general information on home steam cleaners home steam cleaners

General Information on Home Steam Cleaners

Discussing home steam cleaners is not a simple subject. There are many different types of cleaners available for the home and many different expectations of what these devices can do. So let’s dive right in and start digging through all the information….

Vapor Steam Cleaner vs. Regular Steam Cleaner

Firstly, you may of heard of devices called vapor cleaners or vapor steam cleaners. These are the exact same thing as regular steam cleaners. Vapor cleaners is more of a European term for steam cleaners, and the two terms are used to describe the exact same thing.

Expectations vs Benefits of Steam Cleaners

One of the biggest advantages of using steam cleaners for the home is that it sanitizes without using chemicals. By not having to buy chemical cleaners, we are not only saving money in the long run, but also saving our health and environment. Another advantage is that steam just naturally takes care of things that many chemical products just cant. For instance, steam is great at getting musty smells out of carpets (simply through sanitizing), something we try to do over and over with chemical products. The truth is, these chemical products just make our carpets more ‘sticky’ and attract even more dirt and pollutants, making them smell even more.

The biggest problems with steam cleaners is the expectations that home owners have with them. For instance, a person might buy a hand-held steam cleaner and then complain about how often they have to refill the water, or the fact that it gets heavy carrying it after a while. Since this is something they are using quite a bit for cleaning, it probably would have been better to get a multi-purpose steam cleaner, rather than a portable. Another complaint is with hard surface steam cleaners not picking up dog hair and large crumbs. But that is not what it is designed for – it is designed to sanitize the floor, not vacuum it. For those people, steam cleaners for carpet are a better fit.

It should be noted that only the carpet steam cleaners have any type of suction device. All other steam cleaners need to have the dirt wiped away. These units usually come with special brushes and cleaning pads. It is best to look for devices that have re-useable pads, as these can get dirty quickly and you don’t want to have to keep buying more.

Before purchasing any type of steam cleaner, really think about how you are going to use it. This will help narrow down your choices of the different types of cleaners available – then all you have to do is pick the brand you feel comfortable with.

Types of Steam Cleaners for the Home

Here’s where it starts to get confusing. There are 4 primary categories: hand-held, hard surface, multi-purpose, and carpet.

hand held portable steam cleaners Hand-held steam cleaner: Also known as a Portable Steam Cleaner and Hand Steam Cleaner. These units are, obviously, hand-held, and small. They have a smaller water tank than the other types, but are not typically used for long periods of cleaning. Think of these as spot cleaners. They are great for getting spots out of carpet and small kitchen and bathroom jobs.
hard surface floor steam cleaners Hard Surface steam cleaner: Also known as Hard Floor Steam Cleaner and Steam Mops. These types of cleaners look more like a mop and are geared to cleaning hard surface floors, from wood to tile to linoleum. They are also great at sanitizing carpets. These units do not pick up debris, like pet hair, but are great at sanitizing and removing dirt and grime from floors.
multi purpose function steam cleaners Multi-purpose Steam Cleaner :Also known as Multi-function, and Multi-surface. These cleaners try to do it all, and some do it very well. They will have a larger tank than the hand-held so they can clean longer between refills. They usually tend to have better pressure build-up and heat to really blast away problems. They are typically a floor unit with an extension hose for hand cleaning and a rigid pole for floor cleaning. Some complaints on inferior models is that they lose the heat and pressure through the hoses. Other models are the pride and joy of their owners.
carpet steam cleaners Carpet Steam Cleaners: While these devices excel at extracting stains and dirt, with the majority of them, you add chemicals to really clean the carpet deep down, and then suck up all debris and excess water. This is not really what steam cleaning is all about. Steam cleaning is about sanitizing without the use of chemicals. However, carpet is tricky to clean and these do a great job at deep cleaning the carpet. Some of these cleaners are also designed to be multi-surface, meaning they can clean hardwood and tile floors as well. If your house has many different types of flooring, then this device might be better than a hard surface steam cleaner.