Home Steam Cleaning: Cleaner, Safer, Wiser

By Michele Kadison
I am a newcomer to the idea of steam cleaning, and now that I’ve done some research, it seems like this is the best way to go…. not just in terms of cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing the house , but also in terms of helping maintain the health of our families and the environment.

Steam cleaning involves vaporized water that is heated to over 200 degrees F and applied to surfaces via appropriate attachments.  The steam heat weakens the bonds between the surfaces and the dirt or stains that linger there.  Because all hard surfaces are in reality porous, the steam is able to dislodge embedded elements, killing microorganisms and sanitizing the area naturally.  With the heat creating an almost moisture-free cleaning agent, any type of surface can be wiped, rubbed, or scrubbed as needed, depending on the attachment tool you use.

Looking a lot like a conventional vacuum cleaner, a home steam cleaner is lightweight and easy to maneuver.  Units come in canister, upright, or hand-held models and include a wide range of attachment tools that make cleaning almost any surface a breeze.  You can use a steam cleaner on large surface areas such as tile floors and countertops, as well as on carpeting, upholstery, window screens, mirrors, car interiors, baked-on grills, toys, and everything in between, including removing dry cleaning solvent from clothing.  Steam cleaners are also highly effective in getting rid of animal smells, with no toxic substances that could potentially harm your pets.

Because the only ingredient used in a steam cleaner is water, you are able to do a complete cleaning without a single chemical.  Allergy free, this natural sanitizer banishes toxic residue, with nothing else but water washing down your drain into the communal water supply.

With better results than any other form of cleansing, steam cleaning your home eliminates bacteria, mildew, mold, viruses, toxins, and any other element that can cause infections, irritations, or allergies.  Allergens such as mites, pollen, and other microscopic pests are immediately killed once the surfaces on which they lodge are hit with steam heat.  This is the same for pathogens like E. Coli and salmonella, making a steam heat unit especially effective on kitchen surfaces.

I’ve looked at two steam heat cleaners, which are excellent choices once you decide to change your cleaning habits.

The Environmate Steam Cleaner T730A comes with a refillable built-in water tank with a light indicator to alert you when the water level is low.  This unit is great for tough chores and is made with a 1450 W heating system inside a stainless steel tank.  Included is an eleven-piece accessory kit, which means you have enough tools to clean the whole house.  The unit comes with a power switch on the handle, a pressure gauge for regulating power, and an automatic shut-off system for when the water level is too low for efficient cleaning.

The Lady Bug T2200S has a continuous water refill system and professional-grade cleaning tools.  This unit is made with an EPA-certified TANCS system, (Thermal Accelerated Nano Crystal Sanitation) that helps improve air quality as it removes chemical residues from the environment.  The system functions by heating nano-crystals in tap water, whereby they are activated to blast the cell membranes of microorganisms when initiated by heat.  This fast-acting disinfection is, according to Nelson Labs of Utah, ” thousands of times better than any directly applied water disinfecting system using chemicals.”

Though the initial investment when buying a home steam cleaning unit may be high, it evens out in the long run, and then some.  You won’t ever have to spend money on cleaning supplies again, which includes buckets, rubber gloves, disinfectants, polishers, glass cleaners, oven sprays, and the like.

Electrolux: Contributing to the Pleasure Principle

By Michele Kadison

Electrolux keeps surprising us with its ability to move vacuum technology even further ahead of the curve.  Their Ultra Silencer model is exactly that.  When you look at their advertising, you see a baby curled up on the back of the unit, implying that the machine is just that silent, never waking the child.  If you are the type who gets the urge to vacuum at odd hours, such as 3 AM when you can’t sleep, then this is definitely the model for you!  Vacuum away, knowing that you won’t wake a soul.  The unit comes with an 1800 watt motor and claims to be four times quieter than most vacuums on the market.  It is created with optimized suction that can be controlled, high tech sound absorption material, along with seals that prevent air leaks.  With a low noise floor nozzle, soft wheels that never scratch, a shock absorbing bumper, and an easy grip soft rubber handle, the Ultra Silencer is the vacuum of the future.  Or at least the immediate future, for there is yet another Electrolux model that looks like the very next future indeed!

Welcome the Musical Vacuum Cleaner.  This model is based on the Ultra Silencer, but comes with an iPod dock and integrated speakers.  It seems that the designers of the Ultra were so inspired by its silence that they decided to let ardent vacuumers and music fans combine their passions.  The dock is built into the front of the unit, allowing us to listen to music while we vacuum away the dust.  It’s the “whistle while you work” concept, which I can verify as making cleaning a true pleasure.  Product line manager, Cecilia Gustavsson corroborates by saying that listening to music while we clean helps us stay focused, reduces our stress, and gives us a feeling of well being.  Who would have thought that vacuuming could be part of our pleasure principle!  Well, thanks to Electrolux, now it is.