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Does Steam Cleaning Kill Viruses – Ultimate Steam Mop Guide 

 April 4, 2021

By  Jeanette Giselle

You might have heard of all the great things a steam cleaner can do but does steam cleaning kill viruses?

If you’re on the search for a new steam mop to help sanitize your home then keep reading for a complete guide on what a steam mop can do and the best available today.

In an effort to be transparent, this blog uses affiliates links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases. So heads up, there my be some in this post!


What does a steam mop do?

A steam mop uses steam of up to 200 degrees to efficiently deep clean your floors and furniture. Most steam mops have a tank reservoir (which you simply fill with water) the steam is then passed through a mop pad.

Some that are more advanced can offer a double sided mopping pad and have multiple heat settings.

The high heat allows for dirt, debris or any stuck on stains to be quickly removed and unlike a standard mop these do not leave any streaks behind!

Just make sure to regularly check the pad in case it needs to replaced.

These are typically best for sealed hard floors and with the many attachments that some offer you can even clean your furniture, car, drapes, between grout and more.

Steam mops are known for being capable of killing germs and bacteria but what does a steam cleaner really do?

Does steam cleaning kill germs?

According to most manufacturers, a steam mop is a chemical-free way to clean your floors while sanitizing and eliminating up to 99% of germs and bacteria.

Killing germs and bacteria can help fight and keep your home safe for cold season. This can be a great way to prepare ahead of time if you or someone in your family is sick prone.

Does steam cleaning kill viruses?

Like mentioned above, steam mops can sanitize and clean your hard floors. With that said, it’s important to understand the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting.

In order to kill a virus, you need to clean and disinfect the problem area. In some cases, high heat is capable of killing viruses but there is not enough research specifically on this know if a steam mop can or can’t do this.

However, using a steam mop is probably a great start to preparing the area before using a disinfectant to properly kill a virus.

You can read more about properly cleaning and disinfecting your home here directly from the CDC.

How much is a steam cleaner?

Steam cleaners come in a range of prices depending on the power and multi-purpose ability. Typically you can find them ranging from $80 all the way up to $200.

Standard steam mops that are corded and have few functions such as the Bissell Power Fresh are roughly $90 and the Bissell Heavy Duty Power Steamer (which is a 3-in-1 cleaner) is typically $160.

Check out some more options below to find the perfect steam mop for you.

✅ Want to skip the rest? The best overall steam mop for your floors is the Bissell Power Steamer Heavy Duty 3-in-1. You can check out the product page here!

Is a Steam Cleaner Worth It?

Depending on your needs and situation, a steam cleaner can definitely be worth it.

If you have a home with a pets or kids whom track in mud and dirt constantly, a steam mop is great! You can easily spot clean a stain or deep clean your floors without the worry of using harsh chemicals.

This is perfect for someone who wants to known for certain that their floors are getting clean but don’t want to compromise their ethics on cleaning products.

Steam mops are eco-friendly, clean and completely safe for kids and pets.

My only word of caution would be for those with unsealed hard floors because the high temperature can damage your floors. The steam penetrates deeply into your floors and can loosen glue, warp floors and just straight up ruin your floors.

If you’re insure, contact your floor manufacturer or find out what floors you have to check if this is right for you.

Top Steam Mops

  1. Best Overall: Bissell Power Steamer Heavy Duty
  2. Best Budget: Bissell Power Fresh
  3. Best Lightweight: Shark Handheld Steam Mop
  4. Best for Hardwood Floors: Bissell Power Edge Lift Off
  5. Best for Pets: Bissell PowerFresh Pet Steam Mop
  6. Best for All Around the Home: Bissell Power Fresh Slim
  7. Best Handheld Steam Cleaner: PurSteam Handheld Steam Cleaner

Compare them all here or keep reading for individual reviews.

Best Overall: Bissell Power Steamer Heavy Duty

  • Powerful, high-temperature steam to blast away dirt, grime, grease, stains, and mold across a wide variety of indoor and outdoor surfaces. For use in garage and workshop areas; Interior and exterior of auto's, boats, ATV's, and recreational vehicles; windows; outdoor patio furniture and decks; And all sealed hard floor surfaces.
  • 3-in-1 heavy-duty multi-purpose steam cleaner. The upright steam cleaner transforms into both an extended reach steam cleaner and a handheld steam cleaner.
  • Chemical-free cleaning. Sanitize with the power of steam, eliminate 99. 9% of germs and bacteria.
  • Variable steam modes and on-demand trigger allows you to control the intensity and amount of steam being released
  • Convenient storage with wall mount for easy and convenient storage.
  • On-board accessory storage carries accessories with you as you clean.
  • Includes 29 accessories to tacking indoor and outdoor tough messes that can be used on both the extended reach steam cleaner and the handheld steam cleaner.

Best Budget: Bissell Power Fresh

  • Clean and sanitize sealed hard floors without the use of harsh chemicals; Eliminates 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria with the natural power of steam
  • Power through tough, sticky messes with the flip down easy scrubber
  • Choose from high, medium, or low steam based on your cleaning needs with the smart set digital steam control
  • Features swivel steering and a 23 foot power cord. Ready to use in 30 seconds
  • Includes: (1) microfiber soft pad, (1) microfiber scrubby pad, (2) spring breeze fragrance discs, and a carpet glider. Power rating: 1500 watts. Power Source: Corded
  • Packaging graphics may vary
  • Easy Scrubber flips down and reaches down to the grout and crevices.
  • SmartSet Steam Control for light cleaning to heavy messes.
  • Spring Breeze fragrance discs insert in the mop pad for a fresh, clean scent while you steam mop.
  • Removable water tank you can easily fill at the sink.
  • Low-profile mop head cleans into corners and edges.

Best Lightweight: Shark Handheld Steam Mop

  • Clean and sanitize with both sides
  • Steam on demand. Your steam mop should be ready to use in 30 seconds. Pumping the handle 5-10 times will help generate the correct amount of steam to begin mopping
  • 99.9% sanitization
  • Sanitization with no harsh chemicals
  • Swivel steering
  • Voltage: 120 Volts

Best for Hardwood Floors: Bissell Power Edge Lift Off

  • 2 in 1 steam mop with detachable handheld steamer to clean with the power of steam both on and above your floors
  • Control the amount of steam you put on your floors with on demand steam trigger
  • Easily clean and maneuver into corners and edges with Triangle foot design. Power rating is 1500 Watts
  • Includes bristle scrub brush and grout tool to steam clean sinks, stove tops, countertops, and dirt and grime from grout
  • Naturally sanitize your sealed hard floors and eliminate 99. 9Percent of germs and bacteria, when used as directed using Microfiber pads. Results may vary, tested under controlled Lab conditions

Best for Pets: Bissell PowerFresh Pet Steam Mop

  • Every BISSELL purchase helps save pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets.
  • A Safer And Easier Way To Clean Homes With Pets. No Need To Use Harsh Chemicals On Your Floors
  • The Lift-Off Pet Model Features A 2-In-1 Steam Mop, Allowing You To Tackle Pet Messes Both On And Above Your Floors
  • The Lift-Off Pet Model Includes 13 Versatile Tools For Use With The Handheld Steam Cleaner; Heater Warm-Up Time: 30 Seconds
  • Eliminate 99. 9% Of Germs And Bacteria* With The Natural Power Of Steam. Power Rating : 1500 Watts
  • Includes Microfiber Soft Pad, Microfiber Scrubby Pad, Odor Eliminating Fragrance Discs, Attachable Water Cup, 13 Tools With A Tool Bag, And A Microfiber Towel. Power Cord Length_25 feet

Best for All Around the Home: Bissell Power Fresh Slim

  • Every BISSELL purchase helps save pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets.
  • Powerful handheld steam cleaner and steam mop in one
  • Clean and sanitize sealed hard floors without the use of harsh chemicals; eliminate 99. 9 percent of germs and bacteria with the natural power of steam
  • Superior clean above floors with the extension tube and extra-long 25 ft power cord to reach those difficult areas in your home
  • On board storage kit allows you to carry tools while you steam clean - grout tool, angle tool, flat scrapper tool, bristle scrub brush
  • Bonus tools: Flat surface tool with mop pad, clothing steamer tool, bristle scrub brush for above floor multi surface cleaning. All tools can be attached to end of handheld steamer or extension tube

Best Handheld Steam Cleaner: PurSteam Handheld Steam Cleaner

Frequently Asked Questions

What to put in a steam cleaner?

There’s no need to put any type of special solution into your steam mop. Steam mops simply need to be filled with water for it work at its best.

In some cases, adding floor cleaning solution can damage the device unless it comes with the actual mop.

The Bissell PowerFresh for example offers scented water but is still just demineralized water and not actual solution.

Will a steam cleaner clean grout?

A simple steam cleaner may not perfectly clean deep within grout. However, multi-purpose steam mops come with attachments to help with this.

The Bissell Power Steamer comes with several tools including a grout tool to help scrub between any indoor or outdoor sealed surfaces.

Will steam cleaning remove pet stains?

Any powerful steam mop should be able to tackle pet stains including cat or dog urine. However, if your purpose for purchasing one is specifically for pets then it would be best to buy one specialized for pets.

The Bissell PowerFresh Lift Off is perfect for this! It comes with a handheld option so that you can clean fabric pet beds, flat scraping tool to remove stuck on food and a small angle tool to clean and sanitize pet toys.

How to use a steam cleaner on furniture

To properly clean furniture with a steam cleaner you’ll need one that comes with tools for this.

The Bissell Power Steamer comes with a fabric steamer tool which is perfect for upholstered surfaces including couches, car seats, cushions, pillows and more!

Jeanette Giselle


Jeanette is a mom of three kids and full time entrepreneur. She is a certified Professional House Cleaner by the AHCA. It is her passion to help overwhelmed mothers simplify their home duties so that they can spend their time doing the things they love. 

Jeanette Giselle

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