Steam your way to a better clean

08 January 2016

The importance of steam cleaning in the healthcare sector is well known, but it is becoming increasingly valued in other areas too, from food retailing to facilities management. Paul Lewis, managing director of Reintec, explains why

At Reintec, we provide a fully outsourced cleaning equipment service catering for a wide range of customers and industries. Our large virtual fleet of equipment ranges from rotary polishers to escalator cleaners, and includes an extensive range of steam cleaners. Over the past few years we’ve seen an increasing range of businesses adopt and use steam cleaners. And if you understand their benefits, it’s not hard to see why. 

The steam is heated to temperatures over 150°C, which not only kills bacteria, but also removes grease and dirt. Remarkably, this temperature is so high that the steam leaves many surfaces dry to the touch.

Steam cleaning has become particularly popular in the healthcare sector because it is effective against MRSA and VRE – two types of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and can pose major problems, especially to the unwell and elderly. Contrary to some preconceptions, steam cleaners do not cause the aerosolisation of microorganisms.

Very obviously, steam cleaners also remove the risk of contamination from using a dirty cloth, which could transfer sources of infection from one surface to another. However, there are also other, less obvious, advantages.

Absence of chemicals

Steam cleaners require no chemicals meaning they have environmental benefits and there is no residue left behind, which could harbour dirt. They also avoid contributing to the evolution of more resistant bacteria, as poorly applied chemical cleaners can when they fail to kill bacteria effectively. Another benefit from the absence of chemicals is that steam cleaning can be used on a wide range of surfaces.

Effective reach

Furthermore, steam cleaners can quickly and efficiently reach areas that can be difficult to tackle with a cleaning cloth. This brings several benefits. It helps tackle dirt in these areas and saves time, but also encourages a more thorough approach. 

For example, a cleaner’s ability to clean behind a pipe is not just about whether they can reach the area, but also whether they have time to. Steam cleaning machines can make it much easier and more practical, raising quality levels. This can make a critical difference, and help protect people from diseases and infections that could have very real consequences.

Food friendly

As the cleaning industry has increasingly recognised the benefits of steam cleaning in other areas, it is playing an ever more important and wider role. For example, in food retailing steam cleaners are especially useful in areas where the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness are vital – where fresh food is handled.

This is a positive development, but it must be accompanied by an emphasis on maintenance and training especially when facilities managers are considering the options of hire or purchase. Steam cleaners are sophisticated pieces of equipment, and often used in areas where hygiene is critical. Managers need to take these factors into account. Here at Reintec, we will support customers to ensure they receive the right training for the equipment that they need. 

Working with an outsourced partner is also a financially smart option. It means that rather than needing to buy equipment, companies can employ a specialist to provide them with well-maintained and up-to-date equipment, as and when they need it – bringing flexibility. Firms can hire what they want, where they want, and in the quantities they need. When demand ramps up, they simply hire more, and when it’s quieter they can return it. 

Steam cleaning machines can bring very real benefits to a whole range of customers. As more people understand the machines’ advantages, we believe we will see them used more and more often, in a wider range of businesses.