Myriads of conflicting information surrounding the novel coronavirus have caused terrible dubiety. One of the chief doubts surrounding the virus is how to best sanitize your house to make it COVID-free.
You’ve probably heard that the steam mop is quite effective in that regard, but will it kill the virus on your floor, countertops, and other surfaces?
After intensive researches and a series of carefully-conducted experiments, I’ve put together this article to help you understand what happens when you try to use a steam mop to kill the Covid-19 virus.
So will steam mop kill COVID? Learn about that and more as you continue perusing this piece.
The COVID Virus
The Covid-19 virus is a novel type of coronavirus that has turned into a pandemic in recent days. Everyone is seeking ways to eliminate it by various means, and using the steam mop is one suspected way to do away with the virus.
Despite its evolvement, the virus can still die. Soap, sanitizers, and other products can kill them. Why about the steam mop? Read on.
The Steam Mop
It’s important to wrap our heads around this machine’s working principles before attempting to understand how it should be related to killing the Covid-19 virus.
Are you ready? Here we go.
The steam mop machine uses water and electricity as the input parameters. After adding water to the machine’s water reservoir, you plug it into a power outlet, and the water boils to 212°F in a few seconds. The water then turns into steam, and this steam is what you use to clean and sanitize your floors and items.
At 212 degrees, most bacteria and viruses cannot survive. That’s why steam mops are touted to kill 99.9 percent of germs, bacteria, and other microorganisms.
So does the claim hold for the COVID virus, or is it only overrated?
We’ll see that in the next sections. Let’s now see how the novel coronavirus behaves when subjected to heat in the next section.
Note: It’s important to mark that the steam mop uses only steam to clean your floor. It needs no additional inputs (like detergent and others).
The Death Of The Covid-19 Virus Under Extreme Heat Conditions
The Covid-19 virus, like other viruses, is covered inside a protein layer. Spikes attach to the protein layer, and their primary function is to latch onto the affected individual’s cells and cause infection. This is how viruses work to infect people.
However, there’s a way of killing them using heat at or above 212°F. At this temperature, most viruses, including the novel coronavirus, cannot survive.
Heat breaks down the viruses’ outer protein layer. And the breakdown renders the virus useless, leaving it in a state in which it can’t infect a cell. At that point, it’s safe to say that the virus isn’t harmful.
The Covid-19 virus is included in this group, and in the same way, it’ll break down when subjected to high heat. So, it’s true that high heat (at 212°F and above) kills the Covid-19.
Does Steam-Mopping Kill The Coronavirus?
Yes. I’ve already discussed above that steam mops heat water in their reservoirs to 212°F then use the steam produced to clean and sanitize your floor.
However, there are different heat settings with some mops. A lower heat setting will not have the virus killed. Likewise, some mops do not heat water to this temperature, and that’s also an exception.
A rule the thumb is that temperatures have to be 212°F and above for the virus to die.
While it’s true that the virus can die from steam at 212°F, it’s essential to know that steam loses heat as you continue to use it, especially when it hits surfaces.
Besides, some floors can get damaged when the steam mop is used on them. Examples are hardwood, vinyl, and laminate floors. Steam at 212°F can seep into their crevices to cause damage underneath.
It can also destroy their sealants and seep into hardwood floors to cause rot, warping, odors, and other undesirable effects.
Note: It’s unsafe to use a steam mop on sealed floors, too. Steam has the ability to seep through even the smallest cracks and spaces to cause destruction. Do not fall for the advertisement that some mops are safe to use on sealed floors.
Does It Make Sense To Sanitize For Covid-19 Using The Steam Mop?
While steam at high temperatures (explained above) kill the virus, there’s more to it. It would be best if you held the steam mop for quite some minutes on a specific surface to ensure that the viruses are dead.
We both understand that doing this is against the recommended steam-cleaning standards. It can destroy your flooring material; thus, void its warranty, leave alone consuming much water, electrical power, time, and energy.
So, it makes no sense to steam-clean your floor surfaces in a bid to sanitize them for the Covid-19 virus. Despite destroying your floors, countertops, and other surfaces, you can strain the machine.
A long time’s use of the steam mopping machine can lead it into early destruction. You’ll also have to pay extra electric bills, not to mention taking more time to clean a small surface. Accidents can occur in the process, too.
What To Do Instead
Since it makes no sense using the steam mop to kill the COVID virus in your home, you have to find alternative ways to sanitize it. Take a look at the following expert-recommended methods that helps you up your game in that regard.
Use A Household Disinfectant
The CDC recommends using a household disinfectant to sanitize most surfaces in your house. Household disinfectants come in various types, and you should only go with those that are recommended for killing 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses.
Examples include hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, and others. There are also guidelines from the EPA on how to use these disinfectants.
You should let them stay on the surfaces for quite some time (at least ten minutes). Remember to wear gloves and a mask while disinfecting your house.
Use The UV Light Sanitizer
Sanitization can also be done mechanically using the UV light. UV-C lights rays are known to destroy viruses using their short wavelengths. This means that they can also destroy the human cells, and using them calls for intensive care. UV light boxes often allow you to sanitize your phones, toothbrushes, underwear, and other suiting items.
The boxes are ideal household equipment for eradicating the COVID virus. There are also other forms of machines that you can use for your floor, countertop, and other surfaces.
Despite their high prices, they’re often worth the penny. One thing to remember is that the UV-C rays are quite dangerous to your cells. You need not to get exposed to them even for a split if a second.
Launder Your Clothes
Clothes are another potential harbor for the COVID virus, and simply laundering them is an effective way to kill the virus. You only need to use the right detergent or soap and wash the right way.
Use gloves each time you’re handling the clothes. Also, use the laundry machine in the correct settings; for example, the temperature should be around 60°C, according to the World Health Organization. After washing the clothes, dry them thoroughly using the dryer or in the sun.
If you’re washing the clothes in a laundromat, there are extra guidelines to abide by. Always see all the surfaces you get in touch with.
Also, keep a minimum distance of two meters from others in the laundromat. When you arrive with your clothes at home, please wash your hands properly (as described below) before folding and storing them.
Wash Your Hands Using Soap
Regular hand-washing is the new normal that we have to get used to. But, there is a set of guidelines to follow to do it right.
The World Health Organization recommends that you clean your hands after essential occasions that include getting in contact with an infected individual, after the toilet, after being in contact with animals, before cooking, and many others.
Use soap and water for washing your hands, and let not the process take less than twenty seconds. A hand sanitizer is also quite effective for the same purpose, but it should contain 60 percent of alcohol or more.
Always abide by the instructions on the sanitizer’s label for the proper use and top-notch results.
The Bottom Line
The steam mop is useful for eradicating most microorganisms (99 percent), including the Covid-19 virus! It’s also great for cleaning floors without any detergents or other cleaning products. It heats water to 212 degrees, a temperature that the virus cannot thrive in.
However, it makes no sense to use it to kill the virus in your house. There has to be a standard time of contact between the heat and the virus, which is somewhere around 10 minutes or more. Holding the machine over a surface for that amount of time will destroy it.
Luckily, there are better ways to sanitize your house, and I’ve described them above.
So, will steam mop kill COVID? Yes.
Can you use it to kill COVID in your home? No.
Keep safe, pals!