Did you know that you can use steam cleaners to clean almost every surface in your house? In fact, there are lots of advantages to steam cleaning that might make you wonder why you haven’t included it in your house cleaning routine before. Here’s a handy summary of how you can use steam to clean your home:
Reasons to Use Steam Cleaners
There are several reasons why steam cleaning might be good for you to use in your home:
- It is eco-friendly – no chemicals are involved
- Uses heat to disinfect or sanitise nearly all household surfaces
- Steam evaporates quickly, so surfaces dry faster than when cleaned with water
- Is excellent for those difficult-to-clean cracks and crevices
- Steam can dissolve hard-to-remove substances like ground-in wax, glue, and chewing gum
Things to Keep in Mind When Steam Cleaning
Steam cleaning is not always a perfect solution to your cleaning needs. Here are some things you need to remember when steam cleaning:
- Steam cleaned surfaces will still need to be wiped with a cloth – the steam loosens the dirt, but doesn’t remove it
- Wear protective clothing and goggles when using a steam cleaner
- If steam comes in contact with skin, it can cause painful burns
- Some tasks may still be done quicker by hand – think before you use the steam cleaner
- Remember to follow the directions when using a steam cleaner.
Types of Steam Cleaning Machines
There are two types of steam cleaners on the market that you can use for steam cleaning:
- A cool steam cleaning machine (handheld or upright) makes steam without boiling the water. The steam contains more water
- A dry steam cleaning machine (handheld or upright) makes steam from boiling water. The steam contains less water, but is very hot.
Dry steam cleaners are the most effective and efficient of the two, but not all machines are equal: handheld models are not as powerful as upright machines, and may need to be refilled with water more frequently. However, they are more affordable and often cordless.
What Can You Steam Clean?
Most household surfaces can benefit from steam cleaning, but you should always pay attention to the material you’re cleaning and think about how it will react to direct water and heat. Always remember to test a small area of the surface first to see how it will react to the process.
Upholstery, Mattresses, Curtains and Carpets
- Steam kills dust mites and removes stains from these surfaces
- Use a dry steam cleaning machine and an upholstery attachment for these surfaces
- For carpets, you should use a steam cleaner only for spot cleaning – use a carpet cleaning machine for large surfaces
- Test an inconspicuous area first to make sure the material you are cleaning is colour-fast
- Keep the machine moving so you don’t soak the fabric.
Floors, Tiles, and Ceramic and Metal Fixtures
- Steam kills germs, mould, and fungus
- Steam is good for cleaning grout (but not epoxy or caulking)
- Steam should not be used on porous floor surfaces such as concrete, paving stones, limestone, marble, or unsealed hardwood
- Use a dry steam cleaning machine and a floor attachment for these areas
- Keep the machine moving and avoid pressure in one area for too long.
Glass and Mirrors
- Using steam to clean glass and mirrors helps you avoid streaks
- Use a dry steam cleaning machine and a window attachment
- Lay a towel below the surface you’re cleaning to catch any drips
- Drag from the top to the bottom in stripes.
- Handheld dry steam cleaners can sanitise rubbish bins, cutting boards, and work surfaces
- You can also use a handheld dry steam cleaner to clean the fridge and defrost the freezer.
You can steam clean other items in your home, as well, including the following. Be sure to follow the directions on the steam cleaner for advice on how to clean these items.
- Filters and grills (air-conditioning, cooker hood, barbecue)
- Lawn mower
- Car interiors
- Golf clubs
- Pet beds, cages, and litter boxes
- Children’s toys and baby changing areas
Items to Avoid when Steam Cleaning
Some items should not be cleaned with steam, including the following:
- Paper and cardboard products
- Delicate fabrics like silk
- Walls and anything covered in water-based paint.