Everything You Can Clean With Your Hand-Steamer (but Aren’t)

Everything You Can Clean With Your Hand-Steamer (but Aren’t)

A steamer is a great alternative to an iron for a number of reasons: You’re not going to scorch your clothes with it, it’s easier to manoeuvre, and you don’t need a big, flat space to use it. It’s a quick way to de-wrinkle clothes without taking up valuable storage space in your home. But beyond not necessitating the gigantic footprint and storage space for an ironing board, it has lots of other uses for your home, too. You can — and should — be using it in your regular cleaning routine. Here’s what to do with your steamer around the house.

In the kitchen

Your steamer is going to become your kitchen-cleaning BFF if only because of what it does to caked-on grime. Anywhere you have a baked-on or hardened mess, like inside the microwave or oven, you can use the steamer to loosen it. Just point the nozzle right at the area in question and let the hot steam soften it all up. Then, you can scrape or wipe it off and clean as normal.

You can also use it on your countertops for a quick way to de-germ them. Depending on the steamer you have, you’re heating water to generate steam between 37°C and 200°C. Per the CDC, 120 and 130°C are the most common steam-sterilizing temps, though Merry Maids advises that you’re good as long as it’s above 100°C. You’ll need to hold the steamer to the surfaces for at least four minutes, but you can then go ahead and wipe them down as normal.

In the bathroom

Dirty grout and scummy showers are standard bathroom annoyances, but giving them a blast of steam will loosen up the gunk and make it a whole lot easier to clean off. Continually hit the grout with the steamer until you see it start to loosen up and become wet. Mix two parts baking soda and one part hydrogen peroxide, apply the paste to the grout lines, let it sit a while, and scrub it off with an old toothbrush. Then, use a wet rag to wipe it all away.

You can also use your steamer to easily remove grime from your shower curtains, according to Apartment Therapy. Make this your first step before your wipe them or toss them in the washing machine to avoid streaks or uneven cleaning.

Around the house

When you’re doing a major carpet cleaning, you might go as far as to rent a big steam-cleaner, but a handheld version is great for spot cleaning in the meantime. According to Merry Maids, you should use your clothes steamer to loosen up stains in your carpet and upholstery. Blast the area for about 30 seconds, then blot with a rag. Keep doing this until you don’t see any more colour transfer. If there’s still some stain left over, you can move on to other stain-removal techniques depending on what kind of fabric and staining agent you’re dealing with, but it’ll be a whole lot easier now.

Just don’t forget to use distilled water so you don’t leave any mineral traces behind, as that would kind of defeat the purpose (especially in your shower). Finally, avoid steam-cleaning any finished wood, polished surfaces, or delicate items, like antiques.

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