What Does A Steam Cleaner Do (Complete Guide)

what does a steam cleaner do

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In this modern era, we are continually looking for cleaning solutions to keep our homes, car and workplaces spic and span..

Often, we turn to chemicals and harsh cleaning products that can cause damage to surfaces, irritation to our skin and lungs and are harmful to the environment. But there is a better solution.

The steam cleaner is a piece of cleaning equipment that uses nothing more than clean water, and you would be amazed at the results. If this is such an effective method of cleaning, then why aren’t more people using it?

Potentially, the answer to that question lies in the fact that a lot of people are not familiar with what a steam cleaner does.

In this article, we are going to be looking at how to get the most out of our steam cleaner. We’ll also answer the most important question – “What does a steam cleaner do?”.

What Is A Steam Cleaner?

woman holding steam cleaner

A steam cleaner is a device that is used for household and commercial cleaning tasks. It features a water tank which heats up, turning the water into steam.

This high-temperature steam has the ability to lift out stains and ingrained dirt as well as effectively removing bacteria.

It is a natural way to clean that will not cause the kind of damage that may be obtained by using chemicals and other harsh cleaning products.

Steam cleaners come in a range of forms; there are steam mops for cleaning the floor, handheld steam cleaners which are useful for smaller cleaning jobs and multi-purpose steam cleaners which have a variety of attachments and a larger water tank for bigger cleaning tasks.

What Is A Steam Cleaner Used For?

green tick

When we think about steam cleaners, we might think of cleaning hard surfaces such as the floor, and of course, this is one of the many applications of the steam cleaner.

However, there is so much more than you can do with this piece of equipment, and once you realise its power, it can be difficult to revert back to outdated cleaning techniques.

In the main, you can clean pretty much anything using a steam cleaner, let’s take a look at a list of things that your powerful device can tackle with ease.

  • Hard floors such as tiled, wood and stone. Although it pays to be careful when cleaning natural flooring as some materials may be susceptible to damage when using a steam cleaner.
  • Carpets, rugs and upholstery. Your sofa and other soft furnishings will do well when cleaned with steam.
  • Clothing and other fabrics, such as curtains and bedding.
  • Bathroom furniture such as the toilet, sink and shower as well as fixtures like the taps.
  • Kitchen appliances such as the oven and stove-top.
  • Mirrors, windows and other glass items. It is worth reading our article on steam cleaning windows as this will give you imperative information on how to avoid damaging the glass.
  • You can clean both the exterior and certain interior parts of the car including the upholstery; of course, be mindful not to use moisture on any electrical components of the vehicle as this could cause damage.

Read Also: Can You Clean Leather Car Seats With A Steam Cleaner?

What Should You Not Clean With A Steam Cleaner?

cross sign

In just the same way that there are many things around the home that can be cleaned with steam, there are some that you should avoid using this cleaning method on.

The things that you should avoid steam cleaning include:

  • Porous materials that may retain the moisture from the steam. However, a good solution here is to opt for a dry steam cleaner which uses only 2-4% moisture and is far less damaging to porous materials.
  • Any delicate materials that may not handle the high temperatures and pressure of the steam cleaner such as silk, wool or thin plastic. If you want to avoid damaging this type of material, you could opt for a steam cleaner with variable steam pressure which will allow you to clean more gently.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Steam Cleaner?

benefits on small post it note

If you have never owned a steam cleaner, you will likely be unfamiliar with how well these machines tackle even the toughest cleaning jobs.

However, once you have tried the power of steam, you won’t take much convincing that this is one of the most effective cleaning methods around.

What’s more, many steam cleaners are affordable and extremely easy to use. These are just some of the benefits of a steam cleaner, let’s take a closer look at some of the others.

They Kill Germs


One of the things that are at the top of most people’s wish lists when it comes to cleaning is that a product must be able to kill bacteria.

Unfortunately, a lot of the chemical cleaners won’t effectively kill all germs, and the only way to be sure of this is by using bleach.

However, whilst bleach is a powerful cleaning agent and useful for some applications, it is better to use this with caution and in moderation since it is harmful.

In contrast, a steam cleaner uses nothing more than super-hot temperatures to kill germs, leaving your home fresh, clean and sanitary.

Remove Grease

greasy hands

It is no secret that grease is one of the most difficult things to remove, especially when it is ingrained onto a surface.

This is a particular problem in the kitchen and try as you might, chemical cleaners and scrubbing don’t always bring your home up to standard.

But the heat from a steam cleaner can break the grease down making it much easier to remove.

Lift Stains Out Of Fabrics

stains on car seat

In a similar way to how the steam from your steam cleaner will break down grease, it also has the capability to break down stains which have set in on fabrics.

This is a particular problem on upholstery, especially in homes where there are children or pets, but using a steam cleaner will breathe new life back into stained fabrics without causing any damage.

Remove Odours

a man covering his nose and mouth

Another way that the steam cleaner works very well is by removing odours. These powerful devices use those high temperatures to eradicate the bacteria that cause unpleasant smells leaving your home feeling much fresher and cleaner.

You might use your steam cleaner on urine patches, if you have pets or small children, this can be an issue and when this type of mark is not cleaned effectively, it can leave a lingering odour for weeks or even months.

Removing smoky odours from fabrics is another great way to use your steam cleaner as well as the ingrained odours that can set in from cooking; while your food may smell delicious at the time of cooking, it might not smell so great a few weeks down the line.


A steam cleaner is an excellent device used for multiple cleaning jobs; whether you want to bring your windows to a shine, lift stains out of the carpet or freshen a mattress, a steam cleaner is diverse enough to tackle any of these jobs, and more.

The steam cleaner can be used on a variety of materials; however, there are some things that you should be mindful of cleaning this way.

Whilst it is possible to clean delicate materials, you must be sure that you select the right equipment for the job.

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