Last Updated on January 10, 2023
Whether you’re looking to get the most out of your new steam cleaner or searching for an easier, more hygienic way to a cleaner home, you’re in the right place. But what can you clean with a handheld steam cleaner, you may ask? Well, here’s our guide to seven cleaning jobs that you can get done with your steam cleaner, without the need for any harsh chemicals or intensive scrubbing.
7 Things That May Benefit From Steam Cleaning
To prove how versatile a handheld steam cleaner is, here are some cleaning tips for certain household items known to be dust and dirt collectors, and how steam cleaning can be useful.
We spend about one-third of our lives in bed. All the more reason to make sure your mattress is in good condition. Expensive and often difficult to clean using traditional methods, your handheld steam cleaner is an excellent way to get your mattress cleaned.
Even if you have a new bed and use a mattress protector, you’ll still want to periodically freshen up your mattress with your handheld steam cleaner. It’s easy to do and thanks to the steam, it will dry in just a few hours.
First of all, double-check your mattress warranty before steam cleaning, as well as any tips or cleaning guide. Strip your mattress of all bedding and protection sheets, then give it a thorough vacuum. Start with your steamer on medium heat and steam from a distance to minimise heat contact. Slowly get closer and, if necessary, go over any stains several times.
Your mattress will smell fresher and be much more hygienically clean as the high heat of the steam will kill off any bacteria, bed bugs or dust mites that are inhabiting your mattress. Leave it uncovered to dry for several hours after steam cleaning.
Much like our mattresses, we also spend a lot of time on our sofas. Friends, family and visitors alike all use your sofa, and maybe even your pets, too. Dark sofas, in particular, can hide years of grime and if you’ve recently had a sick day on your sofa, you’ll definitely want to make sure it is properly cleaned and sanitised.
Not every sofa has removable covers and even those that do will still need their cushions and body cleaned from time to time. Using your handheld steam cleaner on your sofa is an excellent way to get rid of any stains, dirt, as well as kill any bacteria and mites.
Start by stripping off what you can from your furniture. Cushions, covers and throws can often go in your washing machine. Place large removable seat cushions to one side before you begin cleaning your sofa.
As always, you’ll want to vacuum thoroughly before starting to steam clean. Depending on your sofa fabric, set your steam cleaner to medium or high heat and clean its main body. If any of the mostly used areas, such as the arms, show quite a bit of wear – go over gently on these parts to avoid damaging any thin patches.
Once you’ve cleaned your sofa’s main body, move on to the seat and back cushions if they are removable. When done, leave the cushions to dry separately from the main body. If necessary, let it dry overnight with your heating on a little higher to ensure it dries thoroughly.
While you probably will still want to wash your curtains from time to time, steam cleaning is another satisfactory way to freshen them up with minimal fuss.
Like other types of soft furniture, we often don’t realise just how dirty our curtains get until it’s high time to wash them. Hence, we definitely recommend steam cleaning your curtains every few months. Not only will this help keep them looking good, but it is also an excellent way to keep your home smelling fresh.
Whether you’ve been cooking fish or been visited by a friend who smokes, your curtains will retain these smells, sometimes for months afterwards. Light coloured curtains are also easily stained and dust will affect the appearance of all shades.
Before you start steaming your curtains, shake them out thoroughly then draw them and vacuum to remove any dust. Brushing your curtains over with a lint brush will help to remove any static particles. Make sure that you are standing on a steady step ladder or chair before steaming your curtains, section by section. You could also use the floor extension pole if your handheld steam cleaner has one, with the upholstery attachment.
After you have cleaned all of your curtains, you may want to go back over any stained areas, especially where you tend to pull your curtains to draw them shut. Once you’re done, leave your curtains closed until they are completely dry.
Handheld steam cleaners are a highly effective way to sparkling clean windows. Versatile enough for both external and internal use, some models even come with special window cleaning attachments for convenience.
Dirty windows can really put a damper on your room, dulling your natural daylight’s intensity. Kids, pets and dust can all make for very dirty internal window panes, while the weather can severely reduce visibility, coating your panes with water spots, sand or dust. Using a steam cleaner for your windows is a fast, easy and environment-friendly way to clean, with no chemicals involved.
Set up your steamer and simply steam across your windowpane, starting on the top left corner and working your way across. Continue from left to right in rows until you have completed your entire window pane. Wipe it dry with a microfibre cloth. You may wish to place a towel or kitchen roll at the bottom of your window to catch any drops of condensation.
If you don’t have a self-defrosting freezer, you’ll definitely want to try defrosting your fridge with your handheld steamer. It is so much easier than using a variety of implements and a bowl of hot water. Even if your freezer does self-defrost, using a handheld steam cleaner is quite handy when deep cleaning.
Start by switching off your appliance, then remove your freezer drawers. Next, place a large container at the bottom of your freezer to catch the ice. With the small nozzle attachment in place on your steamer, direct concentrated jets of steam at the built-up ice. This will cause the ice to break up and make it effortless to remove.
Start at the top and work your way down your freezer sides, playing particular attention where your drawers fit. When you’re done, give it a quick wipe with a clean cloth and steam the inside and outside of the freezer drawers, too. You can also gently steam clean the freezer door and seals to ensure that you remove any traces of dirt.
While you’re at it, you can also use your steam cleaner to get your fridge sparkling clean and remove any stain from the shelves.
Looking for an easier way to get your oven nice and clean? Use a steam cleaner to quickly and effectively deal with dirty, greasy ovens. You could also use it around your hob.
One of the main complaints with using regular chemical-based oven cleaners is the smell. They also need to be left for an hour or so to work and they still require quite a bit of elbow grease. Not to mention all the time needed to remove residue and the risk to your skin, eyes and lungs with so many irritants.
Thanks to the heat and pressurised jets of steam from your handheld steam cleaner, you can easily cut through baked-on food and grease inside your oven. Use your handheld steam cleaner with a brush attachment for your oven shelves and trays, switching to the concentrated nozzle for stubborn stains.
Once you’ve finished steaming, use a cloth or scrubber to wipe down your oven interior and racks. One word of caution, don’t use the steam cleaner on or around your oven element as it could damage it and cause your oven to malfunction. As the element gets very hot, it is unlikely to have any dirt on it anyway. And, if it ever gets something on it, it will simply burn off with use.
Pet beds, pet cages, mattresses, carriers and crates all need regular cleaning. However, if you have large pet beds or accessories that aren’t easily machine-washable such as cat trees, you may struggle to get them thoroughly sanitised.
Especially useful if you have a flea infestation to deal with, or if your pet suffers from any skin problems, a steam cleaner provides a chemical-free solution, ideal for a regular cleaning routine.
Make sure that you thoroughly vacuum your pet bed first before using a steam cleaner to remove any dander, fur and dirt. You may also find it useful to give it a good shake and turn it inside out to reach the inner seams where dirt tends to gather.
Use a steam cleaner with the upholstery attachment on a high setting to clean your animal’s bed. Switch to a finer nozzle to clean out where the sides join the bottom for a thorough clean. Leave it somewhere warm to dry for a couple of hours before returning it to your pet.
Can You Use Chemicals With a Steam Cleaner?
No, you should never use any chemicals with a steam cleaner, unless they are recommended as compatible by your steam cleaner manufacturer. One of the main advantages of steam cleaners is their ability to effectively clean your home from dirt and grime, and kill germs or dust mites without any chemicals.
Not only is this better for the environment, but also for your whole household, especially young children and pets, as well as any allergy sufferers. Breathing in chemicals from household cleaning is a major danger for your health and should be avoided at all costs.
When used as directed, steam mops can kill over 99% of bacteria, so you won’t need to add any chemicals for routine maintenance cleaning. If you miss that “clean” smell of cleaning products, use an air freshener after steam cleaning.
Adding disinfectant to your steam cleaner will not only risk damaging it, but it can also produce toxic fumes or even an explosion. So, don’t be tempted to put anything other than water in your steam cleaner! For even better results, you may even want to use distilled water in your device, as tap water may often contain minerals that could cause limescale.
What Attachments Come with a Handheld Steam Cleaner?
So you can get the most out of your handheld steam cleaner, most manufacturers include various attachments for home cleaning tasks. Here are some of the most common add-ons handheld steam cleaners come with. Note that some models have optional extras that are available for purchase separately, as well as additional cleaning pads.
- Jet detail nozzle – for a highly concentrated jet of steam, ideal for small areas and intensive cleaning.
- Upholstery tool – used to clean soft furniture like your sofa or curtains, an upholstery tool is designed to cover large surfaces with a gentle mist of steam.
- Window cleaning tool – shaped like a traditional squeegee attachment, these wide flat tools make easy work of bird poop for smear-free, clean windows. They’re also great for grimy shower doors.
- Bent nozzle – good for cleaning tile joins, light switches and other hard to reach areas, some steam cleaners have a flexible hose attachment for greater reach.
- Scrubbing brush attachment – use the brush alone or with cloth covers over it to absorb dirt from carpets, grout lines, patio furniture, ceiling fans and other surfaces with steam power.
- Wand and floor nozzle with cleaning cloths – some handheld hot steam cleaners can also be used for cleaning floors. They have a long wand complete with a wide rectangular foot to which a cloth pad is attached. This is for removing dirt from your bathroom floor and other surfaces.
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Are Handheld Steam Cleaners Good for Bed Bugs?
Handheld steam cleaners are a good way to kill bed bugs and, importantly, their eggs. As you can pick up a decent handheld steam cleaner at a low price, if you are struggling to get rid of bed bugs, a steam cleaner makes a sound investment.
Bear in mind that while your steam cleaner will kill bed bugs and their eggs, it will only work on the surface and up to several centimetres deep. So, although you will still have to invest in a new mattress with bed bug proof covers, a steam cleaner is nonetheless an excellent way to kill bed bugs in and around your home, eliminating them from your curtains and other soft furnishings.
So, what can you clean with a handheld steam cleaner? Answer – a lot! The list doesn’t end here. Eco-friendly with no harsh chemicals, fast-drying and highly versatile, there are many ways to use your handheld steam cleaner to hygienically clean almost anything and everything in your home. From kitchen surfaces to kitchen floors, patio furniture to rugs, you can use these tools in every room.
Handheld steam cleaners heat up quickly and are highly portable, giving you greater flexibility. From your curtains to your freezer, mattress and sofa, there’s quite a lot that you can steam clean. Plus, your handheld device makes light work of traditionally intensive cleaning tasks, saving you time and effort.
Let us know if you have any tips for steam cleaning!
Kelly is an expert in consumer product research, which is very important when it comes to finding the most useful and aesthetically pleasing items for your home. This became her passion after finding it very time-consuming to wade through all the product information online.
She has a keen attention to detail which she brings to her articles, Kelly’s goal is to help you find what you need without spending too much time searching for it.