8 Different Types of Steam Cleaners

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Are you looking for the best steam cleaners to help you with your specific household chores? Look no further! Here we have 10 types of steam cleaners, like the handheld steam cleaner, steam mop, steam vacuum cleaner, cylinder steam cleaner, vapor steam cleaner, garment steam cleaner and more! Our compilation of different steam cleaners will help you choose the right one.


Steam cleaning

Steam cleaning is a common domestic appliance used for cleaning floors, cushions, carpets, etc. But this cleaning device supremely reigns above other cleaning house tools due to its ability to eliminate stubborn greasy spots, dust, and mites from floorings and coverings. While today, steam cleaners are quite a popular cleaning machine, it has not always been used so commonly by every home cleaner.


In the early 1800s, homeowners used to have servants to clean rugs and carpets with sticks and brooms. This was a taxing and time-consuming task with little to no effect in regards to removing ugly stains, dust mites, and mold. Around the 1830s, people came up with effective stain removal techniques such as using a mixture of lemon juice and a hot piece of bread to remove oily or ink spots from fabrics. It wasn’t until 1968 that Ives W. McGaffey discovered the first manual vacuum cleaner.

Known as the “Whirlwind”, this simple and light-as-air vacuum cleaner modified the cleaning method to a whole new level. Later on, inventors in the United States and Europe made several alterations to McGaffy’s steam cleaner’s design and improved the overall quality and affectivity of the machine.

Around the 1900s, James Spangler invented the first electricity-operated vacuum which was known as the “Model O”. The device consisted of two main parts – suction and a rotating brush that helped get rid of greases, grimes, and dust. In 1994, the Hot Water Extraction (HWE) method, also known as “steam cleaning” came about.  Since then, steam cleaning has become the most efficient ways to clean up tiles, grout, carpets, and upholstery. This cleaning method has become the most convenient carpet or flooring cleaning technique as it effectively removes allergens, contaminants, and mud from any type of floor or fabric.

If you are new to steam cleaners, then you may not know it that there are several of their kinds. By knowing their types, it will be easier to choose “the one” for yourself. Therefore, we have compiled common types of steam cleaners that every reader must be aware of.

Related: All types of appliances

1. Handheld Steam Cleaner
White Handheld steam cleaner

Just like any other steam cleaner, handheld steam cleaners are designed to remove dirt, debris, and all sorts of stains. By eliminating these unwanted germs from surfaces, handheld steam cleaners are able to get rid of harmful bacteria, viruses, bugs, and mites. This results in a cleaner and safer environment, lessening your exposure to life-altering allergies or illnesses.

Handheld steam cleaners are small and portable, specifically designed for easy and simple cleaning applications. For example, they can be used for sanitizing decorative pieces, upholstery, and different kinds of fabrics. Owing to their light weight and small size, it is easy to carry around and clean any fabric by holding it with your hand. It doesn’t feel too heavy and stays quite comfortable on your hand and wrist. All it requires is a cup of tap water to generate enough steam to remove all sorts of stains from carpets, rugs, cushions, and furniture.

You can also use a handheld steam cleaner for deodorizing your kitchen or bathroom countertops, eliminating all sorts of germs, bacteria, and foul odors. The cleaner easily reaches hard-to-reach spots such as corners, drapes, and underneath furniture. However, this equipment may not be the best choice for cleaning large spaces and may also not provide the same result as larger steam cleaners. Due to their compact size, it is super easy to work with these machines. It is also easier to store them when not in use. What’s also great is that it is one of the most affordable types of steam cleaners.

2. Steam Mops A Purple-Colored Steam Mop

When it comes to an efficient way of cleaning floors, homeowners tend to lean toward steam mops. Why is that so? There are plenty of good reasons. The working mechanism of steam mops is nothing less than sheer brilliance.

The mop consists of a reservoir inside it which heats up water to a temperature of nearly 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The steam-powered by the water reservoir trickles down to the mop pad which is attached to the mop’s head. In this way, the pad soaks up and helps cleaning dust and grime off the floor.

What sets it apart from traditional mops is the fact that it not only absorbs unwanted material from the floor but the steam’s heat kills off most of the bacteria, germs, and mites hidden on the floor. This characteristic makes the steam mop a sanitized way of cleaning.

Although it is quite easy and convenient to use steam mops, there are some general tips to keep in mind. Before you steam mop your floor, make sure that your floor isn’t littered with heavy mud or grit. To ensure that vacuum your floor first. Mop pads tend to get dirty over time which is why it is important to keep a stack of mop pads at home and change them as they get dirty.

Active families with playful kids and pets may require steam mopping frequently than those that have a few family members. However, before steam mopping is done, it is advised to deeply scrub the floor using vinyl. This will help your floor in getting rid of mud and litter.

3.  Steam Vacuum Cleaners

Steam vacuum cleaner

As implied by its name, a steam vacuum cleaner is a simple vacuum cleaner that produces steam to get rid of bacteria and germs from carpets, furnishings, floors, and upholstery. When using a steam vacuum cleaner, go through the instructions properly. Depending on the model you are using, there are a number of variations in every vacuum set.

Keep in mind that a steam vacuum cleaner functions with water. Fill the container with water in the steam cleaner, making sure not to pour water beyond its maximum level. You can also use special soap products to get rid of stains and leave a nice fragrance around. In order to make the steam cleaner work, you will need to plug in the steam vacuum cleaner to the nearest electrical source and as soon as the machine functions, rub it down on your carpet, rug or cushion that needs to be cleaned.

Repeat the process until all the coverings and floorings have been cleaned of all the dirt and debris. In areas that are plagued with stubborn stains, you will need to scrub it more and vacuum it for a longer time to ensure effective removal of those stains.

Once you are done steam cleaning your carpets or rugs, allow them to dry well before re-using them. It is best to keep them under the sun or fan to quicken the drying process. Before you keep your steam vacuum cleaner back to its storage place, discard the unnecessary water or soap from the container. Wipe it to dry it and then reinstall it back to the steam vacuum cleaner.

4. Cylinder Steam CleanerCylinder Steam Cleaner

Also referred to as canister steam cleaners, cylinder steam cleaners are known for their large size, bigger than the ever-so-popular steam mops and handheld steam cleaners. As the name suggests, they are cylindrical in shape and hence bulkier than other types of steam cleaners. Considering their heavyweight, it may be difficult to store and manage these cleaners and may require a professional’s assistance. That being said, there is nothing to be concerned about when cleaning your house with a cylinder steam cleaner as it is one of the most efficient tools to sanitize your house with.

The reason why it is so big in its size is because of its large water tank, connected with the unit. The larger tank is able to store heaps of water and helps the cleaner to cleanse the house in one go without having to refill the unit time and time again. This steam cleaner also consists of many kinds of attachments that are used for cleaning different surfaces and hence are quite versatile. Their versatility encourages the user to use the cylinder steam for cleaning not only floors but counters, curtains, closets, and even clothes. Unlike steam mops and handheld steamers, a cylinder steam cleaner can sanitize pretty much all areas, including all those nook and crannies!

As compared to handheld steamers or steam mops, the price of a cylinder steam cleaner is slightly over the top. However, the prices vary within different types of cylinder steam cleaners. Although these cleaning devices are higher in their price range, investing in them will be worth it.

5. Vapor Steam Cleaner Young man holding a garment steam cleaner in the living room.

Also known as steam vapor systems, these cleaning appliances use steam to clean dirty surfaces and to quickly dry them out. These appliances are often mistaken for cylinder steam cleaners due to the same uses and benefits they offer as of cylinder steamer. Since vapor steam cleaners come with a variety of features and attachments, they are able to clean all sorts of floorings, coverings, and objects.

The notable varying feature between a vapor steam cleaner and a cylinder steam cleaner is that the former uses heat instead of water for cleaning surfaces and objects. And since it provides dry cleaning, it doesn’t wet anything it touches upon. Homeowners are also not required to use detergents or other abrasive chemicals and still are able to get rid of harmful parasites and germs. However, the device requires excessive heat to ensure proper cleaning.

Vapor steam cleaners are ideal for large families that have kids and pets as the damp-free sanitization can prove to be less of a nuisance. It is also a great option for families that don’t prefer to wait for their floors or objects to dry out.

One of the downsides of these appliances is that they need a big space to store properly. Therefore, houses with limited space may find it difficult to keep vapor steam cleaners. That being said, vapor steam cleaners are the best cleaning appliances that you can invest in. While they are quite costly, with prices ranging from a hundred dollars to thousands, they will provide the best cleaning result.

6. Garment Steam CleanersUsing a garment steam cleaner on a checkered shirt.

Popularly known as clothes steamers, a garment steam cleaner is a compact and portable device used to remove wrinkles from all types of garments and fabrics. To do so, the cleaner requires a high temperature.

Many people think of a clothing iron and a steamer can be used interchangeably. Although their purpose is similar – eliminating wrinkles from clothes – they work quite differently. When it comes to ironing clothes, the iron has to make contact with the fabric to straighten out.

On the contrary, a streamer can take the wrinkles out without making any direct contact with the fabric. Only the hot steam is directed toward the cloth. This makes the fabric appear smooth without allowing the blazing heat to be applied to the clothing. And since there is no contact between the device and piece of clothing, there are no chances for the garment to get burned, unlike ironing.

While garment steam cleaners work well for all types of fabrics, they are ideal for soft, delicate fabrics like satin, silk, jersey, and polyester. Steamers also happen to work faster than irons, are convenient to use due to their lightweight, and requires little space to store – some more reasons for investing in one of these cleaners!

Always use steamers on surfaces that can handle extreme temperatures and make sure not to over-steam your appliance. When steaming colored clothing, test a patch of cloth beforehand. At times, the color tends to ruin clothes when the clothing becomes moist.

7. Commercial Steam Cleaner Janitors Using a Commercial Steam Cleaner

Commercial steam cleaners clean areas with the help of vapor steam, without relying upon harsh chemicals and detergents. This type of appliance comes with numerous accessory attachments that allow it to clean a wide range of surfaces and kill all sorts of parasites. They do not release any harmful chemicals and only use water and vaporizing heat for cleaning purposes.

These cleaning appliances are used by professionals for cleaning hotels, restaurants, offices, schools, hospitals, etc. From floors to walls to bed frames to mattresses to kitchen appliances to upholstery to countertops to bathroom surfaces, there is a wide range of areas and objects that you can sanitize using commercial steam cleaners.

When investing in these types of cleaners, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. First of all, commercial steam cleaners come with a boiler size that is different in every model. Remember that the larger the boiler is, the longer you can clean without refilling. Also, some models can be noisier than others; before you get a commercial steam cleaner, run a test and see if it makes noise or not.

Commercial steam cleaners are a heavy investment so make sure that you take into account their considerations before buying them.

8. Multi-purpose Steam CleanerSteam cleaning

Multipurpose steam cleaners are an absolute hit among modern homeowners as they provide a wide range of uses that a normal steam cleaner fails to offer. Firstly, they tend to have super fast heat timings, their steam range is incredible, and they are efficient beyond measure.

Unlike steam mops or cylinder steam cleaners, most of the multipurpose steam cleaners keep the floors dry during and after the cleaning. They don’t fade away the color of the flooring, aren’t noisy, and do not burn fingers while plugging them up.

While some steam cleaners are specifically designed for cleaning kitchens, bathrooms, garages, or rooms, with a multi-purpose cleaner, you can sanitize all the areas of your house. This means that you won’t have to resort to different cleaners for different rooms.

Gone are the days when cleaning was such a hefty chore. With the advent of these amazing steam cleaners, cleaning has never felt so easy!




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