Household Steam Cleaning: Advantages and Disadvantages

Steam helps to remove stubborn stains during household cleaning. The method is practical and effective.
Household Steam Cleaning: Advantages and Disadvantages
Leidy Mora Molina

Reviewed and approved by the nurse Leidy Mora Molina.

Last update: 10 March, 2023

Steam cleaning is a great ally in battling stubborn dirt and grime. These machines are more advanced than conventional cleaning methods because instead of spending hours trying to remove stains, you bring the appliance closer and let the steam do all the work.

Steam washing technology also disinfects and helps to eliminate bad odors, a feature that adds points to the decision to get one of these appliances. They do not require chemicals; nor do they involve the physical effort of degreasing with a cloth.

How can you take advantage of the steam cleaning mechanism? We’ll tell you in this article.

The usefulness of steam for household steam cleaning

According to the explanation in the Concept Encyclopedia, steam is a phase of water that’s produced when it changes from a liquid to a gaseous state during exposure to a temperature close to boiling point. It has no color or odor, but is usually perceived as white and cloudy once it’s interspersed with tiny water droplets.

The usefulness of steam in cleaning is evidenced by its ability to erase complex stains and remove viruses, bacteria, and mites, especially on carpets, clothing, and furniture. Apart from textiles, steam also helps to sanitize corners that a broom or mop doesn’t usually reach.

It’s also considered an environmentally friendly method because it performs its functions without the use of chemicals. There are dry and hot steam cleaners, whose activity consists of heating water and producing gas at a temperature above 90 °C.

There are also wet and cold steam cleaners, which do not boil water. The difference with the previous ones is that, besides requiring more liters, due to the cold they emanate, they are not designed to eliminate bacteria or fungi.

Be careful! Do not steam-clean cardboard, paper, antiques, or painted surfaces.

How to carry out household steam cleaning?

Steam cleaners are easy to use. In addition to being an intuitive mechanism, the basic rule is to follow the instruction manual so that the system works effectively.

It’s recommended that, before you start cleaning your home, you carry out a small test to familiarize yourself with the device. Select an area, activate the operation, approach the nozzle, and move it a few centimeters away from the surface.

For best results, it’s advisable to vacuum the area a little and fill the machine’s tank with hot water. This will speed up the boiling process. If you wish, you can put some mild soap or baking soda in the tank.

Limpieza de ropa con vapor de agua.
The mechanism has been used for cleaning clothes for a long time, with very favorable results.

The advantages of steam cleaning

There are several outstanding advantages of steam cleaning devices. Here are some of them:

  • Reach: The steam reaches difficult spots, such as corners and under furniture, due to the force with which the gas is expelled.
  • Versatility: Perhaps their most recognized function is to degrease, but they also remove dust, serve as an iron, sanitize tiles, and deodorize.
  • Power: The strength of these machines is their main attraction when removing stains. There is often dirt that refuses to leave textiles, ceramics, walls, and even kitchen appliances, but steam can help dislodge it easily.
  • Sustainability: Since it only needs water, this has become an environmentally friendly device. Traditional cleaning tends to be accompanied by chemicals that are hazardous to health and pollute the environment.
  • Savings: The speed of the device is important to accomplish all the scheduled tasks and free time. As for money, it certainly implies an initial investment, but you will then have a useful device for cleaning almost any surface.
  • It helps alleviate allergy symptoms: With the high temperatures, the steam attacks dust mites, fungi, and bacteria, reducing allergy symptoms. According to the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, house dust mites are the cause of allergies in more than 10% of the general population. Ninety percent of allergic asthma sufferers are sensitive to these arachnids. For its part, the University of Michigan Health recommends steam cleaners to eliminate dust mites.

The disadvantages of steam cleaning

Although the benefits of steam cleaners are competitive, it’s pertinent to expose the disadvantages they bring with them. One has to do with steaming time and temperature.

While heat kills pathogens, Consumer Reports claims that holding steam for 10 minutes on tile or mosaic floors will break them down. And if you use them under wood floors, you could warp them.

Let’s look at the other disadvantages:

  • Size: Portable models are available, but some steam cleaners are so large that they are tiring to handle.
  • Price: They’re not as budget-friendly as a regular mop and require a water tank refill every time you clean.
  • Moisture: There will always be some moisture and you need to remove it. Failure to do so will produce a bad odor and enhance the proliferation of fungi.
  • Speed: If you don’t fill them with hot water to start sanitizing, you have to wait for them to heat up.
  • Risk of burns: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points to water vapor as one of the main causes of scalds. To avoid accidents, it’s best to protect your hands with gloves.
Ácaros que causan alergia.
Dust mites are responsible for many allergies. With steam, it’s possible to combat them.

What you should keep in mind

To take advantage of all the benefits of steam in home cleaning, remember to read the manufacturer’s advice in detail. Also, make sure to use safety equipment to minimize the likelihood of accidents.

Last but not least, use the cleaner in the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms on sealed surfaces such as vinyl and ceramic tiles. It also works on curtains and mattresses. Other weak materials could be harmed by the heat.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.