Steam cleaners are used to clean the floor, carpet and many more that quickly dry, clean and disinfect. The process is often effective enough to disinfect or even sterilize surfaces. Steam is generated in a tank that heats tap water at high temperatures to produce low-pressure water vapor and low humidity.
Some manufacturers call them to steam cleaners, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that most carpet steam cleaners don’t have steam at all. It’s a “dirty little secret” that advertisers use to sell you their products.
Take, for example, one of the best-selling “steam cleaners” on the market: the Hoover SteamVac carpet cleaner with Clean Surge. It looks like steam, but it’s just hot water and lots of hot air. Now, that doesn’t mean that this Hoover is a bad machine. On the contrary, this is one of the most popular carpets “Steam Vacs” you’ll find.
With over twenty-four hundred (2400) customer reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, it’s a huge seller. But like many other manufacturers, they are trying to appeal to buyers who are looking for popular eco-friendly products on the market – and some want to buy a carpet steam cleaner which uses real steam.
One unit that uses steam on carpets instead of hot water is the HAAN HD-50 Duo Steam Sweeper & Floor Sanitizer. This product will steam your carpet and sweep up the dirt. Many customers swear by it, but we see this product as more cosmetic in nature.
It will fluff and sanitize but we don’t recommend it for getting the deep-down dirt. It is a good buy for quick “touch-ups”. Just fill-up the tank and it’s ready to go in a few minutes. Always remember to vacuum before steaming – you don’t want to create mud.
This may all sound a bit confusing… steam–hot water… But hopefully, after reading our reviews and tips, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.
For more information on deep-cleaning solutions that are designed specifically for your carpets, read our carpet steam cleaner review here.
How Many Types of Steam Cleaners are There?
There are basically 4 configurations.
- Canister models
- Steam Mops
- Carpet Steam Cleaners
Canister Steam Mops
They use steam Cleaning in many ways and you should know that some models do certain jobs better than others. You will find all-inclusive systems that offer to do everything. These would generally be the canister steam cleaner models.
Our research tells us that these types of multifunction steam cleaners really do clean and sanitize many household items quite well depending on the power and temperature of the steam produced.
Remember that most machines with attachments or extensions may produce 240º temperatures at the source, but by the time the steam arrives at its destination, it will lose a few degrees. For a list of what canister steam cleaners are good at, see our cleaning list below.
These machines are designed to use hot steam to lift off stubborn dirt from hard floor surfaces including marble, granite, stone, and ceramic tiles. Some linoleum floors and tiles, however, need special care when steaming.
There are also some hard-floor steam cleaners that vacuum (or sweep), as well. Many Steam Mops will work on carpets – but they really just clean up some surface stains.
Steam mops that have their water heaters at the head of the unit like the Eureka Enviro. It will deliver much hotter steam than machines that have their heating units further away. Beware of too much heat on surfaces that may warp – read your instruction manual for details.
Carpet Steam Cleaners
We prefer to call them hot water extractors. This cleaner uses hot water and detergent to clean the carpets deeply. Similar to commercial machines and rental products, hot water is pressure sprayed deep into the carpet fibers with mixed-in detergent and then sucked back into a separate tank for dirty water. Along the way, brushes revolve to clean the carpet fibers. Generally speaking – no steam is used.
Handheld Steam Cleaners
These units are small and look like plant sprayers with long snouts. They are great around the kitchen and bathrooms for quick clean-ups. We narrow down the real winners of the war on dirt in this review: Hand Held Steam Cleaners.
Why Should I Use A Steam Cleaner?
There are several benefits to using a steam cleaner.
- Firstly, they sanitize very well and will kill bacteria, bed bugs, and other germs quickly! And if you have pets – they are really handy to have around. You’ll have a leg up on your dog whenever there’s an unpleasant accident. And older dried urine is history when you pass some powerful steam over the area.
- Another huge reason to use steam cleaners is that they are super Eco-Friendly. No harsh chemicals are used. Just good old H2O which spares the environment and saves you big bucks since you don’t need to buy detergents, solvents, and other unhealthy toxic solutions. And if you are sensitive or allergic to detergents, smells and other cleaning products – steam is a blessing.
Where Should Steam Cleaners Be Used?
Most often, you will want to use a steam cleaner on hard surfaces. This is where they really shine. They are a definite must-have to clean:
- Wood Floors
- Ceramic Floors and Tiles
- Bed Coverings
- Hard-to-reach areas
- Grease and Grime from handles, knobs, and vents