Does Steam Cleaning Kill Mold? (Expert Answer)

If you’ve recently purchased a steamer, you’re probably excited by all the things you can clean with it. The possibilities seem endless, from countertops to carpets, curtains to stuffed animals. But what if you encounter mold on one of your housekeeping adventures? Can your trusty steam cleaner eliminate it effectively?

Does Steam Cleaning Kill Mold

In this article, we’ll discuss whether steam cleaning will remove mold from carpets and other surfaces. We’ll also tell you how hot steam must be to kill mold and whether steam can kill mold spores to keep them from coming back.

Does Steam Kill Mold Spores?

Whether steam cleaning can kill mold spores depends on how hot the unit gets and how you use it. For it to be effective, the steam cleaner must reach a minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and you must hold it in place for at least 12 seconds. 

At What Temperature Does Mold Die?

Most mold spores will die between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Most steam cleaners that are available for home use heat up to temperatures of 150 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and will therefore have no problems killing mold.

Will Steam Cleaning Remove Mold From Carpets?

Steam cleaning is an excellent way to remove mold from carpets. The high pressure exerted by the unit forces steam deep into the carpet fibers to deeply clean and remove mold instead of bleaching it, so it becomes invisible the way that most other cleaners on the market do. 

For best results, vacuum your carpet before using the steam cleaner. This will remove large chunks of dirt or pet hair on the surface so the steam can attack the smaller dirt particles hidden deep inside the carpet fibers.

After steaming your carpets, you should give them time to dry completely before walking on them again. It takes about 6-8 hours for carpets to dry, but you can place a large fan at the entrance of the room to reduce drying time if necessary.

Other Surfaces You Can Steam Clean To Remove Mold

Although steam cleaning is excellent at removing mold from carpets, that’s not the only area you can clean with your steamer.

mold in flooring

Let’s take a look at some other surfaces that can benefit from a good steam cleaning.

Curtains

Most of the time, there isn’t much of a chance that curtains can grow mold. However, if your home gets flooded by rising waters or a burst pipe, your drapes can get moldy, just like any other surface in your home.

Using a steam cleaner can remove the mold and restore the curtains to their former beauty.

Mattresses

If you have a little one who has accidents during the night, there’s a chance that their mattress could grow mold if you don’t have a waterproof cover over it.

Use your steam cleaner on the mattress to make sure your child has a safe, hygienic place to sleep.

Countertops

If you’ve recently purchased or inherited an old home, there could be mold on the countertops if it’s been a while since someone has lived there.

As long as those countertops are made of nonporous material, you can use your steam cleaner to quickly restore them to their former glory.

Showers

Most showers become moldy at some time or another. If you struggle with mold in your shower, simply use your steamer on the affected area, then wipe it clean

Grout

One of the most forgotten places of the home is the grout between the tiles. Even if you clean your tile floors or walls frequently, mold can grow in the grout if you don’t pay attention to it.

You can remove it quickly by using your steamer and wiping it clean with a microfiber cloth.

Floors

If your home becomes flooded, you may have mold all over your floors. As long as they’re made from nonporous material like vinyl, sealed tile, or laminate, you can remove the mold quickly using steam.

Since it’s a large surface, a steam mop might be easier to use than any other type of steam cleaner.

Vehicle Upholstery

If you or your child spills a drink in your car, the liquid can seep into the seats and cause mold. You can remove that mold quickly and effectively using a steam cleaner.

Couches

If a drink is spilled or your pet has an accident on your couch, there can be liquid trapped in the fibers of the cushion that can allow mold to grow.

You can easily give your sofa a thorough cleaning and remove all mold spores with a steamer.

Patio Furniture

Patio furniture can grow mold if it sits out in the weather for too long or even if it’s stored in the garage over the winter.

To keep your patio furniture from harboring nasty mold, just use your steam cleaner on it when you get it out of storage each year.

You can also use it on cushions that have been left out in a rainstorm to ensure no mold is growing in the fibers.

How Can I Prevent Mold Growth?

You can prevent mold growth by following these simple steps:

  • Try to dry wet surfaces immediately: It only takes a day or two for mold to grow, so make sure anything you’ve cleaned is totally dry before you put it away. 
  • Repair leaks in your pipes, roof, and walls: Even the tiniest leak can become a big problem, so check for leaks frequently to keep mold at bay.
  • Improve your home’s ventilation: Keeping your house closed up with stagnant air can allow mold to grow. To discourage this growth, open your windows and turn on your fans. You should also open your closet and pantry doors from time to time to prevent mold from growing in these enclosed spaces.
  • Control the humidity in your home: Keep the humidity level below 60% to prevent mold growth. If you notice that your home frequently has a higher humidity level, you should purchase a dehumidifier to remedy the situation.
  • Check your basement: Since they’re underground, it’s easy for basements to become excessively humid and grow mold. This can be a huge health hazard, particularly if you have a finished basement that you spend time in. To keep mold from surfacing, check your foundation for cracks and install a ventilation system to remove excess moisture.

FAQ 

Does steam cleaning kill black mold?

Yes. Steam cleaners kill black mold by heating water to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit and building up steam pressure that forces the hot water vapor into the moldy surface, effectively killing the mold spores.

Can I put detergent in my steamer?

Most steam cleaners are designed to work by using distilled water alone. In fact, adding detergent to these steamers can damage the unit or the surface you’re trying to clean. The only time you should ever add detergent to a steam cleaner is if the manufacturer’s instructions explicitly state that it’s okay.

Can mold exposure make me sick?

Yes. If you live with mold for a prolonged period, you may experience mold toxicity. Symptoms of mold toxicity include exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and depression. If you have mold allergies, you may also experience wheezing, itchy skin and eyes, and a stuffy nose. 

Conclusion

Steam cleaners are effective at killing mold because they heat up to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to kill mold spores. You can use a steamer to remove mold from surfaces such as:

  • Carpet
  • Showers
  • Countertops
  • Vehicle upholstery
  • Outdoor furniture

Once you’ve removed the mold from your home, you can keep it from coming back by sealing leaks, eliminating excess moisture, and improving ventilation.

Shauna Stone
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