Harness the power of pure steam for cleaning carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture that have a slight musty odor but no visible mold growth. Treatment with steam vapor (SV) is completely different from traditional “steam cleaning,” which uses hot water (not really steam at all) to clean surfaces. An SV machine looks like a vacuum cleaner because it has canister, hose and wand attachment, but that’s where the similarity stops. The canister works like a kettle that boils water under pressure and the only thing that comes out of the hose and wand is steam vapor (along with a little water that has condensed in the hose).
The only drawback to SV is that because it is so hot (the temperature of steam from a steam iron), it may affect the fibers or dyes in synthetic (not made from natural materials like wool or cotton) carpets or rugs and may cloud the finish on hardwood floors. To prevent such damage, check with the floor covering manufacturer, or before doing the entire surface of a carpet, test a small area in an obscure location (normally behind or under a piece of furniture) with SV to see if the surface appears changed in any way. Rugs should not be treated with steam vapor while in place over a finished wood floor. Instead, hang the rug indoors or outdoors to avoid heating the floor while treating the rug. And be sure to read the manufacturer’s directions for safe use of the equipment.
Since cleaning with SV produces some moisture, do the treatment on a day when the relative humidity is low or on a day when windows can be opened. To speed drying, put a box fan in a window on exhaust or operate a fan in the room where you are working.
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