How Steam Cleaners Work?

How Steam Cleaners WorkA steam cleaner is an appliance that cleans by using dry vapor steam. It is used to sanitize, disinfect, and remove stubborn stains on both hard and soft surfaces. Some of the most common items that are cleaned using a steam cleaner include a sealed floor, grout, tiles, carpets and upholstery.

Steam cleaners are good at disinfecting and sanitizing because they functioning involves the generation of extremely hot vapor. This vapor is capable of killing fungus, bacteria, and mold as well as many other allergens.

How they work?

The steam cleaner works by converting a liquid into vapors, which leaves the machine through a nozzle at a very high pressure. This vapor is very hot with temperatures as high as 3600F and pressure of 150 psi. These conditions are responsible for loosening dirt on hard and soft fibers. Once the dirt has been softened, it is easy to wipe it away or use a vacuum cleaner to remove it. The amount of water in a steam cleaner is approximately 5%, which is way below the percentage of water present in the breathing air. This property makes the steam cleaner the best option for cleaning soft fibers such as carpets and upholstery because it will not leave them oversaturated.

Components of a steam cleaner

The main component of a steam cleaner is the boiler. It is the reservoir in the steam cleaner from where the water is heated to be converted into steam. There are very high levels of temperature and pressure in a boiler to facilitate the conversion process. This explains why the best quality steam cleaners have boilers made of stainless steel. Inside the boiler, you will find the powerful heating element, which is responsible for heating the waster to convert it into vapor. This component is replaceable so that you can easily find a spare when it breaks down instead of purchasing the whole unit, which can be expensive. The capacity of a commercial boiler can be as high as 14 liters.

The other important component in a steam cleaner is the refill tank, which is a non-pressurized reservoir of water which enables you to add water to the boiler without having to stop the machine. It is an important component because if it happens to be missing, you will have to stop the machine every time you run out of the water. And, you have to wait for approximately 20 minutes for the water to heat up once you have refilled the boiler.  Alternatively, there are those machines that have automatic refilling capabilities whereby a direct water feed connects them to a separate water outlet. 

Some steam cleaners are designed to work with cleaning agents and detergents. Such steam cleaners have a detergent tank that holds and dispenses these chemicals. Some of the steam cleaners, especially the commercial ones have detergent tanks with capacities of up to 20 liters. It is also possible to find a steam cleaner that also features a vacuum cleaner. Such equipment is pretty good at boosting productivity because they save you the time you’d spend using a towel to wipe the moisture and residue from the surfaces.

The steam cleaner package includes a number of accessories such as brushes of different shapes and sizes, as well as towel clips and squeegees and microfiber towels. It is worth noting that these accessories would not be necessary if your steam cleaner has an integrated vacuum cleaner. One thing that you should bear in mind is that steam cleaners cannot be used on surfaces that are made of pressed paper, cardboard or surfaces that have non-enamel paint because they will be damaged by the steam.

If you are sold on the fact that you need a handheld steam cleaner, you can read our review of all the latest and best models here

Video explains how Steam Cleaner works.

About the Author Jess Cartwright

Hey, I'm Jess. I'm a beauty therapist turned part time personal trainer. I specialise in helping people become the best versions on themselves. In doing my previous jobs I have gained a wealth of knowledge which I can share with you through the products I recommend.