How Do I Steam Clean And What Equipment Will I Need?

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Steam cleaning has many advantages over cold scrubbing or dry vacuuming, but the choice of machines is as large as the many applications it is best suited to.

Here we unpack the what, why and how of steam cleaning machines.

What are the benefits of steam cleaning?

Steam Cleaners are used by many professional cleaning companies in commercial workplaces, kitchens, care homes etc for good reason.  Not only is the high heat good for killing microbes, spores, germs and viruses, but steam also makes it much easier to clean oily or greasy surfaces where plain water just won’t cut through.  As a catalyst, heat enhances the performance of cleaning chemicals – meaning less cleaning solution to achieve the desired hygiene result, and steam even destroys viruses without the need for harsh chemicals.

Steam is a proven way to disinfect and even sterilise hard surfaces and fabric, according to microbiologist Dr Peter Wilson.

For a deeper dip into the science of steam sterilisation, see this article from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

What are the best uses for steam cleaning vacs?

Cleaning hard-to-reach places:

Steam Cleaners are great for hard-to-reach places, where the steamy vapour can penetrate around and behind components; for example in machinery, ovens, engines etc.  Hot steam also helps loosen and lift ingrained dirt, oil or baked-on deposits.

Fabric cleaning and textured surfaces:

Textiles such as curtains and clothes are another popular application for steam cleaning; steam can penetrate into the fabric without completely soaking it, saving drying time.  Steam is good for preventing/removing creases in cloth and is more gentle on fabrics that are prone to damage through prolonged water contact.

Hot Steam cleaning is a good consideration for intricate items and areas where scrubbing is not possible or advisable.  It penetrates into porous and textured surfaces, breeding grounds for bacteria and mould.

Disinfecting soft furnishings and hard surfaces:

Similarly, the penetration, inherent spore destroying and anti-microbial action of steam make it a great addition to carpet and upholstery cleaning machines.  Steam carpet cleaning uses less water, resulting in quicker drying times and faster re-occupation of rooms.

Chemical-free cleaning:

As steam is such an effective cleaner, users that are sensitive to detergents might benefit from less or no chemicals being used.  This can be better for the planet and environment too, cutting down on waste plastic packaging and water pollution risk.

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What is the best professional steam cleaner for my task?

Which steam cleaner you should choose depends on a number of factors;

Heavy duty or light duty cleaning work?  Light duty commercial cleaners make good-quality heavy-duty domestic cleaning machines that last.  Factories, schools and warehouses might require heavier-duty models.

Mobility and detailing needs; are you mainly cleaning wide open-plan floors?  Or have stairs, car interiors, or site-to-site cleaning needs?

Stack of machines or one that cleans it all?  You can buy machines that only produce steam but vacuum steam cleaners will do a better job as they suck up the dirt and debris that the steam loosens.  They can also be used in vac-only mode and often have water extraction modes for heavy soiling.

  • What is the material to be cleaned; carpet, upholstery, oven appliances, clothes etc
  • What stains/dirt is most likely to be encountered?
  • Are you looking for a commercial cleaning machine? Industrial or commercial steam cleaners are best for quicker task completion and heavy-duty use in the workplace – saving you money long-term.

Commercial heavy-duty domestic/light duty commercial machines like the Elsea Steam Wave will take care of all your steam cleaning plus vacuuming (wet or dry) needs in homes, hotels and retail stores.

The Ivo Athena is ideal where mobility is important, coming packed with a dozen different tools for detailed cleaning of carpets, windows and hard floors. Cleancare is always happy to advise on professional, commercial and workplace cleaning options.

Elsea Poseidon is an industrial grade, all in one Wet extraction vac/ Dry vacuum steam cleaning machine that is fully HACCP compliant.

For reliable disinfection, sanitation and deodorising in care homes, healthcare settings, leisure centres, food factories, pharma industry, and other HACCP-controlled facilities look no further than the Elsea Steam Plus Ozone cleaning machine.

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What to look for when buying a professional steam cleaner for work?

Boiler power; for efficient steam cleaning you’ll want a good speed of initial steam production and enough steam supply for sustained cleaning.  Around 900 watts is a good boiler power.

Single tank or twin tank?  A twin boiler means no downtime waiting for steam regeneration as one tank heats up whilst the other is in use.

Working pressure: a higher pressure means deeper and faster cleaning, 4 bars or greater is good for commercial cleaning.

Vacuum power: check it has a powerful vacuum that will pick up dirt from carpet piles and hard-to-reach gaps.  Is it single or variable power?  Compare models and ask the supplier for advice on your particular needs.

Tank capacity: A larger tank will save trips to fill and empty. Waste/dirty water tank size is of particular point as typically the disposal point is further away from the freshwater supply.

Machine size and weight: Commercial cleaning machines will likely be heavier than cheaper machines designed for light household use, especially when tanks are full.  Caster wheels compensate for this, although if you need to navigate stairs or steps – or transport the machine by car then look at portable steam vacs, like the Athena

Has this post cleaned up your questions, or muddied the waters?  Phone us now for personal advice on choosing a steam cleaning solution for your organisation’s needs.

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