Kim Komando, America's Digital Goddess
 

Steam Cleaning

What is steam cleaning? Here is some basic info on the details of steam cleaning.

Steam cleaning is a term often mistakenly used when referring to carpet cleaning. Typical commercial carpet cleaning machines use wet extraction often using heated water, not steam.  Steam vapor machines advertised these days on late night TV use water heated to a vaporwhich uses far less water than conventional carpet cleaning machines.  The steam vapor machines use very little water measured in quarts per hour compared to carpet cleaning machine measured in gallons per minute.

A steam vapor machine is a cleaning system that uses steam to quickly, clean, and sanitize inanimate surfaces. This method of steam cleaning uses so little water items cleaned dry very quickly. This process is effective enough to disinfect or even sterilize the surfaces. The steam is produced in a boiler that heats tap water to high temperatures (240-310F/115-155C) to produce low-pressure, low moisture (4 to 6% water) water vapor (steam).

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning

There are many companies that make vapor steam cleaners, with products ranging from higher-end industrial products to inexpensive consumer models.

Vapor steam cleaners are sold as examples of green cleaning since they do not require the use of chemical cleaning solutions. They are growing in popularity because of steam vapor’s ability to kill germs and in some cases disinfect without the use of chemical disinfectants.]Steam vapor has also been cited as effective in killing dust mites in carpet, bedding, and upholstery.

Vapor steam cleaners are often used in hypoallergenic environments because they do not require the use of additional cleaning chemicals, which results in better indoor air quality. Steam has been shown effective in combating mold, bacteria & viruses.
Steam cleaners are relatively new tools used for cleaning that do not require any chemicals. Here we have gathered some useful information for people wanting to know more about steam cleaners or people who are looking to buy one.

Two types of steam cleaners
There are basically two types of steam cleaners. The difference is based on how the steam is created in the apparatus.

Cooler but more humid steam cleaner, without a boiler.
This type will generate the steam without actually boiling water. This means that the steam will not be as hot as real steam but a bit cooler. On the other hand it will hold more water and therefore the steam will be more humid/contains more water.

Hot and dry steam cleaner.
The second type is a system that boils the water and thus creates a very hot steam, above 260 degrees Celcius usually. A boiler fed system creates a very low humidity steam, a so-called dry steam. These steam cleaners are therefore sometimes referred to as dry steam cleaners.

What kind of vapor steam cleaner should I choose?
The boiler fed system is likely best

  • The steam leaves less moisture on the surface. This means that the surfaces you clean dry much faster.
  • Boiler fed systems create much more heat than the non-boiler steam cleaner – steam temperatures over 300 degrees. Due to this excessive heat you need to scrub less and further the heat will sanitize as the high temperatures effectively kills germs and bacteria’s.
  • A little water goes a long way with a boiler fed system; one quart of water produces about a thousand gallons of steam.
  • Less moisture is left in the indoor environment, far better for those suffering from allergies.
  • No chemicals needed.

Portable steam cleaners (hand held steam cleaners)
Portable steam cleaner are made as smaller and more handy devices. The hand held steam cleaners are less powerful than the regular steam cleaners but also cheaper. The applications vary, but are generally for smaller jobs such as cleaning a stove for example.

There are many options for steam cleaning systems on the market today, truthfully I am not convinced it is worth the expense overall. It seems like it just adds a piece of complicated machinery to your cleaning kit when the cleaning really can be done using tried and true cleaning methods.  But no doubt steam cleaning is an environmentally friendly way to clean.