Our In-Depth Review
The Shark Light & Easy Steam Mop is designed similar to a Swiffer. On the bottom of the Shark is a rectangular plastic head.
There are four Velcro grip pads on the bottom of the plastic head that grab the micro-fiber pad.
You don’t have to clip anything in place. Just push down on the pad to attach it to the steam mop.
Above the grey plastic head is the water tank. It is quite small and is in the shape of a purple raindrop.
On the back of this part of the unit is a small grey cap where you pour in the water.
The water container is clear on the back, so you can see when you have added enough water into the eight-ounce tank.
The grey handle comes out of this tank, and it is very flimsy. It is nice that the Shark is so light, but that comes at a cost because you can crack or snap the handle easily.
Make sure you don’t try to turn or swivel too much because that is when you put too much stress and pressure on this machine. Stick to back and forth movements to avoid breaking it.
There is no off or on switch for the Shark Steam Mop. Once you plug it in, it starts to heat up the water. To activate the steam, you have to pump the handle up and down.
We usually started mopping instead of doing the 10 to 15 pumps because with your natural mopping motion you will pump the Shark Steam Mop each time you go forward.
To test this hard floor cleaner, we cleaned up on a few different surfaces. It did a decent job in most situations, but older sticky marks didn’t come off easily.
The first thing we noticed is even though it does produce steam relatively quickly after it is plugged in, the Shark Steam Mop doesn’t get real hot.
Some consumers see this as a negative, but if you have smaller children, this can be a positive because it won’t burn them if they get too close.
There were a few negative things about the Shark. First of all, it is very flimsy. If you try and twist it too quick to turn the mop, it feels like the handle might snap off.
Also, because this is a smaller mop, it only holds about eight ounces of water for cleaning. You will run out of water after about 10 minutes and then have to refill the tank.
Performance: Using the Shark Steam Mop S3101
We were pleased with how it cleaned up the floor and got rid of the general hazy sheen that had built up. It easily cleans up fresh spills that haven’t had the time to dry up or get too sticky.
It also did a good job cleaning dried up spills from milk and we even tried dried blood. The only place it struggled was with older sticky stains from things such as juice or soda.
We also tried the Shark steam mop on some sticky darkish stains that looked like a sticker was stuck on the floor. The steam mop didn’t do the greatest job with these stains.
We used our fingernail to scratch the stain off and then used the mop. The floor seemed to look cleaner if you went slowly while steam mopping.
One thing we did notice was that the Steam Mop can stick and grab the floor at times. This makes the back and forth pushing motion difficult. Your arm or back might get sore after an extended time using this.
We suggest using a lower angle to alleviate some of this difficulty. If you hold the Shark upright, the micro-fiber pad tends to stick instead of slide.
When we held the handle down much lower, like near our waistline and stepped into the forward pushing motion, the Shark Steam Mop glided much better across the floor.
The floor was quite dry after the steam mop made one pass. To make sure the floor wasn’t too damp, we cleaned while barefoot. This served two purposes.
First we noticed that the floor was dry, and second, we noticed that the steam mop didn’t heat up to a very high temperature. We don’t recommend that you touch the steam mop to find out for yourself, but the floor wasn’t hot to the touch after we passed over it. The floor just felt warm.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Our first series of tests were on oak hardwood flooring. We cleaned the entire room to see if we noticed a difference in the overall appearance of the room, and the floor did look much brighter and cleaner.
What was surprising was that the steam mop almost ran out of water after cleaning up only one room.
Keep the filling flask and funnel handy, because if you are cleaning a larger area, you will have to refill often.
The unit keeps all the water in as it didn’t leak or leave any wet areas behind. Also, it left the hardwood floor squeaky clean without any streak marks or path with residue.
Fresh stains come out very easily with this tool. The micro-fiber pad is also pretty thick, so it is able to suck up a smaller amount of liquids easily. We also removed dried up milk drops with only a couple passes.
One of our testers has children, and some bad luck helped him with a test. One of his children fell and got a bloody nose. His son was okay, but some of his blood got on the floor.
This bad fortune actually turned out to be good because we got to see how well the Shark Steam Mop removed dried blood. It only took a few passes and the drips of dried blood were removed.
One thing we did notice was it seemed that the more sugar in the substance, the harder it was for the Steam Mop to remove the stain. If you spill juice or soda, use the Steam Mop right away.
When it dries up, the stain gets very sticky and clings to the flooring. You have to go slowly over tougher stains to remove them from the hardwood floor.
Washing Tile and Linoleum
The Steam Mop seemed to slide over tile and linoleum a little easier than on the hardwood. It also cleaned up stains easily as long as the stain was on the tile, and not in the grout of the tile.
The Steam Mop definitely doesn’t have enough cleaning power to clean out the grout in a tile floor. The Shark works best on linoleum flooring because there are no gaps, grout, or seams it has to work its way into.
One thing that was very nice about the Shark was it fit around and behind a toilet. The 12 inch wide head and 7 inch depth allows you to clean in many nooks and crannies.
If you have little boys, a Shark Steam Mop is a great way to clean the flooring around a toilet. This way you can clean up with ease, and won’t have to get on your knees and be face to face with the toilet bowl.
The rectangular shape is perfect for fitting the micro-fiber pad into corners. Make sure you are cleaning these corners head on and not trying to twist and turn too much. The handle can break if you push or twist too hard.
We recommend vacuuming before you use the steam mop, because the amount of dust and hair that can be grabbed by the steam mop micro-fiber pad is amazing.
Vacuum first to get the loose dirt up and off the hard flooring in the corners, then get any stuck on grime with the Steam Mop.
Ease of Use
The Shark Steam Mop’s biggest strength is in its ease of use. It doesn’t take much to set it up and get cleaning.
There are no tools required to put it together, there are no added extras you have to buy to start cleaning, and the maintenance is very minimal.
Cord Management and Length
A 20-foot cord is used on the Shark. This is long enough to clean one room at a time, but no more than that.
There are two small pegs on the back of the handle where you can wrap up and store the cord. The top peg can be turned down to quickly release this cord.
There are only a few parts that you have to put together once you pull the machine out of the box. First attach the two extension tubes together until you hear them click.
The second step is you line up the lower extension tube and slide it into the top of the pump actuator. This is just above where the water is stored.
For the last step, put a micro-fiber pad on the floor. Then push the mop head down onto the back of the pad.
Make sure the unit is unplugged and then fill it up with water. This is very easy if you use the funnel and filling flask that the Shark provides you.
This steam mop is very light, so it can move across the floor with ease. We once again recommend you hold the handle lower, such as around your waist.
If you try clean with the handle upright, the friction is too strong and the micro-fiber pad will stick instead of slide on the floor. Another design quirk to be wary of is the week wand. Don’t twist or turn the mop too much because it can break the handle.
There are only two things that you need to do in order to keep your Shark Steam Mop running smoothly. The first thing is to fill up the water tank. The second is proper care of the micro-fiber pads.
Here are a few tips to keep these pads working correctly. First off, wash the pad after you are done using it. When you wash the micro-fiber pad, don’t use any bleach or fabric softeners.
Bleach can damage the fabric, and a fabric softener will leave a coat on the pad that doesn’t allow the fibers to clean up correctly.
Next, air dry the pad after it is done in the wash. If you put the pad in the dryer, it can collect too much lint reducing its cleaning capacity.
Also, if you dry the micro-fiber pad on high heat, it will shrink the fibers and break them down. The last tip is to cut any loose threads with a scissors. If you pull a loose thread, it could unravel a bunch of thread instead.
After two uses where we washed the pads in the washing machine, the pads were no longer perfectly white.
They still worked effectively, but because you are not supposed to bleach the pads, don’t expect them to be pearly white after extended usage.