Make Your Own Steam Mop Cleaning Pad Out Of A Car Wash Mitt!

For my birthday a couple of months ago, my big sis bought me a steam mop! Cool huh?

I’ve always wanted one and even though I was lucky enough to receive an Oreck Grab-It & Steam-It™ from the Oreck people back in January when I did a giveaway on my website…there was a bit of a mishap involved with that one that I prefer to not go into.

OK….stop hounding me! I’ll tell you. ;-) But I’m only doing this as yet another “cautionary tale” from the Jillee Blooper File. It’s actually one of the most bizarre things that’s ever happened to me….lol.


I’d been using the Grab-It, Steam-It for a few days and it was working great. But one day I got the “bright idea” to add some ammonia to the water in the steamer to give it a little added cleaning power. It actually seemed to work a little. I thought nothing more of it until the NEXT time I went to use it and it wouldn’t produce any steam! None. I was completely dumbfounded. The hubster and I tried EVERYTHING we could think of, but to no avail. Not quite sure what to do at this point…I left the appliance out for a few more days hoping some sort of inspiration would strike. Unfortunately, SOMETHING decided to strike, but it wasn’t inspiration! I was sitting working on my laptop one afternoon when I heard this huge “POP!” sound come from the direction of the appliance. It was VERY ODD, but not NEARLY as odd as the mysterious substance that began OOZING out of it!!!! As you can see in the pictures above, it was sort of a white mealy-like substance and it literally just kept slowly expanding and forcing its way out of the CRACK that had occurred when I heard that loud POP! Oh my. This was not good. The “oozing” continued for several minutes and then stopped. I was fairly horrified by now and didn’t know if I should call HAZMAT or what! But after in-depth consultation with the hubster…we THINK we have figured out what happened (as bizarre as it may sound). The portion of the appliance that the mysterious substance was oozing out of was the FILTER. Apparently the ammonia I added to the water tank filter did NOT agree with the filter material and the filter basically puked it all out onto my floor. :-(

Moral of the story: always follow manufacturers instructions. Period. (Oh, and I would appreciate it if no one breathes a word of this to Oreck! It’s quite embarrassing…which sometimes I think should be my middle name!)  lol

So, once again I found myself without a steam mop.   :-(   But luckily my birthday was right around the corner and big sis took pity on me and sent this cute Haan to my door. (Thanks again Rebecca of Camp Wander!)

Have LOVED this mop! It’s throws out tons of steam and it heats up super fast! However, was NOT in love with the pad that came with it. Which is kind of important in a steam mop. It was stiff and considering it was made of microfiber…it wasn’t all that absorbent.


Maybe I ask too much of a steam mop….but as the pad became wetter and dirtier it started just pushing the dirt and water around, instead of ABSORBING it. I would clean the floor and think it looked good, then when it dried I would see streaks of dirt that had been left behind! I am not just mopping for the fun of it people! I want better results than that! :-)

Overall I was a little irritated…but figured I could just shop around online and find a different steam mop pad (or cover) that I would like better. WRONG. I searched my little heart out, until my fingers were bruised and bloody, and NOTHING.  There are ZILLIONS of Swiffer mop alternatives out there (including some really ingenious ones!) but alas, none that I could make work for my steam mop.

So I was on my own. I had to put my D.I.Y. thinking cap on and get CREATIVE! Which, unfortunately, is not my strong suit, as witnessed by my FIRST FAILED ATTEMPT.

Allow me to introduce you to Prototype #1:

The IDEA was to create a thicker, more absorbent pad using a microfiber car drying towel I found in the automotive section of  Walmart. The original pad was attached to the bottom of the mop via heavy duty velcro. So working on THAT premise I made a four-layer pad, sewed the edges and sewed several seams in the center of the pad to keep the whole thing together. Then I attached velcro strips (the sticky backed kind which I ALSO sewed on as well, just to make sure it wouldn’t come off when it came in contact with the steam.)

I slapped that baby on and started mopping. Within 5 seconds the whole pad had crumbled underneath the mop. :-/  I guess there was a REASON the original mop pad was so STIFF!  No problem. I can handle this. I just did what MacGyver would do (or maybe the Beverly Hillbillies) and I tied that sucker on REAL GOOD with some cotton twine.  And it worked….sort of.  It definitely soaked up water and dirt better than the original…but the whole attachment system just wasn’t practical….to say the least.

Round One goes to the steam mop people and their darned proprietary cleaning pad!


But, I wasn’t about to throw in the microfiber towel just yet! I mulled the idea over in my head for a few more days and made another visit to the automotive section for inspiration…and there it was! Hanging right next to the microfiber drying towel I had originally purchased! A car wash MITT! Bingo!


Acting on a total hunch…I grabbed two, brought them home and proceeded to dismantle them with my seam ripper. To be honest, at this point I only had a vague idea of where I was going with this idea….but I just kept going. Very similar to how I live my life…for the most part. :-)

I’m not well versed in the art of sewing tutorials (I’m a very BASIC sewer myself), but here is the GIST of what I ended up doing.

Took the two mitts apart, sewed them together to make one BIG piece of car wash mitt material, sewed the two elastic wristband pieces together in a circle, attached the elastic to the perimeter of the material (LOTS of stretching and manipulating to accomplish THAT! But I impressed myself with an unusual amount of patience.) I found the trick to be anchoring the four sides first, then working in small sections, moving from one side to the other, and back again, until every bit of elastic was stretched and sewn to every bit of material.  (Re-reading this I realize that description leaves a lot to be desired….if you have questions…please feel free to ask!)

And there you have it! A D.I.Y steam mop pad that is a vast improvement over the original one.  Not only did it stay on PERFECTLY….it thirstily soaked up all the steam and dirt I threw at it. The last picture is an AFTER shot. Doesn’t it look like it could go another round or two!?!? I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome of this one.

I finally have the steam mop of my dreams. ;-)


UPDATE: 4/12/2012

Gave the new steam mop cover a THOROUGH workout tonight…and am SO happy with the results! Thought I would update this post and let you know what tweaks I made to my “system”.

1. Filled kitchen sink with HOT water and tiny bit of dishwashing liquid and a splash of ammonia. Soaked the mop pad, wrung it out, and attached to steamer.

2. Filled a squirt bottle 1/2 full with ammonia. Squirted a small amount of ammonia on each section of floor I ran the steam mop over.  I ended up using MAYBE 1/2 a cup of ammonia to finish my whole kitchen, dining and laundry room area. (If you have an objection to ammonia….vinegar would be a good substitute. Next time I think I will try some of my Citrus Enzyme Cleaner.)

3. My floor has never been cleaner!  :-)


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  1. Linda says

    Add me to your dork group, I just cannot remember to reread my post before I send to check for mistakes. Migro = micro of course the s goes with the wa not planning. Take care.

  2. Linda says

    Love this idea. I wa splanning on making some for my steam cleaner out of the migroc fiber towels, glad I saw this first. I love your blog and look for it in my email every day.

  3. carol says

    It looks like an old fashion DUST MOP … wonder if they’re still around and would work as well, without all the sewing and refashioning. I’m wanting a steam cleaner myself …. I may look into this. Thanx again for your awesomely creative ideas.

  4. trish says

    Oh, you rock!!!! I just washed my floor by hand (yikes) because I was SO FED UP with my steam cleaner! This just might be my answer. Thanks so much!

  5. Tessa says

    You are going to force me to use the sewing maching sitting in my garage. I love this idea!

  6. Carolyn says

    Genious! My Shark steam mop came with one made out of that same material, but it’s the the velcro thing. I’ll have to copy!

  7. Nancy says

    I agree to following the manufacturer’s directions precisely!! I put vinegar and water in my steam mop and about 3 uses later, my steam mop didn’t work either. Bummer ;-( I’m definitely lovin’ the new pad also!!

  8. says

    You’re such a dork! Ha! I can’t believe you put ammonia in your steamer…wow. Once again, you made lemonade outta lemons…love your new pad, I want one for MY birthday :) No, I really love your new pad…brilliant, punk sister!

  9. Carolyn says

    I love this idea! I’m going to make one today for my steam mop. Your website is terrific.

  10. Lynn says

    I looks like a giant fluffy house shoe :)) But I’ll bet it absorbs WAY better than my cotton, bleachable, pretty darned flat pads do.