Is steam a natural disinfectant?
Dr Vincent Candrawinata is a scientist and entrepreneur who says, cleaning your home with steam is "the most natural way to kill germs."
"Many people use a steam mop rather than cleaning agents to kill germs on the floor."
How a steam cleaner works
A steam cleaner uses the power of hot water to clean surfaces and kill bacteria.
Rob Roy, National Training Manager at Godfreys, says, "Steam cleaners boil the water in a small boiler, resulting in pressurised steam.
"The steam is so hot it breaks down all the dirt and grime and sanitises simultaneously. There's no need to use antibacterial cleaners; the steam does it for you."
Can you add vinegar to a steam cleaner?
If you're really itching to add some vinegar to your steam cleaner, Rob doesn't recommend it.
If you want to add a scent, you could probably add some to the pad, and steam can flow through that.
"But we don't recommend putting them in the machine itself," he says.
"There are some steamers on the market where you can put in an additive, but that's a specific type of additive the brand will supply for the steamer."
Can you use steam to kill mould?
It is possible to kill mould growth in your house using steam - but it's probably more suited to surfaces in the bathroom or windows (make sure they aren't cold). Using steam on your walls could potentially damage the paint.
Rob recommends a multi-steamer as they come with various scrubbing attachments, including a window squeegee, like the Wertheim Pro Multi Steamer.
We know that mould thrives in moisture - so if you're using steam to break down mould, make sure you have your microfibre cloths ready to remove mould as you clean.
Lucinda Curran is an Indoor Environmental Health Consultant. She says killing mould is not enough.
"The presence of mould, dead or alive, can be problematic for someone sensitive to it," says Lucinda. "Like hay fever, the presence of the pollen triggers a response; it doesn't matter whether or not the flowers are in a vase or growing."
"This is why removing mould is essential."
Here's a step-by-step guide to removing mould properly.
Surfaces you shouldn't steam
- Walls painted with water-based paint.
- Unsealed surfaces, including hardwood floors, marble, limestone, concrete, tile, or natural stone.
- Flooring with cracks or gaps - it's possible the pressure from the heat could warp the floor.
- Deep-cleaning large areas of carpet - it's best left for spot cleaning.
If you aren't sure you can steam clean your floor, it's best to speak to the manufacturer for advice.
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