Helpful Tips

What can you use a steam cleaner for ?

Sunday 29th May 2016

Steam cleaners are an amazingly versatile tool that can be used for a myriad of cleaning jobs around your home. The high temperature of the steam is great for sanitizing surfaces and lifting away grease and grime. Even better, cleaning with water alone is great value for money and kind to the environment too. Here's our top ten uses for your steam cleaner, around the home and beyond:

1. Cleaning your oven and hob

Everyone hates cleaning their oven - shifting the baked-on grease and spilt food can be a real challenge. There are plenty of strong oven cleaning sprays on the market, but they are often quite toxic and fill your kitchen with a strong chemical smell. Using a steamer instead is a much more eco-friendly method and doesn't produce any nasty smells. Do be careful not to use the steamer inside your oven near the element though, as this could cause it to stop working. For the best results on glass oven doors, first use the steamer on a high setting with a brush tool attached, to help remove baked-on residue and grease. Then finish with a window squeegee tool to get a streak-free finish on the glass. A wire brush tool is best for cleaning metal racks, hobs and grill trays, but be careful not to use this on any non-stick surfaces as it will scratch. If you're not sure, test a small, hidden area first to make sure it doesn't damage it. If you have a scraper tool with your steamer, this is also useful for shifting layers of burnt-on grime.

Brush tools supplied with steam cleaners are ideal for freeing burnt-on food

2. Cleaning your barbecue

A steamer can make the messy job of cleaning your barbecue or grill rack a whole lot easier. Just be careful not to use it outdoors if there's a risk of rain, or bring the barbecue into a porch area, as steam cleaners are not designed for garden use or in wet weather. To clean your barbecue, treat it in the same way you would your oven, using the steamer's wire brush tools and scraper tools to remove any stubborn grease and burnt-on food.

3. Defrosting your freezer

If you're in a hurry to defrost your freezer, using your steamer is much safer option than attacking the ice with kitchen implements. The heat of the steam also sterilises the surfaces, so you don't need to use any detergent to clean them once the ice has been removed. First remove the drawers, place a bucket or bowl in the bottom of the freezer to collect the ice and then direct your steamer's main nozzle onto the ice. It should come away easily in big chunks, although you can use your steamer's scraper tool, if it has one, to give it a helping hand. Finally, wipe all the surfaces dry with a cloth.

4. Cleaning windows

When using a cloth to clean windows, liquid can often run down onto surfaces, and a less than complete job can leave streaks. A steamer is perfect, as it keeps the water on the window and away from you, and leaves a dry, streak free finish every time. Most steamers have a special window cleaning squeegee attachment for this job. Simply attach this tool and work methodically across your window in strips, working from top to bottom and overlapping and changing direction to prevent a striped finish. A top tip for the best results on dirty windows is to try draping a microfibre cloth over the squeegee and use the steamer on a low setting for an initial run over the glass. Then go over it all again without the cloth and with the steam turned up to a high setting. It's advisable to place a towel at the bottom of the window before you start, to catch any drips.

5. Cleaning hard floors

Steamers are great for cleaning tiled kitchen and bathroom floors, as they help to kill off the films of bacteria that a cloth and detergent can't always penetrate, guaranteeing a thoroughly hygienic finish. The hot steam is also very helpful for cleaning grout between the tiles. Many larger steamers have dedicated floor cleaning head, which you should use without the cloth for the best result on hard floors. Keep the floor head moving and don't hold it down onto any one area for too long, as this could damage the grout.

6. Cleaning sofas and chair seats

Most steamers will have an upholstery attachment that is specially designed for the job. Clip on this attachment and cover it with the supplied cotton cloth. Then apply steam to the upholstered surface, keeping it moving around so that you don't soak the material. The heat of the steam kills dust mites and helps lift stains. It is advisable to test a small, hidden area of the material before steaming, just to make sure that the colour won't run.

7. Cleaning curtains

Your steamer's upholstery tool and cloth can also be used for cleaning curtains. Do make sure to check the care label on your curtains, just to make sure they are suitable for steam cleaning.

8. Cleaning carpets and rugs

For cleaning large areas of carpet, the best tool is a dedicated carpet cleaner as these extract embedded dirt from deep within the fibres without the need for high temperatures. They are also very quick and efficient to use on large areas. However, your steam cleaner can be effective for spot cleaning smaller areas of carpet and rugs and refreshing the pile. You should always test a small hidden area of carpet before using the steamer though, as not all carpet types are suitable for cleaning at such high temperatures. Many steamers have a dedicated carpet attachment, which can also be used for carpets once the large cloth is attached. If you have a handheld steamer, use the upholstery tool with the small cloth. Keep the tool moving across the carpet and avoid holding it down or over-wetting any one area.

9. Sanitising your mattress

The high temperature of the steam produced by your cleaner kills dust mites, making it a great tool for cleaning your mattress, as these are notorious for harbouring dust mites. So this method is especially recommended if someone in your family sufferers from allergies. Use the steamer with the upholstery tool and cloth attached, making sure to keep the tool moving over the surface of the mattress so that you don't over-wet the material. Once fully steamed, leave the mattress on its side for a few hours if possible, to ensure it's fully dry before fitting the bed linen.

Your steam cleaner's detail tool concentrates the power of steam into awkward areas

10. Cleaning taps

It can be really fiddly to shift all the tiny bits of limescale and grime that get lodged around kitchen and bathroom taps, but a steamer is ideal for this job. Use the detail nozzle to apply the most concentrated blast of steam and it will lift away scale and dirt. Finish by wiping clean with a cloth