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Steam cleaners are fantastic, and certainly one of the best things to have in terms of cleaning appliances. However, no one likes to rush into a commitment like this without first doing their research.
To help you decide if a steam cleaner is the best choice for you, we created this FAQ - packed with the burning questions that potential new steam cleaner owners are dying to ask.
- What is a Steam Cleaner?
- What is Dry Steam?
- What Can I Use My Steam Cleaner On?
- Can Steam Cleaners be Used on Carpets?
- Do Steam Cleaners Use any Chemicals?
- Can I Use Tap Water in My Steam Cleaner?
- What Makes it Better Than a Sponge or a Mop?
- What Happens to the Dirt the Steam Mop Collects?
- Will Steam Cleaning Damage Grout?
- Can it Help with Dust Mite Allergies?
- Can You Kill Mould with a Steam Cleaner?
- Is Steam Cleaning an Effective Method?
- Are Steam Cleaners Safe for Pets?
What is a Steam Cleaner?
A steam cleaner is a machine that uses ‘dry’ steam to clean surfaces. The water in the tank is heated by the electricity running through the machine. This is then converted into steam, which is released while you are going over your floors and other surfaces. The hot steam is able to loosen stains and dirt so that they can be wiped away by the cloth on the base of your machine.
What is Dry Steam?
Dry steam feels like an oxymoron, but it is definitely not. The steam used in these cleaners could technically be classed as a vapour. This is because they use high temperatures and low levels of moisture - making it even less dense than the air that we breathe. This is why it is such a versatile option, it is hot enough to kill bacteria and cut through grease without any mess after.
What Can I Use My Steam Cleaner On?
Your steam cleaner can be used on pretty much any hard floor. It can also be used on some surfaces like kitchen counters and mattresses/upholstery. You can even use some models to clean the interior of the oven. A lot of this depends on the type of steam cleaner you have and the versatility it provides as a result
Can Steam Cleaners be Used on Carpets?
Yes, some steam cleaners can be used on carpets. It is important to mention that your model must come with a carpet glider if you want to use it on carpets. You cannot use a steam cleaner directly on the carpet as it will soak the fibres and clean ineffectively. A carpet glider will allow it to benefit from the bacteria-killing benefits of steam cleaning without any of the negatives.
Read Here : How to Steam Clean a Carpet
Do Steam Cleaners Use any Chemicals?
No, steam cleaners do not traditionally use chemicals. They only use water and electricity to create powerful levels of steam that can kill bacteria. Some models do come with a detergent tank, but it really isn’t necessary.
Can I Use Tap Water in My Steam Cleaner?
Yes, you can use tap water, but distilled water is best. In fact, many companies will have a notice saying that the use of tap water will void the warranty. This is because tap water can cause limescale, which can prove very damaging to your steam cleaner. If you do not want to use distilled water, pick up a model that has a limescale filter preinstalled.
Alternatively, you can install water softeners in your home if you want to try and create better water for your steam cleaner. However, distilled water remains the best option for the longevity of your machine.
What Makes it Better Than a Sponge or a Mop?
What makes it better is its efficiency and versatility. The issue with mops is that they just sit there harbouring bacteria. You can never really rinse them off enough, and it needs to be replaced regularly.
Not only that, but the chemical cleaners used with mops and sponges can cause damage to your floors in the long run.
Steam cleaners penetrate the very pores of the floor, killing bacteria without soaking the materials. The surface of the cleaning cloths is not abrasive, instead offering a smooth experience.
It cleans and neutralises odours, all without the risk of permanently damaging your floors. It captures pollutants on and below the surface effectively.
What Happens to the Dirt the Steam Mop Collects?
All of the dirt and grime removed by the steam mop is collected on the cloth used to clean the floors. These are highly absorbent to hold a lot of dirt, and many of them are double-sided so that you can get even more use out of them. They are usually machine washable as well, allowing you to disinfect them before using over and over again.
Will Steam Cleaning Damage Grout?
No, steam cleaning will not damage your grout. In fact, many models have instructions on how to clean the grout effectively using one. The only thing to note is that you should not use a steam cleaner on grout that is already damaged as this can cause issues.
Instead, you should get the grout replaced (either by you or a professional). Once it is fixed, you can use the steam cleaner on it.
Can it Help with Dust Mite Allergies?
Yes, a steam cleaner can help with dust mite allergies. The heat from the steam cleaner is more than powerful enough to kill mites and keep your allergies at bay. Some models can even be used on furnishings and bedding if they come with the right accessories.
Similarly, those with carpet gliders can also use the steam to kill dust mites that might be lurking in the fibres.
Can You Kill Mould with a Steam Cleaner?
Yes, you can kill mould with a steam cleaner. This is because of the fact the steam penetrates the actual pores of the floor, allowing it to really reach down and kill anything harmful. It doesn’t just get rid of the surface mould, it actually gets down and kills it at the root so that it won’t come back quickly. It’s one of the best solutions for eradicating mould growth.
Is Steam Cleaning an Effective Method?
Yes, steam cleaning is a highly effective method. This is because the steam is able to kill 99.9% of all bacteria and germs that are living on your hard floors and surfaces. It works quickly and efficiently, and the fact that it doesn’t use any chemicals also means that you are being kinder to the environment. Plus, the lack of cleaning products is safer for you and better for your lungs.
Are Steam Cleaners Safe for Pets?
Yes, it is safe to use steam cleaners around pets. It is recommended to keep them away from the floorhead as this gets very hot and is also where the steam blast is located. However, they can be in the same room while you steam clean as there is nothing harmful for them to inhale. After you have passed over an area, the floor is left cool, which is safe for their delicate paws.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.