What not to clean with steam cleaner

Steam cleaners really are a wonder tool. With the ability to clean a wide range of materials and home items without the use of harsh chemicals, who wouldn’t want to give them a try? Steam cleaners can sanitize a wide array of items from leather upholstery and kitchen appliances, to car exteriors, windows and flooring. But when do we know where to stop?

When dealing with different types of materials, garments and items, it can often be difficult to decipher whether it’s safe to use a steam cleaner. Using steam on certain materials can cause permanent damage, so it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts before giving your home a full cleanse. We’ll be discussing the don’ts so you can be sure your home items are safe and sound.

Laminate Flooring

You may believe that steaming your flooring is a safe-bet. But for laminate flooring, more can go wrong than right. Laminate flooring and moisture aren’t two that pair very well. Excess moisture can cause your laminate flooring to become lifted and warped, which isn’t a great look for your home.

Laminate flooring is designed using a fibreboard core, and with exposure to moisture it can become damaged beyond repair. The more the prolonged moisture, the worse the issue can become. So it’s to clean your laminate flooring with a slightly damp mop, followed by a cloth to dry.

Painted Surfaces

Cleaning your painted surfaces with a steam cleaner can cause damage to the paintwork, causing it to bubble, lift and peel. If you were planning on cleaning any painting flooring, walls or painted furniture with your steam cleaner, it may be time to reconsider.

Unsealed, Polished or Waxed Surfaces

Adding extreme heat and moisture to an unsealed surface can cause irreparable damage to the materials, especially if you continuously do so. If you wish to steam clean a surface, ensure it has a few coats of sealant in place before continuing.

When steam cleaning a polished or waxed surface, the steam and excess heat can cause the protective layer to break down, leaving your flooring or items fully exposed to the elements. Polish and wax are there to protect your surfaces, without them they are at high risk of damage from dust, frequent use, pets and pests, scuffing of shoes and furniture legs, and much more.

Delicate Fabrics

Using excessive heat on delicate fabrics is a huge no-no. Some materials simply were not designed to withstand such levels of heat and moisture. Using a steam cleaner on delicate materials such as suede, waxed leather, or plastics can result in disaster.


The last thing you want to try is steaming your antiques. Antique furniture and belongings require a certain level of careful care to keep them safe and protected. When cleaning your antiques, it’s important to use extremely gentle cleansers with a soft microfibre cloth.

Most antique items are sealed with varnish or shellac type finishes that struggle to take heat. Applying hot steam to these surfaces can cause a breakdown of the sealant, leaving your antiques open to easy damage. Steam can also cause the item to lose its luster and shine, and may even cause blistering.

Porous Surfaces

Some surfaces, such as brick, marble and stone are extremely porous. This means that when moisture is applied, they will soak it in rather than let it evaporate or slide off.

Cleaning these types of surfaces with heat and steam can cause permanent damage over time, causing them to break down and wear away. Porous surfaces are also prone to retaining water, which can in time cause a build up of damp. And we all know that with damp, comes the growth of mould.

What is the Best Type of Steam Cleaner

Finding the best steam cleaner for the type of item or surface you wish to clean involves a bit of research. There are many different types of steam cleaners, available for a wide array of items and materials. Using the wrong type of steam cleaner may have a negative impact on your belongings.

Here are some common types of steam cleaners:

  • Handheld steam cleaners

Handheld steam cleaners are perfect for those small jobs around the home. They’re perfect for any hard to reach areas, and are small and light making them easy to use for a prolonged period of time.

  • Steam mops

If regular mops aren’t your thing, steam mops will really get your floors shining with minimal effort. However, it’s important you research your surfaces and they’re reactions to moisture well to avoid damage, wear down and warping.

  • Steam vacuum cleaners

Sometimes a regular vacuum just isn’t enough to lift the dirt and staining from your carpets and rugs. This is where a steam vacuum comes in strong. Steam vacuums give your carpets a deep cleanse while removing those stubborn stains. Just be wary of the amount of water you use. Soaking your carpets with too much water can result in mould growth over time.0