Best Portable Steam Cleaner

Do you know that you can clean up the dirt on your carpets, floors, interlocking rubber tiles or windows with steam? Of course you can – all you need to get this done is a portable handheld steam cleaner or a steaming mop.

One exciting part about these cleaning machines is that not only do they clean up dirt, they also kill germs and bacteria. However, most regular steam cleaners or steam mops come in large sizes and have a heavy attachment component which makes them pretty stressful to use.

Also, you’ll find it pretty difficult to move them around and to clean uneven places. That being said, it’s certain you won’t want to go through this stress and drawbacks hence, the best option is to get a portable steam cleaner.

They come in smaller sizes and they work great when used to clean awkward places. They’re very easy to use and you can easily move it around. Also, with one of the best portable steam cleaners, you’ll get to perform more cleaning task effectively.

With that said, it’s certain you want one, but before you make a move to get a portable steam cleaner, there’s vital information you need to know to help you get the best product that’ll serve your needs adequately.

What is a Portable Steam Cleaner

What is a Portable Steam Cleaner

Portable steam cleaners are cleaning machines used to clean floors, windows, interlocking tiles and other hard surfaces.

Not only do they clean hard surfaces, but they also get rid of 99.9% of germs and bacteria that could hurt your health. These cleaning machines clean up dirt and get rid of bacteria by emitting heat.

They come in small sizes which make them easier to move from room to room. They’re versatile buddies you can use to perform cleaning task effectively.

These machines are very easy to use, environmentally friendly and they work great when used to sanitize surfaces.  With this machine, you don’t have to use harmful chemicals or scrub thoroughly just to clean up dirt, stains or get rid of bacteria.

Most of the advanced models perform more cleaning tasks compared to any of the best vacuum cleaners under $100.

Benefits of Using a Portable Steam Cleaner

There are a few very good reasons why you should go for a handheld steam cleaner instead of steam mops or full-size cleaners, for example.

Ideal for Small Tasks

For small cleaning tasks, handheld steamers perform better. For instance, these products can clean kitchen surfaces, bathroom tiles or tiny windows. They also sterilize kitchen surfaces and clean hard to reach spots.

Easy to Use

Unlike the best vacuum cleaners, handheld steam cleaners can be easily held with a hand. Also, they’re lightweight and serve as an ideal option for cleaning tight corners.

Instead of using harmful chemicals, you can clean your living space better with steam cleaners because these devices use steam (not chemicals) to kill germs and clean dirt.

This further means that steam cleaning is safe for children. Finally, steam cleaning doesn’t use detergents which makes it safe for pets too.

Multi-Purpose Attachments

Numerous handheld steam cleaners come with many attachments. This helps you clean different surfaces easily.

Such accessories include cloth, brushes and squeegees. Some of these accessories make this cleaning machine serve as great protection and finishing for floors.

Convenient to Store

Portable steam cleaners have designs which make them require little storage space. So, if you find it hard to discover free storage space in your home for an item, you need to consider a handheld steam cleaner.


Portable steam cleaners cost less than full-sized steaming mops. You can also save money as they don’t need cleaning products.

Steam is also safer for the environment as chemicals contain dangerous elements. With cleaners that work based on steam, you don’t have to worry about pets or small children accidentally swallowing harmful substances.

Ideal for People with Allergies

If you have an allergy, steam cleaners will be an ideal appliance to own in your home.

They can remove allergens and other microbes immediately instead of merely blowing them to other parts of your room. You can use the highly pressurized steam to kill dust mites around your living space.

Types of Portable Steam Cleaners

When it comes to a portable steam cleaner, there are two common types – the handheld and the upright variation.

Handheld Steam Cleaner

Handheld Steam Cleaner

This item comes in smaller sizes. They’re very portable and you don’t have to break the bank to buy this cleaning machine.

With a budget under $100, you can get one of the best handheld steam cleaners for your home use. They work great when used to clean uneven spaces or tight corners in your home or business places.

Their portable size makes them very easy to store as it doesn’t consume much space. Also, since they’re lightweight, it’s easier to move them around in your home or from place to place.

Additionally, they’re super easy to use and work great for a smaller cleaning job. If you’re finding it difficult to remove stains, this cleaning machine works just as good as great carpet stain removers.

However, the downside is the fact that it’s time-consuming when used for larger cleaning jobs. It also offers less cleaning efficiency than the larger steam cleaner.

Upright Steam Cleaner

These devices look similar to the stick vacuum cleaner and they work great when used to clean up floors. As the name suggests, they’re designed to have an upright look and most models come with a reservoir attached to the handle.

This super easy to use cleaning machine comes with a long comfortable handle to make the cleaning task easier. Known for its lightweight, you can easily move it from one to the other room.

They work better than traditional mops, as they don’t only clean the floor but sanitize it as well. Also, with this machine, you don’t have to use harsh chemicals to clean up floors.

Some of them come with exciting features and additional components for maximum cleaning efficiency. The downside is that they come at a pretty high price compared to the handheld version.

What Makes the Best Portable Handheld Steam Cleaner

When it comes to portable or handheld cleaner, they work great when used to clean harder surfaces. Nevertheless, you have to know what’s your primary goal and the vital things you should consider when buying it.

The reason is that not all portable cleaners available in the market can serve your specific needs effectively. Here are some of the most important things to consider before getting a portable steam cleaner:

Size and Weight

When it comes to this cleaning machine, one of the things that could hinder your cleaning task is its size or weight. As you ought to know, portable steam cleaners vary in sizes, shapes and weight.

However, some are bulkier and heavier than the others. Before you head on to purchase a portable cleaner, you should know the size and weight of the cleaning machine.

When you know the size and weight, you’ll be more comfortable when cleaning. Lighter and smaller products work better as they’re easier to store.


To achieve a better cleaning job, you’ll need a steam cleaner with a higher power.

The reason is that higher power models emit a strong burst of steam that will help to get rid of dirt and bacteria in a short time. Most steamers come with power efficiency between 900-1200 watts.

However, the higher the power, the faster it consumes water in the reservoir. Also, steam with a higher power has heavy components, making them weightier than the less powered models.


A steam cleaner with wheels makes mobility easier and saves you the stress of carrying it around. But these wheels could also make it bulkier and heavier.

Hence, you need to know whether you’ll feel more comfortable pushing something around or you prefer a lighter cleaning machine.

Attachments and Accessories

Attachments and Accessories of a Portable Steam Cleaner

Attachment and accessories also play a significant role in the cleaning task. Some steam cleaners come with basic attachments that allow you to clean and sanitize different surface types and areas effectively.

Most models come with many attachments and accessories while for some of them you’ll need to buy them separately. With this said before buying a steam cleaner you need to consider their attachment and accessories depending on your specific needs or purpose.

Steam Temperature

Temperature and steam pressure are also very important. Steam cleaner with higher power produces high steam temperature to make the cleaning task faster.

How hot and how much pressure the steam generates will determine how fast and efficient it can clean and kill germs.

The downside of a steamer with a higher temperature is that they come at a pretty high price. Also, you need to handle it carefully when using it to clean.

Water Tank Capacity

The steam cleaner makes use of water to carry out the cleaning task hence, the water tank size also matters a lot as this determines how long you can clean without pausing for a refill.

Models with smaller water tank require a refill more often, while those with a larger reservoir once filled up will take a longer time before they need a refill.

However, models with a larger water tank take a longer time to heat the water to a certain usage level. For these reasons, it’s best to consider which one you prefer.

If you plan on using it for a small area, it’s best to get models with smaller water tank size. For heavy duty steam cleaning, opt for an item with a larger reservoir.


Steam cleaner operates quieter than most of the best vacuum cleaners available on the market. However, some produce sounds that could make you feel uncomfortable.

If you’re the type that doesn’t like machine noise, it’s best to look out for the models with noiseless operation. One easy way to find out is to carefully read the customers reviews about the noise level of the model.

Also, check out the decibel level as this will give you great insight into the noise level. You might find it difficult to get the decibel as most of the models online don’t display it hence, you should just stick to checking what customer says about the product.


The price of steam cleaners varies. Most expensive models come with great features, accessories and attachments that could make cleaning task more comfortable and faster.

But the price isn’t the important thing. Before shopping for one, you need to know your specific needs. Also, some less expensive models can still perform the cleaning task effectively, but they may not last long.

Those that want to get one to complement their larger steam canisters cleaner could opt for affordable models. The reason is that since they won’t use it more often, it could last longer before it damages.

Does More Spending Mean More Quality

Does More Spending Mean More Quality for Portable Steam Cleaner

High priced models come with great features, attachments, accessories, decent warranties and have sturdy constructions. Most makers add more value to the higher priced models.

Nevertheless, one vital thing you need to know is that spending more doesn’t guarantee the product will solve your specific needs. Some low-end price items can also work great and deliver an excellent result.

Before shopping for one, you need to know what you need it for and what you intend to clean with it. Then, you can check other important things like the features, accessories, warranties, etc.

Portable Steam Cleaner vs Mop vs Sweeper vs Vacuum Cleaner

Traditional Mop

Mops vary in sizes and shapes. There are also different types – rope, dust, sponge mops and more. They come with a long stick handle that you can use to move it when cleaning.

Most of these mops are used to clean floors, window, carpets and higher end areas like the ceiling. For cleaning task, you’ll need to get a bucket, detergent and hot water.


  • Work great when used to clean uneven place or tight corners in your home
  • Come at a more affordable price


  • Very stressful to use
  • You need to have other things at your disposal to perform a cleaning task effectively
  • You’ll need to dry the floor to avoid moisture stains after cleaning
  • Mops are time-consuming

Portable Steam Cleaner

Portable Handheld Steam Cleaner

Portable cleaners get cleaning tasks done easier and faster. They get rid of stains effectively.

They also work great when used to sanitize floors, windows, carpet and harder surfaces. With this machine, you don’t need to use harmful chemicals and detergents to get rid of stains and dirt.


  • User-friendly and safer to use
  • Serve as a great carpet stain remover
  • Cost-effective
  • Can be used for more cleaning tasks other than floor cleaning
  • The handheld steam cleaner cleans hard to reach places easily


  • You need to be extra careful when using this cleaning machine
  • More expensive than sweeper and traditional mops
  • You need to fill the reservoir tank to carry out cleaning task
  • Not suitable for more complicated cleaning tasks

Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum Cleaner vs Portable Steam Cleaner

This cleaning machine makes use of suction to clean up dirt, dust, hair and other particles from the floor. They’re one of the best home cleaning buddies you can use to keep your floor or carpet clean.


  • Work great to clean up dirt and other tiny particles
  • You don’t need water to get the cleaning task done
  • Can clean uneven places or tight corners


  • Don’t work great to remove old and tough stains
  • Bulkier than a traditional mop, sweeper and portable steam cleaner
  • Can’t be used to sanitize the floor

Floor Sweeper

The sweeper comes in different types. The common types of modern-day sweepers are the mechanical, electrical and rechargeable sweepers.

These three types have rolls of rotating brush or blades that collect the dirt into an attached dustbin. They’re super easy to use and operate quietly.

You can easily move them around your home and most of them can maneuver across tight spaces to clean up the dirt.


  • Super easy to use and store
  • Work great to remove dust, debris, hairs and other tiny particles
  • Lightweight and operate quietly
  • Very portable to move around your home


  • You can’t use it to clean stains
  • You’ll need to empty the dirt in the bin more often
  • It doesn’t get rid of germs or bacteria on floors

How to Use a Portable Steam Cleaner

To use this product, you need to point the nozzle at the spot you wish to clean. Steam comes out and gets into materials such as grout. It even weakens dirt and grime while rubbing out microbes and bacteria.

Step 1 – Direct the Nozzle at the Debris

Out of the box, most cleaners have towels or brushes. You can use these towels or plain cloth to wipe up stains from the spot.

You can even leave the carpet to dry in the open air. Besides, deep steam cleaners offer vacuum attachments which remove debris during intensive cleaning.

Step 2 – Clean with Cloth

You can use your product with detergents although this method isn’t chemical free. However, detergents serve as a better option than spray cleaners. The reason is that soaps are safer than spray cleaners.

Step 3 – Use With Detergent

You can use steam cleaners to clean most surfaces except for plastic floorings or any other heat sensitive materials thus, it can clean your kitchen, carpet and furniture.

However, before using this product, try to spot check to prevent possible damage.

Do’s and Don’ts with Portable Handheld Steam Cleaner

Although steam cleaners are great household appliances, they work better when you know how to use them. First, know which surfaces are ideal for steam cleaning. Don’t use on freshly painted surfaces as steam doesn’t work well with paint.

However, some people prefer steam cleaning walls. With this in mind, you should be careful when using this cleaning method especially with vinyl and treated wood.

Furthermore, choose a day every few months to clean areas you usually avoid. Such spots include dusty ceilings, moldy showers and dust mite filled upholstery.

You can even target filthy parts of your home such as cat litter boxes and baby changing areas. Ensure you unplug a steamer from its power source before swapping attachments or refilling with water.

Avoid using steamers on unsealed, polished, waxed or freshly painted surfaces. Although some people prefer walls, steam cleaning painted surfaces might cause damage so care should be taken during the process.

Avoid the use of steamers and steaming mops from laminate flooring. When used on vinyl plank vs laminate, this could damage both floor materials. The reason is that they both absorb water causing the material to warp in a short time.

Although cleaners are great stain carpet removers, their hot air can hurt you so make sure you use these items with care and pay utmost attention during cleaning.

How to Clean and Maintain Portable Steam Cleaner

Mineral build-up occurs when you use tap water in the steamer’s plastic container. With this in mind, ensure you use less tap water or change to distilled water instead.

It’s advised that you clean the steamer by removing and wiping the dirty water tank and suction gate door with cold water. Ensure you vacuum your upholstered furniture to prevent damage from dust and dirt.

You can also flip, rotate and fluff the cushions to make them last longer. Don’t place your furniture in direct sunlight and use a professional cleaning service once a year.

To get the best tips on cleaning your carpet and upholstery steamer, consult your manual.

Other Methods on Maintaining a Portable Steam Cleaner

Here are some important tips that’ll keep your steam cleaner or steam mop in perfect shape.

  • Wash any fabric with hot water used with any steam cleaner. Also, don’t use chemicals such as fabric softeners. Dry the cloth or towels in the open air, but if you’re not using drying sheets, you can tumble dry them.
  • Before and after use, ensure you wipe down your cleaner with a damp cloth. This stops dust and other airborne allergens from spreading to every part of your home.
  • When using a steam mop ensure you drain and dry the tank in the air. Reseal the plug and replace the steam mop in storage.
  • Ensure you descale your tool to prevent poor performance. Water contains minerals which can cause limescale in your machine’s boiler tank.


Can portable steam cleaner remove mold?

Although steam kills most species of mold, a few of these organisms are heat resistant. However, some cleaners come with TANCS technology which weakens the cell walls of heat resistant mold for more natural elimination.

Can portable steam cleaner remove pet urine?

Pets bring a lot of mess to floors which means that with a frequent cleaning with a steam mop it’s easier to handle muddy paw prints across your flooring.

Using steam from regular tap water, you can clean your floor without applying dangerous substances. This makes steam mops ideal tools for cleaning sticky debris, dirt and also urine.

Can portable steam cleaners damage my carpet?

It depends. Although these items can work on all types of carpets or rugs, they aren’t carpet cleaners.

You might need to buy a good HEPA vacuum to use after the steam cleaner to remove loosened debris and dirt. The best vacuum cleaners under $100 can handle this task.

How do I steam clean my sofa?

How do I steam clean my sofa

With a portable steam cleaner, you can spot clean your fabrics, upholstery and furniture. With any of the provided attachments, you can easily remove stains and even out the wrinkles on baby cribs, carpets, curtains, furniture fabrics, sofa covers, shower curtains and pet beds.

How do I steam clean my mattress?

Mattresses serve as ideal hiding places for bedbugs and mites. However, you can handle these pests with a steam cleaner as these tools provide enough heat which can kill bedbugs, mites and their eggs.

Are there any other ways to descale a steam cleaner?

Yes. Run your unit for half an hour with vinegar then drain. Fill it up with distilled water. Run for 15 minutes and remove again.

Can I use a portable steam cleaner in the bathroom?

Yes. Bathrooms have mold and mildew as a result of the abundant moisture in the air. Although regular cleaning might help, a handheld steam cleaner can perfectly remove all stains on all sanitary ware.

You can even use the squeegee attachment on the unit to clean mirrors and glass without leaving any marks.


Portable steam cleaners are great appliances to use in your home. They can handle various tasks such as removing limescale, cleaning windows and loosening oven grease.

However, handheld units have a few downsides. First, they have less power than larger models. They also have smaller water tanks which require routine filling.

Weigh down whether these downsides are important to you and only then decide if this product is a good fit for your home and your cleaning needs.

Photos from: belchonock /, Violin /, shotsstudio /, Gestiafoto /, /, monticello / and AlexShadyuk /