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Steaming ahead with efficiency and effectiveness

16 October 2023

Daniel Took reveals how steam-powered cleaning is transforming the way entire cleaning teams are working, enabling them to significantly improve their regimes on multiple levels.

WHILE WALLS, floors and other surfaces may look clean, they can still be a breeding ground for bacteria, including Enterococcus hirae, and viruses, such as coronavirus and influenza.

Robust cleaning regimes undoubtedly play a key role in helping keep germs and bacteria at bay which, if left untouched, are capable of rapidly multiplying by the second. According to the Microbiology Society, Escherichia coli, is capable of dividing every 20 minutes. Within seven hours, one bacterium can generate 2,097,152 bacteria. And after eight hours, the number can rise to a colossal 16,777,216.

Keeping spaces germ and bacteria-free is a constant challenge, which is further compounded by numerous factors, including different surface materials, size and space dimensions and user demands - as well as everyday wear and tear that can create cracks, rips and other crevices that become breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Collectively, these components not only make achieving a robust clean every time extremely challenging, but incredibly time-consuming too.

Clean spaces are integral to creating environments that are fresh and inviting, and have always historically been achieved with the help of chemicals. Cleaning detergents have long been viewed as the go-to solution for penetrating and removing dirt with minimum hassle. But as cleaning budgets have reduced, so too have the range of cleaning products at the disposal of cleaning teams.

In the meantime, bacteria and viruses continue to multiply by the second…

The case for steam cleaning 

Steam-based cleaning is increasingly being recognised as a highly efficient method for removing dirt and eliminating unwanted pathogens, germs and bacteria from a range of surfaces, including tiles, wood, glass and ceramics.

From an environmental perspective, steam vapour particles alone can be used to tackle the most stubborn dirt, regardless of how old, built up or hard to reach it is. The vapour particles are so powerful and effective at blasting away dirt, detergents are no longer required. In turn, this enables cleaning teams to generate valuable savings. They are also provided with peace of mind they are delivering a greener, chemical-free clean.

How steam cleaners work

Steam-powered equipment, such as steam cleaners and vacuum cleaners, are purely powered by steam. Water in the machine is heated to boiling point, after which it is expunged via the cleaning nozzle at temperatures of around 100oC. Steam particles come into contact with surfaces at up to 170km/h, deeply penetrating into the surface and any nooks and crannies that may be difficult to reach by hand.

The combination of heat and pressure breaks down oils and grease, efficiently eradicating dirt in the process. It is important to note that the steam cools the further away the cleaner is held away from the surface. Steam cleaners should therefore be guided directly over surfaces to prevent the water vapour from cooling and achieve the most efficient clean.

Proven deep cleaning results 

In addition to removing stubborn dirt, the high pressure and heat eliminates bacteria and pathogens, which are simply unable to withstand the extreme conditions. As a result, steam cleaners remove up to 99.999% of enveloped viruses, such as coronavirus and influenza, as well as 99.99% of typical household bacteria on hard surfaces, fixtures and fittings, tiles, mirrors, etc.

The most effective steam cleaning solutions incorporate powerful nozzles and hot cleaning cloths that target hard to reach areas, further eliminating the need for any detergents to be used:

1. The mixture of water and high temperature deeply penetrates - underneath the dirt and loosens it from the surface.

2. The dirt is then removed - by the steam cleaner and attached cloth with minimal effort. 

Improved productivity and reduced downtime

Given their proven results, steam cleaners are widely recognised for transforming entire cleaning regimes, thanks to their intuitive design and highly specialised functionality. They can reduce downtime too – due to the high temperature naturally drying surfaces and the small vapour droplets evaporating and drying out far more swiftly compared to buckets of water and/or multiple sprays.  

Steam cleaners, such as the compact SG 4/2 Steam Cleaner from Kärcher, feature on-board water tanks that are specifically designed to help cleaning teams work non-stop for longer. These tanks enable staff to move from task-to-task without having to repeatedly refill the water tank. What’s more, filling the tank with warm water (not hot) reduces the time it takes for the water to reach boiling point, enabling cleaners to tackle dirt far more quickly, generating further efficiency gains.

Meanwhile, the SGV 8/5 Steam Vacuum Cleaner is equipped with a handle with a trigger for convenient function control. It can be used to switch the vacuum on and off and regulate the water/steam quickly and easily. The SGV 8/5 also features: a self-cleaning mode that helps keep the hoses, pumps and pipes hygienically clean; a power input and noise reduction functionality, and an energy-saving eco mode.

The compact nature of the latest steam cleaning machines also provide a further practical benefit – fewer cables being strewn across floors and reduced trip hazards for cleaning teams and passers-by. 

Steam cleaning is single-handedly transforming the way professional cleaning teams operate sector-wide. The end result: More efficient, effective (time and cost) and environmentally-friendly multi-surface cleaning, everywhere and every time.

Daniel Took is head of professional product marketing at Kärcher UK

For more information visit www.kaercher.com/uk/​