Do Steam Cleaners Disinfect? (Sanitize & Kill Germs)

When you have children and pets your cleaning needs are not the same as everyone else’s. A cleaning solution that kills germs on the floor and leaves it spotlessly clean is the best choice. But do steam cleaners disinfect better than sanitizers?

Steam cleaners disinfect and kill 99.9% of germs at a temperature between 175 °F and 212 °F. To kill the most germs, keep them in contact with steam for at least 3 minutes. That’s long enough to get rid of germs, dust mites, mold, and viruses without using chemical sanitizers.

Using a steam mop is a very effective way of cleaning different types of floors. You can mop sealed hard floors safely if you choose the right setting. The benefits of this method far outweigh those of the old mop-and-bucket system. One of them is leaving your house free of 99.9% of germs and allergens. But does it really work?

Does steam cleaning really disinfect?

Most germs are very resilient. Applying steam for a short period may not get rid of them. For this reason, you must plug in your steam mop and allow it enough time to heat up to the right temperature that can kill germs and disinfect your house.

Heat up to the right temperature. Most top-rated steam cleaners produce steam at the temperature of up to 245℉ (118.333 ℃). This is hot enough to kill 99.9% of germs, dust mites, and even allergens.

Expose germs to hot water vapor for 3 minutes. This ensures even the toughest of the germs get denatured by the high temperatures. This way, you’ll disinfect the floor and get rid of most germs, allergens, mildew, and viruses. Steam also kills fleas and bedbugs on carpets and floors.

How hot should steam be to disinfect?

In order to get the best out of your steam mop or cleaner, you have to ensure that you heat water to boiling point before you start sanitizing your house.

Try to achieve a minimum of 212 °F for the most effective cleaning and sanitization. Most residential steam mops such as Shark, Bissell and HAAN models will heat water up to the temperature of up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ensure that you are getting enough heat of at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 ℃). This way, you will kill microbes such as Staph, salmonella, and E. coli that are very notorious at causing diseases.

High temperatures will be capable of loosening in grime, most types of dirt and oils that are stuck on the surface. The cleaning process will get rid of mold, mildew, germs, and allergens to leave your floor disinfected.

Note that for you to get the best results, you have to use a steam mop at the right temperature. Just because you’re getting steam out of the jet doesn’t mean it will disinfect your floor. You have to heat the water to a recommended temperature so that it can kill germs and bacteria effectively.

All HAAN units heat water in excess of 212 degrees which is the temperature needed to create steam that kills bacteria, germs, and dust mites in just one second.


Steam Mop vs Chemicals for Sanitization

Perhaps you’re wondering whether to choose steam cleaning or just go with chemicals to kill germs and disinfect your floor. Harsh chemicals are exactly what they are – harsh – but they still get the job done.

The problem today is that cleaning gets rid of germs but if you use chemicals you introduce another problem on the surface. For us who have kids and pets especially crawling ones, you’ll likely harm them when you use chemicals to sanitize and disinfect your floor.

The Benefit Of Using Steam To Clean, Disinfect And Sanitize

There are many reasons why you should steam instead of chemicals. The following are some of the benefits you will enjoy:

  • You can clean almost anything using steam. This includes your bathroom, toilets, floors, carpets, microwaves laundry etc.
  • Steam cleaning doubles up as a way of sanitizing as well as getting rid of bedbugs and fleas.
  • Some chemicals that are used for disinfecting services may be harmful to people who suffer from allergies. Steam cleaning is friendly to people with asthma because it gets rid of dust mites and other allergens on the surface.
  • Cleaning with steam is safe for children and pets.
  • Cleaning with steam is 100% natural. This means that it is also environmentally friendly.
  • Chemical disinfectants an additional budget. Steam canisters use only water which means they are way cheaper than using chemicals.

You can read more about the benefits of using steam mops in an interesting article I recently wrote.

Chemical methods of disinfection and sanitization kill 99.9% of germs just the way a steam mop does. However, why would you use a chemical method when a more natural method is available and can get the same result?


You should take some precautions when you want to sanitize your floor using a steam mop. Some people prefer adding chemicals to their steam mops in order to get rid of germs more effectively. In fact, I have seen people adding vinegar in steam mops to get a more powerful cleaning solution.

There are a few problems you’ll encounter when you use this option.

  • Some chemicals will not be friendly to the material of your floor.
  • Adding some chemicals can going clog your machine and cause damage to its parts. Be especially careful not to add corrosive disinfectants in your steam mop.
  • Do not be tempted to overheat the water in the tank in order to kill germs more effectively. This can damage floorings such as those made of hardwood, bamboo, and laminate.

It is recommended that you use the right temperature as indicated by the manufacturer of the steam mop you are using. This is the right way to get the best out of the machine.

Something you should remember is that not all steam cleaners are made the same. Some of them will do a better job of killing germs than others. So, what is the best steam cleaner for disinfecting?

Does steam cleaning disinfect? Here's a guide.

Best Steam Cleaner for Disinfecting Floors

What is the best steam mop for sanitizing a floor? The answer to this question is not straightforward. The reason for that is that different machines are made for different floors.

Best Steam Mop for Disinfecting Sealed Floors

Steam mops will do well and will remain safe for wooden floorings but may not be the best for laminate or tile floors. To help you choose the best, check out my reviews of the best steam cleaners for different purposes.

I love and recommend the best steam canisters for mopping and killing germs on your floor is the Haan FS20 Plus Steam Cleaning Floor Sanitizer with Deluxe Sanitizing Tray. It kills 99.9% of germs.

Haan FS20 Plus Steam Cleaning Floor Sanitizer with Deluxe...
355 Reviews
Haan FS20 Plus Steam Cleaning Floor Sanitizer with Deluxe...
  • Chemical-free steam cleaner for all sealed hard-floor surfaces--uses regular tap water
  • Plus version comes with sanitizing tray attachment for refreshing carpeted areas
  • Heats up in less than 3 minutes; produces up to 20 minutes of steam per refill
  • Includes 2 super-absorbent, multilayer Ultra-Microfiber cleaning pads that are washable and reusable

Last update on 2020-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Steam Cleaner for Disinfecting Carpet

If you’re trying to clean your carpet, one of the best picks is the BISSELL DeepClean Lift-Off Full Sized Carpet Cleaner, 66E1 that has the heatwave technology that helps maintain water temperature throughout the cleaning process. It ensures that you continue cleaning while killing germs without worrying that your water is cooling off.

BISSELL DeepClean Lift-Off Full Sized Carpet Cleaner, 66E1
140 Reviews
BISSELL DeepClean Lift-Off Full Sized Carpet Cleaner, 66E1
  • Combines the powers of an upright carpet cleaner with the convenience of a removable cleaner
  • Easy-to-detach cleaner is ideal for stairs, spots, stains, upholstery, as well as car interiors
  • Heatwave technology ensures water temperature is always maintained and constant while you clean
  • 12 rows of dual dirt lifter power brushes remove even the most stubborn dirt

Last update on 2020-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Looking For More Steam Cleaners?

There are 100s of steam cleaners for just about everybody. Check out some of my other posts on steam cleaners by clicking the links below:

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