Steam cleaners are really taken lightly. But the truth is, you can fashion them to suit all sorts of needs, be it cleaning, cooking or even artistic pursuits! Don’t believe us? We’ve listed some tricks to use steam cleaners for you below!
Depending upon your steam cleaner (there’s hot and cold types, each with its own advantage), you should be able to win at life with these tricks in your pocket. So let’s get started.
Clean Your Old Wallpaper
Have crummy old wallpaper ruining your interiors? It can be tough to pull it off the wall, and trying to hack it out using a sharp implement like a screw driver can hurt your walls and the finish underneath. Instead, use your steam cleaner to weaken the glue under the wallpaper. You can then simply pull it off the wall leaving barely a trace behind!
Clean Tables Like a Pro
Steam Cleaners can help you get dirty stuff sparkling clean quickly. Dust that settles in and binds with the surface is the toughest to remove. This can be the case with tables, especially in humid and dusty areas. The solution? After a quick normal dust, whip out your steam cleaner. Let the steam blow on the surface, and then wipe clean. The steam heats the surface and loosens up the dirt, which is easier to remove thanks to the condensation on the table.
Clean AC Filters
ACs are notoriously difficult to clean. The most common advise one finds is to wash the filter under running water for a while and then plug it back into its place. But when you don’t have time, here’s what you can do instead. Use your steam cleaner to pass hot steam over the filter. It kills most bacteria on the spot. Although, make sure you have washed your filter in the recent past; you don't want the dirt to loosen up and then dry at the spot without being removed.
Clean Your Fans
If you have ceiling fans, you probably know how tough it is to remove the row of dirt that collects on the edges of the blades. No amount of pressure ever seems to help. The same can be for many table fans. What you might need is a bit of heat. Using a team cleaner to loosen up the dirt can help your cloth get out more grime than with its own effort. Just make sure not to use too much steam or you might get too much moisture into the electrical system.
Sanitise Your Couch
The number of times sofas are neglected in cleaning is unhealthy. Sofas can fester dust mites as well as bacteria, mold and bugs. After vacuuming your sofa and removing as much dust as you can, use your steam cleaner to kill all bugs and germs. You might find the sofa a bit damp aftewards, but it should dry out in no time at all. Steam is one of the most effective ways to sanitise sofas.
Clean Windows And Window Sills
Wiping windows often fails to give the desired level of cleanliness. If nothing else, the cloth itself statically charges the glass and you find dust settling on the window in barely a few minutes. Steam cleaners not only capture dust that otherwise tends to fly about in the air to settle elsewhere, but the wetness also prevents buildup on electrostatic charge. Plus, there are no streaks of water on the surface that usually accompany a wet cloth wipe.
Sterilise Your Kitchen Cabinets
Your kitchen cabinets are hot spots for bacteria growth. Thanks to the warmth and humidity that can often be present in kitchens, thanks to the stoves, toasters or even food lying around, bacteria have a hay day breeding and multiplying. Grab your steam cleaner and let it breathe out its vapors at the cabinets in all the nooks and corners. Wipe soon after. Steam has more heat than hot water, and this heat annihilates bacteria.
Clean Stoves And Microwaves.
The gunk that can build up after a week’s cooking and baking is pretty hard to clean. Even when you clean it out, there’s no guarantee you’ve comprehensively removed any fungi or mold that could have left spores in the space. Use a steam cleaner with its narrow brush-like tool to use short bursts of steam to wet the place, and then scrub using the tool. The steam kills all microorganisms that might cause you infections otherwise.
Clean Grout Between Tiles
The grime that can settle in between tiles is hard to clean, even when you scrub hard with an abrasive brush. The reason is that the dirt effectively binds with the grout between the tiles. Steam cleaners can help loosen that grip, and you need less scrubs to make your floors or walls shine.
Get Rid Of Carpet Spots
Spilled a bit of coffee on your carpet? It’s a problem easily solved using a steam cleaner. Dousing the spot with steam can make it easier to pat out more dirt from your rug. This only works for small spots, however. For bigger spots, it is useful to use a carpet cleaning machine instead of a portable steam cleaner.
Disinfect Your Car
Cars can be hotbeds of germ buildup. Right from the steering wheel to the knobs on the door and the air vents, germs and little bugs could be everywhere. In your car seat, on the footrests and in the carpets. After a thorough vacuuming, use a steam cleaner to cover all areas you suspect could be dirty. Steam dries out quickly, so don’t worry. Only, be careful around electrical circuitry.
Sterilise The Bathroom
The bathroom too remains humid and generally warm, which is like an open feast for bacteria. Blast the surfaces with hot steam and wipe them. Covering the toilet seat, the counter and the bathtub is essential. You can also have a go at the floor and the walls.
Restore Your Mattresses To Health
Not many know that mattresses are hotbeds for dust mites which thrive on dead skin and hair that we leave behind each morning after waking up. There’s bacteria, mold and fungi, and all sorts of bugs and pathogens that could not just cause your bed to stink, but also get you sick. After vacuuming the mattress, steaming it out using a steam cleaner and then giving it enough time to dry before placing it back on the bed frame can remove all sorts of unwanted pests. You’ll notice the difference in the smell.
Steamers aren’t just to quickly iron out clothes. They can also disinfect them. If you’re afraid you might catch a bug, steaming your clothes can help kill all germs that might be hanging around on your clothes. Make sure you check the instructions for care on the fabric before though.
Remove Bad Odors.
Bad odors aren’t just caused by something rotting in the bin or in the garden. It can also be something hanging around in the air or near a vent, for example. The solution? Get a fragrant disinfectant that evaporates easily. Disperse it into the air using a blast of steam (not directly, though). I prefer to use natural substances like camphor, or sometimes a bit of essential oil to remove stale smells from the room. Make sure to keep some ventilation in the room or you’ll end up making the air damp.
Clean Up Door Knobs And Doors
We overlook doorknobs and door surfaces as possible sites of germs. It is important to clean them since everyone touches them everyday, and having a colony of bacteria on them surely doesn’t help keep good health. Wipe off the moisture after properly steaming each doorknob. Do the same with door surfaces. Keep in mind that certain doors like those made of wood or ones with some finishes might not take well to steam. It is best to test their reaction in a small, unnoticeable area first.
Disinfect New Flats
You never know what sort of people lived in the flat you’re moving in. Maybe they were lazy with taking out the trash or washing dishes, or maybe they had pets that tracked in dirt if they didn’t let in bacteria. Disinfect new flats using a steam cleaner by opening up the windows and then proceeding to steam all possibly dirty surfaces and wiping them off with a cloth.
A little steam with a quick scrub can take care of most household infestations of mold. Using a disinfectant along with the steam is recommended too, since mold can be hard to remove completely for many. However, don’t add the disinfectant directly to your steamer unless there is such a provision in your model.
Get Better-Ironed Clothes Quicker
Ironing takes a long time, plus you have to go over the same area over and over at the proper temperature to get a decent finish. Not with steamers. Just hang your shirts on a hanger and blast them with hot steam. The cloth does absorb some moisture, but it is this moisture that leaves you with a crisp shirt once it evaporates. It works great for when you have a lot of shirts to iron.
Clean The Barbeque After a Party
Grease on the grill is a tough enemy. Even with a steam cleaner, it takes quite some effort to loosen it up and get it to leave the grill. But it’s much less than using soap and water, and the effort really feels worth it. Getting the old fat out can help keep your burgers healthy. Plus, the grill gives results like it is brand new, even months into usage.
Shine Mirrors and Glass Without Leaving Streaks
Steam is pure water. It has nothing dissolved in it that will be left behind after it dries. And so you get your mirrors and glassware clean and sparkling, without a trace left behind. Just fog your mirror and wipe normally.
We never think curtains can carry germs. They don’t even look dirty! But curtains can catch dust and host a ton of bacteria, mites and even bugs, especially if the conditions are damp. But it is nothing a quick burst of hot steam won’t get rid of. The only thing to keep in mind is to not use the steam cleaner on the same area for too long, or you’ll only end up creating more moisture in the fabric. Also, make sure your curtains are ok with the steam by testing in a small hideable patch first.
Clean Kids’ Rooms
It is no secret kids are dirty. They catch all sorts of germs while playing outside and bring them in. And while exposure to common germs can build immunity, too much of it can cause sickness in the family. Vacuuming the carpet and mattress and following it up with a steam cleanse can be helpful. Electronics can obviously not be steam cleansed, but you can definitely clean tables, countertops and beds they are placed/scattered on. I also take special care to clean curtains, doors and window sills using steam cleaners.
Defrost Your Freezer
Most modern day freezers come with a defrost feature. But if yours doesn’t, there is no need to empty out the entire fridge for hours together to let the ice melt. A hot steam cleaner is all you need.Switch off your fridge. Blast hot steam directly over the ice. In seconds, you’ll see the ice dislodge and drop. Be careful to avoid contact with the vapour coming out; it can still be hot. You can place a thick towel at the lowest rung of the freezer to catch the ice and water droplets to dispose them easily. Wipe your fridge with a clean dry cloth and you can switch it back on. What could take hours, you have just completed in 10 minutes!
Make Taps Sparkle and Remove Gunk and Limescale.
If you live in a place which has hard water, you know how disgusting metal taps can start looking with time. All that dissolved salt clings to the surface, and can even cause corrosion. There are tons of ways to remove it, including mild acids and industrial cleaners. But if you have a steam cleaner, all you need to do is loosen up the gunk by using the hot steam and then wiping away normally using a clean cloth.
Use Cold Steam To Clean Fake Foliage
For those who love indoor plants but don’t have a particularly green thumb, using fake plants can be a nice way to liven up the dining table. But the dust can be hard to remove since so much of it gets trapped inside the felt. Even otherwise, the artificial leaves can dull out with constant exposure to dust and other air pollutants. You can solve this using some cold steam. Be sure to avoid hot steam, since it can cause your artificial fabric to crumple. You should be able to just wipe off the fogged surface and your artificial plants will look lively and brand new.
Clean Walls (Non-Water Paint Only)
As long as you don’t have a water-based paint on your walls, steam cleaners can even be used on walls. Using cold steam should work for most walls (it is best to confirm with the sort of paint you have used; a hardware store salesman could perhaps help you). But remember that hardly any walls can bear contact with moisture for too long. Fog a area with cold steam, and then wipe gently. This is also good for when your kids have dabbed paint all over the walls and you cannot sit and scrub the area one spot at a time.
Clean Dusting Cloths
I find it a little weird how the cloths we use to clean all places around the house can themselves be so dirty. Especially in the humid days, it is not hard to find a counter-wiping rag to smell like something rotting. It is caused by a build-up of bacteria. Exposure to hot steam can really redeem it. You don’t want to spread germs while cleaning, do you?
Get Artsy With The Dripping Water
OK this one is really fun. I prefer to do this over a low pressure setting with cold steam, but you can use hot steam at high pressure too. Experiment! I dab a bit of paint onto some sturdy canvas (I love using cloth canvas and acrylic paint). And then I blast it with steam from a cleaner. The water spreads around the spot through the pressure, and then you can turn the canvas around to let the drops paint you a picture as they trace their path under gravity. You can experiment with the amount of paint, the angle at which you place the canvas, and the steam pressure, along with paint and design. If nothing else, it can make really great wrapping paper for gifts.
Keep Tropical Plants Happy
A lot of plants from the tropics prefer humid conditions. This can be difficult even in the hot months, since not all the world gets constant rainfall then. Solution? Use a cold steam cleaner to add some moisture to the air. It is a good substitute to your greenhouse’s moisture managing machines. It is also a great idea when some plants need more humidity; simply place the machine closer to them. Be sure not to expose the plants to a direct stream of steam. Also, hot steam can scald your plants (it is hotter than boiling water).
Open Envelopes Without Tearing
Sometimes, when a kid sends you a pretty envelope they made in art class, or when you want to save paper by reusing envelopes, tearing them means trashing them. Once again, steam cleaners can help you out. Envelopes pasted using glue can be loosened up using some hot steam. Don’t spray the flap directly; gently glaze the area close to the stream of steam, and let it work its magic. Keeping the pressure low can help you save some water. In less than a minute, your envelope should be good as open. In fact, most glues take less than a minute.
Healthy Snacks, Anyone?
Everyone should get a steamer. But if it breaks or if you’re living on a budget, a steam cleaner lying around can be a neat substitute. Cut up some broccoli into neat florets, and place it in a heat resistant bowl. Now blast it with some steam (be careful with the pressure; you don’t want hot broccoli flying in the air, landing on someone’s college assignment). The hot steam and the condensed water can both cook your everyday veggies. It can make for a neat healthy snack. You can even carry a portable steamer to a camping trip. I don’t recommend using this with meat, however, since meat needs more persistent heat to ensure it is properly cooked and germ free.
Phew! Who knew good old fashioned steam cleaners could do so much, right? Well, now you do. So go ahead and master your life using this simple implement. Don’t forget to tell me which ones you liked best, and if there are other useful tricks you know.