Steam Cleaning vs Pressure Washing

A steam cleaner and a pressure washer both use powerful jets, or power washing, to shift dirt – but each one is best suited to specific jobs.

And while both methods use hot water, each one is best for specific jobs.

It boils down to whether your cleaning job is best done using heat, or force. Both methods have their benefits and situations in which they work best – but we’ve put together this guide so you know which one is likely to be best for your cleaning task.

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    What is Steam Cleaning?

    Steam cleaning, as you can guess, uses steam instead of large quantities of water as a cleaning agent. It’s usually the best method of cleaning when safety and time are important factors.

    How Does Steam Cleaning Work?

    A steam cleaner has a high-temperature boiler which heats water to beyond boiling point. This creates steam, which the cleaner then fires at very high pressure onto the surface you want to be cleaned. The combination of heat and pressure is what loosens dirt and cleans.

    Pros and Cons of Steam Washing


    It’s hygienic: Steam cleaning is done at a very high temperature. The steam acts as a natural sanitiser, and kills off bacteria, germs, and organic material.

    Surfaces dry quickly: In many cases, the surface will be dry in a matter of minutes.

    It’s a green cleaning method: Steam cleaning only uses small amounts of water, and doesn’t need any detergents, soaps or chemicals.


    It’s best for small spaces: Steam cleaning best when you use it on small areas, such as outside steps.

    It only uses limited force: Because steam cleaning is a lower-impact cleaning method, it doesn’t create enough power to tackle stuck-on dirt and won’t help with jobs that require chemicals and detergents.

    It’s most effective at close-range: Steam cleaning can only remove dirt that is can get up close enough to so that it can melt it away.

    Which Option is Right for You?

    The best power washing option for you depends solely on the job you’re having done.

    A steam cleaner is perfect for power washing smaller areas, surfaces where you need to be sure that everything is spotlessly clean and completely hygienic, a surface that needs to dry quickly, or when you can be greener, and use heat instead of chemicals.

    In areas such as commercial kitchens and restaurants, schools, on playgrounds or play equipment, care homes, clinics and hospitals, vets’ surgeries, animal shelters and kennels, or your own home, then steam cleaning is extremely effective.

    Yet there are many other jobs for which a hot water pressure washer is perfect.

    These include if the surface is greasy or is covered with other forms of difficult dirt that require pressurised water instead of simply heat, where soaps or detergents are regularly used and make cold water the best option, or on large difficult to reach surfaces.

    For areas such as floors in car workshops and garages, factories, shopping centre and car park floors, building exteriors, or for cleaning heavy-duty farm or construction equipment, power washing with a pressure washer is best.

    To wrap up

    The decision over whether to opt for a pressure wash or steam clean isn’t difficult as long as you understand the difference between them. They both use hot water as a power washing agent to clean away tough forms of dirt and stains.

    However, the type of dirt you need to shift, where it is, and how the surface it’s on needs to be cleaned all need to be considered.

    A hot water pressure washer is the best tool for certain cleaning jobs. But sometimes high-pressure water might damage surfaces and their coatings, so steam cleaning is a better choice.

    When your home or business is important to you, it’s essential that you get them looked after properly.

    A qualified, trained and experienced professional will help you decide which cleaning method is the right choice for every situation.
    Get a free quote from us at ProClean today, and we’ll make you glad you brought us in.


    It boils down to whether your cleaning job is best done using heat, or force. Both methods have their benefits and situations in which they work best – but we’ve put together this guide so you know which one is likely to be best for your cleaning task.

    How long does it take to pressure wash a roof?

    This depends on many important factors, such as the size and type of your roof, how easy it is to reach, how dirty the roof is, and the size of the pressure washer used. For most houses in the Manchester area, we can complete a job of this kind in between 1 and 3 hours.

    Does pressure washing roof tiles damage them?

    Pressure washing roof tiles can damage them if it is not done correctly by a trained professional.

    Power washing roof tiles requires that you use the right type of detergent and that the washer is used on a low-pressure setting. This is commonly called Soft Washing, and is a specialised cleaning method which is best done by a trained and skilled professional.

    Can you use a steam cleaner on concrete?

    Yes, steam cleaning is suitable for both sealed and unsealed concrete. In fact, it is the best cleaning method in some cases.

    A steam cleaner’s actions gentle, so it’s perfect for decorative concrete. Also, it doesn’t require chemicals and is a natural sanitiser which makes it great for outside areas where children and animals play.

    How much does steam washing cost?

    Although some external cleaning services will charge you a flat rate, a real cleaning professional knows that every job is unique no matter how straightforward it may appear.

    We always provide a free quote for your specific job and you’ll be guaranteed to get the best service for your building’s needs at an affordable price.