Is Steam Cleaning Effective? (Solved)

When it comes to cleaning, the most effective and efficient methods are generally preferred.

That’s because all of us dream of living in a squeaky-clean house, but few of us want to spend all of our time and energy keeping it that way.

No wonder there’s so much interest around the idea of steam cleaning!

But is steam cleaning the solution you’ve been looking for? Read on to find out. You’ll learn all about this cleaning method, including how effective it is and whether it can remove mold from the carpet.

Is Steam Cleaning Effective?

Steam cleaning appeals to many people because it uses heat in place of chemicals. In that sense, it’s one step toward a less toxic household environment.

Beyond its eco-friendly qualities, what people want to know is whether steam cleaning is really effective. Can heat work just as well as powerful chemicals when it comes to cleaning?

The answer is yes, believe it or not, but only when it’s used correctly.

In fact, steam cleaning has the ability to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria, which you’ll agree is an impressive figure!

What’s more, it achieves this quickly. That means steam cleaning isn’t just effective; it’s also efficient.

Steam cleaning works by using vapor molecules to force out all the dirt from substances. Thanks to the intense heat generated by the process, bacteria don’t stand a chance.

That’s right – you can get rid of bacteria and germs using nothing more than good old water.

It doesn’t work on absolutely every surface, though. Steam cleaning is effective for household surfaces like hardwood floors, mattresses, countertops, and glass, to name a few.

However, you shouldn’t bother trying to steam clean laminate or unsealed floors. The steam could actually warp these surfaces, doing much more harm than good.

Whether steam cleaning is the most effective approach or not really depends on what you’re trying to clean.

Is Steam Cleaning The Same As Dry Cleaning?

Dry cleaning and steam cleaning are both effective methods, but they have some differences between them. Let’s look at these differences when it comes to cleaning a carpet.

When you steam clean a carpet, you first perform a pre-vacuum to get any dry soil out of the carpet. Dry cleaning your carpet also requires you to do this.

Next, in a steam clean you will use a steam cleaner to apply hot water at high pressure to your carpet. You then extract the water, pulling the dirt out with it.

A dry clean is different. Instead of using hot water, a mixture of dry-cleaning solvents and water is applied to the carpet.

These dry-cleaning solvents are powerful enough to break down oil and grease for a deep clean.

There is another step to dry cleaning, where cotton pads are positioned under a rotary machine and spun around to release all the broken down dirt from the carpet.         

What’s convenient about dry cleaning is that it leaves your carpet… dry. Within an hour you should be able to walk on it as normal.

In comparison, steam cleaning takes a lot longer for your carpet to be completely dry again.

Because both dry cleaning and steam cleaning have their benefits, some people combine the methods for an incredibly comprehensive carpet cleaning.

Is Steam Cleaning Better Than Shampooing?

Before you decide which method to use, you need to know the advantages and disadvantages of each.

First, consider the positives of steam cleaning. What most people love about this method is that it only requires water. This is an environmental benefit.

At a time when many of us want to reduce the chemicals in our homes, this should be considered a serious plus point.

Secondly, although the drying time for steam cleaning is longer than dry cleaning, it’s generally less than the dry time required after a carpet is shampooed.

Because of the intense heat applied, steam cleaning can be used to eliminate pests. If you have fleas and cockroaches in your carpet, they won’t survive the process. Either will their eggs!

Next, let’s examine the advantages of carpet shampooing. One benefit is that it’s very accessible. You can find carpet shampoo in almost every hardware and department store.

There are also many variations of carpet shampoo available. If you’re driven to make positive changes for the environment, more eco-friendly options are available.

Carpet shampooing also definitely offers a deep clean, and it’s a convenient method for regularly cleaning your carpet.

We’ve covered the pros, now let’s think about the cons! It could be argued that steam cleaning is less effective than carpet shampooing when it comes to removing stubborn stains.

Unlike carpet shampoo which can be applied by amateurs, steam cleaning is usually a professional service. This comes at a cost.

Carpet shampooing also has its disadvantages. It uses more water than a steam cleaner does, believe it or not! So that doesn’t make it very environmentally efficient.

You’ll also find that a carpet takes a long time to dry after it has been shampooed.

Bearing in mind that both methods have their highlights and their drawbacks, you have to choose the cleaning approach that best suits your situation.

If you need to clean your carpet very regularly, for example, if you have pets or young children, you might prefer carpet shampooing as this can be performed easily at any time.

A carpet that requires less frequent cleaning, on the other hand, would be ideally suited to a professional steam cleaning service.

What Does Steam Cleaning a Carpet Do?

A steam cleaner produces steam which is applied to break down and remove dirt and stains. To do this, they need a boiler – where the steam is created — a tank, and a steam vacuum which is used on the carpet.

Although steam cleaning is meant to reduce chemical usage, you may choose to add detergent to the tank to make the process even more powerful.

Steam cleaners require constant refills of water as they run. Industrial steam cleaners do this automatically from a water feed, increasing their efficiency.

You can use a steam cleaner on many different surfaces, but they’re especially effective on carpets. Not only will they remove dirt and stains, they’ll also eliminate bacteria and germs.

This is achieved through the steam vapor which deeply penetrates carpet fibers. Dirt is loosened then vacuumed away using  high pressure.  Afterward, carpets should look fresh and clean.

Steam cleaning can be a very quick method of cleaning a carpet thanks to the fast-acting penetration of the vapor.

Carpets also dry relatively quickly after a steam clean, and that helps prevent the onset of mold that comes from moisture.

Do Steam Cleaners Remove Mold From The Carpet?

Mold is a terrible thing to have in your home. It’s not just unpleasant; it can also be dangerous for your health!

The good news is that you can keep mold at bay by using a steam cleaner.

Because of the extreme heat generated by a steam cleaner, it’s actually one of the most effective ways to kill mold in a carpet.

However, this only applies when steam cleaning is performed properly.

A good general rule is that a carpet should be exposed to at least 12 seconds of steam cleaning to eliminate the vast majority of mold present.

Remember, steam cleaners can be used on other surfaces besides carpet too. That means they can remove mold from a range of likely locations.

If done correctly, the steam cleaning process is generally more effective than applying bleach to mold. Bleach may make mold invisible on surfaces, but steam cleaners can actually kill it.

Does Steam Cleaning Kill Mold Spores?

What’s amazing about steam cleaners is that they not only kill mold spores, but they also make it less likely for mold to develop in the first place.

How do they achieve this? By ensuring that carpets dry more quickly after a deep clean.

After all, mold is generated in moist environments. If carpets are left wet for a long time, there’s more chance of mold and mildew. Nobody wants that musty smell from their carpet!

This is why many people who are concerned about mold spores choose to use the steam cleaning method on their carpets.

There’s no question that steam cleaning is a highly effective cleaning method with many advantages in comparison to other techniques.

Having read this article, you’re now totally equipped to decide whether steam cleaning is the best cleaning method for you.

First, decide which surfaces you’d like to clean, remembering that steam cleaning is ineffective on laminate flooring. Then work out how often these surfaces need to be cleaned.

With this information, you’ll be able to make the right decision about steam cleaning for your household.

by Lisa Wilson

Without the internet, Lisa would never have discovered upcycling. She used wisdom from other people’s blogs to begin her upcycling journey, then she started writing her own!