This article focuses on the Shark Steam Pocket Mop (S3501), but may be able to be applied to other models of Shark Steam Mops as well.
The problem with the original design? The steam mop handle consists of two internal plastic sleeves that provide a slip connection. A screw then pulls the two sections of the handle together, clamping around the metal arm of the handle. This is the weak part of the Shark handle!
The internal plastic mounts break off from the main sections, leaving an upper handle that no longer secures to the metal arm.
Shark steam mop broken handle solutions
- Buy a replacement handle direct from Shark.
- Buy one of the new and improved Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mops, which seems to have a stronger and better handle design.
- The last and most economical solution is to go to your local hardware store and spend under $4 in hardware. Any additional costs will depend on your availability of tools needed.
Steps to repairing the existing broken handle
Depending on your region you may be able to find similar parts at other local hardware stores.
- 5/32″(4mm) or 11/64″(4.4mm) drill bit
- 13/64″(5.2mm) drill bit
- 2 ea. aluminum 3/16″ x .75″ binding screws (posts). (i) The next common available length is 1″, and they are a little too long. You can buy online if you prefer the 7/8″ binding screw. (ii) Also known as sex bolts and mating screws.
- OPTIONAL (Steps 2 & 3) – Skip if you feel this is an excessive step and tools aren’t available. The binding screws may prove to be strong enough.
- 2 ea. aluminum 5/16″ x .5″ spacers. (i) The next common available length is .75″, and too long for this project. A 5/8″ spacer would have been perfect, but not necessary as you will see in the end.
1 Clean > Drill > Deburr
- If the internal stems are not completely broken off on their own in all 4 spots, try to remove them. You can try to snap them off with a pliers, cut them off with a utility knife, or use a utility sheers.
- We will be using the area opposite of the existing holes as guides to drill through the other section of plastic handle. Using a 5/32″ or 11/64″ bit, drill the two holes through the plastic handle. These don’t have to be pretty. Something as simple as a utility knife will be fine to deburr the edges if needed.
2 Modify Spacers
This will be the hardest part of the repair. The internal diameter of the spacer is slightly too small for the binding posts (13/64″ / 5.2mm) to slide through, so they will have to be bored out. Secure the .5″ long aluminum spacers you purchased, then use the 13/64″(5.2mm) drill bit for boring the I.D.
Q) Why not just use a larger diameter binding post and remove this process?
A) The head of the posts and screw will also get larger which will then not sit completely flush against the plastic handle as it begins to curve.
3 Insert Spacers
Once the above is completed, insert the spacers into the metal handle. These will help fill the internal void and help eliminate movement once the binding posts are installed.
Note: The internal diameter of the metal handle holes are 8.5mm. This is not a common size for a spacer. If wanting a more secure fit, using a metal specific product – Loctite® Plumber and Marine Clear Adhesive – or similar is suggested.
I haven’t had any issues with not using an adhesive.
4 Reinstall Handle
- Slide the plastic handle back over the metal shaft, lining up the holes.
- Slide the stem (female) section of each binding post through the original holes of the plastic handle and through the internal aluminum spacers.
- Take the threaded(male) section of the binding posts and insert them through the holes that were drilled. Screw and tighten the binding posts.
NOTE: The hardware is soft metal aluminum. If the slotted head side becomes marred from the screwdriver when tightening, you can use a small file to deburr the marks.