There is a dizzying array of chemical cleaners, sponges, cloths, tools and appliances to help you make your home and automobile not only look their best but also stay free of germs. However, there is only one machine on the market that combines all of these items into one – a steam cleaner.
A steam cleaner is designed to hold regular tap water and heat it to extremely high temperatures until the water turns into steam.
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Then, the steam is released through a nozzle on a hose, so you can harness the power of this steam to clean and disinfect almost anything you can imagine.
However, there are many steam cleaners on the market, and each one has a different assortment of attachments, features and specs.
So how do you choose which one to try? Relax. We’ve done the legwork for you. These are the 12 best steam cleaning units available based on their accessory kit, convenience features, internal components, wattage and steam production.
Table of Contents
Our Top Recommended Steam Cleaning Units
Sargent Steam Cleaner Cleaning System BRZ2
Clean like a professional with the Sargent Steam Cleaner BRZ2 Steamer Machine. This steam cleaner is designed for commercial and industrial applications; however, it comes with plenty of attachments to also make it a great home-use cleaner. This boxy, red beast weighs 30 pounds and has four caster wheels for ease of movement. Plus, it gives you up to 2 hours of cleaning time.
With this machine, you can clean almost anything in your home from light switches to mattresses. You can even remove candle wax, tracked dirt and nicotine stains without having to scrape, scrub or touch dirty mop water. As a bonus, Sargent Steam includes a free e-book that is full of useful cleaning tips.
On the front panel of the cleaner’s body, there is a rocker switch that sends 1,450 watts of power to the steam cleaner when you press it. The other rocker switch heats the water in the stainless-steel boiler to a piping hot 298 degrees Fahrenheit.
The boiler can hold 2.2 quarts of water, and it has a non-stick coating that reduces mineral build-up from hard water. When the red indicator light glows, you know that the boiler is in the process of heating the water. When you see the green indicator illuminate and the pressure gauge reach the maximum pressure range, the machine is ready to disperse dry vapor.
On the insulated hose, there are two switches that control the level of steam output – low, medium and high. At its highest pressure, the nozzle produces 52 pounds per square inch of cleaning power at a temperature that’s high enough to reduce Staphylococcus aureus by 8 logs.
When it’s time to refill the reservoir, simply turn the on-board knob to depressurize the machine, add more water with the filler bottle and wait 10 minutes to 15 minutes for the boiler to reach a steam-producing temperature.
With over 15 accessories such as horsehair brushes and a 14-inch-wide squeegee, your cleaning options are limitless. Plus, defective parts are covered by a 2-year warranty and the boiler comes with a 5-year warranty.
Prolux Prolift Liftaway 7 in 1 Steam Cleaner
Is versatility an important consideration when you choosing an appliance? Of course, it is. The Prolux Prolift Liftaway is several cleaning tools rolled into one small package. Weighing only 13 pounds, this frost-white canister steam cleaner sits on a matte black two-wheeled caddy that lets you roll the cleaner from room to room to clean dirt and grime and kill viruses and bacteria.
However, the Prolift Liftaway is more than just a canister steamer. By attaching the extension tubes, you can clean high areas like door frames and vaulted ceilings. Add the floor tool to the extension system, and you get a steam mop on wheels.
While the two large wheels offer portability and the 20-foot power cord provides a lengthy reach, the ability to hold the steam cleaner gives you more control. To transform this canister steam cleaner into a handheld cleaner, simply press the black button on the ergonomically curved handle to lift the canister off the cartable dolly.
This function allows you to take the machine into your shower to blast grime off the grout or in your car to sanitize the dashboard. No matter where and how you utilize this steam cleaner from Prolux, you get 50 minutes of non-stop cleaning time from the 28-degree-Fahrenheit steam.
The single-boiler system heats the water inside of the 61-ounce water tank in 9-10 minutes. To help you tailor the level of steam to the cleaning task, adjust the steam pressure with the dial on the front of the canister. To prevent accidental blasts of hot steam, lock the trigger when not in use.
There are 14 cleaning tools that only take seconds to attach, such as the compression nozzle and upholstery brush. Thanks to the caddy located in the dolly, you don’t have to worry about cluttering up your cleaning-supply cabinet or closet with brushes and nozzles. If you have any issues with the machine, the 1-year warranty from the manufacturer will take care of them.
Dupray HOME Steam Cleaner
Degrease, deodorize and disinfect at the same time with the Dupray HOME Steam Cleaner. With its high-pressurized sanitizing action, this steam cleaner can cut through all the gross grime in your bathroom, on your grout and inside of your car. It also makes an excellent window and upholstery-cleaning tool.
This European-built steam cleaner comes with a 3-year warranty that covers defects on its components in addition to a lifetime warranty on its durable boiler. You can tell Dupray designed it with the user’s convenience in mind. The steam cleaner features two large side wheels and one small front wheel for extra stability as well as an undercarriage wrap for the 7.5-foot power cord.
With its 34-ounce boiler fashioned from strong stainless steel, you can clean your entire home for 40 minutes before running out of water. When you need to add water to the tank, the funnel and cup make it a quick and easy task. In approximately 8 minutes, the water inside the tank will heat to 293 degrees Fahrenheit, producing an abundance of low-moisture steam.
To adjust the pressure of the steam, all you need to do is turn the knob on the canister. The low-water indicator tells you when it’s time to refill the reservoir, and the SteamReady indicator does just as the name says – alerts you when the machine makes steam.
Since the Dupray HOME Steam Cleaner comes with 14 accessories, there are numerous ways you can use the machine to sanitize the inside and outside of your home. There are brass and nylon brushes for jobs that require scrubbing and a rectangular floor tool and cloth cover that let you clean your floors.
The 15-pound steam cleaner even has safety mechanisms like a childproof safety lock on the 5.7-foot steam hose and an automatic shut-off switch within its working parts.
Homeright C900053.M Steam Machine
The Homeright C900053.M Steam Machine is an excellent alternative to traditional, less efficient cleaning tools like scrub brushes and mops. This household-use steam cleaner is equipped with a broiler, which is designed to heat water to a temperature that is high enough to destroy 99 percent of Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Escherichia coli and other germs that are often found in the typical home.
To kill these health threats, 1,500 watts of power help the broiler get the water as hot as 290 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the water reaches the maximum temperature, it shoots steam out with a force of 55 pounds per square inch, effectively loosening and dissolving grease and grime.
Coated in an electric blue hard shell, this multi-purpose steam machine comes with a household kit that has eight tools for your cleaning convenience. This kit contains useful attachments such as extensions for the 6-foot hose, a wide mop head and a jet nozzle.
To give windows a streak-free clean, there is even a squeegee, which doubles as a fabric steamer if you put on the included cover. For flat surfaces and steam mopping, use the microfiber pad and chenille mop pad, respectively. When you need some scrubbing action, the brass brushes and nylon brushes do the trick. You can also use the cotton cloth to wipe away the moisture as the steam cools.
With the 40-ounce reservoir, you get 35 minutes to 40 minutes of cleaning time, so you can steam clean your upholstery, microwave, counters, oven and floors with a single tank of water. Roll it outside on its smooth wheels and stretch the 16-foot power cord to clean your grill, tires and car interior. Although the trigger allows you to produce steam only when you press it, you can use the continuous steam option by locking the trigger.
This locking feature can also be utilized when the steam cleaner is off to prevent children from hurting themselves. The 12.2-pound steam cleaner is ETL listed, and it comes with 2 years of warranty protection from Homeright.
Sienna Luna Plus SSM-3016 Steam Cleaning System
Go from upright steamer to handheld steamer in seconds with the Sienna Luna Plus SSM-3016 Steam Cleaning System. What sets the Luna Plus apart from other convertible steam cleaners are its sonic vibrations. By sending these micro-pulse vibrations out at 90 vibrations per second, the steam cleaner penetrates grime and dirt, eliminating the need for scrubbing your floors, counters and appliances.
Plus, you don’t have to wait 10 minutes for the steam to heat up because this steam cleaning system reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 seconds to kill multiple types of viruses and bacteria without the use of chemical-based cleaning liquids. All it takes to sanitize a hard or upholstered surface is to hold the steam attachment over the surface for at least 8 seconds.
If you forget to turn off the cleaner, the auto shut-off feature powers it down after 30 minutes of no movement, which is convenient if you live a hectic life.
This 1,500-watt steam cleaner allows you to select one of three steam levels from its soft-touch control panel. Choose scrub mode for bathroom grout, dust mode for wood floors and mop mode for tile. Each level of steam has a corresponding indicator light, so you can easily tell what mode you’ve selected.
From the control panel, you can turn on a bright white LED light to help you see in dark areas and a black LED light to show any soiled spots you’ve missed. For optimal use, run both lights at the same time.
Switching between the self-standing steam mop and handheld unit is a straightforward process. Press the handle-release button, secure the shoulder straps and you’ve got a portable, lightweight handheld steam cleaner that you can use to clean both sides of your windows, the inside of your car and your barbecue grill.
The 6.7-pound tank holds 15.2 fluid ounces, providing 20 minutes of cleaning power on a single tank. With the convertible steam cleaner, you get a 12-piece kit with various brushes, a squeegee, a stream nozzle and several microfiber pads. Sienna backs their Luna Plus with a 1-year limited warranty in case you need it replaced or repaired.
Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaning System Review
A lifetime warranty on a steam cleaner is an attention getter and shows you the manufacturer is confident in the cleaner’s effectiveness and durability. The bumblebee-yellow steam machine can destroy mold, mildew and germs. At its peak temperature of 220 degrees Fahrenheit, it will also kill dust mites and even bed bugs.
If germs and insects aren’t a concern for you, the Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaning System also tackles stains, dirt, grease and grime. While the machine is helping you eradicate dust mites and lift away dirt with its 1,500 watts of power, you will barely be able to hear it. At 30 decibels, it sounds more like a whisper or rustling leaves than a robust steam cleaner.
The Vapamore Primo is exactly that – robust. Externally, it features oversized, rubber-coated wheels and a stationary, rubber-grip handle that are designed to give you easy mobility. Internally, the steam cleaning system boasts a solenoid-operated steam valve, which has a higher flow rate, longer service life and increased fluid-temperature tolerance in comparison to a traditional valve.
Also, the broiler is constructed from stainless steel, which is more durable than an aluminum broiler. This strong, efficient broiler is able to heat 1.6 liters of water in 11 minutes at a pressure rate of 50 pounds per square inch.
From the canister, you can adjust the steam output by turning the dial, which gives you a maximum steam flow of 40 grams per minute. At this rate, you can clean with this 20.5-pound machine for almost 1 hour before it needs to be refilled. Like any other high-quality steam cleaner, this cleaner comes with many attachments.
Among the 11 attachments are an angled nozzle, four brushes and a squeegee, all of which can be stored on the steam cleaner and in the tote bag. Plus, you get three extension tubes and an 18-foot retractable cord for convenient reaching ability.
Steamfast SF-370WH Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner
Steam cleaners with a ton of attachments are automatically considered for placement on our list of the best steam cleaners that are available right now. However, what secures the versatile SF-370WH spot on the list is not only its array of attachments but also its heavy-duty steam power. The Steamfast SF-370WH Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner produces a respectable 1,500 watts of pressurized steam, making it suitable for deep cleaning and sanitizing your entire house.
Thanks to the cleaner’s decent wattage, it takes about 8 minutes for the water to reach a germ-killing temperature. With its heavy-duty wheels, you can easily roll the 8.4-pound canister steamer from room to room to clean your baby toy’s, kitchen counters, appliances, kick plates and faucets without harsh chemicals or elbow grease.
This steam cleaner heats water to more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit with its single-tank boiler system. Since boiler systems are sealed and require fewer parts to function than continuous-fill tanks, their simple design makes them highly dependable. When filled to its 48-ounce capacity, the water tank provides 45 minutes of steady steam at a rate of 26 grams per minute.
You will appreciate how easy it is to fill the tank with water. Steamfast includes a measuring cup with the steam cleaner, so all you need to do is unscrew the cap and add the pre-measured water into the tank without lugging the tank to the sink or taking apart the canister.
Because it comes with 15 attachments, you can efficiently sanitize virtually every surface in your home. The steam cleaner has a jet nozzle, nylon and brass utility brushes, a squeegee, a scrub tool and a mop head for floors. The two-part interlocking extension wand and 64-inch insulated hose allow you to reach any crevice or high spot. The 15.4-foot power cord offers plenty of maneuverability, and you can easily store it with the integrated cord wrap.
You also have the option of blasting a continual flow of steam with the trigger-locking switch or produce steam on demand by simply releasing the trigger. With the Steamfast SF-370WH, you get two types of coverage – a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year limited warranty.
McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
The McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner doesn’t disappoint in terms of tools. With 18 assorted attachments and a durable plastic housing, this steam cleaner is great to use in a house, garage or workshop. Because it has 1,500 watts of power behind it, you get an abundance of steam with unwavering pressure to remove wrinkles from drapes, clear grease from tools, brighten grout and sanitize bare floors.
In approximately 8 minutes after filling the tank and turning on the unit, the steam cleaner is ready to go. With its super-long 15.7-foot cord, you can easily roll it out to your car to detail the interior, including the steering wheel, dash and floor mats.
Through the steam cleaner’s 9.8-foot hose, you get powerful, pressurized steam at an impressive rate of 33 grams per minute to 37 grams per minute. After the enclosed boiler heats up the water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, steam shoots out of the cleaner’s nozzle, sanitizing every inch of the surface to which it’s directed.
The dual-function nozzle gives you an unending stream of steam with its locking mechanism or start-and-stop steam for times when you want to control the output.
Prepping the McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner is a breeze. All you need is clean, cool tap water; no cleaning chemicals necessary. Use the measuring cup and convenient funnel to pour the water into the 48-ounce reservoir, which gives you 45 minutes’ worth of steam. After the water reaches a sanitizing temperature, the on-board indicator light will let you know when the steam is ready to use.
With 18 attachments, you have more than enough tools to tackle any cleaning task in your home or garage, such as a triangle brush for sanitizing corners, a mop attachment to clean floors and a scrub pad for big areas. When you are done, you can store the attachments in a compartment on the steam cleaner. This 9.95-pound miracle worker is covered by a 1-year warranty from McCulloch.
Wagner Spraytech Wagner 0282014 915
Are you planning to redecorate a room or remodel your house? If so, the Wagner 0282014 On-Demand 915 Power Steamer is a helpful tool to have on hand. With its high-powered jet nozzle and multiple brushes, it can quickly clear away years of dirt and grime on grout, patios and screens. If you want to make your tile floors gleam, the canister steam cleaner comes with a large cleaning brush and extension tubes, and there is a squeegee to get your windows sparkling clean.
This model is even equipped with a steam plate, which is a real time-saver for wallpaper removal jobs. Instead of scraping wallpaper flake by flake with an inefficient blade, the steam plate loosens the adhesive to help you take down wallpaper in less time.
This bacteria-eliminating steam cleaner heats up the water to 135 degrees Fahrenheit in 5 minutes to 7 minutes thanks to its 1,500 watts of power. Once the unit reaches this temperature, a red indicator light illuminates, so you know that it’s now producing steam.
In approximately 10 minutes after the steam starts building, the indicator light turns green, which means the 15.9-pound steam cleaner is ready to get to work.
In order to fill the tank without spilling any water, you can use the measuring cup and the filling funnel. At maximum capacity, the reservoir holds 1.5 quarts of tap water, which equates to 45 minutes of cleaning time. For a personal-use steam cleaner, you get a surprisingly long, flexible hose that extends 8 feet.
To add to the convenience factor, you can choose between using intermittent or continuous steam with the touch of your fingertip. No matter whether you’re pulling the steam cleaner along tile, concrete or carpet, the smooth wheels ensure that the cleaner glides without catching on hesitating. With its warranty coverage of 1 year, you can use the steam cleaner anytime and anywhere without worry.
Steamfast SF-375 Deluxe Canister Steam Cleaner
When it comes to steam cleaning, Steamfast is a favorite brand recognized for the durability, quality, and power of its units. If you are looking for a steam cleaner with professional steam cleaning power, then the Steamfast SF-375 Deluxe Canister Steam Cleaner is right up your alley.
This unit is designed to help you tackle the tough jobs that other steamers may give a miss. Plus, it offers users an array of accessories for cleaning, powerful steam flow and a heavy-duty design you will love. Let’s dive right into its features.
This model from Steamfast offers you 1500 watts and a 48 oz. water reservoir capacity, and takes about 10 minutes to build up to full steam with a long steam duration time of 90 minutes. Like other steam cleaners on this list, the SF-375 heats the water you put in the water reservoir to naturally clean as well as sanitize different types of surfaces around your house without the use of harsh chemicals.
However, the steamer is specifically designed to handle tough cleaning jobs like cleaning BBQ grills, carpeting, toys, and shower doors; in fact, no cleaning job is too big or too small for this model.
In addition to regular cleaning, you can use this Steamfast unit for removing stubborn grime stuck on tubs and sinks, sanitize your floors, reduce odors like smoke from upholstery and drapes as well as get rid of allergens like pet dander and dust mites – in the end, helping you save money on cleaning products. Best of all, this unit is built to last and perform.
This Steamfast unit is also fitted with features that make it easy to use. The extra-long 17-foot power cord makes it easy to clean the hard-to-reach areas in your home without unnecessarily changing power outlets during the steaming process.
The unit’s flexible 10-foot steam hose length offers users with plenty of reach when it comes to above the floor cleaning tasks. This SF-375 Deluxe unit keeps you well informed and in control with its lighted on/off logo light that shows you when the water tank is heating up and when your unit is ready for another round of steam cleaning.
McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam System
The McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam System is a powerful steam cleaner for multiple purposes around the home. It can help homeowners get rid of germs, grease, stains, and dirt from a variety of surfaces.
A control knob on this unit lets you change the steam pressure up to 58 psi (4 bar). This is enough pressure to get a deep cleaning of whatever surface or material. Besides, the steam temperature goes to as high as 200 degrees Fahrenheit. While the unit is specifically designed for personal use, you can also use it in commercial applications.
The McCulloch MC1375 is a great alternative to chemically cleaning various surfaces, making it an environmentally safe cleaning tool to keep around the home. If you are a pet lover, then you will be thrilled by this unit’s ability to remove odors from around your home. In addition, the unit can help you eliminate all types of dirt from surface types like patios, BBQ grills, ATVs and dirty floors.
This MC1375 consumes about 1500 Watts and is powered through an 18-foot power cord, so you never have to worry about battery levels. It takes the unit about 10 minutes to heat water in its 48 oz. water tank, and offers you continuous steam cleaning for 90 minutes.
The water tank’s size means that you do not have to frequently use the attached measuring cup to fill it. This steamer model weighs less than 11 lbs, making it easy to carry using its ergonomic handle holds and casters for improved mobility. With an 18-foot power cord and a 10-foot steam hose, you get a wide total radius that also lets you reach the tight spots easier and efficiently.
When you purchase this steamer, you also get an impressive 20 cleaning accessories, all designed to make cleaning your space much easier and effortless. The package contains accessories such as an extension wand, a jet nozzle, a nylon brush and many others. You will also find two washable steam pads; one for scrubbing and the other for gentle cleaning.
The MC1375 is easy to use and comes with a detailed product manual that covers just about all you need to know about using the unit. Attached accessories make this unit even more versatile, and it makes almost zero noise.
McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister Steam System
If you are on the market for a larger than usual steam cleaner, then the McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister Steam System will not disappoint. This is another product from the famous McCulloch and fitted with superior features you will love.
Some of them include a variable steam control, more accessories and more steam time, making the McCulloch MC1385 perfect for tough cleaning jobs around your home.
The MC1385 can clean different kinds of surfaces, ranging from rugs, floors, and carpets to furniture. Plus, you also do not need to use any chemicals to get these surfaces clean. No matter whether you are dealing with debris, odor or tough stains, this unit is capable of cleansing any surface, and leave it looking like new.
Its small size and compact design make this McCulloch product easy to carry around your home without breaking even a single sweat, even as you carry it up or downstairs.
The steam cleaner’s variable steam control allows you to set its functioning intensity in case you need to use hotter settings for removing some particularly troublesome stains. You can decrease the intensity if your cleaning duty is light. The cleaner’s tank can hold up to 64 oz. of water, meaning that you get steam for a longer time (120 minutes of continuous steam) compared to other units.
Add this to its quick heating time of only 12 minutes, and what you have in your hand is an efficient steam-cleaning unit.
The extra-long 18-foot long power cord allows you to reach different places around your home much faster and efficiently. In fact, you can easily move from one room to the next without having to unplug the unit from the power source. The canister system’s onboard storage is the perfect place for keeping your detergents and tools. While the storage space is relatively small, it is still large enough to accommodate many accessories in a clutter-free manner.
Steam Cleaning Unit Buying Guide
A steam cleaning unit is one of those household appliances you never knew you needed until you finally get one. Our guide will tell you all about the different types available. You’ll also learn about the attachments that come with them as well as important considerations such as the steam output and heat time.
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• McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister Steam Cleaner
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• McCulloch MC1385 vs MC1375 vs MC1275
• McCulloch MC1375 vs Wagner 0282014
Types of Steam Cleaning Units
Floor-only steam cleaners look and handle much like a stick vac, and they’re just as lightweight as one. Since they’re slim, steam mops don’t take up much space in the storage closet. While steam mops are typically designed for use on hard floors, some come with a carpet glider attachment. Other models can transform into a handheld steam cleaner.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are handheld steam cleaning units. Handheld steam cleaners are featherlight and incredibly small, but they still pack the same sanitizing punch as steam mops. With a handheld steam cleaner, you can remove gunk from almost any steam-safe surface, including countertops, bathroom fixtures, ovens and toys.
Canister-style steam cleaners are bigger and heavier than steam mops, but their larger size comes with an even bigger upside. Due to their size, canister steam cleaning units have sizeable reservoirs that let you clean for an extended period of time without stopping for refills. They are also versatile, working on floors and elsewhere.
Steam Cleaner Attachments
Manufacturers make all sorts of attachments to use with a steam cleaning unit. A built-in or separate extension wand gives you above-head reach while a flexible hose helps you sanitize hard-to-clean areas. Many units come with an assortment of brushes affixed with nylon or brass bristles. Straight and angled nozzles that deliver concentrated steam are also common.
You can even find some steam cleaners that have a squeegee attachment for sanitizing mirrors, windows and glass tabletops. Others may offer a fabric-safe accessory that you can use to dewrinkle clothes and curtains. If a tool storage option is available, it often comes in the form of a mesh bag.
Heat Time and Steam Indicators
Universally, steam cleaning units don’t take long to heat the water to a steam-producing temperature. The average heat-time range is 30 seconds to 5 minutes. The biggest factor that contributes to the heat time is the reservoir size – The larger the tank, the longer the heat-up time.
Your home’s water quality also plays a role. Hard water has more minerals; therefore, it won’t evaporate as fast as soft water. If you don’t want to be left guessing about the heat time, look for a steam cleaner with an indicator that tells you when the unit is ready.
Steam Delivery and Trigger Style
To make steam, you’ll have to press a button. Some models require you to hold down that button to keep the flow of steam going. For short jobs, on-demand steam is great, and it also means less wasted water. For larger jobs, you may want a steam cleaner with a press-and-release button for continuous steam.
If you can’t decide, there are steam cleaning units equipped with a locking trigger. With one of these, you can produce steam on demand or lock the trigger for a continuous flow. Some models even create variable steam, allowing you to control the intensity to meet the task at hand.
Scrubbing by hand doesn’t even come close to the effectiveness of cleaning with steam. When you scrub a dirty surface, you have to put forth a lot of elbow grease, and the surface wears down with repeated scrubbing sessions. Add in cleaning solutions, and you’re exposing your skin and lungs to irritating residue and damaging fumes.
With steam, you can clean beyond superficial layers of dirt, and you won’t risk scratching the surface you’re cleaning in the process. Steam is well-adept at working into textured fabrics and porous surfaces where germs can hide, and your sponge can’t reach. Plus, you don’t have to touch or breathe in any chemicals.
Not at all. However, their weight range varies widely. Small handheld steam cleaners weigh about 2 to 5 pounds. Canister, floor-only and handheld-floor combos weigh between 10 to 15 pounds. There are some industrial-strength steam cleaners that top out at around 30 pounds, but even units on the heavy side are equipped with wheels that make moving them easy.
Great news for those who have chronic respiratory conditions. Steam cleaning units don’t require any chemical solutions to sanitize your home. To make steam, these units heat the water to at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which is also the temperature needed to get rid of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.
People often mistake one for the other, but a steam cleaner is a distinct appliance from a hot-water extractor. Steam cleaners use the water inside their reservoirs to clean various surfaces. The cleaners heat the water until it evaporates and transforms into steam, which has sanitizing power.
Hot-water extractors work in a different way, and it’s a term reserved for carpet-only cleaners. The extractor delivers hot water onto the carpet while it simultaneously scrubs the carpet and collects the dirt it lifts. Most hot-water extractors need chemicals to clean a carpet.
Although it’s tempting to use a cleaning solution for its scent, doing so is unnecessary because steam cleaners deodorize surfaces, eliminating mildew, pet and smoke odors. You risk damaging the steam cleaner because harsh cleaning solutions can break down the plastic housing and the reservoir. It’s also unsafe as certain chemicals are known to combust when heated.
With all the claims made by producers of household chemicals, it’s hard to believe that water can even come close to the germ-killing power of these cleaning solutions. However, steam is just as powerful as the strongest solution on the market, boasting a 99.96-percent germicidal rate. Steam is even effective at small mold-remediation jobs.
Don’t worry. Your steam cleaning unit isn’t broken. The knocking noise you hear is simply the sound of the steam cleaner’s pump sending water through the unit’s internal components. It’s more common to hear this in a steam mop because of the distance the water must travel. The noise should disappear in a few minutes.
This knocking noise usually only occurs after the steam cleaner has been in storage for a while or when the reservoir is empty. If you add water and still hear the sound after a few minutes, check the reservoir. Sometimes, the noise is caused by the tank not being properly attached to the unit.
Since a steam cleaner only needs water, you don’t have to worry about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) degrading the indoor air quality and forming the ground-level ozone that leads to smog. You’ll also reduce the waste that goes into landfills because you won’t have any plastic cleaning solution bottles to toss.
Steam cleaners are 100-percent safe to use around pets as long as they are not in the steam’s direct path. Plus, the steam makes easy work of removing dirty paw prints from your floors and counters as well as getting rid of odors that linger on your sofa and other furniture where they like to lounge.
Residential-use steam cleaning units do not generate the strength of steam that high-pressure cleaners do. High-pressure units are meant for use in mechanic shops and industrial settings, and they can create anywhere from 700 to 3,000 psi of pressure. A pressure rate that high would destroy household surfaces; therefore, standard steam cleaning units max out at about 60 psi.
High concentrations of magnesium and calcium contribute to hard water. Over time, these minerals accumulate inside the steam cleaner, causing it to clog. When mineral buildup hinders the flow of water, you’ll notice a decreased output of steam.
Most manufacturers recommend that people stick to distilled water as opposed to tap water because the distillation process separates the H20 from the minerals. Although distilled water can be had for cheap, it’s not as convenient as filling the reservoir with water straight from the tap.
If you choose the tap-water route, you’ll need to flush those minerals from the cleaning unit from time to time. You have the option of buying a specialized descaler, or you can save money by running a 1:1 ratio of distilled water and vinegar through the cleaner.
Steam cleaning units don’t require much maintenance. Always dump out the water in the reservoir after each use to prevent mineral accumulation, and don’t forget to rinse the attachments. If your unit comes with a microfiber mop pad, don’t put fabric softener in the washing machine. Otherwise, it will lose its absorbency.
Steam is produced when the water’s temperature reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, it takes less than a second to scald the skin. After you release the trigger, the cleaner needs a few seconds to stop the steam flow. Therefore, you should always keep your face and body parts out of the steam’s direct path.
If you have a small pest problem on your hands, steam cleaning is an easy, chemical-free removal method. Bed bugs and lice can’t survive temperatures higher than 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Fleas and their eggs are unable to withstand 10 minutes in temperatures above 140 degrees, and temperatures over 130 degrees are lethal to dust mites.
To make a success of it, you need to know the particular bug’s life cycle. For instance, a flea’s life cycle takes 2 weeks or more, so repeated steam treatments are needed. Lice can go from nits to adults in 3 weeks, and the eggs hatch in 1 to 1.5 weeks.
Generally, you can use steam to clean any surface that’s sealed. If you use it on laminate flooring or countertops, always keep the steam cleaner moving to prevent peeling. For porcelain and glass, make sure they aren’t cold to the touch as the difference in temperature could crack the surface.
A vapor steamer, or a dry steam cleaner, is similar to a standard steam cleaner. Both sanitize by producing hot steam, and they even look alike. They’re versatile and don’t require any soap or cleaning solutions. However, vapor steamers heat the water to a higher temperature, resulting in a lower moisture output of about 5 to 6 percent.
The pink area of discoloration you see in a toilet bowl or around a sink drain is called biofilm. This slimy substance consists of multiple bacteria types that adhere to one another to create a colony all of their own.
A biofilm’s bond between the bacteria is so strong that even bleach can fail at eradication, and the bacteria will begin to gather and reform in a matter of hours. However, steam can help you get rid of biofilm permanently by breaking through the surface of the colony.
Steam Cleaning Units: Recap
You’ll love the simplicity of a steam cleaning unit. For people whose asthma is trigger by the scents of chemicals, steam cleaning units offer a lung-friendly way to sanitize any surface. They also do an excellent job at getting rid of dust – another common asthma trigger – and pet owners will appreciate how steam cleaners neutralize odors.
Our Recommended Canister Steam Cleaners
54 oz. Water Tank
50 min. of cleaning
7 ft. Steam Hose
16 x 15 x 14 in
48 oz. Water Tank
90 min. of cleaning
10 ft. Steam Hose
15.6 x 12.1 x 10.5 in
40 oz. Water Tank
45 min. of cleaning
6 ft. Steam Hose
18.5 x 11.5 x 10.5 in
54 oz. Water Tank
50 min. of cleaning
7 ft. Steam Hose
16 x 15 x 14 in
48 oz. Water Tank
90 min. of cleaning
10 ft. Steam Hose
15.6 x 12.1 x 10.5 in
40 oz. Water Tank
45 min. of cleaning
6 ft. Steam Hose
18.5 x 11.5 x 10.5 in
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Last update on 2020-10-29 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API