car steam cleaning

A Quick Guide to Car Steam Cleaning: How to Do It in 9 Easy Steps

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Car steam cleaning offers a thorough and eco-friendly way to clean your vehicle, removing dirt, grime, and bacteria from both interior and exterior surfaces.

Have you noticed a funky smell in your car that no matter how many times you self-clean, it just won’t go away? Or perhaps you can’t get rid of that two-day-old coffee stain on the upholstery?

Your car needs more than just a regular wash; it requires the sterilization and effective cleaning that steaming offers. Despite the unfounded concerns raised about car steam cleaning, it is still the perfect solution if used correctly.

In addition to being cost-effective, car steam cleaning is a safe, eco-friendly, and sterilizing cleaning process that preserves your car’s interior and exterior.

This article explains it all: why car steam cleaning is a good method, and how to do detailing with steam in 9 easy steps.

What is Steam Cleaning a Car?

Steam cleaning is an eco-friendly car washing process that uses steam to clean a car’s interior and exterior thoroughly

And when I say ‘thoroughly,’ I mean it.

Unlike scrubbing, wiping or vacuuming, steam will enter nearly every pore, nook and cranny and kill off 99% of the germs that might be nesting and crawling there.

Not only is this process safe, but it offers excellent cleaning power and thorough sterilization.

All you have to do is use steam cleaning correctly to preserve your car’s aesthetic. This cleaning method is emission-free (great for environmental enthusiasts!), uses minimal water, and prevents wastewater runoff.

5 Reasons Why Steam Cleaning is Good for Your Car

car dashboard being steam cleaned

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should ditch other high-pressure, chemical-ridden cleaning techniques in favor of steam cleaning:

1. Eco-friendly

If you are conscious of preserving the environment, choose this cleaning method. 

As I said earlier, steaming involves small amounts of water and cleaning fluid. Steam cleaning does NOT use harsh chemicals, making it an excellent alternative for the environmentally conscious.

2. Scratch-proof technique

Other car cleaning methods like a tunnel car wash or even self-washing present increased chances that a brush or cloth will scratch the car and leave blemishes. 

You won’t have to worry about your car looking as if it was attacked by a tiger since steam works without getting into ANY contact with the materials.

3. Reaches hard spots

The forceful steam can reach tight spots that you wouldn’t otherwise get to using a cloth or brush. 

Plus, the steam from the machine will clear out dirt and disinfect your car. Steam cleaning guarantees a thorough clean.

4. Suitable for all vehicle types

It doesn’t matter whether you own a car, motorcycle, or a larger vehicle; steam cleaning is suitable for all.  

5. Sterilization

The high-pressure hot steam acts as a sterilizing agent, killing organisms on hard-to-clean surfaces like the carpet, dashboard, and upholstery.

Is it Safe to Steam Clean Engine?

a car engine being cleaned with steam

Is it even necessary to steam clean an engine that’s safely tucked away? 

Well, this depends on how much you value the car and how well you do it. Keeping the engine clean should be a priority to get extended service from your vehicle.

Steam cleaning a car engine, if done correctly, is relatively safe. All sorts of gunk accumulate on the engine over time, such as oil contaminants and byproducts of fuel combustion. A clean engine allows you to catch leaks earlier on, helping prevent engine failures.

Steam cleaning offers just the right amount of pressure to dislodge any cruds in tight nooks and crannies. Unlike cleaning methods involving high-pressure water and strong chemicals, steam cleaning does not cause damage to sensitive engine parts like sensors and electrical wirings.

Best Steam Cleaning Machine for Cars

Shopping for a decent machine is a daunting experience as the market is awash with all manner of steam cleaners. You’re faced with hundreds of options and endless features, leaving your head in a whirlpool of indecision. 

So here are a few factors to consider when shopping for a steam cleaning machine:

  • Suction power – is the force used to suck out dirt and deeply lodged debris. The higher the suction power, the better the machine. A high suction power allows you to clean the car quickly. Also, choose one that comes with a variety of suction head attachments.
  • Weight – choose a steaming machine that is light enough to make it easy to maneuver around the car. One with wheels to make quick work of moving the machine around is even better.
  • Tank size – opt for a steaming machine with a large tank size because the more water it can hold, the fewer refilling trips you’ll have to make.

How to Perform Car Detailing With a Steam Cleaner in 9 Easy Steps

Now that you’ve purchased your first car steaming machine, here’s how to put it to work:

  1. Remove any loose items in the way. These include trash, mats, and accessories.
  2. Vacuum the upholstery and carpet to remove loose dirt, pet hair, or leaves. Before you “guh” me away, hear me out: vacuuming is absolutely necessary BEFORE steam cleaning because steam can’t suck in debris and gravel! 
  3. Set up your car steaming machine. Every brand has their own perks and quirks, so make sure to read the manual.
  4. Steam the carpet and upholstery.
  5. Clean hard surfaces and any leather.
  6. Clean crevices and any other hard-to-reach spots. Cars have many ridges and gaps that easily trap grime and dirt.
  7. Clean the windows and wipe away any debris. Steam cleaning releases trapped debris, so ensure you clean it all up.
  8. If you’re wondering how to dry a car after steam cleaning, it’s simple. Just leave the car doors open for some time, and any moisture left behind will evaporate. If you need to speed up the process, use a clean and soft microfiber cloth to wipe off excess water. 
  9. Enjoy your clean car!

Frequently Asked Questions For A Quick Guide to Car Steam Cleaning

How much is car steam cleaning?

That depends on the size of your vehicle and interior finishing. Typical interior cleaning and shampooing should cost north of $75 and a further $50 for leather upholstery cleaning. Engine and wheel cleaning and dent removal will cost you extra, and not every detailing shop provides the services anyway.

Does steam cleaning car seats work?

Yes, steam cleaning car seats does work. Not only does it help with removing deep-seated dirt and grime from the seats, but it also does an excellent job of disinfecting them. Steam cleaning also works on both cloth and leather seats.

Will steam cleaning damage car paint?

No, steam cleaning won’t harm the paint in any way. Steam cleaning is not the culprit in damaging car paint–dirty microfiber and brushes cause scratches. This cleaning method uses very little water and leaves no soap residue, which preserves your car’s paint.

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