How to steam mop tile floors

Person using a yellow steam mop to clean black tile floors with steam coming off.
(Image credit: Getty)

Learning how to steam mop tile floors will ensure that stylish tiling remains looking its best. Whether in a bathroom, kitchen, or living area, tiles add character and color to a room – but dirt and grime can soon build up in busy areas. Keeping floor tiles clean will ensure that a home remains safe and hygienic, while also helping a tiled design to truly shine.

From muddy footprints to food debris, everyday life can take its toll on a tiled floor. It can be easy to overlook cleaning the floor until it begins to look grubby, and with a long list of household chores to take care of, homeowners want a straightforward solution for cleaning floor tiles. That’s where a steam mop can help.

Once you learn how to use a steam mop (opens in new tab), it will be quick and easy to tackle stains, spills, and everyday marks. Following a few simple steps will ensure the floor is cleaned properly, leaving no sign of dirt behind. There are many benefits to steam mopping tile floors and most of the best steam mops (opens in new tab) are suitable for use on tiles, so you won’t need to worry about damaging your tiled flooring when using a steam mop.

How frequently should you steam mop tile floors? 

How often you need to steam mop tile floors will depend on the area of the home the tiling is in and how much foot traffic the room receives. Busier spaces may require more frequent cleaning, however as a general rule, steam mopping once a month should keep a tiled floor in top condition. 

According to Andre Kazimierski, CEO of Improovy Painters Naperville (opens in new tab), “If tile floors are regularly maintained via sweeping or vacuuming, you shouldn’t need to steam mop more than once a month or so, unless you are a very active household with lots of foot traffic from outside.” 

How to steam mop tile floors properly

What the expert says...

Andre Kazimierski, CEO of Improovy (opens in new tab), a marketplace platform that provides a hassle-free way to complete house painting projects, says, “Steam mopping tends to work best when you move in a pattern over the area, paying closer attention to soiled spots or high-traffic pathways."

Steam cleaning works by loosening dirt and grime while also disinfecting the surface, without the need for harsh chemicals. When steam mopping a tile floor, you will want to feel confident that you can achieve the best results using this specialist tool. Taking the process step-by-step will help ensure a fantastically clean finish.

1. Vacuum or sweep the floors

Before you steam mop tile floors, begin by sweeping or vacuuming the tiles to remove any dust or lint. This will prevent loose dirt from sticking to the mop once you start cleaning. It will also protect the grout, as Maria Hanson, Cleaning Expert at Clearsurance.com (opens in new tab) explains, “Vacuum before steam mopping, so you don’t push dirt into the grout. If you skip vacuuming, you will end up sliding muddy water into the grout.” A broom should gather most debris from the surface of the floor tiles, however for a more thorough pre-clean, a vacuum will remove even hard-to-spot debris.

2. Prepare a clean mop head

Most steam mop heads are machine washable, so you won’t need to buy a new one every time you mop the floor. Ensuring the mop head is clean will prevent any residual dirt from smearing the floor during mopping. If cleaning a large area, have a spare mop head to hand in case a fresh one is required.

3. Fill the steam mop water reservoir

Using distilled water if you live in a hard water area, fill up the tank on your steam mop. Then attach the mop head before plugging the steam mop in and turning it on. You can also add a few drops of a favorite essential oil to the mop head to give your tiles a fresh scent.

4. Start mopping

Once the mop reaches the desired temperature, begin passing the head lightly across the tiles in a constant motion. Leaving the steam mop in one spot for an extended period can damage the tiles, so keep moving. If the mop head becomes overly dirty, swap it for a clean head.

5. Pay close attention to stains

 For more stubborn marks or stains, move the mop head lightly and repeatedly over the affected area. Applying steam should loosen any caked-on dirt, but remember not to rest the mop head on the tiles for too long.

6. Wash up

Once you have steam mopped a tile floor and the mop head has fully cooled, wash the head ready for future use. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure the head is machine washable. Most can be laundered alongside other whites before air drying.

Benefits of steam mopping 

Choosing to steam mop tile floors has several advantages over other types of cleaning and ensures a more thorough clean than simply sweeping or vacuuming. Steam mopping is also;

• Natural and non-toxic. The combination of heat and moisture effectively loosens any dirt without needing specialist cleaners or harsh chemicals.

• Sanitizing. Steam cleaning will effectively eradicate most bacteria and is also great for removing mold.

• Easy. Steam mops are simple to use, even for first-timers, so cleaning your tiled floor shouldn’t take too long.

• Affordable. Instead of buying bottled cleaning products, steam cleaning allows you to look after your tiles using water, which also means less plastic waste.

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Hayley Francis is a freelance writer based in the UK with an interest in travel, culture, and the great outdoors. When not busy writing for a variety of clients, she can be found planning her next trip or hiking a new trail.

With contributions from