Can You Use Tap Water in a Steam Mop?

Can You Use Tap Water in a Steam Mop

Steam mops have made life easier for people all over the world. Where mopping required time and still didn’t provide the required results, steam mops have revolutionized the market and provide a pristine finish in a short time.

Chemical products may have been able to provide a clean look, but working with steam has more health benefits. Old-fashioned mops have also been in the race, but they leave behind wet floors that are a safety hazard. If you want that clean sheen on your floors and also want your carpets to remain germ-free, then a steam mop is what you need.

Many people who have started using this great product have a few questions, the most prominent one being, Can you use tap water in a steam mop? Simply put, yes, you can use tap water in a steam mop as long as it isn’t hard water. Many steam mop manufacturers have recommended distilled water as the best option; however, tap water can also be used.

If hard tap water is used in a steam mop, several issues that may occur with the product. You need to know about each one of them in detail so that you can make the best use of this product and maintain a level of hygiene for your home.


How Do You Find Out If Tap Water Is Hard or Soft?

It’s important to know the difference between hard and soft water so you can prevent any mishaps with your steam mop.

There’s a simple trick that can help you figure it out and all you need is a bucket full of water and some detergent.

Fill a bucket with tap water and add the detergent in. Mix it well and wait for the suds to form. If you get lots of foam quickly and the water underneath the suds is clear, it means you have soft water. If the suds don’t form as quickly and the water below the layer is cloudy with detergent particles, then it’s hard water.

Remember that if hard tap water is used in a steam mop, several issues that may occur with the product.

You need to know about each one of them in detail so that you can make the best use of this product and maintain a level of hygiene for your home.


Problems with Hard Tap Water Used in Steam Mops

Nozzle Blockage

Nozzle Blockage

This is a common issue that occurs when you use hard water. The mop transforms the water into steam but the minerals it contains stay behind in the nozzle of the mop.

Within a few days, the nozzle is clogged with the mineral build-up, which may cause you to believe that the product has busted. Many users encounter this issue and don’t know what to do.

How to Clean Steam Mop Nozzle?

If you are facing such an issue, the first step should be to unclog the nozzle so it doesn’t strain the motor of the mop. There is a simple process that can help you do this, and all you need for it is vinegar and some cotton swabs.

Once you are done using the steam mop, let it sit for a while to cool down. Make sure you empty the water tank and wipe away any residue. Keep it aside to let it air dry.

Next, take a slender object, it can even be a paperclip. Straighten it beforehand and then use it to clean out the spray tip of the mop. You need to put it in the hole and move it around to dislodge any clogs. Pour some water on it to flush out the debris.

Once the spray tip is free of any dust and chemical particles, just pour half a cup of white vinegar onto the head. This will help clear away any remaining particles and will also disinfect it. Use the cotton swabs to wipe away any residue and you have a clean and unclogged spray tip that offers the best results.

This is a great way to decalcify the nozzle and eliminate any buildup. However, if you what to ensure that the results last longer, it’s important that you keep repeating this process regularly. Cleaning the tip once a week is enough to keep it clear of all debris, but if you tend to use your steam mop frequently during the week, you can even follow this process twice a week.

Another way to get rid of the blocked nozzle is to stop using hard water. It’s great that you have managed to clean the spray tip of your steam mop, but remember that it won’t last forever.

If you want to make sure that the nozzle doesn’t get blocked again, you’ll have to give up on using hard water. As recommended by manufacturers, distilled water is the perfect solution to all clogged nozzles.

The spray tip might still get clogged; however, this only happens if you forgo the regular maintenance.



Hard water can leave behind lots of deposits of minerals, which can easily accumulate in the boiler. Since this part is not often detachable, most users have no idea about the effects of hard water on their steam mop.

Minerals are found in all types of water, but the ones in hard water are especially crude and can form a thick layer in the boiler tank.

It’s better to use a professional steam cleaner to descale your steam mop because they have an antimicrobial system that works as a disinfectant. But most professional steam cleaners use harmful chemicals that can affect the air quality of your home.

How to Descale a Steam Mop?

A better alternative is to make a descaler at home, which will help you get rid of mineral deposits and enable your mop to work efficiently.

To make a descaler at home, add water and 1 ounce of baking soda in the steam mop’s water tank. Turn on the steam mop for 5 minutes so that the water can evaporate, become steam and reach the internal parts. Switch off the appliance and allow it to sit for at least two hours. This will help get the steam in each corner of the mop.

Next, you have to use the mop for a minute or two, just to let out some steam and get the appliance warm again. Leave it to cool down for another 2 hours and once it has returned to normal temperature, you can empty the tank and remove the drain plug. Rinse the water tank with clean water and attach it to the mop once again.

By following the simple technique, you can successfully descale the mop without having to resort to commercial cleaners. Remember that you don’t need to add any chemicals to the water tank for the scaling if you are using baking soda.

If you are looking for something to add fragrance to the room, just use a room spray afterward or be content with the clean and the fresh scent of steam.


Water Tank Fungus

Steam Mop Water Tank

Leaving hard water in the tank for a long time is a perfect way to invite fungus and other bacteria. Remember that leaving water in the tank is not an option at all.

Once you finish using the steam mop, let it return to room temperature and then empty the contents of the water tank. Even if there’s nothing left in there, make sure you wipe it with a dry cloth to clean away any residue.

This will ensure that your steam mop water tank remains free of all bacteria.

For better results, make sure you wash it every once in a while with vinegar and water solution. This will prevent the buildup of germs and other mineral deposits that are present in tap water.


Final Word: Can You Use Tap Water in Steam Mops?

If you were wondering, Can I use tap water in my steam mop? now you have the answer you need.

It’s clear now that hard tap water isn’t the right fit for the steam mop as it can cause many problems if you continue this practice. So, it’s better to mend your ways so that your steam mop can last a long time.

Pay heed to the advice given in this article and follow the instructions given in the user manual so that you can use the steam mop to its best potential.

Remember to descale your steam mop, and you’ll never have to worry about the compromised function of the appliance.


Related Questions

How often should I replace the steam pad of my mop?

It is recommended that as soon as you see that the pad is soiled, you should change it and put on a fresh one on the mop.  Other factors that determine how frequently you should replace the pad include the size of your house, its hygiene level, cleaning frequency and of course, your personal preference. For a better answer to this question, kindly refer to the user manual of your steam mop.

Make sure to check out our recommended list of Steam Mops with Washable Pads


How long will my steam mop last?

The life of your steam mop depends on the manufacturer and the quality of the material used. Some manufacturers offer warranties, meaning you can get some repairs done periodically to increase the life of your steam mop.

Despite this, most steam mops last for an average of two years. You can add a few more months to its average life by scheduling regular maintenance and storing the steam mop properly.


Can I use a steam mop on all floors?

You can certainly use a steam mop on most floor types, including marble, ceramic, finished wood, tile, linoleum and vinyl. However, most manufacturers recommend not using a steam mop on waxed floors. Even if you have wood floors made of unfinished wood planks, it’s better not to clean them with a steam mop.


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