Who doesn’t like the feel of a new car? From the moment of your purchase, you try your best to maintain the interior as thoroughly as possible. It is for this reason that you bring your car to a car detail shop. You do it for maintenance, and to make sure that the interior of your car is kept in pristine condition.
Car detail shops, in order to deliver that “brand new” look, use a machine – the car steamer. Using no chemicals, car steamers are great for cleaning your car’s interior. They help eliminate any dust and grime that may have accumulated in your car’s interior. They are great for disinfecting your car as well!
What is a car steamer?
A car steam cleaner is a machine that uses steam to rid your car of dust, grime, stubborn stains, and even odors that result from the constant use of your car.
Due to heat produced by the steam, car steamers serve as a good method of disinfection as well.
A car steamer is quite similar to the steamers found in dry cleaners.
However, there are slight modifications included in car steamers so that they can be used specifically 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 more time to heat up 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 resume your work. Besides the lengthy cooling time, without continuous fill you would also have to boil the water all over again. All of these issues make for a lot of inconvenience and wasted 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 in comparison with 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. However, keep in mind that a larger water tank also means a heavier machine. Consider 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 operation more convenient. Just like many things in the market, price dictates 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 should consider 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 help set a good one.
Think of a car steamer as a 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 the interiors. Cars carry with them heavier grime and more stubborn stains than typical household dirt and stains.
Using a household steamer on a car’s interior may not have positive results. Your household steamer might get overloaded and eventually malfunction if you continue 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 get the most use of your car steamer.
Tips for Steam Cleaning Your Car
1. It is better to use distilled water to fill the tank. Regular tap water may contain impurities which can 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 to disinfect and deodorize the car. To make pre-treatment easier and more organized, it will help to divide the car into areas to ensure that all surfaces get covered.
Choosing Between Handheld and Full-Size Steam Cleaning
It is quite unfortunate that you must choose between power and portability when it comes to handheld and full-size steam cleaners.
Full-size steam cleaners will always have with them power and bigger tanks, not to mention the convenience of having several accessories to choose from to make cleaning more convenient. With power, however, also comes more weight, which can limit you in terms of mobility and access to hard-to-reach surfaces. This is where handhelds will have the advantage.
Cost is also another plus point for handheld cleaners since they are cheaper than full-sized ones. However, the water tank of handhelds can be a downside since they are much 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 have to fill the tank up all over again.
Of course, if budget is not a problem for you, buying both kinds of cleaners would be advantageous since you would get the best of both worlds when the situation calls for it.
Know the Steam Temperature and Pressure
Heat plays a big role in disinfection—the hotter the steam that comes out of the machine, the better chances for disinfection. There are, however, surfaces that can only 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 highly inconvenient, 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. However, there are some brands that recommend adding vinegar to the water. 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 could end up with an injury. Make sure that you keep some distance in order to protect areas like your face and hands. You 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 cars are much tougher to deal with than household stains. While steam cleaners do a wonderful job in ridding your car of these kinds of stains, it’s inevitable that there will be some leftover stains. However, manual removal is made much easier 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. They work great on tiles and grout which accumulate stains and molds, making it easier to maintain them as well.
Last update on 2021-04-19 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API