Steam Cleaning 101
Before You Purchase….A Steam Vapor Cleaner - Helpful information
Research is a challenge in itself, we try to answer basic questions in a limited format. If you would like more information please feel free to follow links for detailed information or contact us and we will be happy to go into depth on any question you may have.
- Boilers – A quick overview
- What is the difference when I look at a machine with 50psi or 89psi?
- Replaceable Heating Elements – is this something I should look for?
- Temperature = Pressure
- I have read I “absolutely must have the ability to regulate the steam temperature” is that the adjustable pressure regulator?
- Tip Temperature?
- What function does a pressure gauge have?
- Continuous Fill vs. Single Boiler Cleaners
- Hand Nozzles, buttons, switches or triggers
- Hose Length – Does it matter?
- Steam Vapor vs. Steam Vapor/Vacuum
- Plastic, Stainless or Painted Metal
- Mono-block (detachable hose) systems vs. attached hoses
1. Boilers – Bigger is not always better.
A larger boiler may sound like the way to go for a longer running time, initiall this makes sense. However, two main things to consider, the larger the boiler…the longer you will be waiting for it to heat up. This can be up to 20 – 25 minutes on a 4 quart boiler. During cleaning and the built up pressure is depleting, a large boiler is challenged to maintain the pressure and can take up to 7 minutes to rebuild if the job requires. A mid sized boiler will obviously heat faster, drop pressure less and recover quicker. Do boilers fail? read more
2. What is the difference when I look at a machine with 50psi or 85psi?
The main difference is temperature. Typically homeowners or light commercial users should look for at least 58 psi (4 bar) ”293 boiler” and above if looking to purchase a ” low moisture” Vapor Cleaner. While some of your jobs will require to maximize your pressure, much of your cleaning will require you “turn it down” instead of up. More is not always better! Remember, the clean is in the steam and the temperature. Our lab tests indicate that if you are using for sanitization our 75psi (5bar) 315 machines or using 7.5 bar 340 boiler temp, the kill rate is achieved 100% of 99.9% at 5 bar so no further results are achieved with higher temperature machines. See lab tests or read more…
3. Replaceable heating elements – is this something I should look for?
Quite simply, ALL steam cleaners today have replaceable heating elements. Years ago the heating element was contained within the boiler, but this has been outdated. There are typically 2 types, the old style insertable screw in heating elements that still make contact with the water, or external heating element plates that never touch water. We have one machine with the insertable and the rest are the updated plate. We warranty our heating elements for life as this is not of great concern.
4. Temperature = Pressure – We know that you see different temperatures and pressures advertised by various steam vapor cleaner retailers, which becomes confusing and is typically overstated and not properly advertised. Looking at the saturated steam tables will simplify this for you. Here are standard measurements that you should see:
Pounds Per Sq. Inch /Pressure
Bar (European measure)
Average Internal Boiler Temp
5. I have read I “absolutely must have the ability to regulate the steam temperature” is that the adjustable pressure regulator?
Yes, any steam cleaner should have a pressure regulator to regulate the output of steam when applying to a specific job. However, it is absolutely impossible to regulate the ” temperature” in a steam cleaner. You can not turn the temperature up or down, only the pressure.
6. Tip Temperature:
This appears to be another sales tool that is getting way more attention than it should and confusing buyers. We all know that boiling point is 212° and steam itself cannot survive at much below that. From there we can only heat up and this will depend on your starting point temperature and the tools that you use. The “tip temperature” is not nearly as important or accurate as the temperature at the point of contact with the surface, which is heavily determined upon the user.
7. What function does a pressure gauge have?
Machines offering pressure gauges will either show Bars, PSI or both. A pressure gauge will help you to be assured that your machine is functioning properly. While any product with or without a gauge is certainly fine, it is a nice feature if available.
8. Continuous Fill vs. Single Boiler Cleaners:
Either machine can meet your cleaning needs. Continuous operation means there is an additional reservoir that enables the user to never have down time or a pressurized cap system. Single boilers fill directly into the boiler and when the machine runs empty of water it will need to be refilled and heated. Look for a small boiler when purchasing a continuous fill as this heats quickly and maintains excellent pressure as the and steam for those Commercial and/or heavy cleaning jobs. A favorable design, as the boiler normally remains 90% full at all times adding approximately 1 – 2 oz per injection of water into the boiler. This dilution rate will keep pressure or temperature unaffected.
9. Hand Nozzles, buttons, switches or triggers – Just what is the difference and are they safe?
Absolutely, all “steam vapor cleaners” on the market must adhere to strict guidelines or they would not achieve their CE, ETL and / or UL certifications required. Wiring in the internal insulation of hoses range from 3v to 12v – equal to a battery. There are 3 basic designs of the nozzle handles on the market. Button, switch or trigger. All are clearly functional in their own design but you may want to look closely at the type of cleaning that you will be doing when considering your purchase. We strongly recommend for arthritic, fibromyalgia, lupas or similar conditions restricting function to call us as we can offer alternative hoses and switches to ease the challenge and offer steam cleaning availability.
10. Hose Length – Does it matter?
Quality manufacturer’s should design their hose length for optimal pressure and temperature to maintain the standards of sanitizing and cleaning test results, an 8 ft hose is the length of choice primarily by most manufacturer’s. Extending length beyond what a machine is designed for can compromise temperature necessary for sanitizing and optimal cleaning. Be sure that lab test results are provided with products with longer hoses such as our Vapor Clean Unilux 3000 (9ft) to assure confidence. We have clients that need the longer hoses ex. 11.5 ft.,
11. Steam Vapor vs. Steam Vapor/Extractor:
This is a decision based primarily on what your needs are. Hard surfaces, combination cleaning, personal priorities apply when making this decision. Do not however, hold true to companies that state you cannot clean carpet with a Steam Vapor “Extractor” System. Yes, you can! With the proper machine and process, websites that state this is “impossible” do not have our machines! Vapor Clean steam extractors have the added feature of heated liquid injection with extraction that no other machine in the USA can offer. Basic dry steam cleaners with extractors do not have this ability. Please call us for more information at 800.758.3141 and read the consumer reviews on our equipment.
12. Plastic, Stainless or Painted Metal:
Most models on the market today are plastic or stainless. There are a few painted metal models available. Remember “non-stainless” steels may rust in a long term, but a well cared for machine will endure the test of time. Stainless is far more durable, acceptable, and quite often required within the commercial marketplace. From a manufacturing standpoint, stainless steel is the most expensive material to use when designing this type of equipment therefore going the extra step in constructing a quality piece of equipment inside and out.
13. Mono-block (detachable hose) systems vs. attached hoses – Detachable hoses make far more sense and mean less repairs. Storage is easier, and if you have to send in for repair, quite often it may just be a switch on the hose. Why send the whole machine in for service? Mishaps occasionally occur, we have had to replace chewed hoses (new puppies), crushed nozzles (spouse backed over it with the car) and so on...Pulling cleaners by the hoses of direct wired machines can put stress on the connection eventually loosening the connections and wiring of attached hoses. Detachable hoses “lock” into place thus relieving the stress and potential repairs.
Do not make a decision based on inaccurate information or “marketing hype”:
While the internet is an amazing gateway to a world of information and exciting possibilities, it can also become a forum for inaccurate information about products and/or the companies that sell them. A large majority of home based internet steam cleaner retailers never even touch the product they sell, let alone provide after purchase service! Many have advertising information that confuse and are geared only for marketing and the bottom line sale. As you get to know our company, products and history we promise to educate, inform and invite you to get to know us with honesty, integrity, helpful insight and accountable facts. We are a full service company, with full service knowledge and support for the life of your purchase. Welcome!
If you have any further questions, you can contact us from this website, email us, or call us at
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Fine Steam Cleaners since 1997! Our line of steam vapor clean machines are a careful selection of the best of the best designs from Italy, imported direct for your purchase. Learn why our steam cleaners are the best choice for you, and how we maintain our standing as the Largest Importer and Retailer of Italian Steam Cleaners in the USA!
Read Our Reviews:“I love my Pro5! The quality is exceptional. You would think a steamer at this price would be inferior to the more expensive ones. No sir. I am very impressed with how solid it is built. I have been using it to do auto detailing and it has been a workhorse. I was worried initially that it would run out of steam before I finished my work, but it just keeps on going! I’m so glad I found you guys before I paid $800 for one of these.”
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