4 Reasons to Choose a Car Detailing Steam Cleaner | Best Steamers for Car Detailing

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Updated on:

June 30, 2023

4 Reasons Why car detailing steam cleaner is an Ultimate Tool | Best steamer for car detailing

In the detailing industry, effectiveness, and efficiency of equal profitability. Fortador Steamers for Cars enable you to streamline your operations by cutting down the number of tools you need to transition to in order to complete a job.

Our commercial steamers effectively reduce your time on vacuuming, replace upholstery extractor and car washing system all with one tool.

With the power of steam, you will also cut down substantially the number of cleaning chemicals you require to detail a vehicle. This will reduce your time spent switching between spray bottles and the time spent reordering chemicals every time you ran out.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fortador Steamers for Cars streamline car detailing, reducing tool requirements and maximizing efficiency. The power of steam eliminates the need for multiple chemicals and harmful substances, providing effective cleaning for various surfaces.
  • Fortador Steamers are eco-friendly, using minimal water and evaporating steam quickly. They comply with strict water runoff regulations, making them a sustainable choice.
  • Considerations for choosing a car detailing steam cleaner include cleaning power, continuous steam flow, portability, and power source (diesel or electric). Each option has pros and cons, such as the Fortador PRO Max's versatility and powerful sanitation, or the Fortador PRO's suitability for mobile detailing with some limitations.

Table of Contents (Show)

Table of Contents (Hide)

  1. One tool that do it all
  2. Car Interior Cleaning Tool
  3. Eco-Friendly on Exterior Wash
  4. No Water RunOff
  5. Best five steamers for auto detailing and car wash

1. Tool for your Entire Car Detailing Business

Steam cleaner installed on sliding platform inside minivan

Smart entrepreneurs will choose Fortador Steamers to scale their car detailing business and maximize profitability. On top of replacing multiple tools and chemicals, our top Fortador Steamers can be used by up to 3 operators at the same time! This is the perfect solution for any high-volume detail shop as 3 operators can perform a complete In & Out detail in less than 1 hour!

Check how to Build your Perfect Mobile Car Wash van

2. Ultimate Car Interior Detailing Tool: Steamers for Effective Cleaning

From carpet shampoo to leather cleaning passing by ventilation system sanitization, our Fortador Steamers are the ultimate tools that can tackle any interior detailing challenge.

Leather with their porous surfaces is ideal to clean with steam. The steam opens the pores and pulls up oil and dirt, wipe with a microfiber and you’ve restored leather seats to their factory finish. No need for abrasive brushes or harsh chemical that can remove the dye of leather seats.

With the high PSI of our industrial steam cleaners, any crevice or hard to reach area becomes a breeze to detail. Even salt is no match for our high-pressure steam that will pulverize even tick hardened salt stains

Steam is ideal to remove stubborn stains but also kill bacteria. Detailers know all too well how many bacteria can be found on steering wheels and seats. Most antibacterial cleaners need to dwell for several minutes in order to kill but steam instantly kill bacteria without the use of nocive chemicals.

Antibacterial auto detailing is a great selling point that can be your competitive advantage in your local market, offering miche services like mold removal or smoke smell elimination.

Learn more about best ozone machines for odor removal.

3. Eco-Friendly Car Wash Solution: Steamers Minimize Water Consumption

why do you need to buy car steamer
Washing wheels with steam

Clear-coat is riddled with pores and the infamous swirl-marks. These trap dirt, tar, and oils that reduce the reflectivity and brilliance of paint. Just like leather, steam effectively pulls dirt out of pores to reveal the natural finish of the paint, make great help for clay bar treatment.

Fortador Steamers are the perfect equipment to deeply clean wheels and tires. The steam coupled with the high PSI melts brake dust effortlessly and pulverize it.

Engine steam detailing is a breeze with our commercial steam cleaning machines. Heavy oil and dust is no match for steam. With our special steam gun, you will be able to reach even the most intricate areas of an engine bay. Average time for engine bay cleaning is 15-20 minutes, you can charge $75 for this service

steam cleaning of engine
Engine steam cleaning is efficient way and safe for all components

Unlike traditional engine cleaning method, steam doesn’t require a lot of water, effectively reducing the risk of inducing water damage to the engine.

Check How To Safely Wash Car Exterior with Steam

4. Ideal Car Detailing Steam Cleaner for Water-Regulated Areas

car steam cleaner for exterior wash
Car windows cleaning with steam

Our Fortador Steamers require less than 1 gallon of water to wash the exterior of a vehicle. Because of the hot steam, virtually no water is left on the ground as most of it evaporates as steam.

This provides the flexibility to car detailing to wash vehicles anywhere even in areas with strict bylaws regarding water consumption and water runoff.

Learn more about water spots removal out of car paint.

5. Top 7 Car Detailing Steam Cleaners for Efficient Cleaning

5.1. Fortador PRO Max: All-in-One Vacuum Steamer for Car Detailing

Multi purpose steam cleaner with vacuum shampooer for car wash and detailing

best steamer for auto detailing and car wash

The Fortador PRO Max is best multi purpose steam cleaner for high-volume detailing shops and car washes. This diesel-powered car detailing steamer is an all-in-one solution with high capabilities.

Steam pressure is a differentiating factor when considering a car detailing steam cleaner. The right pressure allows you to effectively remove dirt and grime, stains and debris. The PRO Max high steam pressure operates at 295 PSI. This pressure is well-suited for steam cleaning jobs of any variety.

This steam production makes this suited for a high-volume cleaning and sanitizing business. The PRO Max produces 363 pounds of continuous steam per hour. This steamer comes with three guns: 2xSteam guns and 1xDual Hose gun for shampooing and vacuum extraction.. The high level of steam production allows you to use all three guns simultaneously. This has obvious productivity and work efficiency benefits. The carbon steel boiler is built to last. Water tank with 6.6 gallons of water can be connected to tap water for continious use all day long

Some jobs require a detergent to effectively clean some stains from car seats and car matts. The Fortador PRO Max has the ability to deliver two different detergents at the same time. The detergent tanks hold 1.6 gallons of each detergent. The versatility and flexibility of this system has many advantages that you will realize on jobs in the field.  Adding cleaning power of eco-friendly chemicals makes detailing jobs much easier.

The Fortador PRO Max multi purpose steam cleaner comes with an extractor. The extractor is very effective for deep cleaning seats and upholstery. The extractor provides a penetrating clean and breaks down the proteins in the stains for effective removal. You will also spend considerably less effort in the cleaning process using an extractor. Using an extractor also decreases the drying time so the customer can get back in his or her car and drive sooner.

Shampooing interior car or truck surfaces is often necessary. The PRO Max has a shampooer that works hand in hand with the extractor. Using a commercial-grade and safe detergent can remove oil stains on floor mats and other tarnishes that have marked up the interior.

For surface preparation and dirt removal, the PRO Max comes with a wet-dry vacuum. With any car interior steam cleaning job, vacuuming is recommended as the initial step. You will not have to worry about separate pieces of equipment as the PRO Max has you prepared for a 100% complete job.

Cost of operation is a consideration in purchasing a heavy duty car detailing steamer. Fuel consumption is the primary focus in this area. The PRO Max stands out here verses the competition. In one working hour, the PRO Max uses 0.15 gallons of fuel to produce the steam you need. The Optima DMF uses 0.6 gallons of fuel per working hour. These variable cost savings can add up. In an eight-hour shift, the PRO Plus will only use 1.26 gallons of fuel while the Optima DMF will use over 5 gallons, or over four times as much.

The Fortador PRO Max comes standard with a 7-inch touch screen that provides all the operating information to keep productivity high. You can easily monitor water, detergent and diesel fuel levels. The steamer’s key operating measures, such as boiler pressure, burner adjustment, filter cleaning and hour meter are always in sight. Interact with the screen to control your steamer.

Transport the Fortador PRO Max with the cargo slider. The commercial-grade slider easily mounts in your van and is specifically designed for Fortador steamers.


- Versatile all-in-one unit with Steam, Hot water or Detergent mode
- Continuous flow steam at 20 bar / 295 PSI , Big water tank 6.6 Gallon / 25L

- Provides powerful steam sanitation and vacuum extraction
- Innovative, convenient design

- Steam control valve for each outlet
- Comes with a variety of accessories and attachments, including three hoses


- Unit is heavy at 440 lbs.
- Large dimensions
- Diesel exhaust
- Our most expensive unit

Learn more about best vacuum steam cleaners available on the market.

5.2. Fortador PRO: Heavy-Duty Car Detailing Steam Cleaner

Heavy duty steam cleaner for cars that makes all you need

heavy duty steamer for aotp detailing
Steamer for auto detailing Fortador PRO

The Fortador PRO heavy duty steam cleaner for car detailing is another great choice. This high pressure steamer has the same boiler and Lamborghini diesel burner as the PRO Max. This gives you the highest quality continuous steam pressure and the temperature you need. You will get the three-gun capability (up to 3xSteam guns) and flexibility. You get the same advanced touch screen with the key operating displays that match the PRO Plus. You and your team stay working and in control.
With the PRO line, including the PRO , your team’s productivity will stay high. The water tank holds approximately 6.5 gallons of water. Steam cleaner can be connected to tap water for continious use. The diesel tank holds about 4 gallons of fuel. With the high level of fuel efficiency compared to the Optima DMF, you get about 40 working hours without re-fueling. You get the same ability as the Pro Max to add detergent or sanitizing agent with one 1.6 gallon tank.
If you already have a separate vacuum, extractor and shampooer, the PRO  will complete your car steam cleaner system. The steamer will be the primary cleaning tool in your business. You get the same steamer performance in volume, pressure, continuous steam and temperature as the PRO Max.
Residential and commercial sanitation are a growing business. The PRO can be advantageous for these types of jobs. The heavy duty steamer Fortador PRO  is half the size and about half the weight of the PRO Max, but equipped with same size water tank 6.6 gallons. The PRO  weighs 175 pounds. It can easily be brought on site for effective and efficient cleaning and sanitizing jobs. You will get the same professional design and extraordinary results with either choice.

Transport the PRO  with the cargo slider. The commercial-grade slider easily mounts in your van and is specifically designed for Fortador steamers.


- High level of cleaning power without harsh chemicals

- Continuous Flow Steam, Big water tank 6.6 Gallon / 25L
- Includes hot water, detergent or sanitizing agent feature

- Steam control valve for each outlet
- Much lighter and smaller than competing machines across the market


- No extraction capability
- Diesel exhaust

5.3. Fortador Volt Electra: Fully Electric Vacuum Steamer for Car Detailing

Great Solution to perform steam cleaning for garage use or small shops

electric steamer for auto detailing
Electric auto detailing steamer with vacuum Fortador Volt Electra

The Fortador Volt Electra can be a great solution for smaller car shops, detailing studios or car enthusiasts who want to have their own steamer for car detailing. This is still an all-in-one car detailing steam cleaner that gives you the capability to completely steam clean a car inside and out. The Volt Electra comes with the same built-in commercial grade vacuum and extractor as the PRO Max. This professional wet-dry equipment lets you combine extraction, steam and detergent technology in the same package.
The main difference with the Volt Electra is the source of power. As the name suggests, the Volt Electra is powered by electricity. This can be convenient for residential cleaning jobs by simply plugging in the steamer inside the home without fumes.
You get the same high quality steam as the PRO line. It delivers the steam at a lower than PRO Line, but still very effective 175 PSI. Feel confident as the Volt Electra’s system, powered by electricity, delivers over heated steam at a higher pressure than many diesel fuel-powered steamers on the market. The boiler is made of the same high-quality carbon steel as the PRO Max and the PRO . Special heating elements are designed for years of use.
The 7-inch display screen shows you all the operating information you need. Monitor and react to water and detergent levels, boiler pressure, hour counter and more.
The heating method is slower than the diesel-engine steamers. If you plan to steam clean and sanitize on larger jobs that require continuous use, this can be limiting. The Volt Electra compensates for this using ECO system for maximizing efficiency of water heating to deliver a constant steam flow rate. If you are cleaning one to two cars per day, the Volt Electra is a perfect fit. Contact us to talk about your needs and to determine model is best.
The Volt Electra lets to use only one gun continuously. With a net weight of 99 pounds, you can easily transport this powerful steam cleaner. Effortlessly load in your van, maneuver and steer this steamer around a garage and residential homes.  


- Fully electric steam with a compact boiler
- Best cleaning power on the market for fully electric units
- All-in-one operation steam and vacuum extracction
- 30-foot hose and 15-foot steam+vacuum extraction hose
- Size and weight allow for easy transportation

- 5500 watt heating element


- Continuous usage time shorter than for diesel units
- Produces less pressure
- Can accommodate only one operator
- Runs on 240V (dual phase) for heating element

5.4. Optima DMF: Diesel-Powered Steam Cleaner for Cars

opima DMF in red color
Optima XD or Optima DMF

The Optima DMF is a diesel-powered steamer that can be good for mobile detailing. The Optima DMF is capable of cleaning most stains, contaminants, debris and surfaces. For certain situations and cleaning jobs, steam pressure capabilities will make a difference. The Optima DMF steamer delivers steam at a maximum of 123 PSI. This is less than Fortador PRO Max which operates up to 235 PSI. If you are on a mobile detailing job site without enough pressure to do the job efficiently, this could be limiting.
This is a popular steamer available in four different colors. Capabilities and functionality matter in commercial steamers. The Optima DMF does a good job with steam cleaning. The quality of the steam, moisture factor and wetness level are good. The Optima DMF is lacking detergent-cleaning capabilities. There are certain stains and soil that will require a detergent or cleaning agent to completely remove them from the surface.
Many car detailers will smartly vacuum the interior surfaces in the vehicle before steam cleaning. This removes debris and allows the steam to more effectively do its job. The Optima DMF does not have a vacuum. It can be advantageous to have an all-in-one machine that includes a vacuum, especially for remote work. Not having to haul additional equipment allows for jobs to be completed more efficiently.  
Cost of ownership is a key factor in purchasing capital equipment. The Optima DMF consumes more fuel than the Fortador PRO or PRO Max. The Fortador models consume .15 gallons per working hour while the Optima DMF consumes .6 gallons per working hour. The savings from the significantly higher level of fuel efficiency of the Fortador models will be realized on your first job, and will add up over time.
The more efficiencies you can bring to your process, the more profitable your business can be. Especially on mobile cleaning job sites where water sources can be limited, working hours per tank can make a difference. The Fortador PRO achieves 25 working hours per tank while the Optima DMF realizes 10 working hours per tank. Steamer technicians will spend less time refilling tanks and more time cleaning customer vehicles and buildings.
The Optima DMF is easy to transport with an empty weight of 191 pounds. This light weight machine is easy to maneuver around corners and turns. You will appreciate this in buildings with tighter spaces. The body being made of polypropylene and polyethylene. These plastic materials are durable, but could start to show wear and tear in high volume shops.
Manufacturing sites are important to some steam cleaner purchasers. The Optima DMF is made in Asia. Fortador produces its line of steamers to the highest engineering standards in Europe. Fortador’s hardware is designed to last for years. With an engine powered by Lamborghini, you can expect quality. Quality manufacturing can result in less down time and higher productivity for your team.
The steam cleaner Optima DMF comes with basic levels of technology. It has an automatic alarm that will alert you when the fuel becomes short. The controls of the steamer are traditional knob and dial-based. The Fortador steamers have an advanced 7-inch digital touch screen to control the steamers, monitor fluid levels and operating readings.


  • Lightweight
  • Available with a good assortment of tools, although most must be purchased as add-ons
  • Heats quickly within 3-5 minutes
  • Has good steam control


  • Boiler has a 35% smaller capacity
  • Only two hoses
  • Maximum PSA of 137.5, meaning jobs will take longer to finish
  • Made in Asia
  • No built-in vacuum
  • Is about 2.5 times less fuel-efficient than the Fortador PRO Line

5.5. Astra Idromatic: Diesel-Powered Pressurized Steam Cleaner for Car Wash and Detailing

astra idromatic steamer
Steam cleaner Astra Idromatic

The Astra Idromatic is a commercial steamer that produces steam to 130.5 PSI. This PSI is acceptable for most jobs, but can be limiting for certain situations. With mobile work, you never quite know what soil and stain type you will be presented with. Arriving on site with a steamer with higher PSI capabilities than the 130.5 PSI, can be a better choice over the long run.

The Astra steamer is not an all-in-one machine. With no vacuum, you will have to purchase, maintain and transport an additional piece of equipment. This can add to inefficiencies on job sites and be more cumbersome for technicians.
On larger jobs, it may be better to have more than one steam technician cleaning at the same time. This is especially relevant on larger steam cleaning jobs like motor homes or buildings. The Astra Idromatic has only one steam connection, which means only one technician can work at a time. The Fortador line has multiple connections for steam and detergent so two technicians can clean simultaneously.
The steam cleaner Astra Idromatic does not offer detergent-cleaning capabilities. The machine’s single water tank does not give users the option of using a detergent. Although steam as a single agent can be very effective in many jobs, there are times you will miss a detergent.
Portability and maneuverability are important in a mobile steam cleaning business. The Astra Idromatic steamer weighs 286 pounds. This is considerably heavier than other steamer models in the category. This extra weight can make a difference with loading, unloading and moving between rooms on job sites. The heavier weight will be most noticed on carpeted services.
Diesel fuel usage goes way up with the Astra Idromatic. The Fortador PRO uses .15 gallons of fuel per working hour. The Astra Idromatic uses about 7x as much fuel per working hour. The Astra Idromatic has a 5.28-gallon diesel tank.
The body of the Astra Idromatic is made of polypropylene and polyethylene. This hard plastic can take some bumps and hits, but may show wear and weaken over time.
The Astra Idromatic has audio and visual alerts on the control panel to diagnose errors. This can be effective is many instances. If you are used to using touch screens and digital controls in other parts of your life, you may miss this technology on the Astra Idromatic steamer.


  • Has a large boiler capacity
  • Ability to add a lot of specialty tools at an extra cost
  • Short heating time of five minutes


  • Only one operator can use the machine
  • Manual operation of controls is outdated
  • Uses a lot of diesel fuel, approximately four times more than Fortador PRO Line steam cleaners
  • Low maximum

5.6. Fortador Volt Mini: Superior Construction with High-Strength Steel

best compact steamer for home and office

Best-in-Class Powerful electric steamer in a small package for indoor cleaning

If you want to start a cleaning business that concentrates on smaller jobs like homes, apartment buildings, offices and the like, the Volt Mini is a great machine for that purpose. Like the other Fortador offerings, the Volt Mini gives you the ability to clean and sanitize many different types of surfaces, including carpeting and upholstery, tile, laminate and other types of flooring, counters, tables, chairs and many other types of hard and soft surfaces, thanks to the versatile attachments that come with the unit. Buyers will even get a small selection of microfiber cloths that come with the accessory package. The commercial portable steamer Volt Mini is particularly good for cleaning carpets and upholstery, thanks to its brushes and similar attachments.

Like the Volt Electra, the Volt Mini is powered by electricity, making it the ideal steam cleaning machine for customers who don’t want diesel fumes inside their premises. The Volt Mini is quiet, too, so your operator can easily clean while your customers go about their work. It’s super lightweight at 16.5 lbs., so anyone can operate and transport it, especially when equipped with the dolly that lets you roll the unit from one area to the next. Your residential and small office commercial customers will love how powerfully this steamer cleans and sanitizes their premises. Its small size allows operators to easily clean tight spots where bigger machines may not be able to go.

portable steam cleaner accesories
Standard set of accessories for Volt Mini steam cleaner

One of the Volt Mini's best features is that it's made of the same high-strength steel that you'll find in other Fortador steam washing and cleaning machines. The boiler takes only five minutes to heat, which is much faster than other units of similar size, and holds 0.7 gallons of water. Once the unit is ready, it produces steam at 338 degrees Fahrenheit, at a pressure of 101.5 psi. Operators can add detergent attachment to the steam bun if needed for tough cleaning jobs. While it isn't as powerful as our other Fortador units, the Volt Mini is simply the best commercial grade steam cleaner in its class. It's also great for homeowners who want a  heavy-duty steamer to disinfect and clean kitchen appliances thoroughly, but at the same time, don't want to or may not be strong enough to move a machine that weighs 100 pounds. The Volt Mini provides the best of many worlds-heavy-duty steam cleaning and lightweight transportability.


  • Easy to use and transport
  • Inox 304 Stainless Steel Boiler
  • 1650 watt heating element
  • Fortador quality construction, long power cord
  • Higher pressure than steam cleaners of similar size
  • Comes with a variety of tools for different applications, including steam mop
  • Dry steam mode or Hot water injection, Detergent fogger included
  • Exclusive Fortador support provided with purchase
  • Free shipping


  • Doesn't have sufficient steam pressure for heavy-duty industrial jobs, so it's  unsuitable for professional car detailing and similar high-pressure industrial applications
  • Tough jobs may take a long time because of low pressure compare to diesel powered units
  • Only one person at a time can operate the machine

5.7. McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe: Popular Lightweight Steamer

McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe
Portable steamer McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe

The McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe is another small unit that comes with a wide range of accessors. It's one of the most popular lightweight steam cleaning units for sale on Amazon, but does it really do the job? Buyers will get 23 different attachments that include extension wands, bristle brush attachment, jet and angled nozzles, scrub pads and brushes, along with a storage bag and accessory net. The unique floor mop attachment is ideal for cleaning all types of sealed floor surfaces. You also get a squeegee attachment that makes easy work of cleaning windows. This unit has a small 64-ounce water tank that the manufacturer says produces steam for 120 minutes of continuous steam. It also has variable steam settings that allow you to control steam output along with a steam lock for a constant rate of output. A gauge provides users with a safety check to monitor the machine's steam pressure.

Equipped with an 18-foot electrical power cord and a 10-foot steam hose, the MC1385 can easily maneuver into tight spaces and clean hard-to-reach areas. Thanks to an integrated handle and cord wrap, the McCulloch MC1385 is easy to store and transport as you'll have no trailing cords or parts.


  • Inexpensive and very affordable
  • On-board storage for accessories including steam mop
  • Suitable for light non continious home use
  • Manufacturer provides support after purchase
  • Comes with a two-year warranty


  • Machine housing is plastic and not sturdy
  • Some customers have complained about the quality of the attachments
  • Water only heats to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Only produces pressure of 58 psi, so it will take extra effort to get surfaces thoroughly cleaned
  • Unsuitable for commercial cleaning applications

6. Comprehensive Accessories for Effective Steam Auto Detailing

steam cleaner accessories
Steam cleaner hoses and accessories

Every Fortador steamer comes with the accessories you need to do complete clean and sanitize jobs. These accessories include high pressure washing guns, jet nozzle, hoses, detergent containers, vacuum hoses and much more.
We are ready to help you determine the best steam cleaner for your needs. We have financing options to get you going when you are ready.

Read this Guide for Best Car Wash Steamers and How to Increase profits of Auto Detailing

Also learn more about gathering best auto detailing equipment kit

About the Authors

Lev Tretyakov
With over 25 years in the industry, I bring extensive sales expertise in heavy equipment across diverse sectors. Pioneered the first CAD/CAM school in CIS countries. Proud owner of Miami's premier auto detailing hub, Totaal Steam Detailing, hailed as the finest in Miami-Dade by Google.
Kris Traczynski
As the visionary behind Fortador Steamers, I've revolutionized the cleaning landscape across both the USA and Europe. With a profound understanding of the cleaning industry, I've fostered expertise that sets new standards. My journey is one of innovation, commitment, and a relentless pursuit of exce

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