How should you use a steam cleaner to kill germs?

If you’re using a steam cleaner to kill germs, you need to use it in a specific way.

If you’re using a steam cleaner to blast steam directly on to a surface, then you must hold it close to the surface. Steam cools down quickly in the air, so if you’re too far away from the target surface it may not be hot enough to be effective. And you need to give it a sustained blast. Although, unfortunately, there’s no simple rule on how long you should do this for, because individual steam cleaners heat and disperse steam at different rates.

We would advise that you take a little more time than you might usually, while being careful not to exceed the maximum time recommended in the instruction manual for that surface.

Steam mops, which disperse steam through a thick pad, work in a slightly different way. The mop head absorbs the heat energy from the steam, so the really high temperatures don’t reach the floor surface itself. However, the mop’s hot, moist pad is very effective at wiping any bacteria away and removing it from the surface you’re cleaning.

Temperatures in the pad may be sufficient to disinfect the mop head itself and kill any bacteria it has collected while it’s actively steaming.