Even though there are hundreds of cleaning products in all shapes and sizes, one of the most effective cleaning agents is found in every household for free: water.
Heating your water beyond 212° F (or 100° C) will turn it into steam. There are dozens of cleaning products on the market that use steam as the main cleaning agent and, besides releasing steam, they usually double up as a specialized tool such as a brush or a mop for specific surfaces or materials.
The science behind steam
Scientific evidence proves that steam kills most viruses, bacteria, dust mites, and other types of germs. This is because they haven’t been able to evolve to a point that they can resist such high temperatures. Most bacteria resist up to 100°C at most, after that, they are destroyed.
Other research has shown that it is also effective against fungi, such as mold and mildew. Here are some examples of steam as an effective cleaning product:
Iron your clothes with steam
There’s a reason why garment steamers are becoming so popular. Steam helps to remove wrinkles from your clothing because it relaxes the fiber so it can return to a “flat” state.
In fact, garment steamers are becoming more and more popular because they are gentler than using irons.
If you think about it, it makes sense: with an iron, you’re pressing hard on your clothes by using a hot metal surface. With a garment steamer, you’re just slightly brushing the surface and the only thing you’re using is hot water.
Especially for delicate fabrics, this is going to be much a much softer approach that will preserve your clothing in the long run.
Garment steamers also generate a high-pressure jet of steam that is able to get in between your clothes’ fibers, pushing out germs and dissipating them in the air.
Even a steam iron will be more efficient than a regular iron and, depending on the fabric, even more, effective than a garment steamer. Materials like cotton and denim will require ironing because they need to be pressed to get creases out.
Vacuum your floors with steam
For obvious reasons, floors collect a tremendous number of bacteria. Now there are vacuum cleaners or steam mops that will be able to clean your floors by releasing steam.
Some models also come with a specific attachment to clean grout, which is a hard-bristle, flat brush that can help you scrub grout lines as you use your steam cleaner.
There are floors such as laminate and vinyl which won’t like steam that much because it might get underneath the planks and create moisture, so be careful to check whether your flooring will be appropriate or not.
The same will happen for floors that are made from natural components, such as linoleum or hardwood floors.
Organic materials require a very specific level of humidity to stay “healthy”. Steam can get in between the fibers and produce excessive moisture.
Remove scum and grime with a steam cleaner
This can be a major issue in bathrooms and kitchens because residues of food, grease, soap, and other components can get stuck in between tiles. You won’t remove all that buildup that easily.
What you need is a cleaning agent to soften the dirt and grime. Once again, you won’t need any chemicals for this, what better than steam at very high temperatures?
Scum and grime are mostly found on your appliances and countertops. The good thing about steam is that it can get inside every nook and cranny, so it can be helpful for cleaning your kitchen faucet, for example.
Also, since it’s steam it will evaporate almost immediately, leaving no residues that can leave a spot on your surfaces.
Steam is a wonderful cleaning agent: effective, extremely cheap and, of course, very safe to use. You’ll be able to clean and disinfect most surfaces at home and avoid harmful chemicals.
Before jumping in, do some research to make sure the material or surface you want to get cleaned won’t have any issues with steam or hot water.
If you’re still unsure on how to proceed or just don’t have the time for mastering a new cleaning technique, remember you can always hire a professional service and let them take care of it!