Pet hair is one of the most common types of dirt and dust that accumulates on surfaces throughout the home. While a vacuum cleaner can effectively remove pet hair, many people believe that steam cleaning is also an effective way to clean pet hair from surfaces.
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Steam cleaners are household workhorses because they can clean everything from different types of flooring to upholstery on your furniture, and they don't need a cleaning solution to disinfect surfaces and eliminate germs, allergens, and pests.
We put 12 steam cleaners through rigorous testing in our Lab, evaluating each on their ability to remove stains from various surfaces, as well as their versatility, portability, noise level, and overall value.We also considered the type of steam cleaner (canister, mop, or handheld) and whether any attachments were included. We spoke with James Tole, third vice president of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification, for expert advice on what to look for in a steam cleaner.
The Ewbank Steam Dynamo Multi-Tool Steam Cleaner is our top pick because it removed stains in a single pass during our testing and is compatible with a wide range of surfaces for whole-home cleaning.
Continue reading for more of our top steam cleaner picks and expert advice on what to look for when purchasing a steam cleaner.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall Steam Cleaner:Amazon has the Ewbank Steam Dynamo Steam Cleaner.
Most Versatile Steam Cleaner:Amazon has the BLACK+DECKER Multipurpose Steam Cleaner.
Best Hard Floor Steam Cleaner:Amazon has the Steamfast Deluxe Canister Steam Cleaner.
Best Lightweight Steam Cleaner:Amazon has the Karcher SC3 EasyFix Multipurpose Steam Cleaner.
Ewbank Steam Dynamo Multi-Tool Steam Cleaner is the best overall steam cleaner.
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Who it's for: Those looking for a multi-surface steam cleaner for their entire home.
The Ewbank Steam Dynamo impressed us with its efficiency during our tests, as the versatile steam cleaner was able to remove dried soy sauce from tile and grout in just one pass.It has the largest tank capacity of any pick on our list, but our testers found it to be lightweight and easy to maneuver (even when swiveling around tight spaces), and it runs relatively quietly.
This device dissolved the stain in 30 seconds, the fastest of any we tested, and it can run for 45 minutes on a single tank fill, according to the manufacturer.Just keep in mind that it can take up to 12 minutes for the canister to build up pressure (the orange light indicator indicates that pressure is building and turns off when the machine is ready to use).
The Ewbank steam cleaner comes with a variety of attachments that store neatly in the front compartment, including an extension wand, a floor brush/mop, a window and tile cleaner, a toweling cloth, an angled steam nozzle, and nylon brushes. It can also be used to clean carpet and upholstery, though the manufacturer recommends testing it on a small area first.
We like how this powerful steam cleaner can clean from floor to ceiling by simply swapping out attachments; this, combined with its long runtime, makes it ideal for deep cleaning your entire home.The only disadvantage is that the cord was the shortest on our list, which means you may need to reposition yourself to reach the nearest outlet on a regular basis.
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BLACK+DECKER HSMC1361SGP 7-in-1 3-Speed Multipurpose Steam Cleaner is the most versatile steam cleaner.
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Who it's for: People who are new to steam cleaning and prefer the comfort of an upright mop.
This multipurpose steam cleaner from Black+Decker is a great choice if you prefer the intuitive design of a steam mop but want the versatility of a canister model. In our tests, the steam mop was able to remove stains from tile without too much effort.We also liked the device's lightweight and easy-to-maneuver construction, which makes carrying it around the house a breeze.
We like that this cleaning device has a dial that allows you to adjust the steam output to your desired level, and that it provides a continuous flow of steam, so you don't have to hold down the trigger while cleaning.Furthermore, our testers discovered that the noise level was barely audible.
The "7-in-1" in the name of this steam cleaner refers to the numerous attachments that come with it—all of which make it ideal for use on a wide range of surfaces. The swivel mop head attachment can be used to clean sealed flooring, while the handheld steam glove gives you maximum control while cleaning sealed countertops, stainless steel appliances, bathroom surfaces, and more.A metal grate attachment for cleaning grills and oven racks, a garment steamer for clothes and curtains, and an adjustable steam nozzle for hard-to-reach areas are also included with the Black+Decker steam mop.
Keep in mind that this steam cleaner isn't intended for use on carpets, and it didn't perform particularly well at removing stains from upholstery with the glove attachment. (However, our testers believe it could be useful for giving your upholstery a quick refresh.)
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Best Hard Floor Steam Cleaner: Steamfast SF-375W Deluxe Multi-Purpose Canister Steam Cleaner
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Who it's for: People who have a lot of floor space to clean (especially hard surfaces).
When compared to the other steam cleaners we tested, the Steamfast Deluxe has a larger mop head and an impressive 90-minute runtime for cleaning a large amount of floor space at once. It can clean a variety of hard surfaces, including hard floors, shower doors, and grill grates—but it isn't intended for use on upholstery or carpet.This steam cleaner heated up quickly in our testing, but it took several passes to remove the soy sauce stain, leading us to believe it would be better suited for general upkeep rather than deep cleaning or detail work. "This could be a great cleaner for simple floor maintenance, [but] not for picking up very specific spills," one tester says.
We found it a little difficult to carry, so it may not be the best option for homes with a lot of stairs or people with limited grip strength, but its 18 different attachments and accessories—including a mop head, squeegee, jet nozzle, scraper, and detail brush—allow it to clean a wide range of surfaces.In summary, the Steamfast Deluxe steam cleaner is ideal for households or businesses that need to clean a large surface area quickly.
Hours of real-world testing revealed the best mops for your home.
Karcher SC 3 EasyFix 1-Speed Multipurpose Steam Cleaner is the best lightweight steam cleaner.
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It's intended for: People looking for a canister steam cleaner that won't strain their backs.
In our tests, it produced a lot of steam and was very effective at removing stains on both hard surfaces and upholstery, especially when used with the included microfiber cloth.(When you're finished, simply throw the cloth in the washing machine for easy cleanup.) And, thanks to the descaling cartridge, the tank can be refilled with tap water without worrying about mineral buildup over time.
We like that it has a steam volume switch with three settings: maximum steam, reduced steam, and no steam/child lock. Our testers found that the lightweight steam cleaner heated up almost instantly, allowing them to use it right away.Furthermore, its noise level was barely audible during our testing; however, we discovered that this steam cleaner leaked slightly during the testing process.It should also be noted that while this unit is not intended for spot treating stains on carpets or rugs, it can sanitize and refresh them (a separate carpet glider attachment can be purchased for this purpose).
A floor head for mopping hard flooring and a handheld nozzle for steaming everything from bathroom surfaces to appliances are included, as well as a detail nozzle, a round brush, two extension wands, and microfiber towel covers for both types of nozzles.Overall, we believe this steam cleaner is well worth the money because of its small size and ease of storage without sacrificing steam power.
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We chose the Ewbank Steam Dynamo Multi-Tool Steam Cleaner as our top pick after three days of testing because it was the most effective at removing stains, as well as because it's easy to maneuver and comes with multiple attachments for use on a variety of surfaces.
Our Testing Process
We spent three days in our Lab evaluating 12 steam cleaners, putting each one through a battery of tests. To begin, we used a stopwatch to time how long it took to unpack, assemble, and heat each device.When applicable, our testers used each steam cleaner to remove wet potting soil from an upholstered cushion and dried soy sauce from tile and grout.
During testing, we considered which models were the easiest to use and maneuver, as well as which models might be better suited for detail work rather than general all-purpose cleaning, as well as any included accessories and the noise level of each device.Finally, our testers assessed each steam cleaner's overall value, taking into account both price and performance.
How to Buy Steam Cleaners
There are three types of steam cleaners: canister steam cleaners, steam mops/upright steam cleaners, and handheld steam cleaners.
Canister Steam Cleaners: Also known as cylinder steam cleaners, these tools have a large wheeled tank and an extended steam hose that can be attached to various accessories. Canister models are often larger and bulkier than other types of steam cleaners, but their large tanks allow them to run for longer periods of time before needing to be refilled.Furthermore, they have powerful motors and can generate a lot of steam pressure (though larger models take longer to build up that pressure). Canister steam cleaners typically come with a variety of accessories, such as a mop attachment, a scrub brush, or a handheld nozzle for hard-to-reach areas.Because of their bulky bases, they can be more difficult to maneuver.
Steam Mops: Similar to upright vacuums, steam mops work by pumping hot steam through the mop pad and frequently include a handheld steam cleaner attachment for navigating around crevices.Steam mops are best for cleaning hard floors and may require special attachments for use on carpet or upholstery. Not only do they remove dirt from the floor, but the heat of the steam also helps kill bacteria and pests.For the average household, steam mops are a good compromise between canister cleaners and handheld cleaners in terms of price, size, and steam output.
Handheld Steam Cleaners: These small, portable steam cleaners are intended for spot treating stains or sanitizing hard-to-reach areas such as grout and the inside of appliances, but they are not suitable for cleaning large areas.Many canister steam cleaners and steam mops come with a handheld attachment, allowing you to have the best of both worlds.
Because some machines may have a steam output that is too strong for carpet fibers, not all steam cleaners are intended for use on both hard and soft surfaces. However, most steam cleaners can be used on various types of hard flooring (such as tile, grout, laminate, and hardwood), as well as appliances and bathroom fixtures.Others can be used on carpet, curtains, and upholstery, but they usually require a special attachment.
Please be aware that most manufacturers advise against using steam cleaners on unsealed floors (such as unsealed wood or ceramic), as the heat and moisture can warp or damage these surfaces.
The more attachments a steam cleaner has, the more surfaces it can clean and sanitize. Most steam cleaners come with a scrub brush, mop head, and crevice tool as standard.Some models may come with more specialized attachments, such as a garment steamer, grate cleaner, and even a squeegee; always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using different attachments to ensure you're using the appropriate steam output for different surfaces.
More Steam Cleaners to Consider
Although this steam cleaner was not as effective at removing stains as the other models we tested, we believe it would be an excellent choice for sanitizing and removing odors from curtains, drapes, carpets, and upholstery. It is not only safe to use on these surfaces, but it also has a powerful steam output, numerous attachments, and a 3-foot extension wand for floor-to-ceiling cleaning.
Costway Multipurpose Steam Cleaner: The Cosway steam cleaner performed well in most of our tests and heated up quickly, but we found it difficult to clean surfaces without streaks.Our testers also felt compelled to hold it in a specific manner, making pivoting and swiveling difficult.
Questions You Might Ask
How frequently should a steam cleaner be used?
Steam cleaning hard surfaces like floors, countertops, and tile as frequently as you would mop or wipe down surfaces, while steam cleaning carpets and upholstery every six months to a year will keep these surfaces fresh and help get rid of germs, allergens, and odors.However, if you have children or pets, you will want to do so more frequently.
"In my own cleaning business, we frequently see carpets that have been neglected for an extended period of time," says Tole, adding that "these carpets often benefit from more than one cleaning annually in an attempt to restore them."A residential home would undoubtedly benefit from annual cleaning on average."
Vacuum frequently in between steam cleanings, and spot treat as needed.
What exactly is the distinction between a steam cleaner and a carpet cleaner?
Although they are frequently combined into one appliance, steam cleaners and carpet cleaners are not the same: carpet cleaners require a cleaning agent and work by "shampooing" your carpets, whereas steam cleaners rely solely on hot steam to loosen dirt and disinfect surfaces: "Heat is beneficial whenever you are cleaning carpets," says Tole."Using hot water increases soil loosening because it has a greater capacity to rinse soils and residues away and dries faster." Some steam cleaners are suitable for carpets and upholstery, while others are only suitable for hard surfaces.
In a steam cleaner, what kind of water should you use?
Unless the manufacturer specifies otherwise, it's generally safe to use tap water in your steam cleaner. Just keep in mind that tap water contains minerals that can accumulate over time, especially if you have hard water—but you can help prevent this buildup by cleaning your machine on a regular basis or using distilled water instead.
Can you use a steam cleaner with a cleaning solution?
Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, it is not recommended that you add anything other than water to your steam cleaner; doing so can damage your device and void the warranty.If you want to pre-treat a stain, apply a cleaning solution directly to the surface and then use your steam cleaner to clean it.
Which surfaces are not cleanable with a steam cleaner?
Different steam cleaners are compatible with different surfaces, so always follow the manufacturer's instructions. In general, avoid steam cleaning anything that can be damaged by heat exposure, such as water-based paint walls or furniture, unsealed floors, and delicate fabrics like silk or velvet.
Take Our Word for It
Melanie Fincher, associate commerce editor for Real Simple with nearly three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content, wrote this article. To create this list, we tested 12 steam cleaners over three days.Melanie also received expert steam cleaning tips from James Tole, third vice president of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. Each model was evaluated based on its effectiveness at removing stains, as well as its versatility, portability, noise level, and overall value.
Will a steam cleaner get rid of pet hair?
Steam cleaning, on the other hand, is a gentle yet effective method that penetrates the fibers and removes stubborn hairs.Dampening the hairs makes them more visible and easier to remove, and it is one of the most common methods for cleaning pet hair.It penetrates the fibers and eliminates difficult hairs. Dampening the hairs makes them more apparent and removes them more effectively and it is one of the most common methods used in cleaning pet hair.
What is the best way to get rid of pet hair?
We reviewed the following pet hair removers:.
Gonzo Pet Hair Lifter - The ultimate all-arounder.
OXO FurLifter - Ideal for lifting furniture.
ChomChom Roller - Ideal for clothes.
Smart Sheep Dryer Balls - The best laundry balls.
Bissel Pet Hair Broom - Ideal for use on floors.
Sweepa Rubber Brush - Ideal for cleaning cars.
Will pet hair be removed by professional carpet cleaning?
Begin with Professional Carpet Cleaning A carpet cleaning professional will also use high-powered equipment to suck up all the hair, dander, urine, and feces that are trapped deep down in the fibers of your carpet, ensuring that everything is completely contained and removed—and, unlike a regular vacuum, is never launched into the air.Everything is completely contained and removed—and unlike a regular vacuum—never launched into the air.
What is the most effective method for removing pet hair from carpet?
To begin, fill a spray bottle halfway with 1 part fabric softener and 3 parts water.
After that, lightly spray your rug with the mixture..
Allow to dry (shouldn't take long if you only used a small amount of the solution).
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove all of the fur.