Quick Buyer’s Guide: Steam Cleaners
Steam cleaners are handy, multi-purpose appliances that can eliminate dirt and grime from carpets, upholstery and even floors, glass windows and tiles using heat, high pressure steam and moisture. In addition they can remove allergens, molds, bacteria, viruses and dust mites and also refresh fabrics. Every home should have a steam cleaner. It would spare everybody of having to opt for external cleaning services and waiting downtime. For countries with winter, steam cleaners are ideal for spring cleaning. Because it uses heat, it’s more hygienic to use than ordinary mops.
What are steam cleaners?
Steam cleaners are basically cleaning appliances. Because it uses steam, the area on contact quickly dries. Steam cleaners emit high-pressure steam that lifts unwanted stains. Very little water is used and temperatures range from 100-170 degrees Celsius. Due to their high heat, they are effective in killing bed bugs and dust mites and disinfect the surface at the same time without using harsh chemical detergents. Steam cleaners are therefore hypoallergenic to use. For better cleaning, vacuum the surface first.
Steam cleaners can be classified into three types: handheld, mop or cylinder. Handheld steam cleaners are the most compact among the three. They are portable and are best used for small-scale cleaning like tiles in walls, windows, upholstery and curtains. Mop steam cleaners are upright cleaners used primarily for cleaning floors. They have a larger water tank and can be used on tiles, laminate and wooden floors. Cylinder steam cleaners are the largest and heaviest of the three. They offer the longest steaming time but needs around 10-15 minutes to heat up. They are built with a long bendable hose, a handle and a nozzle where steam would come out.
Here are some guidelines to consider when buying steam cleaners:
The type of steam cleaner you need.
First you have to consider your needs. What would you be using the steam cleaner for? Would it be for your carpets, floors, upholstery or kitchen? If you are having trouble cleaning, ask yourself what needs cleaning the most. Maybe your kitchen tiles and windows are grimy and dirty. In that case, a handheld steam cleaner would be the best. If you have a lot of dust mites and bed bugs, then a cylinder steam heater or a handheld one would be the best. Handheld steam cleaners are most useful for refreshing and cleaning grills, windows, mirrors, upholstery, hobs and ovens.
Mop steam cleaners on the other hand are best for hard-sealed floors like tiles, linoleum, laminate and wood floors. It can also clean marble and stone floors and carpets well.
Cylinder steam cleaners are heavy duty cleaners that offer the longest steaming time. Although bulky, it can take the job of a mop steam cleaner or a handheld steam cleaner.
Consider your needs well. Also, think about the storage space each steam cleaner needs. Make sure to keep them away from children as the steam head can cause burns.
Weight, Water tank content, heating time and steaming time.
Handheld steam cleaners carry around 250 ml and offers around 8-10 minutes of continued steaming time per water tank content. That means, after 10 minutes of steaming, you have to let the handheld steamer cool down before refilling it. The instructions are always included in the manual upon purchase. Handheld steam cleaners take about 2 minutes to heat up and run on 900-1200 watts. The temperature does not exceed 150 degrees Celsius. Handheld steam cleaners are very portable and weigh only around 1-2 kilograms (roughly 2-4 pounds). They can also take the task of ironing wrinkled clothes or fabrics.
Mop steam cleaners carry around 250 to 500 ml and offers around 8-25 minutes of steaming time. Depending on the unit and manufacturer, mop steam cleaners take around 30 to 120 seconds (2 minutes) to heat up. The cord length is about 6-8 meters long. They run on 1200 to 1500 watts. It weighs around 2-3 kilograms. Some models offer variable steam control, meaning the user can specify how much steam comes out. Some manufacturers include a specially formulated detergent that can be mixed with into water tank. Make sure to purchase only the designated detergent to avoid clogging and build up. Mop steam cleaners with a V-shaped head can clean corners easily.
Cylinder steam cleaners can carry around 1-2 liters of water and offer around 40 minutes of steaming time per tank. Because of its size and water capacity, it takes 10-15 minutes to heat up. It runs on at least 1500 watts and the cord length is about 6 meters long. Like the mop steam cleaner, some cylinder steam cleaners uses a specially formulated detergent.
Different nozzle attachments are included in the box of steam cleaners upon purchase. They will accomplish specified tasks easier. Here is list of different nozzle attachments and their uses:
Scrubbing brushes – Each brush head have small holes where steam could pass through. These are suitable for cleaning stubborn grime and hardened accumulated dirt on tiles. They can also work for scrubbing away stained patches on carpets.
Squeegee – These are flat and smooth rubber blades that are used to clean glass specifically. Squeegees are not hard enough to scratch glass.
Scrubbing and cleaning pads – Cleaning pads are attachments on steam cleaners that are made from microfiber material that absorbs dust and dirt, unlike ordinary mops that just spread and push dirt away. They are washable and reusable. Cleaning pads are used best on hard surfaces. Scrubbing pads are a rougher version of cleaning pads for tougher grout and stains. Each unit model has its own kind of scrubbing and cleaning pad that can fit perfectly.
Steam Cleaner Ratings
Customers actually post their review of steam cleaners on their blogs or rate their purchase on a 1-5 star basis plus their comments and experience. Take time to research about certain steam cleaner brands and prepare to narrow it down around 3 options before visiting the home depot or appliance store. If the store allows it, test the unit before purchasing.