5 things you didn't know you could clean with a steam cleaner – but experts say you really should be

A steam cleaner is a lot more versatile than you may think

Woman using steam cleaner to clean carpet
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Steam cleaners are a total game-changer for cleaning your home. Not only have they proved themselves worthy in the task of refreshing flooring and upholstery, but there are a handful of surprising things you probably didn't know you could steam clean that we think deserve to be brought to the forefront.

The best steam cleaners – albeit a little more spenny than your standard mop and bucket – are always worth the investment if you're looking to take your commitment to a cleaning calendar up a notch this year. In fact, cleaning expert and presenter, Lynsey Queen of Clean, has even dubbed steam cleaning as 'one of the most effective and safest ways to clean your home' in a recent Instagram video.

Steam cleaners use high temperatures, so they can easily blast through dirt build-up and residue, as well as properly sanitise your home within a matter of minutes. Therefore, what's the use in limiting this versatile cleaning appliance's ability?

5 things you didn't know you could steam clean

Steam cleaners are extremely versatile cleaning tools that can be used for all sorts of unexpected household tasks, from cleaning a sofa to effectively cleaning grout in tiles.

Here are some of the most uncommon and underrated areas in your home that probably never crossed your mind.

1. Shower curtain

While we know steam cleaning is of great use in a bathroom to help sanitise surfaces and tackle grout issues, steam cleaners are also great for cleaning a shower curtain – which is often a commonly missed area when cleaning a bathroom.

'Shower curtains are an item that accumulates some of the highest amounts of bacteria out of any other bathroom surface, shown to be even dirtier than the shower floor and toilet seat, warns Petya Holevich, domestic cleaning expert at Fantastic Services.

So given a steam cleaner's ability to reach high temperatures, you ought to consider giving your shower curtain some TLC the next time you clean a bathroom.

White bathroom with shower curtain and house plants

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dan Duchars)

2. Window blinds and curtains

Although steam cleaning blinds and curtains are something more of us are likely aware of, we figured it deserved an extra nudge as a favoured way to clean curtains.

Kate Duckworth, trends and interior expert at Swift Direct Blinds assures that 'the hot steam will quickly soften any dust and dirt' and is 'one of the most efficient ways to clean your blinds and curtains'.

Not to mention, Kate says that steam cleaning curtains are also way more practical as all you need to do is steam your curtains from top to bottom, rather than having to detach them from the rail with other methods.

Grey velvet sofa with black and white cushions on a wooden floor with grey curtain beside window

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

3. Kitchen appliances

Steam cleaners certainly have their place in the kitchen for sanitising floors and worktops, but did you know they also work a dream on appliances like a fridge and oven? 'You can use your steam cleaner to break down grease and eliminate harmful bacteria on appliance doors,' begins Thea Whyte, AO.com's small appliance expert. 

'If you have any sticky residue left on your fridge shelves, you can swap to a microfibre cloth attachment to steam and wipe the stains away.' We saw this when Mrs Hinch used a handheld steam cleaner to clean inside her fridge in seconds (and yes, it works).

Not only that, but Petya adds that steam-cleaning is an eco-friendly way to tackle grease and baked-on grime inside ovens, making for a great way to clean an oven without chemicals.

Kitchen with white cabinets, wall, lamps, and kitchen peninsula, wooden floor, metal fridge, and colourful decorative touches

(Image credit: Future PLC/Sussie Bell)

4. Skirting boards

Skirting boards are often parts of our home that are way overlooked, however without care, they can accumulate quite a lot of dust and dirt. Thankfully, you can clean skirting boards effectively and quickly with a steam cleaner.

'Steam is such an efficient cleaning method as it breaks down grime and dust without needing a lot of time or scrubbing, making it a great way to clean areas that need a more gentle cleaning,' explains Henrique Conceicao, area manager at cleaning service, Total Clean.

5. Toys

Lastly, if you had the task of bettering your toy storage ideas as a New Year's task, it certainly pays to ensure you're sanitising your children's toys regularly while you're at it.

'Steam cleaning is an excellent way to sanitise children's toys, eliminating germs without the use of chemicals,' assures Thea. It's especially important to avoid harsh chemicals when cleaning toys, as we know how much babies and young children love to chew on things.

However, if you're cleaning stuffed toys, for example, just be sure not to get too close as you could damage the material (which could result in a very grumpy child).

Woman using steam cleaner to clean carpet

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even then, this doesn't even cover half of the many things you can clean with a steam cleaner.

Needless to say, you can just about steam-clean anything, and by the looks of it, 2024 may just be the year that steam-cleaning becomes the go-to way of getting to the nooks and crannies of your home.

Especially now we know just how versatile steam cleaners truly are.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.