Deep cleaning your vehicle interior may feel like a big hassle. Trust us, we know!
Unfortunately, car upholstery can become a magnet for dirt and stains, especially if you do a lot of commuting. But, with a steam cleaner, you can effectively clean your car sets without too much effort!
Here, we’ll explore the best car steam cleaners on the market. Without our list of the features to look for, you can find the best solution to make cleaning your car easy.
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Why Use Steam Cleaners for A Car?
There are many benefits to using a steam cleaner to clean your car.
First, a steam cleaner can remove dirt, marks, and certain stains that many other cleaning techniques can’t. For example, steam can remove stains that a chemical solvent, cleaner, sponge, or vacuum cleaner, can’t handle.
While vacuuming is a great way to remove surface debris from your seats, it relies on direct contact with dirt or stains. So it’s not as effective as steaming for cleaning deep-pile carpets.
Steam cleaning also provides a deeper clean. The high heat and pressure from concentrated steam efficiently loosen stains through moisture.
Therefore it removes dirt that may be hidden deep within the upholstery of your car’s interior.
Plus, steam cleaning is an ideal alternative when you can’t launder or use detergents on certain furniture upholstery and carpets. It’s completely safe for upholstery, sofas and chairs, vinyl, and carpet surfaces that have a “W” tag.
You can also use a steam cleaner to clean your car exterior. This is a lot easier and safer to do than using a chemical cleaning solution and it won’t leave any streak marks on your windows.
Steam cleaning also extends the lifespan of your car seating and carpeting. So you won’t need to replace it as often, plus it also increases its resale value.
Another benefit of steam cleaning is that it’s chemical free and only uses distilled water. You won’t need to use any harsh chemicals or cleaning solution on your car’s interior.
Finally, steam cleaning kills 99.9% of all bacteria, and viruses on surfaces that cause bad smells in your car. And unlike vacuuming, it also kills dust mites and allergens, which helps reduce allergic reactions (1).
What to Look For in a Car Steam Cleaner
These are some key features to consider when you’re shopping for the best car steam cleaner.
Handheld steam cleaners are small, portable machines that are easy to carry. They are ideal for cleaning hard-to-reach areas and tight spaces, such as underneath pedals or in between car seats.
A handheld steam cleaner is perfect for cleaning car upholstery and fabrics. However, they aren’t as powerful as bigger, heavy-duty steam models.
Canister steam cleaners have a compact design with long steam hoses and a tank with wheels. This makes them ideal for spot cleaning, upholstery steaming, and also to remove stains from large surfaces.
Most canister steam cleaners have more power than small models as well as bigger water tanks. So they can save you a lot of time and effort when you’re deep cleaning your car.
But because of their extra power and larger units, they tend to be heavier than other steam cleaner models. So this is something to consider when you’re shopping for the best steam cleaner for your car.
Corded or Cordless
A corded steam cleaner needs to be plugged into an outlet during steaming. But, they won’t run out of battery halfway through your cleaning session.
Some models also come with a long extension cord. For example, this OApier S15 Steam Cleaner has a 30-foot power cord.
A cordless steam cleaner needs charging in between cleaning sessions. But, they offer a lot of freedom for maneuvering while you’re cleaning.
Make sure you also consider the battery life of a cordless steam cleaner. Most steam cleaners that are cordless have a run time of 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Plus, if the steam is too cool it may leave excess water behind which can damage your car’s upholstery. So make sure you check the water temperature that your steam cleaner reaches when you’re choosing a model.
For example, this Pure Enrichment PureClean Steam Cleaner provides steam at 98°F, which may be too low for efficient cleaning.
You should also consider how quickly your steam cleaner will fully heat up. Some steam cleaners reach temperatures at different times.
The best steam cleaners will produce steam in less than one minute. But, some models have a faster heating time and heat up in a matter of seconds.
Unfortunately, many models don’t include a measurable power rating. But, the level of temperature and how quickly it produces steam can determine how powerful your steam cleaner is.
So it’s important to keep in mind that a higher maximum temperature and fast heating time will indicate a more powerful cleaner.
Steam cleaners with a large tank tend to be heavier, but they need refilling less often. So if you have large areas to clean, you should consider a steam cleaner with a large tank.
Otherwise, you’ll have to frequently interrupt your cleaning to refill it. And this can add a lot of time to your cleaning.
For example, this MLMANT Power Steam Cleaner has a big 2-liter water tank.
Lightweight steam cleaners can weigh as little as 5-pounds. These models are easy to carry and move around while you’re cleaning.
Whereas heavier models can weigh as much as 15-pounds or more.
For car cleaning, consider a model with wheels or extension wands. Otherwise, you may struggle to carry a heavy steam cleaner around your car to clean.
It’s also important to note that steam cleaners need to be constantly moving while you’re cleaning. So heavier models can require a lot of effort when you’re cleaning large areas.
For example, some steam cleaners come with an empty reservoir indicator light. This tells you when the water tank is empty.
Some steam cleaners also have variable steam output settings or high-steam modes. And these are ideal if you want to clean different areas and surfaces.
For example, this Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaner has adjustable steam output options.
If you want a steam cleaner that’s easy to maneuver, consider one with a pivoting head or ergonomic handle. This is especially helpful when you’re navigating around small spaces such as the interior of your car.
- For example, a scrub pad is ideal for cleaning stuck-on grime from carpet fibers or car seat upholstery.
If you have stubborn stains to remove, a jet nozzle can help to increase the pressurized steam while you’re cleaning.
- An extension hose can help to reach narrow spaces. You can attach it directly to the steam cleaner or link it to an existing hose to provide more reach while you’re steaming.
- Finally, utility brushes are common accessories for steaming car upholstery and delicate fabrics.
- So, consider your car cleaning needs to find a model with the best attachments for your steaming. For example, this Wagner AutoRight SteamMachine model comes with 11 accessories to clean your car.
- Mc Culloch
- Pure Enrichment
- Wagner Spraytech
The Best Steam Cleaner for Cars of 2023
After hours of researching the web, we’ve found the best steam cleaners for cars on the market. We had a look at different features, specs, honest reviews, as well as expert advice to find the top models.
Here’s our list of the 5 best steam cleaners for cars.
1. McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
This mighty steam cleaner packs a lot of cleaning power. It quickly heats the water to 200°F so you can efficiently steam through tough stains and dirt.
It also has an extra-large 48-ounce water tank that provides plenty of time for cleaning. So you won’t need to worry about interrupting your steam cleaning to refill it too often.
Plus, it also comes with 18 extra attachments and accessories to suit almost any cleaning task. This makes it a versatile multipurpose steam cleaner for both your car, as well as home cleaning.
What We Like
Easy To ManeuverThanks to the large wheels and long hose, this steam cleaner is easy to maneuver into tight spaces while cleaning. Plus, it has a long 15.7-foot power cord, so you can easily reach around your car to steam.
High TemperatureThis steam cleaner heats the water to 200°F which is higher than many other models on the market. So the high temperature steam can efficiently blast through any grime and dirt in your car interior.
Not only does the hot steam thoroughly sanitize your surfaces, but it also eliminates the need for any cleaning solutions. You can enjoy an efficient chemical-free sanitizing experience with this model.
Effortless SteamingThis McCulloch Heavy-Duty steam cleaner has a handy steam lock button. This allows you to produce continuous steam without needing to actively use your hands.
It locks the steaming in place so you can clean with little effort while the cleaner continues steaming.
What We Don’t Like
No Attachment StorageAlthough the 18 extra attachments are handy to have, there’s nowhere on the steam cleaner to store them. So many reviewers ended up misplacing or losing their accessories when they weren’t using them.
|Dimensions||8”(H) x 5.2”(W) x 10.7”(D)|
2. COSTWAY Multipurpose Steam Cleaner
Not only is it affordable, but it also has an impressive 1.5L water tank capacity! With up to 45-minutes of continuous steam, you can get all of your cleaning done without needing to refill it.
It also comes with a mirror and glass tool so you can steam clean your car windows. And it won’t leave any streaks or residues behind after cleaning.
We also love that it comes with a long steam hose for steaming fabrics. This makes steam cleaning your car floor mats a breeze.
Lastly, this inexpensive steam cleaner has a child safety lock. So you can use it safely around children without worrying about any accidental burns.
What We Like
Adjustable Steam SettingsYou can adjust the steam settings on this steamer to suit your cleaning needs. This is perfect when you have different surfaces to clean.
You can use the max setting to blast through stubborn stains and dirt. Or, you can use a lower mode to steam clean delicate areas of your car detailing.
19 AccessoriesThis COSTWAY steam cleaner comes with 19 accessories that make it perfect for multifunction cleaning. For example, there’s a tool for steaming carpet, mirror and glass, curtains, hard surfaces, tile, and grease.
So you can clean any surface in your car as well as the rest of your house with this steamer.
On-Board StorageIt can be hard to keep track of the 19 different attachments that come with this steam cleaner. But luckily, it has a built-in storage container so you don’t have to.
You can store the attachments directly on the canister, so you never lose them.
What We Don’t Like
Difficult InstructionsAccording to reviewers, the instruction manual for this steam cleaner is difficult to understand. This can be frustrating when you’re setting up your cleaner and using it for the first time.
|Dimensions||20.4 x 12.4 x 11.9-inches|
3. Steamfast Handheld Steam Cleaner
You won’t have to worry about a cord while you’re cleaning. Plus, you can easily carry and move it around your car to reach into tight spaces and crevices.
But, don’t think its small size means it lacks cleaning power. This Steamfast Handheld steam cleaner features 900 watts of Pro-Grade power for efficient steam blasting.
You won’t have any trouble steaming away tough dirt and grime with this mighty handheld cleaner.
Lastly, it has an easy-to-use steam jet nozzle that focuses steam directly where you need it. So you can enjoy smooth, consistent steam output while you’re cleaning.
What We Like
On-Demand Steam FeatureYou can steam at the press of a button with the handy on-demand steam feature. This gives you a lot of control over the steam output so you can apply steam when you need it.
Comfortable Grip HandleThis Steamfast Handheld steam cleaner has a comfortable grip handle for easy control while you’re cleaning. Many reviewers were also impressed by how cool the handle stays even during extended use.
Extension HoseThis steam cleaner has an attachable extension hose that adds 28-inches of reach. This is perfect for cleaning hard-to-reach areas inside your car.
What We Don’t Like
Small Tank CapacityBecause of its small size, the water tank only holds 6-ounces of water during cleaning. So it requires a lot of refilling, especially during big cleans.
|Dimensions||10.5 x 5.5 x 8.25-inches|
4. Wagner Spraytech On-Demand Steam Cleaner
This multipurpose steamer comes with 18 different attachments, including microfiber pads and a large brush. So you can use it to clean your floors, appliances, furniture, as well as car interiors.
And according to reviewers, the jet nozzle attachment is great for cleaning the console and cup holders in a car. Plus, the fabric steamer is great for cleaning your car seats and upholstery.
Lastly, the flip-up carry handle makes it easy to carry around to clean both sides of your car interior.
What We Like
LED Indicator LightsThis steam cleaner has two built-in LED indicator lights that tell you when the steam is ready to use. So you’ll always know when the steam is hot!
Large WheelsThe two large wheels on the canister provide easy gliding and maneuverability while you’re cleaning. You can easily transport this steamer around when you need to steam.
Long Run TimeYou can enjoy up to 40 minutes of continuous steaming thanks to the large 40oz tank. So you can get a lot of uninterrupted cleaning done with this model.
What We Don’t Like
HeavyAt 13.12 pounds, this is one of the heavier models on our list. But, many reviewers note that the extra weight is worth it for the efficient steaming results it achieves.
|Tank Capacity||40 oz|
5. McCulloch Deluxe Canister Steam System
It has a 64-ounce water tank capacity for up to 120 minutes of steam time. So you have a lot of time to clean your entire car interior as well as cleaning your car detailing.
Plus, it comes with an impressive 23 cleaning attachments. So you’re covered for cleaning any part of your car as well as your home with this steam cleaner.
This sturdy steam cleaner also has a pressure gauge that displays the level of pressurized steam. This allows you to know when you need to adjust the steam control using the adjustment dial.
Finally, this steam cleaner is suitable for use on nearly any surface. You can use it on fabrics, laminate surfaces, metal, tile, and more.
What We Like
Long ReachThe 18-foot power cord provides a lot of freedom and reaches when you’re cleaning. Plus, the 10-foot steam hose adds even more.
So you won’t have any limitations with how far you can reach with this professional-grade steam cleaner.
PowerfulFor professional steam cleaning results, you need power! Luckily, this powerful steam cleaner has 1500 watts of heating power.
So you can blast through any messes or stains for high-quality deep cleaning results after every clean.
Variable On-Demand SteamUnlike many steam cleaners, you can adjust the level of on-demand steam flow with an easy-to-use dial. This allows you to add concentrated blasts of steam only when you need it.
Or, you can spray low moisture steam when you’re cleaning delicate areas
What We Don’t Like
Fragile HoseMany reviewers note that the hose can easily bend and break after a few uses. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when you’re using your steam cleaner to avoid causing damage.
|Dimensions||13.1 x 13.35 x 19.05-inches|
Car Steam Cleaner Comparison Chart
|McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner||12 lbs||8”(H) x 5.2”(W) x 10.7”(D)||900 w||48-ounces|
|COSTWAY Multipurpose Steam Cleaner||12.97 lbs||20.4 x 12.4 x 11.9-inches||N/A||1.5L|
|Steamfast Handheld Steam Cleaner||2.6 lbs||10.5 x 5.5 x 8.25-inches||900 w||6oz|
|Wagner Spraytech On-Demand Steam Cleaner||13.12 lbs||N/A||1500 w||40 oz|
|McCulloch Deluxe Canister Steam System||13 lbs||13.1 x 13.35 x 19.05-inches||1500 w||64-ounces|
Tips for Steam Cleaning your Car
Follow these tips for the best results when you’re steam cleaning your car.
- For best results, apply steam to your car upholstery using a triangle brush attachment with a microfiber cloth. You can also use this to clean your doors or car carpets.
- When you’re cleaning hard surfaces, use the bristle side of your tool without a cloth to remove heavy dirt. Then, vacuum your car carpets after steaming.
- You can also steam clean your car windows using a window tool. After applying steam use a squeegee tool to remove the moisture from your windows. If you don’t have a squeegee, wipe your window surface with a clean microfiber cloth after steaming.
- To remove sticky residue from cup holders, consoles, air vents, or dashboards, use a lancing tool. This will loosen the dirt and dust. Then, wipe the surfaces with a microfiber cloth. You can also do this on the exterior of your car, wheels, and your rims.
- If you have a lot of sticky residue or grease on your door jambs and trims, use high steam pressure to remove them. Then you can easily wipe the residue away with microfiber pads or a cloth.
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Can Steam Cleaning Damage A Car Engine?
Yes, steam cleaning can damage your car engine. This is why we don’t recommend steam cleaning or using a pressure washer under the hood of your car.
If water and moisture get inside of electrical connections and parts it can cause damage. Even if you apply only a light spray of water.
Cleaning your engine is a delicate cleaning process, and any water or moisture can cause serious damage.
So, stick to just steam cleaning the interior and exterior of your car without opening the hood.