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Steam cleaning – the right choice for you

19 January 2018

Choosing the correct steam cleaning machinery can be difficult, there being so many models both domestic and commercial. Mike Osiadacz, sales director of Matrix Cleaning Systems, explains why your best bet is just to keep it simple

“Innovative” and “unique”. These two words have become the cleaning industry's go to clichés. However, in the case of steam cleaning, there is a very good reason for this. The introduction in recent years of ergonomic, well-designed, built equipment that requires minimal training to operate and yet produces professional results has literally revolutionised the cleaning process in a way that no other system or piece of equipment has.

Today’s steam cleaning machines have some outstanding attributes and can deliver the solutions customers are looking for. The benefits are obvious: the high temperatures (at up to 180 degrees C) of so-called ‘dry’ steam sanitises every surface, readily dissolves grease and grime, reduces water and chemical usage and leaves very little moisture behind – that which is left evaporates in moments. Many machines on the market have Water Technology List approval and are proven to kill bacteria and germs.

How to choose?

So what factors do you need to take into account when deciding what role steam might play in the annual programme of daily, interim maintenance and deep cleaning? There are many equipment options – from multipurpose machines which vacuum and portable steam cleaners with steam mops, to trolley mounted systems. 

The main questions you need to ask yourself are:

• What use(s) will the machine or equipment be put to? As outlined here, steam machines can tackle a wide range of surfaces and materials, but some models may be better suited than others, for example, for kitchens, bathrooms/washrooms, or spot cleaning upholstery and carpets.

• Are there applications that will require use of chemicals as well as steam and vacuum? 

As opposed to a steam-only cleaner, some units are designed to use chemical detergents as well, mainly to accelerate cleaning, or specifically for gum removal and others are also equipped with a vacuum function. The vacuum pump sucks water back into a recovery tank. This facility is also suitable for collecting excess water from flooded floors or carpets and upholstery cleaning.

• How long will the machine be used for? If this is likely to mean more than an hour and a half of operation, a continuous-fill boiler will be more efficient. Models are designed to steam clean for up to a certain number of hours per day, and longer periods require machines with a larger boiler and a higher pressure capacity, which increases the size of the machine and may require a larger area to be stored.

• Will the machine have to be moved long distances, between buildings, or manoeuvred into tight spaces? The weight of the most popular steam cleaning machines ranges from 12 kilograms through to 40 kilograms. Some units are very compact, but even our largest commercial machines are designed to be able to be used in confined areas, and can be fitted with an all-terrain chassis, enabling the system to be used externally for gum removal.

Many businesses throughout different market sectors have already embraced the new steam age. But faced with a range of viable solutions, that exploit different technologies in various configurations, it is advisable to commission a site survey and ask for a demonstration on the premises before steaming ahead. Once your machine has been installed it is paramount that training is carried out by your supplier or professional training organisation to ensure that it will be used by trained staff, safely and effectively to achieve the desired results.