood on low, carpets on medium and tiles on high flow. The mop's best feature is its heating time of only 15 seconds, which means instantaneous steam every time you refill the 400ml tank. It does miss a descaling contraption, so if your area gets hard water, the manufacturer advises distilling it prior to steaming. Storage in enclosed spaces is made convenient with the detachable handle. Buyers leave five-star reviews, commending the ease of use, the lengthy six-metre cable and manoeuvrability. Some have even gotten stains out of their carpets. 

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh29 and two years for Dh41.

3. Best for Large Homes: Shark Floor & Handheld Steam Cleaner Klik N' Flip, Lift-Away


  • Double-sided cleaning pad covers more area
  • Hands-free pad release, with just a button
  • Steam Blast mode uses very hot steam for stubborn stains
  • Converts into a portable steamer for above-the-floor cleaning
  • Includes an extra double-sided pad


  • Manufacturer recommends distilled water
  • Expensive

A pricier model is Shark's Lift-Away Klik n' Flip steam mop, for its added convenient features. It shares the basic functionalities of most mops, from two steam settings to compatibility with marble, tile, hardwood and stone floors. What you're paying for is the mop's Klik n' Flip technology, where the head can be flipped both ways to cover more surface area, thanks to the double-sided Dirt Grip cleaning pads. Reviews mention how the pad goes on and comes off with just a click, saving them from touching the cloth. Another useful feature is its handheld form factor that gives you access to kitchen countertops, windows, shower screens and more, with five attachments. The 500ml tank heats up in 30 seconds, while the Steam Blast mode sprays even hotter steam for stubborn stains. Reviews say it leaves no streaks behind.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh60.50 for 12 months with select banks.

4. Best Multipurpose: BLACK+DECKER 15-In-1 Steam Mop


  • Steams and sanitises most surfaces, from kitchen appliances to floors
  • Includes 15 accessories, for grout, toys, mirrors and more
  • Takes 30 seconds to heat up a 500ml tank


  • Short four-metre cord

Black and Decker's unit is more than a steam mop, given the 15 accessories that come with it. From barbeque grills and shower screens to garment steaming and mirrors, this 15-in-1 mop transforms into a cleaning device for the entire house. You can refresh sofa upholstery with a squeegee head, or continue to use the regular head on all sealed hard floors. With the accessory kit, the unit turns into a steaming mitt that lets you sanitise kitchen surfaces, toys and door knobs. A special brush is included for scrubbing your grout, as well, attested by impressed reviewers. Buyers have steamed their stove with great results, saying that they've removed stains that were previously impossible to clean.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh64.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty.

5. Best Budget: Vytronix USM13 10-in-1 Multifunction Upright Steam Cleaner Mop


  • Includes 10 accessories, for garment steaming, scrubbing and refreshing upholstery
  • Triangular head to reach corners
  • Heats up in 20 seconds
  • Lightweight at 2.2kgs


  • Only one steam flow setting

You don't have to shell out as much for an extensive kit, with the Vytronix USM13. It packs 10 different accessories at a value price tag. This multifunction steam mop can be used to steam your clothes, refresh the rugs and scrub upholstery, besides cleaning your hard floors. Users mention detailing their kitchen, including the sink, drainer and countertops, with the brush nozzles in the kit. The machine only weighs 2.2kgs, so you can expect it to move with little to no effort. It produces steady steam at 100 degrees Celsius, but reviews do mention the lack of variable flow settings.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.