The 7 Best Steam Cleaners of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Clean and sanitize your home with a nontoxic method using one of these handy steam-cleaning machines.

Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money off these affiliate links. Learn more.
Updated on April 04, 2024

Our Top Steam Cleaner Picks:

Sprays, solutions, powders, oils, gels — navigating household cleaning products can feel like a landmine of potentially toxic chemicals. But you can actually sanitize your home and prevent bacteria and allergens without any chemicals at all; you just need a steam cleaner. These machines don’t get enough credit. Steam cleaners and steam mops can fight carpet stains, polish appliances and sanitize so many items at home with just simple H2O. Here’s everything you need to know about steam cleaners and the best steam cleaner for every surface and budget. Take a look at our top picks below and see which steam cleaner is the best one for your home.

7 Steam Cleaners and Steam Mops on Tile Flooring

Best Steam Cleaners and Steam Mops

After thorough testing the editors at HGTV narrowed down the best steam cleaners, steam mops and steam carpet cleaners for every cleaning need.

Photo by: Deanne Revel

Deanne Revel

How We Tested

To find the best steam cleaner, we researched dozens of machines for customer satisfaction, manufacturer claims and overall value for price. We tested 10 top-rated steam cleaners in a series of controlled cleaning tests. For carpet and rugs, we tested each machine's performance with a half cup of spilled coffee. For hard surfaces, we tested each machine's performance with a tablespoon of soy sauce. We let these stains set for one hour and then observed how each model tackled (or failed) the job. Additionally, we used each accessory and attachment the steam cleaners came with on various jobs the attachments were intended jobs for, from grout cleaning to window squeegeeing to fabric steaming. We noted maneuverability and how easy the steam cleaners were to tote, store and empty. A total score was given to each steam cleaner and the winners for each category were chosen based on performance and price.

Before: Coffee Stains on Rug

Before: Coffee Stains for Steam Cleaners
Deanne Revel

After: Coffee Stains on Rug

After: Coffee Stains for Steam Cleaners
Deanne Revel
For machines that included shampoo, we tested both steam alone and steam with carpet shampoo. In general, nearly all steam cleaners were not able to penetrate the coffee stains with steam alone. However, the Bissell HydroSteam carpet cleaner made a significant change with steam and suction power alone, and with shampoo, nearly eliminated the stain.

Before: Coffee Stains for Steam Cleaners

Photo By: Deanne Revel

After: Coffee Stains for Steam Cleaners

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Before: Soy Sauce Spill on Tile

Before: Soy Sauce Testing With Steam Cleaners
Deanne Revel

After: Soy Sauce Spill on Tile

After: Soy Sauce Testing With Steam Cleaners
Deanne Revel
We didn't make the soy sauce spill easy, letting it congeal for an hour before cleaning. For each machine, we noted how well a blast of steam alone cut through the mess before testing scrubber tools and mop heads. For steam mops and canister steam cleaners with extension rods, we noted how easily the mop pad cut through, absorbed and eliminated the mess in one pass as well as how quickly and easily each machine cleaned the entire area.

Before: Soy Sauce Testing With Steam Cleaners

Photo By: Deanne Revel

After: Soy Sauce Testing With Steam Cleaners

Photo By: Deanne Revel

$149.78
Amazon
What We Like
  1. Higher temperature for peace-of-mind sanitizing
  2. Simple, user-friendly design
What We Don't Like
  1. No linear grout brush included
  2. No funnel or water cup included

This little cube checks all the boxes. If you’re new to steam-cleaning and looking for an all-around machine to tackle all kinds of jobs, you’ll love the Neat by Dupray. It’s smaller and less expensive than the company’s fleet of professional steamers, but don’t let that fool you. This compact, nine-pound machine has 50 psi steam pressure and can heat water up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit for total sanitization. What we really love is the value of accessories, of which there are 17, for the price. And the extra-plush fabric bonnet that comes with the Neat is twice as thick as other bonnets tested. It didn't bunch up or come off compared to more flimsy bonnets. If you're wanting to sanitize a mattress or sofa, this bonnet can handle the frequent passes.

It’s also incredibly cute and easy to store at just 10-and-half inches wide. However, the downside to this chic minimalism is that you can’t see how much water is left in the tank as there’s no indicator light or window, but when tested, we found that one tank of water lasted about one hour. We also love that the giant button turns orange while heating and then green when fully hot so you know you're in the clear for sanitization. For most machines, it's just a timer and guesswork so this is great peace of mind. For testing, the Dupray mop cut right through our soy sauce, and what was most impressive is how much the steam and triangle brush cut through tub scum. I generally use the pink stuff for bathroom cleaning and was shocked at how steam and a brush could cut through scum. What would make this cube perfect is a series of grout brushes to go with the circular scrubbers included. With the current accessories, there's not a good brush small enough to get into grout lines.

  1. Type Canister
  2. Weight 9 lbs.
  3. Tank Capacity 40 oz.
  4. Max Temperature 275 F
  5. Heat Time 12 minutes
  6. Run Time 1 hour
  7. Surface Capabilities Hard surfaces, tile, stainless steel, glass, fabric
  8. Accessories Included Steam lance, 2 extension wands, 3 microfiber pads, floor tool, triangle tool, window tool, 5 nylon brushes, brass brush, microfiber cloth, microfiber bonnet

Shop This Look

$79.99
Amazon
What We Like
  1. The entire mop folds in half for easy storage
  2. Steam lasted much longer than manufacturer claims
What We Don't Like
  1. Cord could be longer
  2. Pressurized tank is really loud

For less than half the cost of the Neat and other steam cleaners on this list, you can snag the PurSteam Steam Mop. This Jack of all trades has a pop-out handheld steamer so you can use it as a mop for floors and tackle small areas, too. It heats water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an efficient sanitizer for countertops and other surfaces. You’ll need to be efficient when cleaning, however, because the tank is smaller than most. When tested in a small home, one tank of water lasted on various jobs for about an hour. Plus, the entire mop unit folds in half and no other steam mops or wands we tested do that so it's, by far, the best option for apartments and small space storage.

For performance, we were surprised by how well the mop head cut through soy sauce on just one pass. For four pounds, it packs a lot of power. However, it's incredibly loud. The little metal ball in the pressurized tank rattles the entire time while in use so it's not the best option if you have anyone with sound sensitivities in your house.

  1. Type Steam Mop and Handheld
  2. Weight 4.4 lbs.
  3. Tank Capacity 12.8 oz.
  4. Max Temperature 212 F
  5. Heat Time 30 seconds
  6. Run Time 1 hour
  7. Surface Capabilities Hard surfaces, tile, stainless steel, glass, fabric, carpet
  8. Accessories Included Angled nozzle, scrape tool, grout brush, big brush, small brush, steamer jet, extension hose, squeegee, fabric steamer, microfiber cloth, carpet glider, water cup, funnel
$41.19
Bissell
What We Like
  1. Tons of attachments and nozzles for the right job
  2. Tackles grout lines beautifully
What We Don't Like
  1. Not as powerful as canister-style steam cleaners

Alternatively, if you’re on a strict budget, this BISSELL handheld steamer is under $50, and fans on TikTok can’t get enough. If you’re outfitting your college kid with apartment essentials, shopping for new parents who want something they’ll actually use or just want peace of mind in the kitchen that your surfaces are clean after cooking, you need to add this steam cleaner to your cart ASAP. At just three pounds, the SteamShot Deluxe is strong and mighty. It can heat water up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit, and while this is not the steam cleaner for tackling floors and furniture, what makes this model such a favorite is the tiny detail brushes and attachments. The scraper tool makes cleaning a microwave a breeze. The angle concentrator tool is perfect for grill racks. At less than seven ounces, the water tank doesn’t last long — only about 30 minutes — so it’s best for small jobs like deodorizing a trash can, sanitizing a highchair or car seat or cleaning up a raw chicken leak on the counter.

That said, you'll want to keep refilling for larger jobs because the tiny brush tools are so satisfying at getting little nooks and crannies. With larger steam cleaners, the brushes are often too large for precise grout cleaning. This little brush, however, is small and mighty. If you've got a shower wall or kitchen backsplash to clean, this is a great option.

  1. Type Handheld
  2. Weight 3.2 lbs.
  3. Tank Capacity 6.6 oz.
  4. Max Temperature 230 F
  5. Heat Time 2 minutes
  6. Run Time 30 minutes
  7. Surface Capabilities Hard surfaces, tile, stainless steel, glass, fabric
  8. Accessories Included Etension hose, grout brush, precision point, scraper tool, 3 scrubber brushes, squeegee, fabric steamer, water cup

Grout Cleaning With Bissell SteamShot Deluxe Steam Cleaner

Photo by: Deanne Revel

Deanne Revel

Before One Pass

Grout Spots Before for Steam Cleaning With Bissell SteamShot Deluxe
Deanne Revel

After One Pass

Grout Spots After for Steam Cleaning With Bissell SteamShot Deluxe
Deanne Revel

Grout Spots Before for Steam Cleaning With Bissell SteamShot Deluxe

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Grout Spots After for Steam Cleaning With Bissell SteamShot Deluxe

Photo By: Deanne Revel

$149.99
Amazon
What We Like
  1. Hand mop has incredible control and maneuverability
  2. Best variety of tools and attachments for various jobs
What We Don't Like
  1. Slight leaking when transfering handheld tank to mop frame

If you’re ready to ditch the chemical wet pads (and the cost to buy refills), say hello to this BLACK+DECKER steam mop. Beyond traditional mopping, what makes this steamer stand out is the bevy of attachments and accessories, including the SteamGlove. Yes, really. It’s a glove that’s attached to the steam cleaner’s hose for total maneuverability and cleaning control. If you’ve got a bathroom with hard-to-reach areas or prefer more control while cleaning countertops, this glove offers an option most steam cleaners don’t. I was skeptical of keeping my skin that close to burning hot steam, but it really works. If you're trying to cut down on sprays and paper towels, this tool is the next best thing. I actually preferred this hand mop for cleaning glass windows and doors as opposed to the squeegee attachments on other machines.

The water tank is fairly small, but it does heat up in under a minute so this is definitely the best steam cleaner for quick kitchen cleanups and surprise spills. And what makes this cleaner the best steam mop as opposed to other steam cleaners with wands and mop heads is the continuous steam. Because it’s designed for mopping first, there's no trigger to hold down so your hand doesn’t cramp for larger jobs. While it does feature lower temperature settings for vinyl and stone, we still wouldn't recommend using this on vinyl flooring or any kind of peel-and-stick countertops or backsplash.

  1. Type Steam Mop and Handheld
  2. Weight 6 lbs.
  3. Tank Capacity 19.6 oz.
  4. Max Temperature Not listed
  5. Heat Time 20 seconds
  6. Run Time 1 hour
  7. Surface Capabilities Hard surfaces, tile, stainless steel, glass, fabric
  8. Accessories Included 2 mop pads, 2 hand mop pads, fabric steamer, hand mop, grout brush, 2 small scrubber brushes, extension hose

Black + Decker Steam Mop Hand Mop Attachment
Deanne Revel

Black + Decker Steam Mop Hand Mop Attachment Testing
Deanne Revel

Black + Decker Steam Mop Hand Mop Attachment

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Black + Decker Steam Mop Hand Mop Attachment Testing

Photo By: Deanne Revel

READ OUR REVIEW

The Best Mops, Tested by HGTV Editors

Find the best mop for your floors by shopping our editor-tested picks. We reviewed microfiber mops, steam mops and spray mops for hardwood, tile and more.

$175.09
Amazon
What We Like
  1. Tackles tough spills and grime in one pass
  2. Incredible on grout lines
What We Don't Like
  1. Steam trigger and handle aren't the most ergonomic

If you're used to the maneuverability of Dysons and Swiffers, you'll love this steamer from Bissell. The handheld machine pops into a telescope wand with a mop head and the handle and trigger are positioned similarly to other stick appliances. The larger mop head and longer cord make this the perfect steam cleaner for large rooms and big cleaning jobs. Even better: It's the only machine we tested that comes with a wall mount for easy storage.

For performance, we were floored. The super-plush mop pads feature special lines of a more coarse woven fabric which Bissell claimed were hard on tough stains. And it was like magic on the soy sauce test. The mop cut through that spill in one pass like a paper towel commercial demo. And no other machine whips around floors as easily. For wall tile and tubs, it was a beast on grime. It basically pressure-washed the grout lines, and I learned that perhaps the pink stuff doesn't clean as well as TikTok told me it did. If you're shopping for a steam cleaner for mostly flooring and tiling, this is the best steam cleaner for those kinds of jobs. The water tank is smaller compared to other heavy-duty models, but it lasted for more than an hour on high heat going from various rooms and jobs.

  1. Type Handheld with extension mop
  2. Weight 6.13 lbs.
  3. Tank Capacity 11.8 oz.
  4. Max Temperature Not listed
  5. Heat Time 30 seconds
  6. Run Time 1 hour
  7. Surface Capabilities Hard surfaces, tile, stainless steel, glass, fabric
  8. Accessories Included 4 nylon brushes, 4 metal brushes, 4 grout brushes, scraper tool, angled point, flat surdace tool, cloth, fabric steamer, squeegee, floor mop, extension wand, wall mount

Bissell Heavy Duty Steam Cleaner Grout Testing

In addition to blazing through the soy sauce on the tile mop test, this steamer has incredible power for grout cleaning. Just look at how it blasts tub soap scum.

Photo by: Deanne Revel

Deanne Revel

In addition to blazing through the soy sauce on the tile mop test, this steamer has incredible power for grout cleaning. Just look at how it blasts tub soap scum.

$349.99
Amazon
What We Like
  1. Tackles embedded debris in carpet better than traditional steamers can
  2. Citrus shampoo smells amazing
What We Don't Like
  1. It's extremely heavy
  2. Water can drip as a delay after switching through settings

First things first: This is not a steam cleaner. It's a wet vacuum with high-heat steam so you can't sanitize surfaces with this machine. It's also incredibly heavy, expensive and its only job is carpet. But it does carpet really well. This was the only machine that made any difference in the coffee stain test. With just water alone, I was impressed with the amount of stain it took out and the amount of coffee liquid sucked into the tank. This stain section was actually the last row I poured coffee on and it was the end of my pitcher of coffee so there were even some coffee grounds in the spill. The vacuum sucked those right up. I did test again using the included shampoo, and it definitely took another layer of brown stain out of the rug with a couple of passes — though it didn't remove the stain entirely. However, for other rug stains and debris, it was completely capable. When tested on a Ruggable rug in a high-traffic area, it tackled paw dirt and general debris with ease. And the dirty water tank is highly satisfying (and horrifying) to watch as it sucks up all kinds of gunk embedded in fibers. Two samples of Bissell's carpet shampoo and pet odor shampoo are included with the machine, and they smell amazing. It's a subtle citrus scent that isn't overpowering for larger rugs and honestly smells like a fancy hotel lobby.

Cleanup for this machine is more thorough than a regular steam cleaner as there's a clean water tank, a dirty water tank and a vacuum head to clean. The front panel does pop out for better picking at debris in between the vacuum bristles, but it's definitely not a push-and-dump situation like other vacuums. While the quick-dry setting claims to dry carpet in 30 minutes, we found that rugs tested on this setting needed much longer to completely dry. We also didn't find the handheld attachment to be that impressive. The suction power wasn't as powerful as we'd hoped. Still, if you've got pets and a lot of carpet or rugs, this investment could prolong the life of your carpet and tackle general dirt and debris.

  1. Type Upright vacuum with handheld hose attachment
  2. Weight 22.5 lbs.
  3. Tank Capacity 1 gallon
  4. Max Temperature Not listed
  5. Heat Time 30 seconds
  6. Run Time 1 hour
  7. Surface Capabilities Carpet, rugs
  8. Accessories Included Upholstery tool, stain tool, extension hose, BISSELL Pet PRO OXY Urine Eliminator, BISSELL Simply Carpet Deep Clean

After a Couple of Passes on an Entryway Rug

Bissell HydroSteam Vacuum Water Tank After General Testing
Deanne Revel

After Coffee Stain Testing With Other Machines

Bissell HydroSteam Vacuum Water Tank After Coffee Testing
Deanne Revel
It was impressive and horrifying that the machine was able to vacuum up so much debris and grime in a couple of passes on an entryway rug. And it was shocking how much coffee the machine sucked up in the water tank while testing the rug stain.

Bissell HydroSteam Vacuum Water Tank After General Testing

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Bissell HydroSteam Vacuum Water Tank After Coffee Testing

Photo By: Deanne Revel

$191.29
Amazon
What We Like
  1. External gauge takes the guess work out of fluctuating steam temperatures
  2. XL mop head cuts down cleaning time for larger jobs
What We Don't Like
  1. Plastic parts and attachments feel cheap and get hot
  2. Heavy and bulky compared to other canisters

Say hello to the monster truck of steam cleaners. This heavy-duty canister is bulky and heavy but gets the job done. It's the largest mop head we tested, and it tackles floors in a flash. If you've got a big garage or basement flooring to sanitize, it won't take too many passes.

For performance, it cut through soy sauce like nothing. The metal brushes were the best at oven and grill plate cleaning. Honestly, this is too much power and too much water than the average house would need. At more than 60 ounces, this unit can create steam for two hours straight which is way more than you'd need for even the most thorough kitchen and bathroom deep cleans. If you're tackling old tile grout for the first time or tackling a grill that needs some major TLC, this steam cleaner will last through longer, tedious jobs. Some of the plastic attachments get hot while in use compared to other machines we tested. So, if you're switching brushes while the steamer is on, be very careful.

  1. Type Canister
  2. Weight 13 lbs.
  3. Tank Capacity 64 oz.
  4. Max Temperature 212 F
  5. Heat Time 12 minutes
  6. Run Time 2 hours
  7. Surface Capabilities Hard surfaces, tile, stainless steel, glass, fabric
  8. Accessories Included Mop head, mop bristle brush, mop pad, scrubbing mop pad, jet nozzle, scraper tool, water cup, triangle brush, large triangle brush, squeegee, 2 extension wands, 2 round brushes, angled nozzle, 2 scrub pads, 2 nylon brushes, 2 metal brushes, storage bag, accessory net

How Steam Cleaners Work

Not to be confused with gentle clothes steamers, a steam cleaner is a home appliance that forces water through a hose or an attachment and creates hot pressurized steam. The steam agitates dust and dirt — like teeny, tiny vapor scrubs — to clean a surface, and depending on the attachment in use, the hose then sucks up the remaining dirt, dust, pet hair or other debris with the water.

Steam cleaning is most often associated with carpet and upholstery because the steam can penetrate fabric and stains much better than traditional scrubbing and vacuuming, but there’s so much more you can do with a steam cleaner. Steam cleaners can help remove stubborn wallpaper, clean baby car seats and high chairs, deep-clean tile grout and even polish your stainless steel appliances.

Unexpected Things You Can Clean and Sanitize With a Steam Cleaner

  • Sink faucets
  • Toilets
  • Mirrors
  • Window and door glass
  • Window and door tracks
  • Kids’ toys
  • Kitchen appliances (with power turned off)
  • Outdoor grill (with power turned off)
  • Mattresses
  • Pet beds and crates
  • Pet toys
  • Outdoor furniture and cushions
  • Water and ice dispensers

What to Consider When Shopping for a Steam Cleaner

Household steam cleaners have been around for decades, but lately, TikTok has made these machines surge in popularity as more people discover the benefits of steam cleaning. Today, steam cleaners range in price from $100-$400, but you can find compact, handheld steam cleaners under $100 and sometimes even under $50.

Common Steam Cleaner Attachments and Accessories

Most steam cleaners come with a bundle of nozzles and hoses, and it can be overwhelming when first unboxing. However, it's important to understand the different attachments and the jobs they do. Using a scrubber instead of a bonnet on a rug could cause major pilling. Likewise, a mop head may quickly sanitize a shower wall, but a triangle bristle brush will both sanitize and remove a layer of soap scum.

  • Nylon Scrubber Brush: Best for countertop or floor spills.
  • Metal Scrubber Brush: Best for heavy duty surfaces such as grills or fire pit grates.
  • Linear Scrubber Brush: Best for grout lines.
  • Flat Scraper: Best for stubborn stuck-on spills like pasta sauce or jelly.
  • Triangle Brush: Best for corners of tub or other angled hard surfaces.
  • Fabric Bonnet: Best for upholstery, mattresses and removing wallpaper.
  • Mop Head: Best for flooring or glazed tile walls.
  • Angled Nozzle: Best for small, hard to reach places such as stainless steel appliances.
  • Squeegee: Best for glass windows and glass doors.

Size and Style

Size is a huge factor to consider when shopping for a steam cleaner and so is weight because, depending on the water tank size, these machines can get heavy. So while a portable handheld steam cleaner is great for quick kitchen countertop cleaning, it may not be the best model for people with limited mobility. However, larger steam cleaners often have wheels, which makes toting the machine around your home a lot easier, especially if you’re working on a larger task such as removing pet hair from a staircase or deep-cleaning a living room carpet. Another option is mop-style steam cleaners which are wet vacuums with the ability to use high-heat steam. These are typically the lightest steam cleaners, but they usually have the smallest water tanks as well.

Surfaces and Materials

To determine the best steam cleaner for your home, take an inventory of your surface areas. If most of your seating is leather and your flooring isn’t carpet, you don’t need an XL steam cleaner that specializes in fabrics. Maybe you just need a steam mop for bathroom tile and faucets. Likewise, if you have a large basement or a loft apartment with all-cement floors, it could be worth it to invest in a larger steam cleaner with wheels to cut down on cleaning time.

Alternatively, you may not need a steam cleaner at all. It’s a common misconception that all hard surfaces are OK for steam cleaners, but there are quite a few surfaces that you should never use steam on. Unsealed hardwood flooring is a no-go because the water will warp the wood. Any kind of laminate or flooring with adhesive backing is also a bad idea. While some claim that steam cleaners are fine with it, stone flooring such as marble should be avoided as you can damage and alter the appearance of the marble.

Additionally, not all upholstery and textiles can handle steam cleaners, especially high-heat steam cleaners. Never use a steam cleaner on antique wool rugs as the pile is likely too delicate for both the high heat and the powerful suction of a steam cleaner. As a general rule, avoid cleaning any natural fiber rugs with a steam cleaner because it can cause materials such as sisal and jute to discolor and shrink. Even cotton isn’t the best idea. Although, if it’s blended with synthetics, it might be OK. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend steam-cleaning cotton rugs. I’d rather have a machine-washable rug.

Spot-Treating vs. Sanitizing

Technically, not all steam cleaners can clean, and a machine that can "deep clean," while a highly marketable phrase, doesn’t always mean it can sterilize. Any steam cleaner can eliminate dirt, stains, pet hair and more, but to actually sanitize a surface and eliminate bacteria, the water needs to be, at minimum, 212 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are shopping for a sanitizing steam cleaner, make sure that the water temperature is hot enough.

If you’re only interested in a steam cleaner for stains and spot-treating, you likely won’t need extremely high heat and warm water steam cleaners will be just fine. Typically, these heat water in the tank 10 to 15 degrees hotter.

Steam Cleaner Safety

While steam cleaning is a great alternative to chemicals, these machines come with serious burn risks. Read the user manual thoroughly to ensure the best handling as each steam cleaner has a specific amount of time for water heating and cooling down. Never open a water tank too early. The tank is pressurized and burning, hot steam will explode out. And with canister-style steam cleaners, both the exterior and tank valve cap can become incredibly hot to the touch. Considering the amount of time steam cleaners need to heat up, stay hot for cleaning and cool down, this might not be the safest cleaning method for a home with little ones or pets.

Even after the manual-stated cooldown time, we recommend using an oven mitt to open the valve for refills. Additionally, most manufacturers instruct to empty the water tank after each use by pressing down on the nozzle and letting any remaining steam run out instead of emptying the water tank.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you use a steam cleaner?

Steam cleaners heat water in a pressurized container to a certain temperature for either sanitizing or cleaning. The steam is then forced through a nozzle or mop head to clean. For sanitizing, the steam must be at least two inches from the surface to ensure high enough heat. Use the nozzle in sweeping passes or scrub if using a scrubber attachment. For steam mops, glide the mop head along a surface similar to a stick mop or stick vacuum.

Can you add cleaning solution to steam cleaners?

Do not add cleaning solution or shampoo to traditional steam cleaners as this can damage the interior lining of the water tank and affect steam performance. For steam carpet cleaners such as wet vacuums, read the user manual thoroughly as these machines typically have a strict limit for the shampoo or cleaning solution to water ratio.

What’s the difference between a steam cleaner and a carpet cleaner?

While both a steam cleaner and carpet cleaner can use steam, the difference is that a steam cleaner produces consistent high-heat steam to clean and sanitize surfaces. A carpet cleaner typically does not produce high enough heat to sanitize a surface, rather it uses steam as a first line of defense to loosen up debris and stains before then applying carpet shampoo and vacuuming debris up with a suction-powered tool.

What surfaces should you not use a steam cleaner on?

Don't use a steam cleaner on porous stone surfaces such as marble. Any unsealed hardwood or vinyl flooring should be avoided, too. For fabrics and upholstery, avoid rugs with natural fibers such as jute, sisal, cotton or wool. Additionally, while steam cleaners are great at cleaning glass windows, never clean cold glass with a steam cleaner as the high heat can shatter glass instantly.

What type of water should you use in a steam cleaner?

Like a tea kettle, it's OK to use tap water for a steam cleaner. However, like a tea kettle, minerals will build up in the boiler tank over time and you'll need to descale the tank. That's why most steam cleaner manufacturers recommend using distilled water to prolong the life of the machines and ensure the highest quality steam performance.

What’s the best type of steam cleaner for typical home use?

A traditional canister steam cleaner that heats up to at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit is the best design for general home cleaning as these machines are easier to tote around, store and come with the most common accessories needed for windows, shower tile, kitchen counters and other common household surfaces. For smaller spaces or those with lower mobility, a handheld steam cleaner is the best design for small jobs such as spot cleaning.

More Cleaning Buys We Recommend

Next Up

The 8 Best Air Purifiers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Breathe deeper in your home by adding a top-rated air purifier that reduces dust, mold, pet dander, smoke and odor.

11 Best Cordless Vacuums of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

If it's time to cut the cord on your outdated vacuum or add a supplemental vacuum for quick pickups to your cleaning closet, upgrade to one of these versatile cordless vacuums that we've tried and loved.

8 Best Dyson Vacuums of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

With so many models on the market, it can be difficult to know which Dyson vacuum is best for your home. We've combed through the specs and tested the newest Dyson vacuums to land on our top picks.

The Best Vacuum Cleaners of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Shop our editors' most-loved vacuum cleaners for every surface and budget.

6 Best Carpet Cleaners of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Find the best carpet cleaners for your home by shopping our editor-tested picks. We sucked up spilled wine and smeared peanut butter in search of the best, most powerful machines out there.

7 Best Robot Vacuums of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Perfect for picking up crumbs and dust on the daily, these hard-working robot vacuums are the ones we tried and loved.

6 Best Hardwood Floor Cleaners of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We mopped and sprayed our way through top-rated hardwood floor cleaners to help you choose the best solution for your home.

The 7 Best Espresso Machines, Tested and Reviewed

To find the best espresso machines, we tasted the under-extracted, the over-extracted and the just plain bad espresso so you don't have to.

8 Best Vacuums for Pet Hair in 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We love our pets. But cleaning up pet hair? Not so much. Shop our top list of vacuum cleaners, from handhelds to uprights, that will de-shed your home with ease.

5 Best Carpet Stain Removers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

These carpet shampoos, sprays and solutions got out the toughest stains and received glowing reviews from our editors.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.