|As a way to truly deep clean your home, kill germs, sanitize and remove allergens, steam cleaners are a cleaning tool that can replace many of the items you already have in your closet. Despite their increased popularity and the utter glut of Shark steam cleaner infomercials, steam cleaners and steam cleaning your home is still misunderstood by many people. Here are some of the most common steam cleaner myths.
Steam Cleaners Aren't Good for Hardwood Floors
This is a partial myth. There are a variety of variables that need to be hammered out to answer that question for any given situation. What type of hardwoods do you have? How are they finished? What type of steam cleaner are you using on them?
Excessive heat or water can damage your flooring, but for durable finishes, steam mops and even most steam cleaners will work fine. As with anything, ALWAYS test in an inconspicuous area, and one of the best things you can do is keep an even relative humidity level in the room. This limits the expansion and contraction of the wood. It's not recommended to use a steam cleaner frequently on this type of flooring but occasional use with a model that has a very low percentage of moisture content in the steam won't likely cause any problems.
All Steam Cleaners Are the Same
This is a common misconception about steam cleaners. There are three distinct styles of steam cleaners - mops, handhelds, and canister style steam cleaners. Each are uniquely suited for different tasks. Beyond this, real differences can be found between the different brands of steam cleaners. Some steam cleaners, likeLadybug steam cleaners have patented systems that are EPA certified to actually disinfect your home. Commonly, these differences revolve around price, durability, where they were manufactured, water heating method, and features.
A Cheap Steam Cleaner Is Just as Good as a More Expensive Model
Again, this is another very common myth about steam cleaners. Steam cleaners are like any other home appliance and 9 times out of 10, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive models are often constructed of inferior materials, have a higher percentage of moisture in their steam, and typically do not hold up well beyond a year or two. Internal components, though impossible to see, largely determine the longevity of steam cleaner. So things like heating elements, boiler construction, and internal circuitry are more likely to fail sooner in less expensive models.
Steam Cleaner, Carpet Cleaner... Same Thing, Right?
Not even close. The confusion here often lies with people conflating two terms, steam cleaner and hot water extractor, commonly referred to as a carpet cleaner.
A steam cleaner heats water to the point of boiling, where it changes from a liquid to a gas. The actual water content of the steam produced by a quality steam cleaner is less than 10% and usually evaporates in minutes. Lastly, steam cleaners are not like vacuums. So, unless they have a special vacuum feature built into them, like theReliable EV1 Tandem, a steam cleaner does NOT suck up debris or moisture.
A hot water extractor heats water but never changes the water to pure steam. Hot water extractors are commonly used to clean carpets, and while this method does remove a great deal of debris that is embedded in carpet, it typically leaves behind a great deal of moisture takes hours and even days to dry. This can lead to possible mold issues in places where moisture becomes trapped, the humidity level is high or where the water does not dry fast enough. The easiest way to remember this is to think of a hot water extractor as a giant wet vac.
Steam Cleaners Are Great for Carpet
Steam cleaners are great, so that part is true. However, if you intend to use a steam cleaner on carpeted areas, you have to have some sort of carpet specific attachment (a carpet "sole") attachment. This is a smooth plastic tool that attaches to the floor attachment of the steam cleaner. This allows the steam cleaner to glide across carpeted flooring (instead of catching like the cloth towel or bristles floor tool alone would). Some steam cleaners still do not come with this attachment, and while a steam cleaner on carpet will sanitize and release odors, you still must vacuum right afterwards to remove any debris.
Steam cleaners are a wonderful green cleaning method that eliminates germs, bacteria, allergens, dirt and grime without the use of harsh chemical cleaners. Hopefully by dispelling a few of the common steam cleaner myths, we can help you make a better decision when you decide to begin cleaning for more than just appearances - but start cleaning for your health.