How Does Steam Cleaning Work?

Steam cleaning quickly deep cleans your premises to reduce infections.
If you are in an industry where hygiene standards have to be consistently high, then steam cleaning is a great way to banish bacteria.

Steam cleaning can remove dirt, stains, and kill 99.999% of germs. Not only does it keep your premises clean but there’s no need for chemicals, making it environmentally friendly too.
It’s easy to use and hiring your equipment helps you keep costs down.

Steam cleaning a tiled floor

What does a steam cleaner do?

A steam cleaner uses steam to remove dirt, stains, and kill bacteria.

Steam cleaners can be used on hard surfaces such as countertops, floors, and bathroom fixtures.

A steam cleaner is often confused with a carpet cleaner which does not use steam. A carpet extractor can also remove stains and dirt but it injects water and a chemical solution onto the surface before collecting the debris.

How does a steam cleaner work?

A steam cleaner is quick and easy to use.

The boiler heats the water beyond boiling point, around 115 degrees Celsius, and forces pressurised steam out through the attachment. The low-moisture vapor permeates the surface to remove dirt, mould, pet dander, stains, and virus pathogens.

The water tank is automatically refilled by the direct water feed, allowing you to continue cleaning without stopping to fill it with water.

You don’t need to wipe down surfaces after using your steam cleaner due to the steam being low moisture, it dries quickly which reduces the risk of mould.

Steam Cleaners for Hire

Does steam cleaning disinfect?

Yes. Steam cleaning can clean and sanitise surfaces.

Steam cleaning substantially reduces loading of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and HDM allergens as well as dust.

Karcher steam cleaners remove up to 99.999% of viruses such as Covid or Influenza from hard surfaces. This helps to reduce infections in the workplace for staff and for customers.

Around 93,000 workers believe they caught Covid at work, so it is important to provide staff with a healthy environment where they feel safe. Reducing infections at work will also help to cut your business costs by reducing sick pay.

Customers are also still focused on hygiene when visiting businesses. If they can see you are deep cleaning your premises, then this could attract more customers.


How to choose the best steam cleaner for you


Purchasing a steam cleaner can cost thousands of pounds. Hiring a steam cleaner instead is much more efficient. You can lease it for long or short term and only pay when you need it.

The leasing company will provide training and service your steam cleaner for you. This helps you to keep your costs down but still provide a deep clean for your business.


Warm-up time

The warm-up time is how long the water needs to boil before turning into vapor to be used. The quicker the warm-up time, the better because it saves you from standing around and waiting on it.

The Karcher SGV 8/5 steam vacuum cleaner heats up in minutes, allowing you to get on with cleaning.



The more pressure used, the better it will be at removing stains and grime.

The Karcher SGV 6/5 steam vacuum cleaner is pressurised to six bars that cuts through grease and dirt.



Choosing a steam cleaner that is easy-to-use makes it quicker to train staff how to work it. You don’t want equipment that has a long learning curve, taking up precious time.

The Karcher SGV 6.5 steam vacuum cleaner has one control for all functions making it quick and easy to use.

You also want any of your staff to be able to use the steam cleaner, so it has to be easy to move. Karcher steam cleaners have high handles and large wheels, making it easy to manoeuvre. The Karcher SGV 8/5 steam vacuum cleaner also has a four-metre suction hose meaning you can stand outside a room to get to those awkward areas.


Tank capacity

You want to be able to get your cleaning done as quickly as possible without stopping to refill your machine.

You will have to take into consideration the size of the areas you need to regularly steam clean to work out what size of water tank would suit you best.

The Karcher SGV 6/5 steam vacuum cleaner has a five-litre tank capacity to help you keep going for longer.



Consider what areas you will be cleaning with the steam cleaner and if they are suitable to be used with steam.

Hard surfaces such as countertops, bathrooms, floors, tiles, patios, and kitchens, can all be used with a steam cleaner.

If you have floors which are unsealed, then the steam cleaner could damage them.

Steam cleaning kitchen food preparation area

Benefits of a steam cleaner

Deep cleaning in industries such as hospitality, hospitals, or education is extremely important to protect those who are using your premises. Getting a poor food hygiene rating or causing an outbreak of infection could irreparably damage your company.

Using a steam cleaner can help reduce your costs, save you time, and protect your business.

  • Quick to use

With one control for all functions, it won’t take long to know how to use your steam cleaner. It is also easy for staff to train others how to use it efficiently.

The use of a steam cleaner also speeds up the cleaning process which can help to reduce labour costs.


  • Cost-effective

Steam technology has an advantage over a two-step procedure of cleaning and disinfection, because it doesn’t use chemicals, reduces water consumption, labour time, and the cost of cleaning.


It often costs thousands of pounds to purchase a steam cleaner but when you hire it, you can spread the cost which helps with cashflow.


You can hire your steam cleaner for as long as you need it and get ongoing advice and training.

Kärcher Hire offer full training to ensure your team known how to use your chosen machine.


No cleaning chemicals are needed, so there are no extra costs, and the Karcher SGV 8/5 steam vacuum cleaner is water technology list qualified meaning you can get 100% tax back with enhanced capital allowance.


  • Good for allergies

Cleaning chemicals can cause problems for those with lung issues or those with allergies. Steam cleaners do not require any chemicals and the steam binds dust together so allergens aren’t projected into the air.


  • Environmentally friendly

Choosing equipment that is eco-friendly not only protects our planet, but it helps to reduce your businesses carbon footprint.

Staff and customers are more passionate about choosing green companies now more than ever.


Sustainable companies are more likely to attract new talent and retain their staff as well as attract more customers.

An increasing number of customers will stop purchasing from a brand if they are not sustainable.


A steam cleaner doesn’t use chemicals and has low water consumption.

A single litre of tap water creates 1,700 litres of steam which is enough to clean for 20 minutes.


Steam cleaners are also energy efficient. Electricity is only needed when the water is being heater, so energy consumption is kept to a minimum.


  • Doesn’t leave streaks

Manually cleaning surfaces can cause inconsistencies. Using a steam cleaner helps to clean a large area fast and it doesn’t leave steaks. It can also leave floors shining which looks good and keeps your floors from wear and tear.


  • Removes difficult stains

Instead of scrubbing and using different chemicals to try to remove stains, a steam cleaner can slowly be placed over the stain and the high heat will remove the stain for you without much effort.


  • Disinfects

Karcher steam cleaners remove 99.999% of germs to help keep your business clean and infection-free.


  • Gets hard-to-reach areas

The vapor emits at around 170km/h which means it can get hard-to-reach areas such as rubber seals.


  • It’s safe

Karcher steam cleaners meet safety requirements, and all the electrically conductive parts are splashproof.


There are no toxic residues left behind making it suitable for areas with children and pets.


How to clean different surfaces

Steam cleaning walls

You don’t need to risk falling by using ladders to get at your ceiling or the tops of walls. The extendable hose will be able to reach those areas for you.

If your walls aren’t prepared properly before being painted then they may not be suitable for steam cleaning. Always do a spot check beforehand.

When cleaning walls, move any furniture or equipment away from the walls first. Then start from the top of the wall and slowly move the attachment downwards.


Steam cleaning floors

You can use steam cleaning to clean vinyl, tile, wood, and most other types of flooring. You should do a spot check on laminate floors as the high temperature can cause poorly laid laminate to peel.

Vacuum the area you are going to steam clean first to get rid of larger bits of debris. Then simply ensure your steam cleaner has water, let it take a few minutes to warm-up, and slowly move the attachment over the floor.

Using a steam cleaner on flooring not only kills bacteria but it can help get rid of discolouration from grout.


Steam cleaning sofas

You can use an upholstery attachment with your steam cleaner to clean fabric. Sofas and chairs can easily be stained from coffee marks on arms to spilt food.



Cleaning carpets and rugs

Getting the right water to cleaning ratio is vital to clean your carpets and rugs properly. Don’t exceed the amount of time, even if your carpet or rug is heavily soiled, as it could damage the carpet and the steam cleaner.

Move your furniture out of way and vacuum debris. Fill your steam cleaner with the recommended water amount and allow your steam cleaner to heat up.

Start in the furthest corner and clean in straight lines.


Removing odours

Steam cleaning will get rid of any unpleasant odours. The steam cleaner penetrates the surface, and the suction hose then removes dirt and odours.


Steam cleaning tips

Deep cleaning with a steam cleaner is relatively maintenance free, however, there are some things you can do to ensure your steam cleaner continues to run efficiently.

  • Don’t completely fill the water tank

Steam forms best when your tank is not completely filled.

  • Use warm water

While you can place cold water in your steam cleaners, using warm water speeds up the heating process which saves you time and reduces your energy consumption.

  • Be careful

The steam produced is very hot. Always be careful you keep your hands away from the opening of the attachment.

  • Use distilled water

If you have hard water at your premises, use distilled water to avoid mineral build-ups.

  • Vacuum before steaming

Vacuuming before you steam helps to get rid of dust and debris to enable the steam to work quickly and penetrate deep into surfaces. The Karcher steam cleaners have a vacuum included making this quicker and easier for you.

  • Plan ahead

If your premises is large or has several buildings, it is best to plan the order of your steam cleaning. You don’t want to be trailing the steam cleaner from one side of the building and back again if you don’t need to.

  • Don’t leave water in your steam cleaner

Emptying out the water tank after you use your steam cleaner will help to keep it clean. It will be ready to you or another member of staff to use immediately.

  • Move slowly

You don’t have to keep the attachment on an area to clean it, simply move slowly over the surface. If you don’t keep moving the attachment, you could damage surfaces.


A steam cleaner is an eco-friendly way of cleaning your premises. You don’t need any cleaning chemicals and it requires little training.

Steam cleaning can ensure your premises maintains the highest standards of cleanliness to reduce illnesses, sickness absence, and other costs.

For more information on our industrial steam cleaner hire, contact us today to get a free quote tailored to your needs.


We pride ourselves on being able to offer the following to all our valued customers:

– Next Day Delivery anywhere in the UK (subject to location & availability)
– Free site visits and advice, ensuring you hire the right machine for the application
– Flexible hire periods, from 2 days to 5 years
– Maintenance included as standard
– Full training on delivery of your equipment
– Quality, modern fleet, maintained to ISO9001:2008 standards
– Breakdown response

With a fleet of equipment growing daily, we’re ready to take your hire. Call us on 0345 222 8000 or fill out a simple enquiry form.

Clean Sweep Hire Trading As Kärcher Hire

Company Registration Number: 06523042

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