floor sticky after steam mop

6 Reasons Why Your Floor Feels Sticky After Steam Mopping

Steam mopping is among the best methods of cleaning floors. Since it uses super hot water converted to steam, it effectively kills microorganisms. Compared to traditional mops, steam mops will give you better results when deep cleaning very dirty floors. 

One of the most irritating things you will likely experience is having a sticky floor even after steam mopping. This article will discuss why your floor feels sticky after steam mopping and how you can help prevent this. 

Why is My Floor Sticky After Steam Mopping?

Here are 6 reasons why your floor feels sticky after steam mopping:

Incorrect Cleaning Methods

Steam mops work best by using water only turned into hot steam. While you should never add any detergents or oils to the water reservoir of the steamer, you could add a few drops to the microfiber pad underneath. 

I have tried this with essential oils, bleach, and general floor cleaners. Combined with the heat of steam, it leaves a residue on your floors. When this residue dries, it becomes sticky. 

If you are adding any products to your water tank or onto the steam mop pad itself, this is one reason why your floors are sticky after steam mopping. 

Dirty Mop Pads

film on floor after steam mopping

The mop pads will become dirty when cleaning with a steam mop, especially when cleaning many rooms. If you don’t change them frequently, you will not be able to clean effectively. 

You may notice your floor is streaky after steam cleaning, resulting from dirty mop pads. A dirty mop pad will leave a dirt residue on the floor. You can easily avoid this by changing the mop pads frequently when cleaning. 

Before starting steam cleaning, make sure that you have enough mop pads. 

Built-Up Detergents from Previous Cleaning Methods

If you have been using floor cleaners previously, their residue build-up will cause the floor to remain sticky even after steam mopping. This is the number one reason why your floor may feel sticky.

The good news is that the steam mop will remove the sticky residue. It may take several mopping sessions to remove all built-up cleaners from the floor. You’d be surprised at the amount of residue that ordinary cleaning detergents leave behind.

Incorrect Washing of Steam Mop Pads

floor feels sticky after steam mopping

It is best to wash your steam mop pads with ordinary laundry detergent. If your microfiber pads are particularly dirty, you can pre-soak them in a stain remover or laundry soaker. 

  • Do not use any laundry detergents that have built-in fabric softeners.
  • Do not add any fabric softener to the rinse cycle of your washer. 
  • Do not tumble dry steam mop pads. Air dry them on the clothesline if able.
  • If you need to put them in the clothes dryer, leave out any fresheners or dryer sheets. 

Fabric softener affects the absorbency of microfiber cloths. As such, your steam mop pad will never be the same again. Washing your mop pads incorrectly is another reason why your floor is sticky after steam mopping.

Dried on Liquids That Contain Sugar

A steam mop will easily remove spilled coffee, tea, cordial, juice, or soft drinks from your floor. After cleaning the floor from any accidental spills, change your mop pad. 

Continuing to clean your floors after steam mopping any liquids that contain sugar (including that bit of milk in your coffee) could cause a sticky residue to remain on the floor.

Not Vacuuming Before Steam Mopping

It is tempting to mop the floor with your steam mop without vacuuming first. 

The problem with this is that dust, dirt, pet hair, and anything else accumulated on your floors will stick to the microfiber mop pad. 

You’ll be pushing around a dirt trail, and your floors won’t get clean. Naturally, this will leave a film on the floor, and depending on what you’re cleaning off the floor, it could make it sticky. 

How Do I Clean My Floor Without It Becoming Sticky?

why is my floor sticky after I steam mop

If you want to clean your floor using a steam mop without leaving it sticky, you should do the following; 

Always Vacuum or Sweep Before Steam Mopping

 Before you steam your floor, the first thing you must always do is sweep or vacuum it. You need to use a powerful vacuum cleaner or a steam mop vacuum combo that can suck dirt without leaving contaminants on the mop head. 

Have Extra Mop Pads

You will need several mop pads to avoid leaving streaks or a trail of accumulated dirt across your floor. 

I recommend having at least four microfiber mop pads, so you can change them regularly and always have spare, clean ones. 

You can buy generic branded mop pads on Amazon. Some people also use regular microfiber cloths or old towels cut up and attached to the steamer head. The specific microfiber mop pads are generally thicker and better suited, but experiment with different types and see what works best for you and your budget.

Make Sure Your Steam Mop is Suitable for Your Floor

Not all types of floors are safe to clean with a steam mop. Some can easily get damaged by the hot steam since they are not water-resistant. 

Steam can damage hardwood flooring, melt polish off concrete, and buckle laminate and lvp. If you have these types of flooring, use the lowest steam setting and always keep the steam mop moving. 

Using Your Steam Mop

You can now start the steam mopping process. Ensure that you have attached the necessary accessories, such as the mop pads, as you prepare to clean. After that, fill the water reservoir and turn the steam mop on.  

Work from one corner backwards, trying not to walk on any areas until they are completely dry. You could leave footprints on your newly cleaned floor, making it look like you didn’t clean it at all.

Change the Mop Pads Regularly

As you move through rooms, check the mop pads. If there is a build-up of dirt on the bottom, change it for a new one.

Launder Your Mop Pads as Soon as Possible

Once the dirty mop pad dries, the dirt stains will start to inground the fabric. Leaving your mop pads for days before laundering can cause ineffective steam mopping the next time you clean.

This will cost you more in the long run, as you will need to replace the microfiber cloths/pads sooner. Soak them in a bucket of washing detergent and clean water if you cannot get to wash them straight away.

Which Floor Cleaner is Best for Sticky Floors?

floor still sticky after steam mop

When using a steam mop, you should not use any commercial cleaning agent. This is because most of them contain harsh chemicals which are likely to damage the internal components of your steam mop, not to mention your health.

Steam mops only need distilled water. It can be hard to get your head around heated water being effective at cleaning, but steam is brilliant. 

I understand if you want to add scents or feel like detergents are needed. I was this person – and very heavy-handed with the cleaning products.

I now own a steam vacuum with a water tank to catch the dust. This water tank is regularly foamy from the residual cleaning products that I didn’t realize had left a film on surfaces after cleaning, including my floor.

Let the steam work its magic for a truly clean home. Use the money you save on cleaning chemicals to buy some extra mop pads for your steam mop. If you’ve been using chemicals for years, give your steam mop some time to get all of the residue off. It’ll be worth it in the end.

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