How to Fix a Smelly Steam Mop Problem the Right Way
I use a Bissell Power Fresh steam mop on my tile floors and I love it! But after using it a month or so I started to notice that every time I used it a nasty smell would come from it. It smelled like a combination of wet dog (I do have a dog) and fish/poop/urine/vomit. It was a really gross smell. Even my daughter would say, “mommy something smells really bad” when I’d mop. The reviews on this thing were very high and it wasn’t exactly cheap. The exact mop is pictured. It’s the Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop 1940W. It comes with disposable fragrance discs that you insert in a little netted area on the inside of the mop pad. The discs did not help the problem. In fact, they made it worse. The smell was like my dog ate her poop, then ate spring breeze air fresheners, and then vomited all over the house. I still can’t get over the smell that resulted. Needless to say, I no longer use the discs. One of the many things that I really like about this mop is that the mop pads are machine washable. So if one decides to opt out of the fragrance discs like I did, there really isn’t anything else you need for this mop besides water. Having to continually purchase pads for things like this gets costly. I hate Swiffers because of this. Aside from the unexpected smell, this mop was great. It truly worked well at cleaning and disinfecting my floors. I was so excited to own a steam mop and was so glad we went with this one until the smell started.
I was set on fixing the issue without buying a whole new mop. I only had it about a month before it started stinking and buying a new steam mop every month wasn’t an option. I did a little reading online and discovered a lot of others were experiencing the same issue with all kinds of steam mops, even some models more expensive than mine. Keep in mind, I’ve never put anything but water in the reservoir, and I’ve also never used tap water. There were apparently a lot of people having issues because they had done these things against the manufacturers recommendations. After reading countless suggestions like putting a half and half mixture of vinegar and water in the reservoir (again, I never did this) and mopping baking soda (tried this, but only worked temporarily), I gave up. I resolved to just work with it and continue mopping baking soda every time I really needed to use it which only partly neutralized the smell so it wasn’t as overpowering.
Then it occurred to me that I probably needed to get new mop pads. The smell wasn’t coming from the actual mop itself so it had to be coming from the mop pads. This realization was like a nightmare! It instantly brought me back to my Swiffer days, and I did not want to keep buying mop pads. I knew that having to do this was going to cost me a lot of money over time. So I put it off.
Then something happened one day that led me to a tried and true solution, and I was able to use my smelly steam mop with no stink ever again! During a nap one day my daughter fell asleep in my bed. She must’ve drank a hundred gallons of water that day because she had an accident and peed a lake out all over the mattress. ? It smelled horrible. I was desperate to save my mattress. My bed was only a year old!
With accidents like this I have specific things on hand that work fine. The usual solution has always been vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. But this time it wasn’t cutting it. I went digging around the Internet for answers like I did with the mop. The pee smell would not go away after implementing my usual procedure. After reading through what seemed like dozens of articles on vinegar and baking soda, I found a suggestion on a thread that gave me the solution to soooo many of my mess problems, including my smelly steam mop! The answer was Anti-icky-poo.
Anti-icky-poo is a live bacteria/enzyme solution that eliminates any type of organic derived odor. You can use this stuff on furniture, fabrics, carpet, stains, hard surfaces, and even in drains! The label on my bottle claims the product destroys odors (instead of just covering them up) by digesting any malodorous decay including liquid or dried fluid from urine, feces, vomit, rotten vegetables, fish, milk, smoke, nicotine, char, etc. That’s all well and good, but get this! The label even lists skunk musk and dead bodies! If I ever have the unfortunate opportunity to test anti-icky-poo on anything that foul I will be sure to let you all know if it works. But I can say that it definitely works on urine, vomit, and stinky steam mop pads. I read through some reviews, and every one had nothing but good things to say. One reviewer said they regularly sprayed this around the kitty litter box to get rid of the smell of cat pee. If anything can get rid of cat urine smell, it’s a winner in my book.
The mop pads for my Bissell steam mop are machine washable and reusable. But I can tell you from experience that laundry detergent and regular laundering does not always remove odors. I have had to take extra steps to remove odors from things before laundering them. The odor resulting from vomit is a good example. Furthermore, typical solutions like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda are not always full proof. Such was the case with my urine soaked bed mattress. With all this in mind, I put full strength anti-icky-poo in a spray bottle and sprayed a nice amount (probably more than necessary) on one of my already laundered mop pads. A better method would probably be to use anti-icky-poo on used mop pads before you put them in the washing machine. But I was really anxious to try this out. So I put the anti-icky-poo sprayed mop pad on the Bissell and went to town on the kitchen floor. Normally, the smell would start up as soon as the mop would get hot. There was no smell. I finished up the floor and waited a bit, and still no smell. I put the nasty used mop pad up to my face and took a good whiff, and there was truly no smell! I asked my daughter what she thought and she said she didn’t smell anything either. I was so happy!
I recommend every home maker have at least a small spray bottle of Anti-icky-poo on hand. This stuff is especially helpful if you have pets and children. I have only used the unscented version. I read a couple reviews that said the only thing the reviewers didn’t like about the original was that it was scented. I prefer unscented solutions when dealing with already stinky smells. Especially if you need to use a decent amount of the stuff for a larger than usual problem. But after experimenting with it, I can say that a little bit does go a long way. You can dilute it if desired. In my opinion, this makes it worth the pretty penny. Considering the very small amount of solution needed on a mop pad at each use, this is saving me a great amount of money by truly being able to reuse my mop pads and not buy more. I’ve hardly made a dent in the gallon bottle I bought and I’ve used it plenty of times so far.
Anti-icky-poo is extremely effective. I’ve read reviews where it has been compared to other similar solutions, and anti-icky-poo takes the cake! I can’t say enough about how well it works. A company called MisterMax makes it, and you can get it from them directly. In order to get the solution quickly I went with Amazon. The product is still from the makers. Amazon is just a middle man and you get free 2 day shipping if you’re already a member of prime.
The following are affiliate links.
You can purchase what I went with at this link: Mister Max Unscented Anti Icky Poo Odor Remover, Gallon Size or you can start out by buying the smaller pint size that comes already in a convenient spray bottle here: MisterMax Anti Icky Poo “Unscented” Odor Remover (Pint)I truly hope this article has helped you with your smelly steam mop problem. I wanted to post what I wish I would’ve found when I went looking for a solution. Have fun mopping 😉