· Homekeeping Tips · Crafts & DIY Projects · Make Your Own Steam Mop Cleaning Pad Out Of A Car Wash Mitt!

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 (that’s probably why they make microfiber couches out of it!)

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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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • Awesome guide to use the steam mop at home.
    I have the Hann steam mop, I bought at amazon and I feel happy with it.
    Not only to clear my floor, I use it for my clothers and today, after read this guide, I will use for my car

  • Cool mitt mop head. I just want to put down a few words about the ammonia: It’s fumes are toxic! IMHO The whole idea of a steam mop is that you don’t use any chemicals, because the steam losens up all the dirt and kills all the germs….

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  • I have a shark steam cleaner and nothing I do works! I love the idea of steam cleaning my floors but it leaves streaks every time I use it?? I have tried just steam, soaking the pad in vinegar, spraying vinegar on the floor, not using fabric softer on the pads. Any suggestions?

  • Once again, you are my hero! Doing a search about whether I could add some ammonia to my steam mop, I ran across your post. I should have thought to look here first to begin with! ;) I love your DIY mop pad and like others will be heading to the store soon to purchase the mitts to make my own. I really enjoy your blog…thanks for all the help/information you provide!

  • This is just what I needed!! I was ready to give up on my Haan steam mop because of the pad. I even bought extra pads and replaced them during the cleaning job. This looks great. I’m headed to Walmart now to buy car wash mitts and giving this a try TODAY! Thanks.

  • I have just discovered your website and love the tips. I actually work at oreck and am happy to know that is a “point” I can give my customers. We never understood why a customer couldnt add something to the water but now I know, and can share. Keep up the great work and the tips and Im not a happy follower.

  • I enjoyed your McGyver story. I am a stay home mom, embarking on a green cleaning business. I found a Dirt Devil electric steam mop for $8.00 at the resale store, and have been search my online portal for replacement pads. I googled and found your website. Way to go, I will try sewing pads too.

  • Funny I have that exact steam mop (just in white) which I picked per reviews I read but just as people said the pads that come with it definitely leaves something to be desired and so I don’t use it as often. I guess I’ll have to play around and make my own too ;)

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I have the same steam mop, which I love, but was having the same problem. I just wasn’t as quick as you to think up a new pad. I haven’t sewn in about 20 yrs, ah 7th grade ha, so I love this idea so much I’m going to attempt it. Hopefully I’ll be able to do it. Thanks for all your great tips.

  • I am very experienced in both the Oreck & Haan Steamers. I have learned that it takes several cleaning sessions to get the build up of cleaners off the floor. After the cleaner residue has been removed, you will no longer have the problems with streaking. I have used my steamers on all flooring types and this has been true on all but the newly installed flooring. The newly installed flooring had been cleaned after install with only vinegar water. I had no problem with streaks on it. Hope this helps! I will have to make mop heads like yours!

  • I think somehow the entire concept of what a steam mop actually is and intended for has been lost on you. The whole purpose of these is to clean WITHOUT chemicals. When water is heated a.k.a steam to a certain temperature it will sanitize and disinfect w/o the use of any cleaners. I love my steam cleaners they work beautifully. Good job on the mop head.

  • I have a shark and I will definitely be trying this! Mine came with one of the old cotton pads that sort of velcro on. I have put vinegar in my steam mop to give it that xtra clean and that worked just fine. I figure that is how you clean the buildup in the coffee pot? So maybe I am cleaning the insides of my steamer as well! Love your website! Thanks

  • Great Idea!!! You should patent this and sell it to the steam mop producers. You’ll make enough money to have someone else mop your floors – using your product – of course!!

  • I was the lucky winner of the steam mop when you gave it away a few months ago. I love using mine and I love that my kids love to use it also! I have been looking everywhere for a scent that you can add to the water. I saw it for sale somewhere on the internet and have never been able to find it in a store. Have you ever heard of or seen this?

  • Thank you for this! Unbelievably, this is how I use my steam mop, mop about 3 strokes, wash out the pad, mop 3 strokes, wash the pad. This DIY will help so much!

  • I love steam cleaners but have never been really happy with how they don’t really get the floor clean. At least in my opinion. In order to get my floor clean, I put vinegar/water on the floor and scrub it with a carwash scrubber brush, then mop up the dirty water with a regular floor sponge mop, then after that is all done I steam clean the floor and STILL get a dirty mophead.

  • I HOPE you see this message, I need some advice regarding enzyme cleanser. I posted the Deets yesterday in ur “about me” section
    Please email me or respond? I hate to toss it, I’m a Month in!!!! :) and patience isn’t a virtue I was blessed with!!

    • Hi Katie….I’m sorry I didn’t see this until now. I know what you mean about patience. :-)

      I’m not sure what to tell you about the smell and the “goo” on top. Mine is nearly 2 months along and it doesn’t smell and no goo. :-/

      Here is a link to a picture I took of my bottle just now:


      As much as I hate to say it…you MIGHT have to start over. But before you do that…maybe you could try skimming off the “goo”, adding some more water, giving it a good shake and see what happens?

      I don’t know that this is much help….but let me know if you have any more questions and let us know how it turns out.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!!

  • 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!

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