This is getting a bit worrisome. This is the second Favorite Things Friday that I have written about a floor care item, but our steam mop is definitely one of my favorite things. We have a busy household with a messy man (me) and two children who seem to leave sticky spots wherever they go. My wife is the cleanest of us all. We have owned our Eureka 313A steam mop since November 2010. In this ‘Favorite Things’ post we will look at what we like and don’t like about the Eureka, compare it to another popular steam mop and conclude with another of my nerdy videos
This unit gets used at least once a week in our house and has performed almost perfectly. (The problem was my fault, I’ll explain later.) One of the best things about the Eureka is that it is simple. One button turns the unit on and off. It has two simple clamps that hold the cleaning pad on. The place where you fill the mop with water is easy to access. It is a solid, simple steam cleaner.
Cleaning with the steam mop is simple. My usual routine is sweeping under the kitchen cabinets and around the baseboards. Then I grab the Oreck and vacuum up all the debris. In recent months I just let Rosie (our robot vacuum) run the night before and then mop early in the morning. However you do it, the steam mop works best on a hard surface that is cleared of any large debris or particulate.
Here’s where I made my one mistake that led to a problem. I filled the steam mop with tap water. In our area the tap water has a high mineral content. This is a bad idea for a steam mop, iron or any other device with a heating element in the water tank. After a while, deposits built up that made a valve inside the mop not function correctly. The valve wouldn’t shut all the way while the unit was cool, so water would come out if I added it to the unit before it heated up. This is probably completely against manufacturer advice, and I can’t recommend it, but I poured white vinegar into the unplugged unit and let it sit for about 10 minutes. When I poured the vinegar back out it took a lot of the deposits with it and the unit has been acting fine ever since. Again, I couldn’t recommend this for your steam mop, but white vinegar does seem to fix a lot of these problems. To avoid mineral or deposit buildups, we now use filtered or distilled water.
The cleaning pads on this mop are easy to clean, swap out, and when you wind up with two dirty pads, you can always slap an old hand towel on the unit and it works just fine. When the floors are REALLY dirty I would suggest either swapping out the dirt pad or at least flipping it over part way though use. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing all the junk that comes up off the floor.
Let’s talk about sanitizing for a bit, since that is the real reason for using a steam mop. Steam increases the temperature of the floor to a certain point where bacteria are killed. To accomplish this with the Eureka you have to leave the mop in that certain area for several seconds. Do you know how long it would take to mop our floor if I went that slow?
This mop is not going to completely sanitize your floor in a quick mop. It is nice to know that the power of sanitizing is in your hands when the flu bug strikes. I have been known to take 10 minutes or more to really steam the floor in our ‘sick bathroom.’ I also make sure to steam for ‘a long time’ in areas that get icky and see lots of use.
The steam power of this Eureka does a great job of lifting sticky messes off of our tile floor. With little kids in the house it seems like there are sticky messes on the floor everyday. Sometimes the unit has to run over a spot a time or two before it is completely picked up.
What don’t I like about our Eureka? Like many people who have reviewed this product, I feel the cord is too short. A 25′ extension cord easily fixes this problem. The hard water issue isn’t much fun but it was easily fixed. That’s about it. There isn’t much to dislike about this unit.
About one year ago I tried the Oreck Grab-It & Steam-It. We LOVE our Oreck vacuum cleaner so I had high hopes for the Grab It. When we first looked at steam mops we were wanting one that did both light vacuuming and steaming. I was glad Oreck had a good return policy, because I returned my Grab-It & Steam-It.
Here’s what I didn’t like. The dirt pads on the Oreck are unique items, you would have to have several instead of just using a dish towel. The pivoting handle of the Oreck was too loose. It was impossible to get that thing to move in a somewhat straight line. It would go every direction but the one you would want it to go in. There were lots of buttons and dials on the unit that all felt flimsy. The whole thing felt like it would breakdown in a year or less, and it was not cheap!
I did like the power sweeper on the Oreck unit. It was a powered brush with no suction and did a great job of clearing debris so the unit could work. The Oreck unit had three steam settings but that seemed to be pointless and just another item that would break. The Oreck also had a trigger that had to be pulled to get steam to come out. With no lock, that got old after steam mopping an entire floor. In all fairness, it seems like the Grab-It, Steam-It was just a poor product from a great company. The Oreck website has them at half price right now and they have a new, and impressive looking machine that is a vacuum and steamer in one. The $250 price tag does seem a little steep though.
Why not just use a mop and bucket? I still do sometimes. Every few months I feel the floors need a good mopping so I bust out the old mop and the Lysol. I usually do this when I am home alone because I don’t like the girls being around the fumes. I sometimes just mop with bleach water too. It is nice to just whip out the steam mop and clean things up. There are no disposable pads to buy that will wind up in the landfill and there is no sticky residue from a cleaning solution.
It should be noted that I don’t use the steam mop on our laminate flooring very much. The product literature warns that you should test your Enviro Steamer on a wood floor before doing it all. The first time I used the steam mop on one of our laminate floors it ‘fogged’ up for an hour or two. Once it dried out it was fine. It hasn’t done that again on either of our rooms with laminate flooring. Usually I just use a swiffer type mop that has a terry cloth cover that I dampen.
In conclusion, the Eureka Enviro Steamer is one of my favorite things. Not everyone will like it. At $60 it was a good option for our family since we like a nice clean house. If you’re thinking about getting one, use my Amazon link on the right side of the page and it helps us both out. I made this nerdy little video one day while I was cleaning floors.