/ Home & Energy

Is steam cleaner hype just a lot of hot air?

Everyone’s talking about steam cleaners right now, whether it’s about the way they make floors spotless or how they fight to kill off germs. But is the hype around steam cleaners justified by their performance?

In the last year, the steam cleaning market has boomed. But what’s getting everyone all steamed up? Are people tempted by the promise of cleaning without the elbow grease? Or is it the claims that steam cleaners can banish bacteria and make your home more hygienic?

From cleaning ovens to removing carpet stains, steam cleaners promise to take the effort out of cleaning a range of household grime. And by using steam, it means they can be effective without chemicals, saving you money on buying cleaning products.

All puff and no punch?

But having lab-tested 28 steam cleaners on sticky jam, soap scum, caked on mud and dried pasta sauce, only six became Best Buys. We found that some of the worst performing steam cleaners didn’t make cleaning any easier than if you’d done it by hand, with some models leaving water everywhere.

There are different types of steam cleaners and accessories, so it pays to make sure you choose the right one for the job you want to do.

So what of the claims that steam cleaners can effectively kill germs? Many manufacturers claim that their steam cleaners can remove 99% of harmful bacteria and, I must admit, the idea of killing all nasty bugs and making my home germ free is an enticing thought. Even more so as I live in a rented property where I’ve inherited most of the furniture; who knows how many dead skin cells remain from the previous owners? Yuck!

Banishing bacteria

But do steam cleaners really wipe out all bacteria? According to Allergy UK, there are a number of steam cleaners that efficiently reduce or remove allergens for the homes of those suffering from allergies and asthma.

And what happens if you miss spots, or don’t cover the area deeply enough? How much time do you need to spend on one spot? Is one minute, five minutes or ten minutes enough? Coupled with my inadequate cleaning abilities, I’m not sure I trust the power of steam enough to know for certain that all the germs are gone.

Having said that, after a quick online search for ‘bed bugs’, the gruesome facts and images I was faced with convinced me that anything’s worth a try! Have you been tempted to buy a steam cleaner? Or if you already own one, has it made the housework considerably easier?

Kirsten says:
13 August 2018

I’m thinking of getting a steam cleaner to steam carpets, furniture and dog beds etc to deal with fleas (as well as treating the dog). Would a domestic machine such as the Dupray One or One Plus work to kill fleas – adults, eggs and pupae? I’ve read several articles that suggest steam cleaning can do this, but that most domestic machines may not be up to the job. Should I buy a steam cleaner for this purpose (I’m less interested in getting one for general cleaning) and if so, which one?