Are Steam Cleaners Worth The Money? Pros and Cons

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of constantly having to worry about whether or not my floors and countertops are clean. I mean, sure, mopping and wiping help, but is it really enough to get rid of all those disease-causing pathogens? Do steam cleaners do a better job, and most importantly, are steam cleaners worth the money? 

Most steam cleaners are worth the money because they’re versatile, durable, and easy to use. The hot steam it creates kills most bacteria and germs, and it can efficiently remove dirt and grime from grout. Plus, they are great for cleaning things like carpets and upholstery and a variety of other things around your home.

Naturally, the question foremost on everyone’s minds is: do steam cleaners do a better job than regular cleaning appliances? They are more expensive than other cleaning tools, so getting input about them from someone who owns one can be well worth it.

In this guide, we will talk about the following:

  • What are steam cleaners, and how do they work?
  • What are the pros and cons of steam cleaners?
  • How to choose a steam cleaner for your needs?
Picture of a steam cleaner mop.

What is a Steam Cleaner?

A steam cleaner is a cleaning appliance that blasts out superheated steam to quickly clean all kinds of surfaces. Steam cleaners boil water past its boiling point and send out a jet of hot steam through a nozzle, brush, or other attachments.

The superheated steam quickly powers through dirt, grime, and grease, lifting them up and out of tiny cracks and crevices. It quickly melts stubborn fat in dirty grout, so your bathroom and kitchen tiles come sparkling clean almost instantly.

Quality steam cleaners can reach temperatures of over 200 F or more. This superheated steam can also obliterate bacteria, viruses, fungal spores, and other disease-causing pathogens.

Let us now discuss the pros and cons of steam cleaners.

Picture of a woman using a steam cleaner on floors.

Pros of Steam Cleaners

Here are some of the significant benefits of steam cleaners:

  1. It helps you clean without chemicals.

When you steam clean, you need not use any cleaning solutions – just water. A vast majority of commercial cleaning products contain toxic chemicals. With superheated steam, you can eliminate the use of such harsh chemical cleaners. The hot steam kills most microbes, so you do not need other powerful cleaning agents.

  1. It is an eco-friendly way of cleaning.

Steam cleaning is kinder to the planet.

Since there is no use of chemicals, you are doing excellent service to the environment. You are not sending harmful pollutants into the waterways. You are also preventing the spread of toxic substances in the air.

If reports are to be believed, almost 92 million tonnes of textile are dumped in landfills or burned yearly. Steam cleaning garments help remove stains and creases and could preserve clothing a lot longer. 

Steaming instead of regular washing can reduce fading and discoloration and keep clothes looking great for years to come. This reduces the need for buying more clothing which, in turn, reduces the burden on our landfills.

  1. Steam cleaners are incredibly versatile. 

These days, steam cleaner appliances are available in various shapes and sizes. You get portable cleaners that can conveniently carry around to clean almost all surfaces.

  1. Steam cleaning makes cleaning jobs more accessible.

You certainly get quick results with a steam cleaner due to the high temperatures involved. Little wonder the process is used in diverse areas like electronics, aircraft and ground equipment, plant maintenance, and biomedical fields, which rely on quick turnaround.

  1. The surfaces dry quickly.

The quick-drying action of steam cleaners makes them very useful in several applications. Industries such as pharmaceuticals, construction, and food and beverage which cannot withstand moisture benefit significantly from steam cleaning. The quick-drying process is beneficial in commercial areas with heavy foot traffic.

  1. Steam cleaners clean unseen enemies too.

Steam cleaning can obliterate viruses, bacteria, fungal spores, and other disease-causing pathogens. This is advantageous in hospitals and assisted living facilities for the elderly. It is especially beneficial for immunocompromised individuals or high-risk patients. Steam cleaners could help keep young kids and delicate pets safe from germs.

  1. You end up saving money.

Since you do not buy solvents or cleaners, you save a ton of money. Steaming garments, as mentioned above, preserves them longer, so you buy less. You also save money on doctor visits and medical bills by curbing the spread of disease-causing pathogens.

Picture of a handheld steam cleaner.

Cons of Steam Cleaners

Steam cleaners do come with their share of disadvantages.

  1. They need distilled water only.

Most models of steam cleaners require distilled or bottled water – especially if you live in an area with hard water. Using hard water/tap water could damage the steamer or leave behind ugly white stains on the surfaces you clean.

  1. They come with a high price tag.

This is one of the most significant disadvantages of steam cleaners. Quality steam cleaner models certainly cost more than standard cleaning appliances.

  1. Superheated steam could be dangerous.

The high temperatures of the steam can be dangerous if not handled properly. Superheated smoke is known to cause 3rd-degree burns, so users must be cautious while controlling these appliances. 

As such, one should first learn how to use the appliance safely. One must note that the steam cleaning operation will vary with the equipment used, so it is advisable to follow the operator’s manual for the equipment.

  1. Not safe for all surfaces.

Steam cleaning could damage electrical wiring, certain types of tiles and laminate floors, upholstered furniture, delicate carpets, etc. You might want to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before using your particular model.

  1. Long warm-up time.

Some cleaners with large boiler tanks require a long warm-up period to superheat the water. This cannot be very pleasant. Also, pressurized steam cleaners need long wait times between cleaning to build the pressure of steam to the desired level. This tends to interrupt the cleaning process.

Are Steam Cleaners Worth The Money?

Despite the disadvantages mentioned above, steam cleaners are worth their high price.

They eliminate the use of solvents and harsh cleaners, making them a safer and eco-friendlier option to use around kids and pets. They also reduce harmful waste and air emissions. The high temperature in steam cleaning gets your household clean. 

Steam cleaners also cut down on elbow grease and the time you’d spend cleaning stubborn grout and baked-in grease and grime.

The versatility of steam cleaners makes them worth the money too. You can clean almost every surface using a steam cleaner, including stoves, ovens, grills, bathtubs, sinks, certain types of furniture, etc. They give your home a clean and new look. 

Steam cleaners also eliminate bacteria, viruses, and mold. This can reduce infections and diseases, which, in turn, can save money on doctor visits.

How to Choose a Steam Cleaner?

You can find a steam cleaners at a wide range of prices from $500 to $2000. However, there are some factors you should consider when purchasing one:

Tank capacity

Also known as boiler capacity, the tank capacity of a steam cleaner indicates how much water the cleaner can hold. The larger the power, the longer you can clean before needing a refill. 

However, that does not necessarily mean that you need a cleaner with the largest boiler capacity. A larger boiler capacity means the unit will take longer to heat the water and get ready.

Tools and attachments

While buying a steam cleaner with hundreds of different attachments and nozzles may be tempting, not everyone needs them. There is no point in buying units with attachments that you probably won’t need. So, it makes sense to look for models with attachments that you will use.

For example, if you plan to restore a bathroom to its former glory, you need a unit with a triangular micro-brush attachment to scrub the grout between tiles. Such extensions make it very easy to remove the ground-in oily dirt. 

Similarly, cleaning windows requires special squeegees or attachments that won’t scratch your glass. A steam scraper tool can be handy for removing the baked-in dirt from ovens and grills.

Continually evaluate the tools and attachments that come with the steam cleaner you buy to see if they will add value to you.

Storage and portability

How does the steam cleaner store? Is there a facility to wind up its long cord? Is the unit compact? How much space will it take? Where do you plan on storing the steam cleaner? Does it come with wheels? How portable is it?

If you plan to use the steam cleaner on different floors of your home or take it outside to clean the car, look for small-sized models that are easy to maneuver. Your steam cleaner should do the work, not you.

Ease of use

How easy is the steam cleaner to use? If the person using the cleaner has arthritis or limited mobility, then they need a model that is easy to maneuver. 

Many hand-held units can be heavy. Some branches are tiny and need frequent refilling. Similarly, some corded models could be challenging to shuffle from room to room. 

Always consider the steam release mechanism: some units come with a simple pump-release or trigger-release mechanism that blasts the steam jet. Others may need more strength to release the steam. Also, check whether it is easy to refill the boiler tank.

Type of steam cleaner: Pressurized versus non-pressurized

Another term to consider when you purchase a steam cleaner is a pressurized or non-pressurized cleaner. Depending on the unit, some pressurized household steam cleaners can reach 70-100 psi (pounds per square inch), while commercial models release steam at 1000 psi or more.

Pressurized steam cleaners are more potent than non-pressurized ones, as the burst of hot steam does a better job of blasting off stubborn grime and grease. The drawback to pressurized models is that you must wait for the pressure to build up again to use the feature.

If you consider the non-pressurized cleaner, check whether they have enough pressure output to do the job well. Most non-pressurized steam cleaners utilize the natural power of water turning to steam, which is enough force to get the job done.


Some models of steam cleaners are relatively easy to use. So easy that even a child could use them. However, the steam at 212 F can be dangerous enough to cause 3rd-degree burns. The nozzles and attachments can also get super hot, so always exercise caution when using the appliance. Ensure that you can keep the steam cleaner out of the reach of kids and pets.

Conclusion – Are Steam Cleaners Worth The Money?

Steam cleaners are worth the money. They make many challenging cleaning tasks easier and also do a thorough job of cleaning the entire home. You can also use a steam cleaner to clean multiple surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen. The superheated steam also eliminates disease-causing microbes.

I hope this guide helps you decide whether a steam cleaner is right for you.

Below is a YouTube video showing how you can use a steam cleaner on various items.

FAQs – Are Steam Cleaners Worth The Money?

What is better: a steam cleaner or a mop?

Steam cleaners eliminate bacteria, viruses, and mold, whereas some mops push the dirty water around. Mops may be more convenient and could get smaller jobs done quickly. Steam cleaners require longer warm-up times.

Where does the dirt go when you steam clean?

The steam in a steam cleaner is superheated to a temperature of 200 F and above. This breaks down the dirt, which is very easy to get rid of. Depending on your cleaner, the broken-down ground is picked up by the steam cleaner’s mop attachment.

Why is my floor so sticky after I steam mop?

The stickiness usually goes away after the surface dries. Probably it is the residue of hard water or some cleaning agent you have used. Try using distilled or bottled water to steam clean.

Does a steam cleaner clean grout?

Yes, steam cleaners with special attachments can make grout cleaning very easy and can significantly reduce the time you spend on grout cleaning.

Can I fill vinegar in my steam cleaner?

Yes, adding vinegar to the steam cleaner’s boiler can give you cleaner and deodorized floors. You can also use it to clean curtains, pet bedding, and other upholstered furniture.

Can you steam clean a bathtub?

Yes, bathtub cleaning can be significantly simplified by using the steam cleaner in its hand-held mode.

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