Who doesn’t like the feel of a new car? From the moment you buy a new car, you try your best to maintain the interior in the best way possible. It is for this reason why you bring your car to a car detail shop. You do it for maintenance to make sure that the interior of your car is kept at a pristine condition.
Car detail shops, in order to deliver that “brand new” look, make use of a machine – the car steamer. Without using chemicals, car steamers are great for cleaning your car’s interior. They help eliminate dust and grime which may have accumulated in your car’s interior. They are great in disinfecting your car too!
What is a car steamer?
A car steam cleaner is a machine that makes use of steam to rid your car of dust, grime, stubborn stains and even odors which are a result of constant use of your car.
Due to heat produced by the steam, car steamers serve as a good disinfection method as well.
A car steamer is quite similar to steamers found in dry cleaners.
There are slight modifications however, in a car steamer so that this can be used for car interiors.
What are the things that you should consider when buying a car steamer? What are the features that you should look out for?
The first thing that you should consider is the boiler. Check what material is used to make the boiler. Make sure that the boiler is made from material that is rust-resistant, such as aluminum or stainless steel. It is best to avoid buying a steamer with a plastic boiler since plastic boilers tend to mold and they aren’t as sturdy as the metal ones. Plastic boilers also take time to heat up as compared to metal ones.
Check if the steamer you plan to buy has a “continuous fill” feature. Without this, you would have to cool down your steamer for at least thirty minutes before being able to fill the tank again and resuming your work. Besides the “cooling time”, without continuous fill, you would also have to boil the water all over again. All of these make for a lot of inconvenience and waste of time.
A good steamer would also have a pressure gauge and safety cap. A pressure gauge helps you determine if it is safe enough to remove the safety cap so you don’t get injured. The safety cap helps in releasing the pressure that has built up inside the tank of your cleaner.
FEATURES TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING STEAM CLEANERS FOR CARS
There are portable steam cleaners available in the market which are light and small enough for you to move around the car. This makes it easier for you to clean those “hard-to-reach” areas and corners. The downside to portability, however, is lessened power as compared to the bigger machines.
Water Tank Size
It is important to check how big the water tank of the unit is. A bigger water tank means a longer operating time per round of cleaning. Keep in mind though that a larger water tank also means a heavier machine. Try to think of what would be more convenient for you when it comes to this particular feature.
An advantage of the bigger machines is the amount of power they produce which can actually affect the quality of steam. The stronger the power, the hotter and more pressurized the machine gets.
It takes approximately 1500W of energy to produce really hot steam. Portable units will not deliver the quality of steam that bigger machines produce. Regardless, portable machines are still able to deliver quality results, if only for regular maintenance.
The accessories made available depend on the model. More expensive models will, as expected, have more accessories available that can make things more convenient for you. Just like many things in the market, price will dictate quality. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Why Would I Want To Use A Steam Cleaner?
Unless you plan to keep your car forever, you would want to think of resale value. One factor that can affect the resale value of your car is a poorly maintained interior. Buyers always have first impressions and the car’s interior can set a good first impression.
Think of a car steamer as a good long-term financial investment in terms of car maintenance, with returns coming from a higher resale value.
Car steamers are designed to cater to the needs of car maintenance, especially its interiors. Cars carry with the heavier grime and more stubborn stains than normal household dirt and stains.
Using a household steamer on a car’s interior may not result in good job. Your household steamer might get overloaded and eventually malfunction if you keep on using it for car maintenance.
When getting a car steamer, make sure to read the instruction manual and follow what the manufacturer recommends. There are, however, additional tips which can help you make the most use of your car steam.
Tips for Steam Cleaning Your Car
1. It is better to use distilled water for filling the tank. Regular tap water may contain impurities which may affect the machine. These impurities may also affect the steam produced by the machine and cause problems on the surfaces being cleaned.
2. Familiarize yourself by reading the manuals provided with the machine. Check out the manufacturer’s website as well as it may contain important information or tips that will further help you in operating the machine.
3. You may have to pre-treat certain surfaces in the car’s interior such as the seats and the carpets. Pre-treatments can help in disinfecting and deodorizing the car. To make things easier and more organized, it will help to divide the car into areas when doing pre-treatment in order for you to make sure that you get all surfaces covered.
Choosing Between Handheld and Full-size Steam Cleaning
It is quite unfortunate that it is a choice between power and portability when it comes to handheld and full-size steam cleaners.
Full-size steam cleaners will always have with it power and bigger tanks, not to mention the convenience of having several accessories to choose from to make cleaning more convenient. Power, however, also means heavier which can also limit you in terms ng mobility and accessibility hard-to-reach surfaces This is where handhelds will have more advantage.
Cost is also another plus point for handheld cleaners since they are cheaper than full-sized ones. The water tank, however, of handhelds. This can be quite limiting since the tank size is smaller than tanks found in full-sized cleaners. As a result, the cleaning time per round is limited to a maximum of twenty minutes before you would have to fill the tank up all over again.
If budget is not a problem for you, buying both kinds of cleaners would be best since you would be able to get the best of both worlds when the situation calls for it.
Know the Steam Temperature and Pressure
Since heat plays a big role in disinfection, it would be safe to say that the hotter the steam that comes out of the machine, the better chances for disinfection. There are, however, surfaces that can tolerate so much heat. Be sure to check just how much heat a particular surface can tolerate in order for you not to cause any damage to your car.
The amount of pressure on the steam is also of importance since stronger blasts of steam will dislodge and remove all stubborn stains and dirt much faster and more efficiently. If the steam coming out of the machine is weak, chances are you will have to do some extra cleaning manually. This, of course, would be a lot of inconvenience on your part, not to mention a total waste of time.
Q: DO I NEED A SPECIAL KIND OF WATER TO RUN A STEAM CLEANER?
Steam cleaners do not need any special kind of water in order for them to run. Regular water that comes out of your faucet will suffice. There are, however, some brands which recommend the addition of vinegar to the water that will be used. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Q:HOW HOT DOES THE WATER GET?
Heated water and steam in these cleaners can reach temperatures of up to 212 deg F. Therefore, take extra precautions when handling these machines as you might end up getting injured. Make sure that you keep some distance in order to protect areas like your face and hands. You really wouldn’t want to end up in a hospital with second-degree burns.
Q: WHY IS THERE STILL SOME DIRT LEFT OVER AFTER HAVING USED THE STEAM CLEANER?
A: Stains and dirt in care are much tougher to handle than household stains. While steam cleaners do a wonderful job in ridding your car of these kinds of stains, it can’t be helped to have some leftover stains. These, however, can be removed more easily manually after the interiors have been steam-cleaned.
Q: CAN I USE A HIGH-PRESSURE STEAM CLEANER TO DO MORE THAN JUST AUTO DETAILING?
A: Car steam cleaners are designed to remove really tough stains in your car. Because they are quite powerful, car steamers can also be used for other areas in your home like your kitchen and bathroom even. They work great on tiles and grout which accumulate stains and molds, making it easier for them to be maintained as well.