Water: The Latest Trend in Eco-Clean

Steam was once the energy source of the future. Is it key to keeping our homes clean?
Steam was once a miracle power source. Does it have a new role keeping our homes clean?

Remember when people boycotted movie theatre popcorn because of the high saturated fat content of the coconut oil used to pop the kernels? Time marches on, and coconut oil becomes the latest health fad.

Trends come and go in the world of eco-cleanliness, too. Now that I’m out on maternity leave, my inbox and mailbox have become full of articles and resources on keeping my home and baby clean without caustic chemical agents. Or maybe they were always full of this sort of info, but now that I have a little one at home, I’m paying closer attention. But I digress. Water. I was surprised to learn in our baby care class that even organic, sensitive skin wipes are passe. All the cool kids are using a simple washcloth (disposable or reusable) and warm water to clean their baby’s booty. It makes sense, really. The alcohol in wipes can dry delicate skin, and let’s be honest, adults don’t soap up after every BM, so why should the babies?

The world of home cleanliness has it’s own player in the “water-clean” movement too: Steam cleaning is all the rage. Haan sent me their HAAN Multiforce Pro SS25 to test, and since I’m playing SAHM for the next couple of months, I figured I’d give it a whirl. This standup steam cleaner looks like a lean vacuum, but has attachments and settings to clean tile, hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and even steam your carpets. The concept of cleanliness here is that the steam sterilizes all your surfaces, and their “CR-Motion technology” scrubs away dirt and grease. I tried it in my bathroom where our laminate floor was covered with baby-related effluent. The steam cleaner worked like a champ to lift the stains while the baby was napping, and it was great to be off my hands and knees. Word to the wise: The unit needs to rest on a special mat when it’s on but not in motion, lest you burn a hole in your floor. When I rested it as directed, the unit started smoking. After 30 seconds, I realized I had the mat upside down, but it wasn’t obvious which way was up at first, at least for this sleep deprived lady.

Will this steam cleaner find a place in our cleaning arsenal?

Probably! It seems useful for major floor cleanings, although for quick pick-me-ups a spray bottle and a rag are surely easier.

However, I’m not a huge gadget person; I probably wouldn’t buy a steam cleaner of my own volition. The unit sells for $239 a pop, which can buy a lot of eco all-purpose cleaner (and even more vinegar). I appear to be in the minority — people love this thing.

Readers, what do you think? Is steam cleaned the wave of the future? 

Image credit: Aaron Hockley, Flickr

Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton is editor in chief of TriplePundit and editorial director at 3BL Media. With over 6 million annual readers, TriplePundit is the leading publication on sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen received an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC to Fair Trade USA with their sustainability communications messaging. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA -- court appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.

One response

  1. I’m all for cleanliness, and doing it in an ecological way. I do want to caution about replacing good old-fashioned elbow grease with precious water + energy (steam). As a city dweller, I all too often see doormen hosing down streets with hoses rather than brooms — this kills me! Steam cleaning companies beware of positioning your service as green; given the impacts it may wind up being perceived as greenwash instead!

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