NATIONAL REPORT—While only a small percentage of hotels in the United States currently use steam cleaners in their daily cleaning, an increasing number of properties are discovering that steam cleaning is an effective way to disinfect, deodorize and clean while eliminating chemicals and using a minimal amount of water.
Steve Marks, V.P. Sales for Vapamore, says steam cleaning goes hand in hand with other green cleaning methods and is ideal for the sanitizing and cleaning of mattresses, carpeting, drapery, furniture, grout, the coils in HVAC systems, any type of bathroom cleaning, and much more.
“You can use it in the back of the house,” Marks says. “Walk-ins, shelving, cutting boards, freezers, room service carts, public restrooms, the hard-to-reach areas, removing gum from carpeting or concrete. When you are hitting temperatures close to 300 degrees, the steam breaks down grease and grime and heats and sanitizes.”
“I am seeing more and more purchases—from five-star properties to Motel 6’s,” Marks adds.
Mold, Mildew Killed on Contact
Robert M. Murnane, Jr., President, Pemberton Fabricators, Inc., says steam from his company’s APEX Steam machines kill mold and mildew on contact. They allow one to reach the nooks and crannies other cleaning methods cannot reach—without leaving a chemical residue.
“The heat is only there for a second or two,” Murnane says. “It is low moisture.”
Murnane says that it is the chemical residue on surfaces that attracts dirt and allows it to stick. Steam cleaning does not allow the dirt to continue to build up.
Vapamore’s Marks says oftentimes users of his company’s machines will smell the previously applied chemicals coming off surfaces treated with steam.
Murnane says steam cleaners leave no scent and can clean a guestroom just as fast as chemical solutions. That said, many properties use steam cleaners for deep cleaning only—every 30 days, for example.
Vapamore offers a half-dozen steam cleaning systems. The MR-1000 Forza Commercial Grade Steam Cleaning System is a continuous flow system with a stainless-steel boiler with an external 1,900-watt heater and 90 psi steam output. The MR-1000 is ideal for chemical-free treatment against bed bugs, dust mites, mold, and other allergens. “The high heat will kill the egg and the bedbug itself,” Marks says. “Water around the temperature of 300 degree is dry vapor.”
APEX Steam also offers a half-dozen steam cleaning systems, one of which is the BlueEvolution—a steam-vacuum cleaner. The 1,650-watt APX1250 Cleaner is a continuous-fill system that offers operating pressure of 105 psi. “It has a reservoir and boiler separate from each other,” Murnane says. A gallon of water can last hours.
Advice for Potential Buyers
When asked what hoteliers should look for when considering steam cleaners, Marks said, “The first thing is to research the company. The warranty is very important. We offer a lifetime warranty. Support and training and availability of spare parts are also important. Review what all comes with the unit.”
Adds Murnane, “Look for a reputable company that has a service organization and readily available accessories. The good machines are made in Italy. Check if the machine has a good hose connection. The quality of the tools makes them more usable.”
Different machines use different water types. For example, Vapamore machines use distilled water while APEX Steam machines use tap water.
In regard to ongoing maintenance, Murnane says, “You need to descale the boiler every 250 hours of operation but it will depend on the water quality.”
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.