As a mom I am constantly looking for products that make my life easier and allow me to spend more time with my kids. I purchased the Shark Steam Mop in May 2008 and have found it to be extremely useful and compact.
I have used other mop systems in the past and what sets the Shark aside from others is the use of steam to clean instead of chemicals. I was a little skeptical about the idea but I liked the thought of purchasing something environmentally friendly. We also have a lot of allergies in our family and I love that there is no chemical smell while cleaning.
The Shark Steam Mop works by filling up a small reservoir with water. Once you plug in the mop there is about a 30 second delay for the water to heat up. As you push the mop back and forth it releases steam. The mop comes with two thick pads that velcro on to actually pick up the dirt. They are machine washable and do okay in the wash. My major complaint is that they are white and after the first use they will never be white again. Even with stain treatment and bleach it is impossible to get them to look like new. I suppose they make the pads white so that you can see the dirt the mop has picked up. I put it to the ultimate test in our bathroom (I have a little boy) and it did clean really well.
I think that the mop works pretty well on tile and hardwood floors. The steam evaporates so you are able to walk on the floors almost immediately after mopping. It is difficult to get used to the idea that you do not need a harsh chemical to get things clean. I still use several different cleaning agents but I've got to believe that cutting back on at least one makes a difference in my family's health and the environment.
I am hesitant to give this product a 5 for effectiveness only because my standards for cleaning products in my home are pretty high. Overall it is a nice little mop to use on a regular basis. I have not found it any cheaper than 79.99 on sale.