Whilst steam cleaners do a great job at cleaning our homes and offices, they require proper cleaning and maintenance as well. Anyone can clean a steam cleaner, however, to ensure effective cleaning you must equip yourself with the right skills on how to clean a steamer.
Steamers come in different styles, be it upright, handheld suctions or non-suction models, yet, they bear a similar basic design that pretty much gives you a standard guideline to cleaning them. Typically, you should expect all steamers to have nozzles, attachments, a hose, and a water tank for steam generation.
So below, we’ve shared a detailed guideline on how to clean a steamer effectively. Follow these steps and you will very easily extend the durability of your steamer.
Practice Proper Care And Maintenance First
Before you think about cleaning your steamer, you should practice proper care and maintenance for it. Doing so doesn’t only prevent it from being too soiled or scaled but, helps to prolong its durability as well. Thus, the number one thing you should always do is wash cloths, towels, or brushes you use with your steam cleaner.
Ideally, wash them in hot water without using harmful or strong products such as fabric softeners or dryer sheets. This is because using such chemicals leads to the absorption of chemicals and fragrances as well as reduced absorbency due to the clogging of the material’s pores caused by the chemicals and fragrance. Remember when steam cleaning, you are trying to reduce and remove chemicals.
Additionally, instead of waiting for the overall cleaning, you can periodically wipe down debris on the exterior of the steamer or debris stuck in brush attachment bristles. Alternatively, you can do this after every cleaning session.
During the periodical cleaning, check out for signs of wear and tear on small elements such as the attachment or brush bristles. Maintaining properly functioning parts ensures that your cleaning is of optimal quality and effectiveness.
Furthermore, after each cleaning session, it is recommended to drain your steamer’s water tank before storage. After draining the water, wait for the tank to air dry before sealing it and storing the cleaner away.
Steps To Clean A Steamer
When you follow the proper care and maintenance guidelines, the cleaning process becomes easier and more effective.
Suction Steam Cleaners
- Step 1 – begin by rinsing the nozzle of the steam cleaner. Do this by plugging in the steamer, turning it on, and pouring 2 cups of water on a clean non-carpeted floor. Then, suck the water from the floor using the nozzle.
Keep repeating this step until you physically see that there is no longer debris or dirt lodged on the nozzle. Some steamer nozzle models even come with a floor nozzle cleaning tool that you can use to scrub the interior of the nozzle with.
- Step 2 – Fill a large sink or bucket with warm and soapy water and clean the steamer’s hose. Suck the soapy water and then, replace the soapy water from the sink with clean water. Then, suck in the clean water to rinse the hose. Position the hose parallel to your body and drain excess water to the recovery tank. Then, turn off the steam cleaner, unplug it, and remove the hose to dry it.
- Step 3 – Remove all the steamer attachments and soak them in a basin of soapy water for 30 minutes. Then, wash the attachments with a lint-free microfiber cloth, rinse them with clean hot tap water, and place them on a dry towel to air dry. During the washing process, clean hair from brush heads using soft bristled brushes. If there are any fabric attachment covers, launder them as regular clothes.
- Step 4 – Discard dirty water from the recovery tank. Repeat step 3 for the water recovery tank, filter, and lid.
- Step 5 – Wipe the exterior of the cleaner with a damp microfiber cloth and assemble the cleaner when all parts have fully dried.
Non-suction Steam Cleaners
- Step 1 – Fill warm and soapy water in a large sink or bucket. Then, soak all steam cleaner attachments in the soapy water for 30 minutes. After soaking, wash the attachments with a lint-free microfiber cloth, rinse them with hot water, and air dry them on a dry towel.
- Step 2 – Wipe the exterior unit with a damp microfiber cloth.
- Step 3 – Let all parts of the steamer dry including the exterior and then, assemble it and store it away.
Descaling Your Steam Cleaner
When you are cleaning a non-suction steamer, you should also descale the water boiler to ensure it is effectively cleaned. In fact, the descaling process is commonly overlooked by many. Generally, descaling the water boiler simply means removing the hard water scale.
The descaling process is normally forgotten because you cannot physically see the part that needs to be descaled. Some people even presume that their cleaners don’t need descaling because they do not use hard water. However, even the cleanest water bears a small amount of minerals. During the boiling and steaming process, the water is very likely to deposit some minerals on the walls of the boiler.
Over time, the mineral deposits develop into scales that need to be removed. Doing so ensures that your steam cleaner functions at its full capacity at all times. When left uncleaned, the scales can lead to clogging the water flow system and even cause the failure of the overall steam cleaner system. Thus, descaling your water boiler is an extremely important process.
You should do the descaling process immediately after the first cleaning step. Some high end steam cleaner models come with commercially made descaling agents whilst others don’t. In this case, you have to separately purchase the agents or make some yourself. Before you use the agents on your steamer, read the manual to ensure the model allows you to do so.
How To Make And Use Homemade Descaling Agents
- To make a descaling agent at home, mix 1.5 ounces of baking soda with 32 fluid ounces of clean water.
- Then, add the descaling agent mix to the steamer’s empty water tank
- Seal the steamer, plug it onto a power outlet, turn it on, and let it heat up
- Allow the unit to continue heating up for the next hour or two
- Then, use the cleaner for a minute, turn it off, unplug it, and allow it to cool for 3 to 4 hours
- Once the steamer unit is cooled, remove its drain plug and empty the tank
- rinse the steamer with clean water, plug in the tank and it will be ready for use
More Tips To Remember
In addition to the tips on how to clean a steamer, you should also follow other key tips to optimize your cleaning results. For example, other than the descaling agents during the descaling process, you should avoid adding any other type of liquid other than water into your steamer’s tank.
Remember, you use a steam cleaner to remove chemicals, dirt, debris, grime, and stains that would otherwise affect the material of your upholstery and carpets. Using chemicals in the steam cleaner can easily damage it. Plus, damage to your steamer caused by chemical usage automatically results in a void warranty.
Additionally, if your water is softened using a softener system, you should find another source of water for your steam cleaner. This is because a water softener system utilizes an ion exchange process that deposits sodium ions into your water to replace calcium and magnesium ions. Water that contains sodium ions can easily damage the cleaner.
Lastly, always ensure that your steam cleaner has sufficiently cooled before you begin to clean it.