Can I Use A Vapor Steam Cleaner For Auto Detailing?

Our cars are one of the most loved material things in the world. Whether it’s a drive on a lonely county road, a trip to the beach, or simply a short jaunt to drop the kids off at soccer practice, owning a car gives us a sense of freedom — the ability to grab the keys, thumb the radio and drive anywhere we want, when we want. 

When we strap on our seatbelt there are a lot of things that go through our minds from do we need gas to whether the traffic will be bad. What we don’t normally think about is the possibility of acquiring infectious microbes along our drive.

Your steering wheel is dirtier than a public toilet seat

Even if you vacuum your car interior regularly and take it for a spin to the car wash, your car’s interior is probably loaded with germs. In fact, and this will surprise you, most people’s steering wheel is dirtier than a public toilet seat.

In fact, a study published in the journal Biofouling found staphylococcus as one of the most prevalent bacteria found on steering wheels, which is cause for concern since staph can cause food poisoning, skin infections, and MRSA.

Now, we know what you’re thinking: You could clean your steering wheel with bleach. And you’re right, bleach is handy and effective as a disinfectant — but bleach fumes can irritate, even kill, bits of your respiratory tract. And like other chemical disinfectants, bleach must be kept on a surface wet for 10 minutes or more before rinsing off. That would be impossible to do with a steering wheel. Plus, bleach can change the color of what it’s used to clean.

Why not just soap and water?

So you could try good old fashioned soap and water. But soap only helps remove microbes, it doesn’t kill them. Likewise, vinegar is not a good option because contrary to popular belief vinegar only works against some germs.

Some auto parts stores carry products containing 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. But like bleach these products require a lengthy dwell time. Plus Hydrogen Peroxide has bleaching properties that lighten surfaces. It also contributes to illness if touched, ingested, or inhaled.

That’s where a dry steam vapor system (often called a “vapor steam cleaner”) comes in.

Benefits of a vapor steam cleaner

A good steam vapor system will clean, sanitize, and detail every inch of your car’s interior in seconds without forcing you to breathe in hazardous fumes. There’s no waiting time and there’s nothing to rinse off.

That’s because steam vapor systems do not need toxic chemicals with long contact times to work.

By converting ordinary tap water to super-hot low-moisture steam, steam vapor systems clean and degrease all car interior surfaces from seats (leather or fabric) and carpet to cupholders and dashboards — without harmful chemicals. All without degrading or discoloring the surface of what is being cleaned like a traditional steam cleaner that leaves a surface wet might.

To learn about the differences between dry steam vapor systems and wet steam cleaners, click here.

Cleaning time reduced

With a dry steam vapor system all you need is a quick pass over a surface. No elbow grease is required. The heat does all the work. 

Now, in the cleaning world not all steam vapor systems are created equal. Some manufacturers brag about the temperature and pressure of their machines, making the focus on heat and psi.

But let’s be clear: Very little pressure is needed to operate a steam vapor system. And heat alone, regardless of how super-hot, is not good enough to kill the bacteria on your steering wheel.

What is TANCS®?

That’s why at the heart of every Ladybug steam vapor system, between the boiler and the water reservoir, is a game-changing device called Thermal Accelerated Nano Crystal Sanitization (TANCS®) that uses the minerals found in tap water to destroy germs, bacteria, and viruses by focusing on the molecules that make them up. This nanotechnology is proprietary to Advanced Vapor Technologies is not available in any other steam vapor system.

By combining TANCS® at the molecular level with 260°F vapor temperature at the surface, Ladybug provides a level of performance thousands of times better than chemical disinfectants must meet to be EPA registered. And we have the science to back it up.

To read the research & innovation behind our technology, click here.

Dry steam vapor is so good at cleaning and disinfecting interior surfaces that commercial versions of our Ladybug, called MondoVap® and VaporJet®, are used nationwide by pros for everything from auto detailing and boat refurbishing to aircraft and bus interior cleaning. The VaporJet® is even used by Amtrak in rail coach cleaning. 

But for home use, a Ladybug steam vapor system is more than sufficient. Superheated steam and TANCS® will work together to clean and disinfect every inch of your car’s interior — all in one step. To clean seats, carpets, and dashboard we suggest you adjust pressure to its middle setting and use the triangular brush wrapped with a cotton terry towel. If your morning coffee escaped from its cup after slamming on your brakes, simply hold the steam nozzle over the cupholder and blast the sticking mess away, using a towel to wipe up any left over moisture. You can even use your Ladybug, like pros use MondoVap® and VaporJet®, to safely lift brake dust from your car’s rims and restore them to their like-new condition. 

Our vapor steam cleaners: