Steam Cleaners vs. Hot Water Extraction Machines

Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in both residential and commercial spaces comes down to choosing the right machine for the job. Hot water extraction and steam cleaning are often mistakenly used as interchangeable terms when talking about cleaning carpets, however, they involve very different cleaning machines. While many steam cleaners are capable of cleaning carpets in theory, choosing a machine that is designed solely for this task, like a hot water extraction machine, is always the better option. 

In this blog, we’ll delve into the differences between our Blue Evolution S+ steam cleaner and the Santoemma range of carpet extraction machines, aiding in understanding their functionalities and best use cases for each type of machine. 


What is a Steam Cleaning Machine?

Steam cleaners, like the Blue Evolution S+, are renowned for their versatile and powerful cleaning performance. The technology behind steam cleaners involves using high-temperature steam to dislodge and remove dirt, grime, and microbes from various surfaces. Equipped with a recovery tank and a clean water tank, the steam machine heats the water up and supplies steam or hot water down through a jet hose while a vacuum extracts the soiled moisture into the recovery tank. The steam in a steam cleaning machine reaches temperatures of up to 175 degrees Celsius, and, as is the case of the Blue Evolution, this machine includes a UV light for killing microbes captured in the recovery tank and purifying any air leaving the machine.

Advantages of Steam Cleaners

  1. Chemical-free Cleaning and Sanitisation – The Blue Evolution S+ uses superheated steam to penetrate surfaces at high pressure, effectively sanitising and cleaning without the need for additional chemicals.

  2. Versatility – This machine can be used on a wide array of surfaces, including fabric such as upholstery, as well as hard surfaces such as windows, and commercial kitchen benchtops, and even for sanitising and cleaning various mechanical equipment and fixtures. 

  3. Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Cleaning – As steam cleaners primarily use water, they contribute to a greener, chemical-free cleaning process, ensuring a safer environment for inhabitants and workers.


Can I Use a Steam Cleaner To Clean Carpets?

Due to the high temperatures that they reach, steam cleaners may damage the inner fibres of many carpet types and reduce their lifespan. Furthermore, high temperatures will set some stains, particularly protein-based stains, if not flushed thoroughly with cold or warm water first.

A steam cleaner is a versatile machine for heavy-duty cleaning or sanitising of a variety of hard surfaces, however, if you are looking for a machine to solely clean carpets on a large scale, a steam cleaner is likely not the right machine for you. 


What is a Hot Water Extraction Machine?

Hot Water Carpet Extraction machines, such as the Santoemma range of Carpet Cleaning Machines, operate slightly differently to a steam machine. Hot Water Extraction Machines combine water and cleaning solutions to agitate the carpet fibers, dislodging dirt and stains, and then vacuum up the resulting solution. At Proquip we recommend the ‘Pre-spray Method’ which involves pre-spraying solution directly to the carpet, and extracting the solution with just clean water in the tank of the machine. This ensures that no residue is left in the carpet fibres which prevents dirt collecting on the carpet quickly after cleaning.

It’s important to note that the base models of the Santoemma range do not heat the water up for hot water extraction. The Hot Water Heater is an additional accessory that heats water up to hot (not boiling) while the machine is in use.

You can purchase the Hot Water Heater on its own, or as part of one of our three carpet cleaning packages, learn more here.

The Hot Water Heater is compatible with most Santoemma Carpet Extraction machines. Talk to our team for more information. 

Advantages of Hot Water Extraction Machines

  1. Deep Cleaning: The hot water extraction method ensures a thorough cleansing, removing deeply embedded dirt and stains from carpets.

  2. Stain Removal: It’s particularly effective in tackling tough stains and can be used in conjunction with specific detergents to target different types of stains.

  3. Drying Time: While hot water extraction requires some drying time, choosing a machine with excellent waterlift ensures greater pickup for quicker turnover for cleaned spaces.

Key Differences

Aspect Steam Cleaner (Blue Evolution S+) Hot Water Extraction (Santoemma)
Cleaning Mechanism Uses high-temperature steam Uses hot water and cleaning solutions
Chemical Usage Primarily chemical-free May involve cleaning solutions
Surface Suitability Versatile – Suitable for various surfaces Primarily used for carpets
Stain Removal Effective, but may not be as targeted as chemical solutions Specifically designed to tackle stains


When to Choose Either a Steam Cleaner or a Hot Water Extraction Machine

Choose Steam Cleaners When:

    • Needing versatile and powerful cleaning performance for a variety of surfaces such as aluminium benchtops, windows, bathrooms and industrial machinery
    • A high level of sanitisation is required, such as for food or health care purposes
    • Looking for eco-friendly and chemical-free cleaning solutions

Choose Hot Water Extraction Machines When:

    • Dealing primarily with carpeted areas that need deep cleansing and targeted stain removal
    • Cleaning carpets at a commercial or professional level or at a large scale


Unsure of which machine is right for your needs? Talk to our friendly team to discover the right cleaning solution for you and your business.