Steam is a natural source, it emerged from the ground in geysers and volcanoes but it wasn’t until 1700 when we harnessed its power for practical use. It is the most natural way to clean and sanitize the home, it‘s environmentally friendly and biologically clean and offers a variety of cleaning possibilities that are an ideal alternative to conventional cleaning methods. The power of steam could not be simpler for household tasks large or small, and will save valuable time on the cleaning routine.
Water becomes extremely economical when used for steam cleaning: just a single liter of tap water is enough to create 1,700 liters of steam, this is enough for around 20 minutes of steam cleaning. The combination of steam power and temperature alone is enough to break up stubborn dirt and stains, so chemicals are unnecessary and since electricity is only needed whilst the water is being heated, energy consumption is also kept to a minimum.
Why Is Steam Cleaning Healthier?
Condensed steam leaves behind no potentially allergy-inducing residues on cleaned surfaces, unlike detergents. It binds dust together, so allergens such as dust mite, don’t get ejected into the air. The quality of the atmosphere is improved significantly, making it easier for allergy sufferers to breathe easier. The physical exertion from cleaning is also reduced with steam, since the steam does the work for you.
The heat generated from a steam cleaner can kill 99% of germs and bacteria. The high temperature steam also breaks down grease and grime easily and hygienically, leaving your home fresh, clean and completely sanitized without the need for chemical detergents.
Why Is Steam So Good At Cleaning?
The combination of a blast of steam and a high temperature is the secret to cleaning with steam. Removing stubborn grime and grease, which can be time consuming with a scrubbing brush, can be dissolved in a matter of seconds with a good steam cleaner. Hard to reach areas are much easier to access and clean, and all without chemicals! One big advantage of using a steam cleaner is that you only need one machine for all the different cleaning tasks in and around the home.
How Does A Steam Cleaner Work?
A steam cleaner works in the same way as a pressure cooker. The water is heated in a sealed boiler until it boils, this then creates the steam, which can take up to 5/6 minutes depending on the type of machine you have. Once the water has boiled, the steam is ejected via the steam outlet, the higher the pressure of the steam, the faster the steam is forced out, making the dirt easier to dissolve. Filling the steam tank with warm water will speed up the heating process and not filling the tank to the top will help the steam to form quicker.
What Can It Clean?
The steam cleaner can tackle a wide variety of cleaning jobs around the home without the use of chemicals or hard physical input. Below is a list of just a few of the jobs steam can do depending on the type of machine you have and what accessories come with it.
1. Cleaning Hard Floors
Most steam cleaners come with a floor brush that can clean a wide variety of floor surfaces whether they are made of wood, stone or tile. The process for cleaning each surface is the same, with the exception of tiled floors, the reason for this is that tiled floors can be uneven, therefore, if the steam from the cleaner is unevenly distributed over the tiles or unequal time is spent on different parts of the floor, it could leave the grouting a mismatch of clean and not-so-clean grouting.
2. Defrost The Freezer
A steam cleaner is perfect as a quick, clean and safe way to defrost the freezer. It is a far more efficient way of removing ice and the hot steam also sanitizes the freezer so that it is germ free as well as ice free. Before defrosting with steam, remove the drawers and place a bucket or bowl in the bottom of the freezer to collect the ice, then direct the steamer’s main nozzle onto the ice, it should fall away quite easily. If the steamer has a scraper tool this can help to get ice off, when done, simply wipe the inside of the freezer with a dry cloth.
3. Cleaning The Windows
Whether inside or out, the process for cleaning windows with a steam cleaner, is more or less the same as cleaning with a squeegee cleaner, the only difference is the added benefit from the steam. However, a steamer is perfect for cleaning windows, as it keeps the water on the window and leaves a dry, streak free finish every time. Most steamers have a special window cleaning squeegee attachment for this job. It’s a good idea to place a towel at the bottom of the window before you start, to catch any drips.
4. The Oven
There are a lot of chemical solutions on the market that clean ovens very well, but a steam cleaner is a much more hygienic way of doing the job without any risk, and without leaving behind any nasty smells. Cleaning the oven and hob with steam brings fast and great results, but try to avoid using steam on and around the cooking element in the oven as it could damage it.
5. Kitchen Countertops/Worktops
Kitchen work surfaces see a lot of action so they need to be thoroughly cleaned to stop the spread of germs etc. Steam not only removes mess, grease and grime but it also sanitizes work surface without using chemicals.
6. Carpets And Upholstery
A steam cleaner can put life back into an old worn carpet or upholstered furniture, though sometimes it may need a few cleaning sessions to get deep stains to fade. 95%of what comes out of the nozzle of a steam cleaner is vapor, but it is possible that a small amount of water can end up on the carpet or upholstery and will leave it damp for a while, so you need to be aware of ventilation in the room to allow the items to dry properly.
7. Cleaning Curtains And Bedding
A great way to freshen up curtains and breathe some life into them is to use a steam cleaner, but check on the label that the material they are made of is suitable for steaming. Steaming bed linen is mostly the same as for curtains, a steam cleaner makes it easy to get the creases out, just hang the bedding over a washing line or stair rail etc. to steam.
8. Freshening Your Mattress
A steam cleaner is a great tool for cleaning the mattress, which is notorious for harboring dust mites. It is impossible to completely get rid of them but their numbers can be kept to a minimum by using a steam cleaner. The high temperature of the steam produced kills the dust mites, so this method is especially recommended if someone in the family sufferers from allergies. As with bedding, the mattress needs to air for while in a well ventilated room to allow it to dry before fitting the bed linen back on.
9. Freshen Up Clothes
A handheld steamer or an attachment to a general steam cleaner will get creases and wrinkles out of clothes quickly and easily, without the need for an iron or ironing board, odors can also be reliably eliminated. If your machine has an integrated lint remover, this will effortlessly remove hairs and lint from clothes.
10. Cleaning Tile Grouting
One of the most popular uses for a steam cleaner is for grout and tiles. The detail nozzle is designed to target the grime and grease on the tile grouting. Even stubborn, dried-on dirt can be removed by applying direct steam and scrubbing vigorously. The surface can then be rubbed dry using a cloth after steaming. Be aware though, that steam needs to be applied briefly to silicone grouting to avoid damaging the material.
A steam mop is the perfect choice for a bathroom floor, the attachments that come with it allow you to steam around the toilet base and clean the sealant where grime can accumulate. Glass shower enclosures can look like new with only a 2-minute steam clean to the glass inside and outside of the shower unit.
12. Outdoor Patio Furniture
Give patio or garden furniture a quick steam clean when taking them out of winter storage, to remove any buildup of dirt and grime left over from the previous year’s use. Likewise, with the BBQ grill, before you use the grill, give the inside of the grill a clean with the wire brush attachment that comes with the steamer. Barbecue grill racks are a lot easier to clean with a steam cleaner, clean them in the same way you would your oven.
13. Removing Grease
Steam can dissolve hard to remove substances like glue, chewing gum, hardened grease and ground in wax and is excellent for cleaning cracks and crevices that are otherwise difficult to reach. If the grease on an item has been there for quite a while, then steady scrubbing and pressing while applying the steam is the solution. The grease will slowly accumulate on the cloth, so it should be changed often for a streak free result., once all the grease has been removed, polish with something like a micro fiber cloth for a gleaming finish.
14. Cleaning Taps
The special detail nozzle on the steam cleaner will give a concentrated blast of steam that will lift away any lime scale and dirt from around bathroom or kitchen taps, always finish by wiping clean with a cloth to get give the taps a fresh gleam.
Steam cleaners are powerful cleaning tools, they can be used to clean just about every surface and item in and around the home. Having said that, steam only loosens the dirt, it doesn’t remove it, so cleaned surfaces and items always need to be wiped with a cloth after cleaning. However, steam cleaning is eco-friendly because there are no chemicals involved, it uses heat to disinfect and sanitize nearly all surfaces and items and because steam evaporates quickly, everything dries faster than when cleaned with water.
When cleaning with steam, always check the guidelines on the machine before trying it on new surfaces. Safety is also important when using a steam cleaner, steam can reach very high temperatures so be sure to follow the guidelines so that you do not get burned or scalded.