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Best Steam Cleaner for Cars of 2022

Updated
Deep clean and sanitize your car without harsh chemicals.

Your car’s interior is most likely full of sticky fingerprints, pet hair, spills, and other messes. If you’re looking for a way to deep clean and sanitize the car (inside and out), then a steam cleaner will come in handy.

For this task, you need one of the best steam cleaners available. It must be suitable for your car. We’ve reviewed dozens of products to conclude our five favorites.

During our research, we looked at tank size, mobility, power, versatility, accessories, and heating time. We wanted to ensure we offered the most practical, effective, and easy-to-use steamers. Keep reading for our summary.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner Powerful Multipurpose Portable Heavy Duty Steamer for Floors, Cars, Tiles, Grout Cleaning. Chemical Free, Disinfection, Wallpaper Removal for Home Use and More. Kills 99.99%* of Bacteria and Viruses.
Best Overall
Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
  • Lightweight
  • Multi-purpose
  • Large tank, long runtime
Product Image of the Pure Enrichment PureClean Steam Cleaner - 1500-Watt Multi-Purpose Household System for Deep Cleaning Floors, Windows, BBQ Grills, Grout, Cars and More, Includes 18 Accessories
Best Accessories
Pure Enrichment PureClean
  • 18-piece accessories set
  • Long reach
  • Powerful steam
Product Image of the McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner with 18 Accessories, Extra-Long Power Cord, Chemical-Free Pressurized Cleaning for Most Floors, Counters, Appliances, Windows, Autos, and More, Yellow/Grey
Best Mobility
McCullough Steam Cleaner
  • Incredibly mobile
  • 18 accessories
  • Quick heat up
Product Image of the Steamfast SF-370 Canister Cleaner with 15 Accessories-All-Natural, Chemical-Free Pressurized Steam Cleaning for Most Floors, Counters, Appliances, Windows, Autos, and More, 64 inches, White
Best Runtime
Steamfast SF-370WH Steam Cleaner
  • Easy storage
  • 15 accessories
  • Requires no scrubbing
Product Image of the Handheld Steam Cleaner by Comforday - Multi-Purpose Pressurized Steam Cleaner with Safety Lock for Stain Removal, Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning - 9-Piece Accessory Kit Included (Upgrade) (red)
Best Handheld
Comforday Handheld Steam Cleaner
  • Safety features
  • Easy to use
  • Very hot steam


Product Reviews

Through hours of research into expert advice and customer reviews, we’ve chosen our favorite steam cleaners. These all have extraordinary power, a decent heating time, handy accessories, and in many cases, a very large tank. Check out these five fantastic steam cleaners for your car.

1. Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner

Best Overall

Out of all the steam cleaners we discovered, this was our favorite overall. You can use this steam cleaner 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 and car detailing.

What We Like

Lightweight and Portable

Weighing only nine 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 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.

Multi-Purpose Uses With Various Attachments

This steamer comes with various 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 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 them 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 while 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.

Low-Moisture Steam

A common downside to steam cleaners is the amount of moisture or water left behind. This can make cleaning specific surfaces such as upholstery and porous floors difficult. However, the Neat steam cleaner uses low-moisture steam that heats to a whopping 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

While 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.

What We Don't Like

Unit Gets Too Hot

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.

The Unit Leaks Sometimes

Some customers found that the unit leaked, especially using certain attachments. This leaves water on the floor. If you’re dealing with hardwood floors, this can cause damage over time.

Sometimes Takes Too Long to Heat

While the advertised heating time is 7-8 minutes, many customers found it took much longer. Some said up to 20 minutes. There will be a green light to indicate that it’s hot, but if you use it before then, you’ll just end up spraying water everywhere.

Product Specs

Weight 9 pounds
Runtime 50 minutes
Heating Time 7 minutes
Tank Capacity 54 ounces
Number of Accessories 18-piece accessory kit

2. Pure Enrichment PureClean XL

Best Accessories

Many car owners favor the PureClean XL, 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.

What We Like

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.

16-Foot Long Reach

The 16-foot-long power cord and long flexible hose allow you to move freely within the car. It’s comfortable to hold, thanks to the large handle.

Powerful High-Pressure Steam

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 heat fully.

Long Five-Year Warranty

If you’re unsure about this unit, the five-year warranty might help ease your mind. The warranty covers the boiler and unit against malfunctions and defects.

What We Don't Like

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.

Hard to Guage Water Level

When you fill the tank, it’s impossible to see how much water is in there. You basically have to pour water in until a little overflows: then you know it’s full. There’s also no light to indicate if the steamer is heated and ready to use.

Low-Quality Materials for Attachments

The attachments aren’t made of the highest quality materials. They wear down quite quickly, with some customers claiming they were ruined within a few weeks.

Product Specs

Weight 15.4 pounds
Runtime 45 minutes
Heating Time 8 minutes
Tank Capacity 50.7 ounces
Number of Accessories 18-piece heavy-duty set

3. McCullough Steam Cleaner

Best Mobility

This black and yellow steam cleaner might look like a giant bumblebee, but it packs a large punch. This steamer is surprisingly mobile because it’s equipped with a long cord and hose. 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 ample time to finish your cleaning task, and it heats relatively quickly. 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.

What We Like

Incredibly Mobile

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.

18 Accessories for Deep Cleaning

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 the 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 heat up fully. This isn’t a very long time considering that the water reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Powerful Hot Steam Blast

The hot steam blasts through tough dirt, stains, grease, and oils effectively. You don’t need to add any chemicals or cleaner. However, you might want to pre-treat it before steaming if you’re dealing with stubborn stains. This can help to remove it in one go.

What We Don't Like

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 pretty small and could easily be lost.

Hard to Get Spare Parts

If individual parts or accessories break on this machine, it’s hard to find repairs or replacements. You might be able to access them by post, but many customers struggled.

Product Specs

Weight 9.95 pounds
Runtime 45 minutes
Heating Time 8 minutes
Tank Capacity 48 ounces
Number of Accessories 18 versatile accessories

4. SF-370WH Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner by Steamfast

Best Runtime

The Steamfast SF-370WH is a powerful, compact 1500-watt steam cleaner. It’s multi-purpose and can be used throughout your home and car. The best feature is that it lasts 45 minutes per tank, giving you more than enough time to deep clean your whole 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.

What We Like

Easy to Store

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.

15 Accessories for Deep Cleaning

To make this steam cleaner more versatile, Steamfast included 15 smart accessories. These include:

  • Jet nozzle
  • Two nylon brushes
  • Brass brush
  • Scrub tool
  • Squeegee
  • 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.

Large 45 Ounce Tank

The water reservoir can hold 45 ounces of water. Allow it eight minutes to heat up fully, 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.

What We Don't Like

Attachments Won’t Last for Long

If you use the attachments for heavy cleaning, they might not last long. A few customers found this inconvenient. Although replacements are reasonably priced, they feel it should be mentioned beforehand.

Hard to Remove Tough Grime

This ists at about 20-40 pounds per square inch in terms of pressure. This is a bit lower than some steam cleaners, making this less than ideal for demanding jobs. If you have tough grease and grime in your car, this might not be able to eliminate it.

High-Pitched and Noisy

This steam cleaner might get on your last nerve if you’re sensitive to sounds. You might want to wear earplugs.

Product Specs

Weight 8.4 pounds
Runtime 45 minutes
Heating Time 8 minutes
Tank Capacity 45 ounces
Number of Accessories 15 attachments for all surfaces

5. Comforday Multi-Purpose Handheld Steam Cleaner

Best Handheld Steam Cleaner

A handheld steam cleaner can be very convenient when cleaning a car. A cord or heavy canister won’t limit you. 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 won’t last as long since the tank only holds 11.8 ounces.

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.

What We Like

Multi-Purpose for All Areas

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 car 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 and Carry

Because it’s only a little over three pounds heavy, this handheld steamer is easy to hold as you clean. 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 than larger units.

Included Safety Features

Because it’s a handheld steam cleaner, you must be careful when using it. Attach the safety cap at the top correctly to avoid scalding spills.

A safety lock on the handle also 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.

Vibrant Colors

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.

What We Don't Like

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 must keep it moving when cleaning upholstery. Keep a microfiber cloth or towel close to hand when cleaning to avoid any damage to sensitive surfaces.

Poor Connection Points

Where the attachments connect to the unit and where the top lid connects are poor quality. Over time, the materials strip down, making it impossible to reconnect.

Less Than 12 Ounce Tank

This is fairly obvious but keep it in mind, especially if you have a big car. The water runs out fairly quickly, and you have to stop and refill it often.

Product Specs

Weight 3.28 pounds
Runtime 15 to 20 minutes
Heating Time 3 minutes
Tank Capacity 11.8 ounces
Number of Accessories 9-piece accessory kit

Product 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

Why Steam Clean a Car?

The high steam temperature allows you to blast away stains and grime easily. 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 the tank 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. You can also use many steamers 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, steam alone is enough to kill up to 99 percent of bacteria, viruses, and pests such as bed bugs and mites (1).

Things to Consider (Buying Guide)

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.

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 55 ounces.

Now, a large tank doesn’t necessarily mean a long runtime. For instance, cheaper models will have difficulty 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. It might be too heavy if you need to carry the device to the vehicle with a full tank.

Mobility

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 corners and crevices to thoroughly 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, 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.

Power

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

The steam temperature generally exceeds 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This is incredibly hot and should be handled with care. Never put your hands where the steam exits or hits (2).

Versatility

A steam cleaner isn’t a small purchase. Therefore, it’s important to choose one you can use 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 you can use elsewhere in your household can save you money and space.

Accessories

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 various 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 regarding the accessories. Customers have reported flimsy, cheap plastic attachments that deform after a few uses. That’s why it’s important to read customer reviews.


FAQs

How Do You Deep Clean a Car Carpet?

The best way to deep clean a car carpet is to use carpet shampoo like this OxiClean Carpet Cleaner. Pour it onto the carpet stain, grind it into the fibers with a stiff-bristled hand brush and then spray the carpet with water.

Now you can scrub to your heart’s content until the stain is gone. Finally, rinse off the carpet shampoo and wait while it dries before placing it back in the car.

Can You Steam Clean Car Leather Seats?

You can steam clean car leather seats, but only very infrequently. Too much moisture causes the leather to shrink when it dries.

Are Handheld Steam Cleaners Worth It?

Handheld steam cleaners are worth it because they deep clean carpets, upholstery, clothes, and other fabrics. They are also excellent at reaching tight spots inside cars and motorhomes.

How Do You Steam Clean the Inside of Your Car?

You steam clean the inside of your car the same way you do inside your house. Load the steam cleaner with water, wait while it heats, and then hold the nozzle over the carpet to remove stains.


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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy is a stay-at-home-mom, seasoned writer, and a home cleaning and organization aficionado. Amy enjoys having an absolutely spotless home and has worked hard to develop strategies to keep it that way, despite having 2 kids and 3 dogs!