How to Clean Steam Mop Pads (6 Easy Steps)

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Steam mop pads are an environmentally-friendly (and budget-friendly) way to make your floors sparkle and shine. However, although they’re handy, they can’t be used repetitively without being cleaned.

Otherwise, you’ll simply be maneuvering dirty, grime, and eventually bacteria around your floors - the opposite of your goal for clean, beautiful, and sanitized ground.

Here’s how to clean steam mop pads easily:

The best way to clean steam mop pads is to soak them in a mixture of warm water, baking soda, and a small amount of laundry detergent. Let the mop pads soak in the hot water solution for 30 minutes up to an hour. Rinse the steam mop pads thoroughly after they soak and let them dry completely.

If you’re new to the world of reusable mop pads, you might be scratching your head on how to clean them properly. Well, this guide is here to teach you how to clean steam mop pads successfully and efficiently.

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6 Steps on How to Clean Steam Mop Pads

Cleaning a steam mop pad is quite simple. You can successfully clean steam mop pads as long as you have baking soda, laundry detergent, and a sink or bucket (washer and dryer can work, too). Here’s how to do it.

1. Let the steam mop pad cool down

When you’re using your steam mop, the water and pad will reach incredibly high temperatures.

Start by unplugging the steam mop and cooling the mop pad. Otherwise, you could get injured from the scalding temperatures. Typically, a 15-minute wait is sufficient.

2. Fill a bucket or sink with hot water, baking soda, and detergent

When you’re ready to clean the mop pad, fill a bucket or your sink with hot water.

Mix in a tablespoon of baking soda and about ¼ cup of detergent. Give the mixture a quick swirl. Don’t use your hands or fingers, as the water should be hot enough to destroy bacteria.

Keep in mind that softeners and bleach should never be used to wash mop pads. This can destroy the mop pad or reduce its quality and efficiency. Fabric softener can also lead to a residue buildup on the mop pad that will find its way onto your flooring.

Let the mop pad soak in the hot water solution for 30 minutes up to an hour. You want the ingredients to soak in and work their magic removing build-up.

3. Place mop pad in the washing machine

If you’re low on time or simply don’t have a whole lot of buildup on your mop pad, you can also use the washing machine. Make sure to use the hand-wash or delicate cycle so that the mop pad does not get ruined.

To avoid picking up lint, washing separately from other fabrics is recommended.

You can fill your washing machine with the same baking soda and detergent mixture. You may need to do a second rinse cycle to ensure all grime is gone.

4. Rinse the mop pad

If you went with option one and your steam mop pad has been soaking for 30 minutes to an hour, it’s time to take it out and rinse it. Rinse your mop pad under warm water.

While rinsing, you can dip the mop pad back into the hot water solution to enhance the overall cleaning process, especially if the mop pads are very dirty. 

5. Dry the mop pad thoroughly

When it comes to drying your mop pad after cleaning, you have a few options. 

The best way to clean mop pads is to let them air dry. If you have a clothesline, use it.

If not, you can simply hang the mop pad over the bathroom washcloth bar, shower bar, or another viable location in your home. Not only is this an eco-friendly option, but it is a delicate choice that will increase the longevity of your mop pad.

You can also opt for the dryer, although this is a bit harsher on delicate mop pads. When using the dryer, it is imperative to make sure that it is on low heat. Otherwise, the mop pad could end up with rips and holes.

Do not use dryer sheets when drying your mop pad. This can alter the efficiency of the mop pad altogether. 

6. Store the mop pads in a cool, dry place

Mop pads must be 100% dry before they’re stored. Storing mop pads with any damp or moist areas can lead to mold and mildew growth, rendering your mop pad useless. (Don’t use mildewy mop pads on your floor unless you want to spread bacteria around the ground).

If your mop pads are entirely dry, give them a quick look over before storing.

Mop pads containing holes and rips should be thrown away. Trying to use a torn mop pad can lead to unwanted scratches on your floor when it’s time to mop again.

When the mop pad is dried and passed inspection, go ahead and store it neatly.

Multiple mop pads can be stacked uniformly on top of each other for a sleek look that’s organized and easily accessible for the next cleaning.

Tips for Cleaning a Steam Mop Pad

Whether you decide to hand wash or machine wash, the above steps are the best way to clean a steam mop pad. Here are a few extra handy tips for cleaning.

  • Oxyclean is a-okay. For stuck-on stains and grime, a little Oxyclean will do the trick. Pour Oxyclean in the heavily dirty and stuck-on areas and scrub with a toothbrush. Then, continue with the cleaning methods listed above.
  • Check with the manufacturer. Some steam mop pads are fine with the washing machine, while others are not. Before accidentally destroying your mop pad, check the directions or double-check with the manufacturer.
  • Don’t use white vinegar if you have hardwood floors. Some people swear by cleaning with white vinegar. Sound like you? Using white vinegar is fine, but it shouldn’t be used if you have hardwood floors. White vinegar can ruin this type of flooring - don’t risk it.
  • Use the rinse cycle after soaking. If you want to ensure the hot water solution is thoroughly rinsed out of your steam mop pad, you can always use the rinse cycle rather than rinsing by hand.

Final Words

Cleaning your steam mop pad doesn’t have to be challenging.

You can soak it in hot water, baking soda, and laundry detergent or toss it into the washing machine on the delicate cycle. Make sure to dry your steam mop pad (air-dry or on low heat tumble) entirely before storing to avoid mold and mildew to form.

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