Steam cleaners are highly effective at cleaning and sanitizing without the need for chemicals. Steam cleaning your car is an excellent way to get a deep clean. Your car’s interior is most likely seeing its fair share of sticky fingers, pet hair and spills regularly.
Giving your vehicle a thorough vacuum every now and then is an excellent way to remove dirt, crumbs and other debris. However, a vacuum cleaner won’t remove stains or odors. For this task, you need the best steam cleaner for cars.
Why Steam Clean a Car?
Steam cleaning is a very popular method of deep cleaning — whether indoors or outdoors. The high temperature of the steam allows you to blast away stains and grime with ease. Here are a few benefits of using a steam cleaner in your car:
- Easy: Using a steam cleaner might seem like a task for professionals, but it’s easy to do yourself. There’s no need to mix a cleaning solution or carefully add special products; all you have to do is fill it with water. Plug the device into an outlet and allow it to heat. Most will be ready in five to 10 minutes.
- Multi-purpose: Steam cleaners for cars can be used throughout the interior and exterior to remove stains and restore shine. Many steamers can also be used in other areas of your house. You often get a range of attachments to suit different surfaces and areas such as countertops or upholstery. Some machines will also have a floorhead. This enables you to clean and sanitize your floors without having to purchase a separate unit.
- Free of chemicals: Using chemicals isn’t always a possibility when cleaning. You might have young children who are more sensitive or pets that could react to certain chemicals. Thankfully, hot steam alone is enough to kill up to 99 percent of bacteria, viruses, and pests such as bed bugs and mites (1).
Choosing the Best Steam Cleaner for Cars
Buying a steam cleaner might seem like a reasonably easy task. However, buying one for your car does require a few considerations to ensure you get the right one at the right price. It’s easy to overspend where it’s not necessary, so here’s what you should consider before buying:
1. Tank Size
The tank of a steam cleaner is what will be holding the hot water that will turn into steam when released. The tank size plays a significant role in determining how long you get to clean at a time.
Steam cleaners generally have quite large tanks. And despite their often compact design, car steam cleaners can hold a significant amount of water. Some can hold up to 50 ounces.
Now, a large tank doesn’t necessarily mean a long runtime. For instance, cheaper models will have a difficult time keeping the water heated for as long as claimed. This makes the machine lose steam, and you’ll end up having to stop to reheat.
Another reason why you shouldn’t jump for the largest tank is weight. Keep in mind that we’re going to be cleaning a car. If you need to carry the device to the vehicle with a full tank, it might be too heavy.
Steam cleaning a car isn’t the same as steam cleaning a house. In your home, all you need to avoid is running into furniture. In a car, however, it can be tricky to move around.
Fortunately, many steam cleaners available provide excellent mobility. A long power cord is one way to gain more freedom inside the car. However, you can fix this issue with an extension cord if needed.
A long, flexible hose is another point to consider. When cleaning a car, you’ll have to reach under seats, pedals and into corners and crevices to get a thorough clean. This can be difficult with a short hose, so go for at least a few feet of hose.
If you want the ultimate mobility, though, you’ll have to go for a handheld device. These are cordless, light and easy to carry. However, handheld steam cleaners won’t clean for as long as canister models due to smaller tanks.
No matter what cleaning tool you’re buying, power plays a significant role. Most steam cleaners for cars will be equipped with a 1500-watt heating element to produce steam. Of course, this will be less for a handheld because of its smaller size.
Some steam cleaners will produce a strong stream of steam that jets out of the machine. This steam penetrates the surface you’re cleaning, blasting away dirt, stains, and grease.
Keep in Mind
A steam cleaner isn’t a small purchase. Therefore, it’s important to choose one that can be used for more than the car. Steam cleaning can be utilized throughout your home to sanitize countertops or to remove stains from grout lines. So choosing a device that can be used elsewhere in your household can save you money and space.
The accessories you get with a steam cleaner are what determine how versatile it’s going to be. Many steam cleaners for cars come with a variety of tools and accessories to help you tackle the area you’re working on.
Some handy tools include a triangular brush that fits into corners, and smaller brushes to target tiny spots.
In saying this, some cheaper models lack in quality when it comes to the accessories. Customers have reported flimsy, cheap plastic attachments that deform after a few uses.
So to avoid trouble, we highly suggest that you go for a well-known brand. You should also read through real customer reviews. This shows you how people found not only the accessories, but also the machine.
The Best Steam Cleaners for Cars of 2019
Steam cleaning your car has many benefits such as killing bacteria without chemicals. However, choosing the right device for you is crucial. So we highly recommend that you consider the above before purchasing a steamer.
We went through the top devices available and read through countless reviews by real customers. After taking the above points into consideration, we found the five best steam cleaner for cars.
1. Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
When you need to deep clean your car, a steam cleaner is an excellent tool to sanitize surfaces and remove stains. This steam cleaner can be used almost anywhere to sanitize without any chemicals.
The light and compact design makes it a perfect match for the compromised space of a car. You also won’t need to wait for long as it heats up quickly.
Despite the small size, this steamer has a large tank that will hold a significant amount of water. This provides you with ample time to finish deep cleaning the entire vehicle.
Why We Love It
Weighing only 9 pounds, this steam cleaner is lightweight and portable The size and weight make it optimal for car use . You can place it on the seat or on the car floor as you’re steaming without compromising the space.
The retractable handle also makes it super easy to carry. Or if you prefer, you can roll it across the floor, thanks to the smooth wheels.
Steam cleaners aren’t cheap tools, so it’s handy to purchase one that can be used for multiple purposes. This steamer comes with a variety of attachments that enable you to clean different surfaces around the house.
It’s safe to use on most sealed floors, and you can use the small attachment to target grout lines. Use it to remove dirt and grime from your mattresses, upholstery, sofas and chairs. You can even use it in the bathroom.
The soft microfiber pad is gentle on all surfaces, especially on leather and fabric car seats. Feel free to also use it to remove dust and dirt from car doors and even grease stains from the engine.
No Need to Purchase Expensive Pads
It can sometimes seem like brands earn more money by limiting their steam cleaners to specialized pads only. However, Dupray is keeping its trusted customers and their budget in mind. So when you use the Neat Steamer, you can choose between the included microfiber pads or simply attach a clean towel.
The steamer will work efficiently either way. And you can just throw the used pads and towels in the washer and reuse next time.
Large Tank, Long Runtime
Despite the light and compact design, the water reservoir will hold 54 ounces of distilled or tap water. This will give you up to 50 minutes of continuous runtime as you’re cleaning your way through the car.
The tank has an integrated funnel that keeps all the water where it needs to be without spilling everywhere.
A common downside to steam cleaners is the amount of moisture or water left behind. This can make it difficult to clean certain surfaces such as upholstery and porous floors. However, the Neat steam cleaner uses low-moisture steam that heats to a whopping 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
As you’re cleaning, you can use the steam lock to keep the steam going continuously. This feature is excellent for people who might have sore wrists after cleaning from having to pump the trigger.
Keep In Mind
A few customers noticed that the handle and hose got hot after continuous use. This could be due to the hot water and steam. So if you feel it’s getting too hot, stop and take a break.
|Heating Time||7 minutes|
|Tank Capacity||54 ounces|
|Number of Accessories||18-piece accessory kit|
2. Pure Enrichment PureClean XL
The PureClean XL is favored by many car owners, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a powerful steamer, yet compact and easy to move around.
You get a variety of accessories to steam clean your car and house. The long hose and power cord make the PureClean XL highly mobile. When not in use, the power cord conveniently wraps up at the back of the machine, keeping it without tangles.
It’s safe to use the steam cleaner on a variety of surfaces such as sealed floors, upholstery and car interiors. The soft microfiber pad cleans efficiently and picks up dirt and tough stains.
Why We Love It
18-Piece Accessories Set
You get 18 heavy-duty accessories and attachments to suit the cleaning task you’re facing. These include, but are not limited to, a triangle brush, squeegee, small round brushes and a floorhead.
Attach the telescoping wand to reach difficult places or when you’re cleaning floors. The set also includes a measuring cup, funnel and two microfiber pads.
The 16-foot long power cord and long flexible hose allow you to move around freely within the car. It’s comfortable to hold, thanks to the large handle.
To remove tough dirt and stains, you’ll need powerful steam. This canister steamer heats the water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Unsurprisingly, it produces high-pressure streams of steam that blast away anything in its path.
Use one of the smaller attachments to target tiny crevices in the seats. Plus, use the scrub brush to sanitize the dashboard.
Large Water Reservoir
Equipped with a whopping 50.7-ounce tank, this steamer will give you a long cleaning time. Pure Enrichment claims you’ll get up to 45 minutes of steam. However, this can vary depending on the setting you’re using.
Avoid filling the tank all the way; leave room for the vapors once the water is heated. It should take about eight minutes to fully heat.
If you’re feeling unsure about this unit, the five-year warranty might help to ease your mind. The warranty covers the boiler and unit against malfunctions and defects.
Keep In Mind
Pad Isn’t as Absorbing
When steam cleaning, you have to rely on the pad to remove excess moisture. This is especially important when cleaning sensitive surfaces such as mattresses and upholstery.
Unfortunately, the included microfiber pads aren’t as thick or as absorbing as other brands. They tend to leave a bit too much moisture behind, so keep a cloth close at hand if necessary.
|Heating Time||8 minutes|
|Tank Capacity||50.7 ounces|
|Number of Accessories||18-piece heavy-duty set|
3. McCullough Steam Cleaner
This black and yellow steam cleaner might look like a giant bumblebee, but it packs a large punch. As it’s equipped with a long cord and hose, this steamer is surprisingly mobile. The large wheels also enable you to drag it around if you feel it’s too heavy to lift.
We like that you get a range of attachments and accessories. However, there’s, unfortunately, no convenient way to store them. Regardless, the various accessories make this steam cleaner a multipurpose device.
The large tank will provide you with ample time to finish your cleaning task, and it heats relatively quickly. By using the steam lock button, you can use continuous steam without tiring your wrists or fingers.
To help you feel more at ease, the McCulloch Steam Cleaner is covered by a two-year warranty.
Why We Love It
Thanks to the 15.7-foot power cord, you can easily reach the car even if an outlet isn’t near. You can also conveniently reach different areas inside the vehicle with the 10-foot hose. The hose has a large handle that allows you to get a comfortable grip.
The front and back wheels enable you to drag the canister along instead of carrying it. Although it weighs around 10 pounds, it will become significantly heavier with a full tank.
You get 18 accessories with this steam cleaner. This enables you to clean multiple surfaces around the house with ease.
Among the accessories, you’ll find a brilliant triangle brush, perfect for targeting corners. You’ll also get multiple round nylon brushes in different sizes. The squeegee attachment is excellent for cleaning car windows.
You can use the scrub pad to remove stains from seats and dashboard gently. When you need to steam clean your floor, simply attach the wide floorhead.
Quick Heat Up
After filling the 48-ounce water reservoir, allow the device eight minutes to fully heat up. This isn’t a very long time considering that the water reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
The hot steam blasts through tough dirt, stains, grease and oils effectively. You don’t need to add any chemicals or cleaner. However, if you’re dealing with stubborn stains, you might want to pre-treat it before steaming. This can help to remove it in one go.
Keep In Mind
No Storage for Accessories
With 18 accessories to keep hold of, McCulloch could have provided a smart storage unit to keep everything in one place. Many of the attachments are quite small and could easily be lost.
|Heating Time||8 minutes|
|Tank Capacity||48 ounces|
|Number of Accessories||18 versatile accessories|
4. SF-370WH Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner by Steamfast
The Steamfast SF-370WH is a powerful, compact 1500-watt steam cleaner. It’s multi-purpose and can be used throughout your home and in your car.
You get a range of handy accessories and attachments to suit the surface you’re cleaning. Pumping the trigger releases steam, but you can also use the continuous steam lock. This is helpful when you’re dealing with large surfaces or stubborn stains.
Large back wheels and a long power cord make this steamer easy to drag around if it’s too heavy to lift. Plus, you get two microfiber pads that work efficiently at cleaning any surface.
Why We Love It
Due to the compact design, this steam cleaner is super easy to store. The size also makes it an excellent fit for the car. You can place it on the floor, seat or just outside of the vehicle.
The 15.4 feet long power cord conveniently wraps up at the back of the canister. It’s easy to roll up and will help to prevent tangles and damage.
To make this steam cleaner more versatile, Steamfast included 15 smart accessories. These include:
- Jet nozzle.
- Two nylon brushes.
- Brass brush.
- Scrub tool.
- Corner tool.
- Scrub pad.
- Sponge pad.
- Two extension wands.
- Mop head.
- Measuring cup.
- Two microfiber pads.
You can use the jet nozzle to blast away dirt inside the car. The soft squeegee is excellent at cleaning the car windows, leaving a squeaky clean, streak-free finish.
The water reservoir can hold 45 ounces of water. Allow it eight minutes to fully heat up, and you should have 45 minutes of steam.
Requires No Scrubbing
Due to the high temperature of the steam, this unit cleans quickly and efficiently. It requires no hard scrubbing and you won’t need to use any chemicals.
Keep In Mind
Attachments Won’t Last for Long
If you use the attachments for heavy cleaning, they might not last for long. A few customers found this inconvenient. Although replacements are reasonably priced, they feel it should be mentioned beforehand.
|Heating Time||8 minutes|
|Tank Capacity||45 ounces|
|Number of Accessories||15 attachments for all surfaces|
5. Comforday Multi-Purpose Handheld Steam Cleaner
A handheld steam cleaner can be very convenient when cleaning a car. You won’t be limited by a cord or heavy canister. With the Comforday, you get nine handy accessories to help you give your car or house a deep clean.
The steamer is easy to use and safe on multiple surfaces such as floors, upholstery, dashboards and seats. It will blast away dirt, grime, grease and stains using hot, pressurized steam.
Although it’s a small device, it uses 1050 watts of power, so it isn’t far off from bigger models. However, it also won’t last as long.
The handheld steamer is equipped with a few safety features to avoid burns or accidents. You can also lock the steam trigger for continuous use.
Why We Love It
You can use this smart handheld device on multiple surfaces around the house. The extended hose makes it easy to reach small areas inside the car.
Use the upholstery attachment to clean the seats safely. The high heat will help to kill bacteria and allergy triggers such as dust mites that might be lurking inside the car.
The powerful jet nozzle is excellent at targeting small areas and crevices inside the car. Clean and sanitize dashboards with the flat surface tool.
Easy to Hold
Because it’s only a little over 3 pounds heavy, this handheld steamer is easy to hold as you’re cleaning. The handle is large and comfortable even during extended cleaning sessions.
Very Hot Steam
You shouldn’t judge this device by its small size. It will hold 11.8 ounces of tap or distilled water in the reservoir and provide you with 15 to 20 minutes of steam. The steam will heat to 270 degrees Fahrenheit — significantly hotter compared to larger units.
Because it’s a handheld steam cleaner, you have to be careful when using it. Attach the safety cap at the top correctly to avoid scalding spills.
There’s also a safety lock on the handle that prevents children or others from pressing the trigger. These safety features are vital in family homes, especially if you have young children you like to help out.
This might not be an important point for all, but we think it’s worth adding. You can choose between three vibrant colored units to suit your taste. It’s available in red, blue and yellow.
Keep In Mind
Creates High-Moisture Steam
One downside to this smart handheld device is the moisture content of the steam. It can leave behind a significant amount of water. So with this bad boy, you have to keep it moving when cleaning upholstery. Keep a microfiber cloth or towel close at hand when cleaning to avoid any damage to sensitive surfaces.
|Runtime||15 to 20 minutes|
|Heating Time||3 minutes|
|Tank Capacity||11.8 ounces|
|Number of Accessories||9-piece accessory kit|
Detailed Comparison Chart
|Product||Best||Weight||Runtime||Heating Time||Tank Capacity||No. of Accessories|
|Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner||Overall||9 lbs||50 min||7 min||54 oz||18-pc|
|Pure Enrichment PureClean||Accessories||15.4 lbs||45 min||8 min||50.7 oz||18-pc|
|McCullough Steam Cleaner||Mobility||9.95 lbs||45 min||8 min||48 oz||18-pc|
|Steamfast SF-370WH Steam Cleaner||Runtime||8.4 lbs||45 min||8 min||45 oz||15-pc|
|Comforday Handheld Steam Cleaner||Handheld||3.28 lbs||15 – 20 min||3 min||11.8 oz||9-pc|
A New Way to Clean Your Car
Steam cleaning your car is an excellent way to deep clean and sanitize your vehicle. We prefer to use steam cleaners because you don’t need chemicals, thanks to the high temperature of the steam. Stains, dirt, grime and grease don’t stand a chance here.
Tank size is an essential point to consider before buying a steam cleaner. The size of the tank determines how much steam you get before having to refill and reheat. However, a large tank will also be heavier to carry, so you must keep this in mind as well.