Our home is the center of our lives. That is where we spend the most of our time. That is where we like to gather around with our family for a nice Sunday roast or to watch a football game with our friends. The most important thing is to feel comfy and in a safe environment.
Of course, one of the main task that you have to do to get the feeling of a cozy home is having it cleaned. Tidying your house is never a funny thing to do, hell, it's a bummer but it has to be done and you feel so but better after it (even proud sometimes).
The thing is, to get everything done, you need a whole lot of gear and products. So often, even the thought of it is usually a drag and gets you to postpone the chore to another time. Well, there is a solution and that solution is using a steam cleaner.
They are so versatile and can clean a great range of surfaces such as hard-floors, carpets, windows, bathtubs... There is also a another great perk that come with it, the only product that you need is water! Indeed, there is no need for chemical products that means that you won't need to buy any floor cleaner ever again. Apart from allowing you to save some money on the long run, it is also a very good way to get your ecological habits on by avoiding all the products that we use to buy that are so hurtful to our world. One small step for your home, one giant step for our planet..
To help you choose from all the different styles and brands of steam cleaners that are out there, we have rolled up our sleeves, got our hands dirty to test them out and give you in this article those that made the cut and are for us the best that you can find.
Ok, so to understand clearly why steam-cleaners are such a good choice when thinking of purchasing cleaning equipment, you have to understand where it comes from. As surprising as it sounds, using steam cleaning at home is very recent
At first, the best ways to clean carpets were either to hang them on a rope against a wall such as you do to dry your clothes (minus the wall) and hit them with a staff to get rid of dirt and dust. As for the stains so only way was to shampoo them. I leave to your imagination the hassle that it is to shampooing a carpet, rinse it off and dry it. Hard floor weren't a piece of cake either.
The idea of using steam to clean items only can about 150 years ago but it was only for professional cleaning. It was used in factories to clean machinery or in railroads since it was discovered that it is a cheap way to remove oil and grease.
Steam cleaners back then were massive and could not be reduced to be used at home. During the great depression and WWII, carpets became luxury so the needs for innovation in that area decreased until the 1960's when it made its come back. Bill Wisdom made one of the first portable carpet steam cleaner with restaurant style coffee pots sitting on a base that rolled on four tiny casters. After Steamatic® improved the system. Other brands such as BISSELL® (home of the first female CEO of America!) also had their take at it.
The steam mop was first envisioned by Romi Haan in 1998 in South Korea. But the technology that we use today mainly comes from Itlay and was developed with the same system that can be found in expresso machines .At that point, it was not only thought for carpet but for any surface. That is why some High top brands comes from this very country. It is only in the late 1990's early 00's that steam cleaner made a real entrance into our houses and will soon become a inevitable item of our cleaning cabinet with Karcher being now the most renowned of them.
First of all, if you are in a hurry and want to know which one is the best steam cleaner, that can adapt to any sort of house, whether is it an apartment or a big home, look no further, the Bissell 1940 Power Steam Mop is for you.
Let's take a look at the specifics: it is 6 lbs and has an adjustable handle both these features makes the Bissel mop effortlessly maneuverable all over your house. It is corded with a length of 23' so that you can cover a large surface at once. This one is also very practical, you simply plug it in, add the water in the container easily accessible, and in 30 seconds, you're good to go. Note that you can refill the tank at any time while you're cleaning.
The Bissel mop combine a steam cleaner and a vacuum cleaner. Therefore, while it renders your floors as shinny as new, it also gets rid of all the dust, crumbs or pet hair that lay on the floor. It can be used as a regular vacuum or a regular steam cleaner, it is up to you and your needs of the moment. With the SmartSet digital, you can control how strong the steam can get (from low, medium, to high).
Very versatile, I tell you! It also sanitize your floors which eliminates 99.9% of germs and bacteria. It is perfect for people who might develop allergies, or if you have a baby around. It comes with several accessories such as pads with a micro ban antimicrobial protection built into for an even more efficient cleaning. Cherry on top, if you miss the good ol' smell of a fresh floor cleaner, you can add the included Spring Breeze Fragrance scented discs in the mop and your house will be filled with a lovely smell. Seriously, this one has everything you need and is one of the best in the market.
Now that we have covered the overview of steam cleaner, let's get a bit technical. As said before, steam cleaners came into our home very recently and was before used for professional cleaning. So it had to be adapt to be home-friendly. Basically here is how a regular home steam cleaner works.
You pour water into the tank of the machine. It is then heated under pressure up to a point of boiling which is around 230F°/110C°. A steam vapor comes out of the head and it is as simple as that. It does not require any chemical products and uses very little moisture (around 4%).
This system allows you to clean materials such as stainless steels because vapor can go into micro pores and can penetrated cracks and crevasses that you usually can't reach. So with this you can rest assured that any part of the area you're working on is actually cleaned.
Thanks to the heat and pressure, it kills most of the bacteria on the spot. It is only an example because with a big range of accessories, you can use a steam cleaner on virtually any materials. Moreover, since no chemicals need to be used, as well as helping you save money, it is very eco-friendly.
This is also one of the reason steam cleaner get (rightfully) praised nowadays. It is also perfect for people with any kind of allergies or asthma. If you have a baby, you surely want to have a clean home and be sure that the cleaning product won't do any harm to it.
While there is several different system enclosed in a steam cleaner such as Compressed saturated steam, Instant non-saturated “steam”, Boiler saturated dry steam and Comprehensive integrated super saturated steam, they basically all work on the same pattern explained above.
What may also differ is the machine itself. Indeed there are different designs each of which are aimed to be used for specific purpose.
The smallest ones are the handheld steam cleaners. As you may imagine, these ones are not designed to be used on floors or very large surface but come nonetheless very handy. It is a very good alternative to the other style of steam cleaners of which we are going to talk about later and also if you don't have enough space to store it. Indeed they can be used on areas that gets messier such as the kitchen and the bathroom.
Moreover, since this rooms tends to be smaller, you can hypothetically use them on the floor of them. With a handheld cleaner you'll spare yourself the hassle of scrubbing the grout or any mildew, and deposits left over from water in your shower. Same for the dirt around or on your tap. It comes in very efficient to clean parts of your kitchen like the oven or microwave oven. The steam cleaner are also very efficient on widows, and glass-typed items.
This types of vapor steam cleaner have about 5-10% of the water in the steam which leaves cleaned areas close to dry right after the cleaning process. That allows you to easily clean part of your house that are often overlooked. For instance doorknob or frames on the walls that you usually just dust off. For the parents, you can use it to clean your children's toys without worrying about chemicals products or even allergies. Keep in mind that you can also use them outside your home. For example you can use it in your car in parts very difficult to reach such as the air vents.
They can also be used on car upholstery as long as you vacuum afterward to make sure that moisture does not linger and make damage. As you might have understand, this kind of steam cleaners cannot entirely work as a replacement for your whole cleaning process, even though it can take the role of several of them it is also an addition (well you'll still need a real mop for most of your floor).
One of the most common type of steam cleaner, the one that you can find easily is the Upright/ steam mop. Well, you guessed it, it mainly destined to your floor. Basically, they look like an upright vacuum cleaner except that instead of a dust container, there is a water container.
Compared to your usual way of cleaning that is to say vacuum/ broom and moping the floor, this kind of cleaning is so much more effective, it uses less water and leaves your floors dry faster. It actually sanitizes your floors instead of just erasing the stains that are visible a leaving a lot of microbes afterwards. You have to keep in mind that you mop is probably already packed with microbes and dirt.
When you use a steam cleaner, the head of the machine is covered with a sock that can be washed to prevent any of this problem. As for the specifics of the machine: the average steam mop weighs around 9 lbs (4 kg) but some can go down to half this weight. The amount of water in the tank can go from 200ml to 500ml, depending of the model you choose. It usually needs 1-2 minutes to heat it up. In any case, the vast majority of the steam cleaners can be refilled while in use.
The cord ranges from 4m to 8m long. It is important to note that while some are only usable on floors, a lot of them can be also used as a handheld steam cleaner. For instance, some can be dismantled to be turned into a smaller piece and use them on other surfaces.
Others have an added hose and multiple accessories to clean other parts of your home. Some of them can also can be combined with a vacuum cleaner but we will see that later. The price range is relatively variable, depending on which model or brand you choose to go with.
The canister models of steam cleaners are the more 'ancient' ones. When you think of this kind of cleaning machine, this is probably the image that pops into your mind. It is divided into two parts: the handle/tubes and the body on wheels.
Firstly, that means that you don't have to carry the whole machine, it is just following you. Unless you have a lot of stairs, but then you might want to go with an upright mop. Secondly, it also means that the whole machinery is bigger which usually means more power.
For instance the Steam Pressure (Bar) is around 3.5, a kind of steaming power that you cannot find in the two other models described above. Thirdly, and it is probably the most striking difference with the upright models is the amount of water you can put into it. For most of them you can at least pour 1L of water into. Now, there is two sides of it: having such an amount of water means no need for refilling mid-cleaning, but it also means more waiting time up to 8 minutes for some but most of them require 3-4 minutes. Thanks to their long hoes, you can reach high parts of your home as well as cleaning floors, kitchen appliances, bathrooms... They also come with some very handy accessories that facilitates the tidying up of your home to the hardest places to clean. Canister steam cleaners can easily be used outside the house. For instance inside of your car but also the outside like the very greasy hubcaps or bugs-covered windshield. While you might think that they're probably the most expensive kind of steam cleaners, they actually are not. Some are relatively cheap.
The last part of steam cleaners are the combination of vacuum and steal cleaners. Most of them come in the form of a steam mop even if there are some that are canister. Obviously, the main perks of this is the fact that instead of buying two pieces of equipment, you only need one. Think of all the money that you can save. But that is not the only one, the fact that you only have one machine also means that you don't need a lot of space to store it. For instance, you save yourself the need for having to put in a cabinet a vacuum cleaner and a mop, but also all the products that you need for cleaning. The last thing that this kind of cleaning machine will save you, and this is probably the most important: time. Appart from the Monicas of our lives (Friends Tv show reference, if you didn't catch it), we all know one, no one likes to spend hours on house-working. so any minutes you can spare doing anything else than that is a minutes well-spent. Owning a vacuum steam cleaner allows you to work on one room to another in one shot. Not to mention the time you need to buy all the cleaning products for your home. As for the specifics, they are no less powerful, than a regular mop cleaner, but they can be a bit expensive since it is a very recent evolution of the steaming cleanery.
Now let's take a quick look at the accessories that come with most of the steam cleaners. Firstly, there are the heads. You get brushes, small, medium and regular, for the mold in the bathroom, the grease of the oven of even the corners that are hard to reach. You also get pads, such as a microfiber steamer cloth for retaining dust and the dirt of stain. You can also find scraper pads for the die-hard stains. They can put on a carpet glide for you floors or on nozzle. You can also get extending hose as well as a squeegee attachment for your windows or mirrors. For the pouring of the water you'll find a funnel and a cup to measure it and fill your tank without making any mess. These are just the basic accessories that you'll find in almost with any steam cleaner. There are a lot more that depend on which brand you choose, which form of steam cleaner you get.
So now that we have shown you the different types of cleaners, let's make a pause and see what makes cleaning with steam a real step forward compared to usual ways of cleaning. Considering purchasing a clean steamer is a very good idea and could make huge improvement in your home for three main reasons.
Beforehand you must know that you are not alone in your home. There is a multitude a little bugs and microbes hanging around your house which you cannot see. You can also find dust mites, mold, pollen, fleas, dander, and other allergens and irritants or bed bugs.
While there is no need to go completely paranoid about this, no one wants that in their home. It can create allergies, diseases, create damage in your home. A lot of them are really hard to get rid of with a regular cleaning.
Usually, when we clean our home, it looks clean, smell good, but did we really got rid of all these nuisances? Well, to be straightforward, no. Unless you use highly corrosive products, it is likely that a lot of them still linger. That is the first reason why you will want to get a steam cleaner. With its high heat, it can kill a lot of them.
Also, steam can get in places where nothing else can go. For instance, it can go into deep crevasses and pores of your floors. It then kills the bugs and lift dust and any residue that gets trapped into the microfibers of the pads. It is therefore so much more efficient and no more of a hassle than using a mop and a bucket. Even if you think that it is longer to set it up (which it isn't) it requires way less efforts to use. Plus it uses less water for the same amount of space.
Secondly, there is no need for chemicals. We know it was already mentioned but it feels important enough to be said again to emphasize it. Surely you won't have to buy cleaning products again which is in itself a nice idea but it implies much more.
The fact that you will no use any of these product means that your house and your whole environment will be much more safe and healthy. If you have children, you won't be afraid again that it will get hurt any way or another.
Whether it is the fear of seeing it swallow chemicals from the forbidden cabinet or because you don't want him crawling on all fours on a freshly chemically-washed floor, you can just forget about these fears. Lastly, the fact that is requires no other product than water makes it extremely eco-friendly.
Now that you are probably convinced by the idea of getting a Steam cleaner, you need to narrow down your needs (and wish!) in accordance to your house and the way you are going to use it.
Firstly, let's see your house. Is it an apartment? Is it a big house? And what type of floor do you have? If you have a apartment (unless it is a big penthouse) you might want to go for the handheld steam cleaner of the upright one. If you have a house, and most likely a garden, cars, garage.... You might want to go for a canister. It takes a bit more space to store it and a bit more time to set it up but it is really worth your while. Not only can it be used on floors but also on a whole lot range of different surfaces.
Any hard surfaces really, from your kitchen, your bathroom, your bedroom windows, to you living room, spare no place. Your car can also be cleaned by steam cleaners. For hard floors such as hardwood, laminate or vinyl, a regular Steam cleaning mop would do the trick. Again it depends on your surface.
Remember that you should always check the handbook to know if the machine you got can be used on your surfaces materials. The steam of your machine combined with the pression will go into any cracks, crevasses of you floors, the a ‘dry’ steam that is produced will lift dirt and grease off you floor and end up on the pad placed over the carpet glide in microfibers.
Any stain on such a surface will not last against the joined forces of the pad and steam. Such a system is also perfect to clean widows inside as well as the usually very hard to clean outside windows.
Another room into which steam cleaners come in very handy are kitchen and bathroom. Any room where water is often used really. Indeed, between the shower and the sink, it is really hard to avoid mold and dirt to encrust in the grout and tiles. It requires so many chemicals and a lot of effort to get rid of those (let just say that sometimes we just give up). With a steam cleaner, the tasks becomes so easy. Not that with the right accessories, any steam cleaner can do this, it is just a matter of power. The more mold there is, the more power you need.
Now, most of the steam cleaner (again, check handbook) can also be used on Upholstery. Usually, it requires a professional to dry clean your carpet. If you want to do it at home, well, bring on the shampoo and the elbow grease, trust me, you are going to need it.
So, if you choose to get a steam cleaner that means that ultimately, it is going to be cheaper than a bi-annual professional cleaning and you will also be able to do it more often which can only be for the best. It can be used on couches, for the OJ stain spilled by your little ones or the greasy traces left by a Tv dinner whatever it may be, you'll get it off.
It can also be used to sanitize your mattresses and get rid of any bed bugs or allergens in there. The seats of your car are usually on the front row when it comes to getting dirty. Again, a good steam cleaner could get rid of any spilled coffee. Little plus, any of those will work perfectly to very fast unwrinkled and refresh a shirt if you're in a hurry.
So you see, a good steam cleaner can be used on pretty much everything so it is up to you how you want to use it. If you only want to use it in your bathroom/ kitchen and on small stains, you should go with a handheld cleaner.
It will be easier to use, take less time, as well as less space to store it. But if you ever want to do a bit more cleaning with it, it will soon be frustrating to have such a small piece of equipment. The best compromise is the second choice, the upright steam cleaner. You'll be able to get all your floor cleaned and if you choose well, you'll also be able to clean your bathroom kitchen appliances.
Finally, the canister steam cleaner is the one that will cover everything in your house, from top to bottom. It also applies well to large surfaces, due to its large tank. Lastly, it fits perfectly to (almost) everything outside of your house such as your car, pool side appliances... One of the important thing to do is to check the accessories because it is what will help you efficiently clean you house. A decent amount of well thought accessory can go a long way.
We must also note that it is likely that you are probably note alone in your house, which implies different things. Firstly, note that steam cleaner are perfectly adapted for the pet owner. Since steam cleaner sanitize the place, you won't be worried anymore about pets bringing back dirt, microbes or any bug that they usually happily carry around with them. There is one thing that you should take care of though, is all the pet airs around your house. It might damage your steam cleaner. The good option if you have a hairy dog/cat is to get a combination of vacuum cleaner and steam cleaner.
If you have children, a steam cleaner is also a very good purchase idea. You'll avoid your babies/ children to go near any chemicals, whether it is on the floor, in the cleaning cabinet. You can easily and very efficiently use it on their toys (that often end up on their mouths) without any worry. Their bedroom will also benefits from a steam cleaner. It will effortlessly clean it and rest assured that your child won't develop any allergies thanks to the lack of chemicals and the erasing of allergens.
To (almost) conclude with the list of things that you have to consider, let us not forget about the precaution that are to be taken for almost any home appliance. This criteria may vary from one model to another.
Think about the energy usage of the product. We know we said that steam cleaner are ecological, but if you choose to get a massive one, the power that it needs might surprise you.
Take also a look at the mobility, that is to say, the weight, the measurements, the wheels, the length of the cord, the length of the hose as well as the noise that it can make.
Some of them are pretty noisy. Lastly, take a look at the reputation of the manufacturer and what kind of warranty it can offer (you know, we never know what might happen).
Alright, the only thing that we haven't really gotten into yet is the price. As you may imagine, since there is a large range of models, there also is a large range or prices from the cheapest to quite high ones. Several things come into account for the price of a model, mostly the brand and the type of steam cleaners.
Obviously the canister steam cleaner and the more versatile ones won't be the cheapest. The ones that can be put into this category are mostly the handheld steam cleaners from regular labels. The ones that offer a quite satisfying products while the amount of accessories might be in some cases a bit disappointing. But on the overall can provide a very decent job if you use it only for some parts of you house. Some mop steam cleaners can be in that category as well. Those that you will find are here are the ones that are not combined with a vacuum cleaner and a very small amount of accessories.
If you want more, you might be asked to pay a few bucks more. If you ready to do that, you might want to go straight to the mid-range products that are usually the mops and handheld with an important number of accessories. Mops cleaners that combine a vacuum cleaner. You will also find canister steam cleaner. Moreover, it is usually from brands that you can rely on and that have a good warranty policy. We know we really emphasize on the accessories, but as said before, it is what will help you make the most of your machine. The most expensive ones are from high end brands and canister steam cleaner that are very close to being professional.
Well, here is a roundup of pretty much everything you need to know to get the right steam cleaner for your home. We tried to give you all the key points that you need to consider before making the big step. As a matter of fact, once you know everything that steam cleaner can do, it is up to you to narrow down your needs, the ones of your family and home. It also needs to be in accordance with your envy and why you think you should get a steam cleaner. We hope that this reading has been helpful to you. You can check out for anymore explanations on our web site or see what we think of the steam cleaner that are currently on the market.