Vapor Steam Cleaners have become a preferred cleaning tool for many people with allergies, asthma, and chemical sensitivities. By comparing steam cleaning with the traditional methods of cleaning (chemical cleaners) while keeping in mind the reason WHY you clean, it becomes a little easier why steam cleaning is the simpler, healthier, and in the long run, the more cost effective choice.
1. Chemical-Free Cleaning
Since the only ingredient needed to use a steam cleaner is water and heat, cleaning and sanitizing your home has never been more environmentally friendly. After all, does it really make sense to make a sandwich on a counter-top that's been sprayed with poison? Not only do you eliminate chemical residues in your home, making it a safer place (especially for children and pets who practically live on the floor), but you also help the environment by reducing the amount of chemicals that get washed down the drain and recycled back into our water supply.
2. A Whole New Level of Clean
While you'll still need to put in the effort, the results after using a steam cleaner surpass the conventional method of solvent and sponge. Since steam deodorizes and sanitizes with heat and moisture, debris is removed thoroughly and quickly, leaving a chemical-free clean and making your job easier. From bathrooms to basements, for large surface areas like tile floor and counter-tops, carpeting, upholstery and even barbecue grills, there are attachments for every area of your house. You'll end up cleaning things you've avoided for ages.
3. Spend Less Money on Cleaning Supplies
You will never have to decide on lemon or pine scent again! You'll never need floor polisher, glass sparkler, oven cleaner, tile blaster, or the bald guy in the white t-shirt hanging around again (for those who didn't get that reference - Mr. Clean). You won't even need those sweaty rubber gloves to protect your hands from solvents. Owning a steam cleaner means owning one exceptional cleaning and sanitizing product for many of your cleaning needs. What will you do with all the extra money? What will you do with all that extra space?
4. Hunt Down & Eliminate the Trickiest, Nastiest Culprits
Bacteria, viruses, and mold may not be detectable, but they are potentially some of the most hazardous pathogens that can result in irritations, allergies, and infections. When a steam cleaner is used, the tiny hot vapor molecules penetrate the pores of a surface, and as they come in contact with the cool surface of the pores, they expand and force all dirt, debris, and bacteria to the surface. Vapor molecules are so hot that they are not only able to extract pathogens like E. Coli and Salmonella from surface pores, but also kill them. Good-bye infectious enemies!
5. Kill & Control Allergens like Dust Mites
The sun pours in, and there are little "things" floating in the stream of light. No, it isn't mood lighting; many of these airborne particles are some of the most prolific allergy triggers in the home - the waste matter of dust mites, second only to pollen in causing allergic reactions. Using a steam cleaner regularly will remove these microscopic, sneeze-inducing pests for good. Some allergic reactions translate into asthma (which is on the rise among children), but studies show that avoiding allergens in early childhood can prevent the onset of asthma. Using a steam cleaner is a great way to keep everyone in your home healthier by eliminating these allergens from your mattress, pillows and upholstered furniture.
6. Kids & Toys
Steam cleaners can help transform a germ-ridden, odoriferous nursery into a sparkling clean, chemical-free baby sanctuary. Toys, especially those that are shared with other children, are notorious germ traps that are more than efficient at attracting a host of bodily fluids. A steam cleaner will kill any lingering guests after a play date filled with sneezes and runny noses.
7. A Pet Lover's New Best Friend
Just because you have a pet, your house doesn't have to smell like one. A steam cleaner will eliminate eau de dog, sanitize birdcages and aquariums, and spruce up the litter box area so you needn't hold your breath as you walk past. The high-temperature heat kills fleas, their eggs, and their larva. Using a steam cleaner will eradicate these tenacious pests without the use of harsh chemicals.
Dust Mites: What You Don't See Does Hurt You
Dust mites, the irritating cousins of the tick and spider, feel quite at-home in your home, or more specifically, in your mattress, upholstery, rugs, carpets, quilts, pillows, and stuffed animals. In these soft, plush environments, dust mites feed on flakes of dead skin shed from humans and animals. These critters then leave behind their waste matter - a major allergen and asthma trigger. Here's some simple math for you: a single dust mite deposits up to 20 droppings a day, and the average bed is infested with millions of dust mites. You're in bed an average of eight hours per day, so you're side by side with an enormous amount of debris that can make you feel as though you haven't been in bed for eight hours.
So what does this have to do with steam cleaning? Well, in the same way that steam kills fleas, steam will obliterate dust mite colonies in your mattresses and carpets. Regular steam cleaning followed by vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum to pick up the allergenic debris will make a significant difference in your home's air quality and most importantly, your family's health.
Steam Cleaning 101 Questions
Why should I use a steam cleaner instead of my usual cleaning products?
Let's equate the use of infant skin care products with the use of solvent cleaners around the home. The healthy maxim is to avoid applying anything on baby's skin that the little one shouldn't ingest. Now take that concept and think about how your body comes in contact with chemicals that are used on the surfaces around your home: furniture polish lingering on the dining room table, floor cleaner residue that attaches itself to bare feet, the ammonia used throughout the bathroom. So, would you rather absorb these nasty chemicals, or have contact with the only thing a steam cleaner needs to operate - pure, clean water?
If keeping your family chemical-free is not enough to convert you to the virtues of steam cleaning, think about how your shopping list will shrink. After your initial investment in a steam cleaner, there will no longer be a need to buy the dozen or more cleaning products that line the shelves in your laundry room or sit under your kitchen sink. You'll no longer need to stand transfixed in the cleaning aisle, wondering which "New & Improved" product will do the best job because you won't need them. No creams, no powders, no floor cleaners.
Using steam is healthy for our planet, too. Chemicals used in cleaning products, more often than not, get washed down the drain - like the big bucket of dirty water mixed with floor cleaner, or the blue stuff that swishes around your toilet. And where do they end up? They end up in a few different places - like in our water supply, threatening waterways and the wildlife that depend on these areas for sustenance; some are even hormone disruptors that don't biodegrade. Environmentalists estimate that an average household's cleaning products contribute about 8% of total non-vehicular emissions of organic compounds, which not only pollute the air, but also cause eye, nose, and lung irritation, as well as rashes, headaches, nausea, asthma, and, in some cases, cancer.
Your steam cleaner will restore dirty tile and grout, get rid of baked-on grease in ovens or on barbecue grills, and reach grimy, out-of-the-way spots that most people dread to even consider.
How does pressurized steam work as an everyday cleaner?
When steam is forced onto a surface, the very small vapor molecules penetrate pores in the surface. The vapor molecules quickly and powerfully expand to force out all dirt, grease, detergents, bacteria, and basically any particles that don't naturally belong on the surface. The added bonus is the high temperature of vapor molecules, which kills bacteria and other pathogens like mold, fleas, flea eggs, and dust mites. The result is a surface that is sanitized, deodorized, and hypoallergenic. A thorough job of cleaning also means you won't have to work as hard the next time around!
Steam cleaners sound like complicated machines. Are they easy to use?
They're so user-friendly that once you understand the basics, it's as easy as using a vacuum cleaner. Here's how it works: You pour tap water into the stainless steel boiler tank or cold water reservoir. With the turn of a dial, the water in the boiler is pressurized and heated for six to twelve minutes (depending on the model) until it reaches a temperatures over 200 degree F and the right pressure to create pure, "dry" steam. During this brief start-up time, you connect the most efficient combination of attachments to the main hose for the job at hand. Just like a vacuum!
With all models there is a wide variety of attachments and brushes to choose from, but with help from our Accessory Guides, you can easily find the perfect combination for your specific cleaning task. In time, most steam cleaners will need to be descaled since minerals found in water can build up inside the boiler systems. This is simply done by running a mixture of water and vinegar through the system then flushing a second time with clean water. Similar to how you would clean your coffee pot if you have hard water. Beyond this, there is little required maintenance.
How versatile is a premium steam cleaner?
You can clean nearly everything in your home with a steam cleaner. (Do not use a steam cleaner on paper products or unsealed hardwood floors!) You CAN steam clean the following without harsh chemicals:
- tile floors
- sealed hardwood floors
- laminate flooring
- pet areas
- work-out rooms
- barbecue grills
- shower floors
- toilet bowls
- children's toys
- stuffed animals
- blinds (non-fabric)
- car wheel rims
- car interiors
How long will my steam cleaner last?
Constructed with only the best materials, most quality steam cleaners are designed to last for many years. This is not a disposable cleaning tool! Some units have aluminum water tanks that tend to oxidize, compromising the integrity of the tank. So try to look for models with stainless steel tanks that will not pit or weaken. Steam cleaner warranties range from just a year or two to up 8 years for some models.