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How Does Steam Cleaning Work?

We are in the middle of a steam-cleaning revolution. This chemical-free cleaning technology won't just keep your home looking sparkling, it will also eliminate 99.9% of bacteria, germs, and even dust mites and other allergens. And they are more environmentally friendly too. With all these benefits and more, you might ask, "But how does steam cleaning work?". Let's take an in-depth look at this powerful and effective cleaning method.

How Does Steam Cleaning Work?

Dirt, grime, bacteria, grease, mould, and dust mites are the scourge of most people's homes. Yes, you can get rid of many of these using harsh chemicals and a bit of elbow grease, but steam cleaning provides a different solution.

All of these unpleasant substances are very small and they can work their way down into the tiny pores on pretty much any surface, which is what makes them so hard to remove. Many also have strong adhesive qualities which make the standard wiping down of a surface quite ineffective.

The basic principle behind steam cleaning is to use the cleaning power of high heat, moisture, and pressure. The high temperatures kill germs, bacteria, mould, and dead skin cells, dust mites (and will sanitise surfaces) and the pressurised steam forces stubborn dirt and grime out from the surface's pores.

How Does Steam Cleaning Work

How Does A Steam Cleaner Work?

So how is this high-temperature, moisture, and high-pressure steam cleaning achieved? It's quite simple really. Steam cleaning machines have a tank where water is heated beyond the boiling point. This creates extremely hot steam. The steam is forced out of a small nozzle which is what creates the high pressure.

There is no suction attachment because the high-temperature moisture dries very quickly. So steam cleaners work in quite a simple way and, better yet, steam cleaners require only water for them to work. This makes them an eco-friendly and sensible investment for any household. Steam cleaning makes cleaning a variety of hard surfaces easy without the use of harsh chemicals.

What Types Of Steam Cleaners Are Available?

There are a few different types of steam cleaners on the market. You can get canister steam cleaners, handheld steam cleaners, in-stick steam cleaners, steam mops, and more.

Handheld steam cleaners are the most cost-efficient types and canister cleaners are closer to commercial cleaning equipment so can do much bigger jobs. A steam mop is mainly intended as a floor cleaner and is less suited to cleaning other surfaces. The type that is best suited to you will depend on what type of cleaning you are looking to do.

Things to look out for when choosing a steam cleaner include:

  • Heat-up time - this can vary quite wildly. Some models can heat up in as little as 30 seconds whereas others can take several minutes. A quick warm-up time is perfect if you're busy and need to steam clean quickly.
  • Water capacity - how long you can steam clean for depends on how much tap water you can fit in the tank. A higher water capacity will allow you to clean for longer before needing to refill.
  • Attachments - most steam cleaners come with a variety of attachments that can be used for cleaning different surfaces and fixtures.
  • Heat limit - not every steam cleaner will heat the water to the same temperature. If you need to steam clean very stubborn dirt, baked-on grease, and other difficult stains then a higher temperature limit might be better for you.
  • Price - as with any other cleaning supplies and equipment, you often get what you pay for. But there is also no point in paying over the odds for something if your cleaning needs aren't very high. Finding a balancing act between cost and cleaning effectiveness is your best bet here.
Steam Cleaning

Where Does The Dirt Go When You Steam Clean?

When you use a steam cleaner for the first time, it can be quite disconcerting when you realise that the dirty water isn't being suctioned away. Where is all the dirt disappearing to? The answer is that it isn't disappearing at all. It stays right there the whole time.

When the high-pressure water vapour loosens dirt from the surface that you are cleaning, it does this by breaking down and diluting it so that it becomes suspended in the water. So the dirt doesn't go anywhere at all. It is still right there on the surface in front of you. It has just started floating in the water.

This is important to remember because if you don't take the next step when the water dries and evaporates, the dirt will be left behind again.

You will always need to manually remove the dirt after steam cleaning by mopping, vacuuming, or sweeping. Steam cleaning just loosens dirt and stubborn stains from the surfaces that they have adhered to. You still need to remove the dirt with traditional methods afterwards.

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The Steam Cleaner

What Can I Clean With A Steam Cleaner?

Steam cleaning is very versatile. It can clean a large variety of impervious surfaces. These include:

  • Sealed floors
  • Glazed tile floors
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Bathroom fixtures, showers, sinks, toilets, and baths
  • Carpets
  • Upholstery
  • Countertops
  • Grout
  • Ovens
  • Grills
  • Mattresses (the average bed contains a variety of allergens)
  • Glass
  • Knobs and handles
  • Dishwasher
  • Pet cages and beds
  • Children's toys (this sanitises them also)
  • Curtains
  • Fridge and freezer
  • Area rugs
  • Bins
  • Car interiors
  • Litter boxes
  • Mirrors
  • And more!

Steam Cleaning Bathroom 1

What Can't I Clean With A Steam Cleaner?

While you can use a steam cleaner to clean and sanitise a wide variety of surfaces, some materials definitely shouldn't be steam cleaned. These tend to be materials that would be damaged by excess water or deformed by heat and pressure.

  • Painted walls
  • Anything painted with water-based paint
  • Wallpaper
  • Laminate floors
  • Unglazed tile
  • Unsealed hardwood floors
  • Cork floors
  • Bamboo floors
  • Wool carpeting or rugs
  • Cold windows (they can crack)

Whether or not your flooring can be steam cleaned can be a little confusing. If you are unsure, get in touch with your flooring manufacturer and they will be able to give you the information that you need.

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The Steam Cleaning

Do Steam Cleaners Reduce Allergies?

If you are looking into getting a steam cleaner as a way to control allergens, this can be an effective method. Unlike chemical cleaning agents, steam cleaning will not just clean stains, it will also improve air quality.

The high pressure fully lifts the allergens from their tiny hiding spots so that they can be fully removed from the environment, even for upholstered furniture.

Contacting A Cleaning Company

Maybe you're interested in steam cleaning but don't want to invest in one yourself. Or you want the level of steam cleaning usually used for commercial cleaning or office cleaning, rather than domestic. Whatever your reasons for contacting a cleaning company to carry out your steam cleaning, the Cleanup Team can help.

We will bring a top-of-the-range industrial steam cleaner to your property so that it is steam cleaned to the very highest level. You won't have seen a deep clean like it for your hard surfaces, carpets, and upholstery!

And, better yet, you can sit back and relax while the professionals do the best possible job. Our cleaning technicians will also have other effective cleaning products with them if needed and they have the experience to identify which surfaces will tolerate steam cleaning and which won't.

Steam cleaners truly are the ultimate tool in cleaning while reducing your use of chemicals. Give steam cleaning a try today and you will never look back!

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