If you’re looking for effective ways to reduce chemical use in your home, steam cleaning may be something worth considering. When implemented correctly, this eco-friendly heat method can rid your home up to 99.99 percent of germs and bacteria, all while using plain old water.
To effectively clean your house using steam, several equipment and tools are required, chief among them being a steam cleaning machine. These cleaner ejects steam vapor at incredibly high speed to force out all forms of dirt and other molecules from surfaces and crevices. Due to the nature of their work – dealing with high heat, lots of pressure, and moisture – steam cleaners are prone to rust, clogs, leakages, and calcification, usually due to hard water scales.
In this post, we show you simple tips to maintain your steam cleaning machine so that it works at optimal levels all the time.
General cleaning tips
Like any other home equipment, you must clean your steam cleaner regularly to keep it in tip-top shape. This entails frequently wiping down its exterior while also flushing its interior with clean water (sometimes with baking soda) after every use. Don’t also forget to clean its hose attachment and any other additional plugins that come with your cleaner.
How to clean a steam cleaning machine (step by step)
Before you can start the cleaning process, ensure that your machine is switched off and unplugged from any power source. You don’t want to hurt yourself or short-circuit its components trying to wash it while it’s powered on. At this point, you need to get a damp washrag which you’ll use to clean the outside of your machine. Should some stains fail to go away during the first wash, consider using warm water and vinegar for more powerful cleaning.
If your steamer has a detachable hose attachment, you might want to disengage it and clean out any debris that is stuck inside. For effective results, flush water through it at high speed, probably with a garden hose or the standard bathing shower.
Now that you’re done cleaning the exterior, it’s time to go inside where most of the dirt is likely to have accumulated. First in line for cleaning is the water cup which you will find at the base of the machine in most steam cleaners. Detach it and empty any water remaining inside. Thereafter, create a solution of baking soda and water, put it in the cup, and return it into the machine. Allow it to sit there for about 3-4 hours and ensure it doesn’t spill or come into contact with other parts of your cleaner. Now remove the cup, dispose of its contents, and clean it thoroughly to make sure no residue remains.
Add clean water to the cup, return it into the steam cleaner machine, and turn it on. This process is meant to flush out dirt from the filters and other parts of the machine. Repeat until dirt clears away and water being rinsed out stops looking dirty.
Minimizing the effects of hard or softened water
While distilled water is highly recommended when using steam cleaners, it might not always be available especially if you live in an area with plenty of hard water. If this sounds like your situation, you’ll have to look for ways to live and work with what’s available.
Typical hard water contains mineral deposits including calcium, sodium, and magnesium. Accumulation of these minerals in your steam cleaner often leads to blockages of openings, wearing out of parts, and ultimately frequent breakdowns of the machine.
How to descale your steam cleaner
To minimize the adverse effects of hard water, you need to descale your machine regularly and also clean it properly after every use. The process of descaling (also known as decalcification) is similar to the one we described earlier.
For starters, mix regular baking soda in some water or buy a descaler solution and use it as recommended by its manufacturer. Fill your steam cleaner with one of these mixtures and turn it on so that it can start heating. Let the solution boil in the tank for 1-2 hours and thereafter allow it cool for about 3-4 hours. Drain the tank and rinse the machine with clean water.
Where possible, avoid, at all costs, using softened water in your steam cleaning machine. The reason for this is that the process of softening water involves replacing calcium and magnesium minerals with sodium. High levels of the latter corrode internal components of steam cleaners and ultimately shortens their lifespans.
Decalcifying the nozzles
Nozzles are other parts where calcification often occurs. If this happens, you will experience blockages and this could negatively impact the overall performance of your machine.
The good thing, however, is that decalcifying and unblocking nozzles are quite simple tasks that you can do manually. To begin with, you need some white vinegar (or any other active decalcifying agent), a cotton swab, and a sharp object like a paper clip. As we had mentioned earlier, it’s essential to always ensure that your machine is cooled down and unplugged from the power source before doing any maintenance work on it. You will also need to empty the tank to avoid unnecessary spillages.
Check the nozzle for traces of debris or other buildups that might be clogging the spray tip. To loosen the accumulated debris, insert the sharp object and move it back and forth several times. Pour a little of your preferred decalcifying agent on the area, allow it to stay for a couple of hours, before rubbing with a dry rag.
Other general maintenance tips
Store your steam cleaner in a cool, dry place
Always drain the tanks and store your machine in a cool adry place to prevent the formation of molds and mildew on it. Where possible, remove and rinse out all detachable compartments and parts, allow them to air dry, and reinsert them before storing your machine.
Fix any leakages
Given that da steam cleaning machines use pressure buildup to function correctly, a loss of pressure through leaks can significantly hamper their performance. As such, be sure to identify and fix any leakages emanating from areas such as a loosely fitted bottom cap.
There you have it – a simple breakdown of everything you need to know about maintaining and keeping a steam cleaning machine in top condition for effective results. By implementing the tips we just provided here, you can save yourself a lot of money in replacement costs. What’s more, you can avoid the inconveniences that arise from unforeseen breakdowns of these machines when you want to use them.