When it comes to spring cleaning, everyone has a trick or a gimmick. We here at Think Crucial tend to go with one particular tip. If you’re going to clean, go at it full steam ahead. We’re talking of course about using a dry steam cleaner to tackle all the caked on grime that seems to resist all normal manner of scrubbing.
Steam cleaners are amazing powerhouses with the ability to lift up and loosen pretty much any organic material, no matter how caked or stubborn it may be. In general, there are two types of steam cleaners. The first is a cool steam machine. These types of cleaners produce steam without heating the water. This makes the steam have higher moisture and makes them less effective at cleaning. Cool steam is also ineffective for sanitizing surfaces. The type of steam cleaner that you want for real cleaning power is a dry steam cleaner. These cleaners heat the water past boiling, which provides its own pressure through the cleaner’s nozzle.
If you’re an allergy sufferer, depending on the type of allergies you have, a steam cleaner can alleviate a lot of your symptoms. That’s because the steam kills dust mites, mold, and other organic irritants. The moisture also locks the debris in place until you can wipe it up with a cleaning cloth. That ensures that the stuff that makes you sneeze isn’t being thrown into the air.
If you have hard water, make sure you’re using a steam mop with a hard water filter. Otherwise, use distilled water to avoid excess scale buildup on your mop’s heating coils.
What Can You Clean With a Steam Cleaner?
Dry steam cleaners can be used on almost every non-porous hard surface. Think porcelain, tile, sealed wood floors, and countertops. You shouldn’t use steam cleaning on surfaces that can absorb moisture. That includes drywall, marble or other porous stones, unglazed tiles, or unsealed wood. You also shouldn’t use steam to try to clean cardboard, delicate fabrics, or anything with a water based paint.
However, once you get past where you shouldn’t be cleaning, you will start to realize that everything else is ripe for the cleaning and disinfecting power of steam. Best of all, steam doesn’t use chemicals to sterilize, so it’s 100 percent green. On top of that, items cleaned with steam are safe to be handled immediately (when cool) by pets, toddlers, and yourself. So, how do you make the best use of your steam cleaner?
Tip #1: Lawn Mowers and Grills
It’s almost time to break out the two quintessential pieces of equipment for spring and summer: your grill and your lawn mower. Both of them probably could use a thorough cleaning after last year, and your steam cleaner make cleaning both of them easy. The hot steam will cut through the remnants of last year’s cookouts with ease. Just run a wire brush over the metal grates and watch the years of residue melt away.
For your lawn mower, the hot steam will loosen all the caked on grass, making it easy to get the underside clean as a whistle. Additionally, the hot steam will make cleaning the engine block and upper side of the deck a breeze.
Tip #2 Steam Clean Your Permanent Filters
A lot of filters these days are washable and reusable. Some are even permanent. And think of where you have filters in your home. Now think of when the last time you gave them a good cleaning was? In particular, if you have a range hood with a vent, the filter there could probably use a thorough scrubbing. A clean range hood filter will let the vent fans stop working overtime to keep your stove clear.
Remove the filter and take it outside, laying it on some old cleaning towels or rags. Blast the steam through one side, and wipe it clean. Then flip it over and give the other side the same treatment. Toss the dirty rags in the laundry.
You can also use your steam cleaner to clean the filter in a window unit air conditioner. Be cautious with other types of filters, however. If the filter is made of paper, using a steam cleaner will only end in disaster.
Tip #3: General Cleaning Tips
The kitchen is where your dry steam cleaner shines. If you have burners or burner catch trays that you’ve given up on because they have so much stuff caked on, your steam cleaner will clean and polish them until they’re almost like brand new.
Steam clean your cutting board, letting the steam sanitize the board. Use a clean cloth to wipe the board after you’ve steamed it.
If you have a freezer that needs defrosting, a dry steamer will make quick work of that. On the refrigerator side, any produce bins or door shelves will benefit from a blast or two of steam to give them a thorough cleaning.
Keep in mind that your dry steam cleaner does heat the water up past boiling, so you need to take the appropriate safety precautions. Wear goggles and long sleeves and long pants when cleaning with steam. As well, don’t spray the steam on yourself, pets, or loved ones.
Make sure you have plenty of washable and reusable steam pads on hand. If this is the first time you’ve steam cleaned your house, you’ll likely go through six pads getting everything clean. But because they’re washable and reusable, you can make sure you always have a clean mop pad on deck, ready to help you sanitize and disinfect your house.
To get you started on your spring cleaning, check out our room checklist right here.