What Shouldn’t You Steam? Surprising Items That Don’t Belong in Your Steamer

Steaming is a highly effective and eco-friendly way to clean and disinfect various surfaces around your home or workplace. However, it is important to keep in mind that not everything can withstand the heat and moisture of a steam cleaner. Here are some things that you should avoid steaming:
  • Water-based paints and cardboard, as the steam can cause them to warp and deteriorate.
  • Porous surfaces like brick, stucco, and marble, as the moisture can seep into the material and cause damage.
  • Massive industrial spaces and food processing plants, as the steam can compromise the safety of the equipment and products.
  • Carpets that are large and difficult to dry, as excessive moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth.
  • Delicate objects such as silk and thin plastics, as they can melt or warp under the high temperature.
  • Velour upholstery, as the steam can flatten the texture and leave water marks.
  • By being mindful of what not to steam, you can ensure that your cleaning efforts are safe and effective. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and test a small, inconspicuous area before using a steam cleaner on a new surface.
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    Avoiding Heat Damage: What Not to Steam

    As a popular and effective method of cleaning, steam cleaning has become increasingly popular among homeowners and business owners alike. While it is a highly effective cleaning method, not everything can be steam cleaned. Certain materials are vulnerable to heat damage, which can result in permanent damage or even destruction of the object. As a home and garden expert, it is important to understand what should not be steam cleaned to avoid costly and irreversible mistakes.

    The Danger of Water-Based Paints and Steam

    Water-based paints are particularly vulnerable to heat damage, and therefore should not be steamed. The high temperature of steam can cause the paint to soften, bubble, and blister. This can ruin the surface, and cause discoloration and deformation. Instead of using steam on painted surfaces, opt for a gentle soapy solution or a specialized paint cleaning solution.

    Porous Surfaces and Steam Cleaning: Why They Don’t Mix

    Porous surfaces like brick, stucco, and marble are not suitable for steam cleaning. The high temperature and pressure of steam can force water and dirt deeper into the surface, making it even harder to clean. In addition, porous surfaces can absorb moisture, which can cause discoloration, cracking, and even mold growth. Instead of steam cleaning, use a soft-bristled brush and a gentle detergent to clean these surfaces.

    When Steam Cleaning Isn’t Suitable for Large Industrial Spaces

    While steam cleaning is highly effective for small to medium-sized spaces, it may not be the best option for large industrial spaces. Steam cleaning large spaces can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient. In addition, the high temperature and pressure of the steam can cause damage to electrical equipment and machinery. Instead, consider a specialized cleaning service that uses industrial-grade cleaning equipment.
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    Protecting Carpets from Steam Cleaning Damage

    Carpets are another area where steam cleaning can cause heat damage. Steam cleaning can cause discoloration, shrinkage, and distortion in carpet fibers. This is especially true for carpets that are large and dense. Instead, opt for a professional carpet cleaner that specializes in hot water extraction. This method is gentler on fibers and highly effective.

    Delicate Objects and Steam: Why Caution is Necessary

    Delicate objects like silks and thin plastics are highly susceptible to heat damage, and should not be steam cleaned. The heat and pressure of the steam can cause these materials to warp, shrink, or even melt. Instead, use a specialized cleaner that is specifically designed for these materials. Important Note: ALWAYS read the care instructions for delicate items and materials before attempting to clean them.

    The Risks of Steaming Velour Upholstery

    Velour upholstery is another material that should be avoided when steam cleaning. The high temperature and pressure of the steam can cause the material to flatten, change texture, and even permanently damage the fibers. Instead, use a specialized cleaner that is designed for upholstery fabrics.

    Why Food Processing Plants Should Steer Clear of Steam Cleaning

    While steam cleaning is highly effective at removing dirt and grime, it is not suitable for use in food processing plants. The steam can cause condensation and moisture to form, which can lead to bacterial growth. In addition, the use of steam can also cause damage to sensitive equipment used in the food processing industry. Instead, opt for a specialized cleaning service that uses cleaning solutions that are safe for use in food processing areas.
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    Conclusion: While steam cleaning is highly effective for cleaning a variety of surfaces and materials, it is important to exercise caution and avoid using steam on objects that are susceptible to heat damage. By understanding what can and cannot be steam cleaned, you can ensure that your cleaning efforts are safe, effective, and will not cause any costly or irreversible damage.

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