Exploring the Benefits: Dry Steam vs Wet Steam for Effective and Efficient Cleaning

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Updated on:

September 6, 2023

Understanding the Difference: Dry Steam vs Wet Steam Explained

Are you confused about the distinction between dry steam and wet steam? Wondering which one is more effective for your cleaning tasks? In this guide, we'll dive into the world of steam cleaning and shed light on the differences between dry steam and wet steam.

From exploring their unique benefits and applications to discussing safety considerations and environmental impact, we'll equip you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about 2 types of steam. Get ready to unravel the mysteries of wet steam vs dry steam and discover the perfect cleaning solution for your specific needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Steam Dryness Fraction: Dry steam has low moisture content and higher transferable energy, making it effective for cleaning.
  • Advantages of Dry Steam: Removes bacteria, germs, and biofilms without chemicals. Penetrates gaps, minimizes water usage. Suitable for food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, hospitality, transportation, and household cleaning.
  • Limitations of Wet Steam: Faster for heavy-duty dirt, but less efficient for sanitization. Can damage delicate surfaces. Better for facilities with floor drains.

Table of Contents (Show)

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Understanding Steam Dryness Fraction and Its Impact on Cleaning

The steam dryness fraction is used to quantify the amount of water within steam. Steam is considered to be 90% dry, or have a dryness fraction of 0.9, if steam contains 10% water by mass.

Steam dryness is significant because it directly influences the total amount of transferable energy (often merely latent heat) contained in the steam, which impacts heating effectiveness and quality.

For instance, all of the latent heat present at that pressure is present as dry saturated steam (100 percent dry). Only sensible heat will exist in saturated water, which has no latent heat and hence has no dryness.

The quantity of heat produced by the steam used in the process, heating the product, and the latent heat decreases as the moisture content of the steam rises. During delivery, the steam dryness decreases

When a steam boiler heats water, the foam on the water's surface breaks up into small water droplets that combine with the steam to make it wet.

Cleaning Windows with Dry Steam
Cleaning Windows with Steam

Dry Steam: Definition and Advantages in Cleaning

Let's substitute the word "vapor" for "dry". Compared to cheaper steam cleaners on the market with boiler temperatures between 250° and 290°, a high temperature "Vapor" steam cleaner typically contains about 5-6% moisture content in the steam.

Despite being called superheated steam, the steam released from a Vapor Clean steam cleaner feels much cooler to the touch. The moisture content is significantly lower and drier.

One could argue that "drier" is a better word to describe steam cleaners. The maximum level of moisture is in boiling water, and as the temperature rises, the steam gets progressively dryer until it eventually reaches a gaseous condition, which is accurately referred to as "dry."

All Vapor Clean units fall within and/or above the 5-6% moisture limit that defines a low moisture steam cleaner, making them all "dry" or "vapor" steam cleaners.

The Advantages of Using Dry Steam for Cleaning

A variety of pressures and temperatures are used to deliver steam to the nozzle; steam at 260°F will directly kill any bacterium on Earth. However, a biofilm that covers many diseases shields them from the steam's lethal force. Instead, the steam removes the biofilm and any germs it might be harboring along with it.

Similar reasoning applies to chemical sanitizing agents, which must remain on surfaces for an extended period of time in order to penetrate the biofilm. Additionally, steam prevents the chance of bacterial chemical resistance.

Under pressure, steam can enter crevices and gaps but does not blast dirt everywhere like hosing or pressure washing does. Both the amount of cleaning residue and water usage are kept to a minimum. In some cases, a machine may be "tented" and submerged in a cloud of dry steam, much as how buildings are tented to get rid of pests.

Applications of Dry Steam Cleaning in Various Industries

Facility sterilization by dry steam is a suitable fit for the sanitizing standards of the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries. In areas where grease and residue can collect and harbor bacteria, such as around control panels, conveyors, directly on walls, and within ducts, dry steam can be utilized safely. Using dry steam, heat exchange coils, filters, etc. are regularly cleaned. Any facility that packs fresh fish, poultry, meats, cut produce, and similar products needs to be extra careful about keeping things clean. Dry steam is used to sanitize surfaces that come into touch with food without leaving behind any chemical residue.

Without interrupting production, production machinery and equipment can be cleaned during worker breaks. Dry steam is used by beverage producers to clean bottling equipment, conveyors, wooden barrels, etc. Cleaning of refrigerated storage facilities is possible without removing any food items. Without having to worry about damaging the equipment, motors, wiring, and other electrical components can be cleaned and disinfected.

Other sectors are using dry steam cleaning in addition to those mentioned above. In order to eliminate bedbugs and other insects from carpets and beds as well as disinfect surfaces that are frequently in contact with visitors, hotels, spas, and gyms are beginning to adopt the method. Dry steam is being used more and more for passenger compartment sanitation on airplanes, passenger trains, and buses. The technology is being used by auto detailers to sterilize and clean car interiors. The technology is becoming to be useful in dentist clinics and medical labs as well. Even homes are turning to consumer-grade dry steam machines to get rid of pests like fleas and other insects without using chemical remedies.

Limitations of Dry Steam Cleaning and Alternatives

Wet steam cleaning may still be preferable for facilities with floor drains and washdown-rated equipment since it is faster than dry steam cleaning. Because of the substantially higher water content in wet steam, the flushing action is also boosted. The application of wet steam, pressure washing, or a similar method is still the best way to remove heavy-duty filth and oil off agricultural equipment and the like, provided that it is done outside or in a semi-enclosed space. Another option for cleaning bakery tools, molds, etc. is dry ice blasting.

car cleaning with steam

Wet Steam: Exploring Its Properties and Applications

Wet vapor is caused by mixing the condensate water with saturated steam. Often heat loss in pipe can make certain parts of saturated steam condense and create emulsifying water. The dissolved particles may cause water evaporation in pipes and may also need drainage traps.

Wet steam has drops of fluids suspended in steam. Saturated steam is sufficiently hot to remain in a gasic environment as mentioned earlier.

What is a Steam Cleaner and How Does It Work?

Using a combination of heat and pressure, a steam cleaner transforms regular tap water into a cleaning agent that can both clean and sterilize surfaces. The surface of whatever is being cleaned is left moist since water makes up a large portion of what comes out of the tip of a steam cleaner. And that entails damage such as mold.

Steam Vapor Systems: A Deep and Chemical-Free Clean

On the other hand, a steam vapor system (sometimes referred to as a "dry vapor steam cleaner") employs a boiler similar to a steam cleaner to produce pressurized steam to easily clean, sterilize, and deodorize. But unlike a steam cleaner, less than 5% of what emerges from the tip of a steam vapor system is water. As a result, practically all surfaces—including your mattress—dried quickly.

Instead of using chemicals that endanger the health of your family and pets, cleaning with steam or steam vapor offers a faster, deeper clean. Both actions consist of a single pass across a surface. I'm done now. No effort is necessary.

A steam cleaner and a dry steam vapor system differ from one another in more ways than just how much water the device's tip emits.

dry steam extraction

Steam Cleaner vs. Dry Vapor Steam Cleaner: A Comparison

The Importance of Droplet Size and Temperature in Steam Cleaning

To begin with, water droplets smaller and hotter than steam make up steam vapor. This has major significance. The minute water droplets enable steam vapor to penetrate crevices where steam cannot, like the nicks and gouges left by a knife striking a cutting board's surface.

This makes steam vapor more effective than steam in reducing the danger of transferring germs from surfaces through touch, which is important in the fight against Covid-19. Steam vapor also has a superhot temperature (240°F to 260°F). A steam cleaner has never been and is not a disinfection tool. It can only serve as a sanitizing tool.

All of this means that using steam vapor will make your house or place of business cleaner than before. Because of its Thermal Accelerated Nano Crystal Sanitation (TANCS®) technology, which combines superhot dry steam vapor at the macroscopic level you can see with nanotechnology at the microscopic level you cannot see. Advanced Vapor Technologies has been given an EPA Establishment Number by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates cleaning devices claiming to kill microscopic organic matter—germs, bacteria, and viruses.

Avoiding Surface Damage: Why Dry Steam Vapor is Safer

While some manufacturers may claim that hardwood floors can resist the steam cleaner's wetness, utilizing a steam cleaner on hardwoods is challenging since they are delicate and easily harmed by too much moisture. In addition to wearing down the finish over time, too much moisture can force its way into the gaps between the boards, expanding, staining, and warping the wood.

Laminate flooring and imitation hardwood floors have the same characteristics. Mold and mildew growth in the flooring can retain moisture, leading to damage and a musty odor. By avoiding steam cleaners, you can avoid these expensive problems. However, a dry steam vapor system leaves laminate and hardwood floors absolutely clean and without streaks.

Eliminating Germ Colonies: Dry Steam Vapor vs. Traditional Cleaning

You probably haven't given much thought to cleaning chemical residues and their potential effects on you and your family. For those who have asthma, allergies, or other sensitivities, these residues have a tendency to become airborne and create major health issues when inhaled. Additionally, leftover particles serve as a food source for germs to colonize surfaces and form groups known as biofilms.

Steam cleaners may actually encourage the establishment of biofilms because they are exceedingly difficult to eradicate and flourish in conditions where moisture comes into touch with a surface.

But according to scientific studies, dry steam vapor systems, particularly those with TANCS®, leave no trace behind and obliterate biofilms.

wet/dry steamer Fortador PRO

Fortador PRO: The Ultimate Dry/Wet Steamer for Versatile Cleaning

One of the most versatile machines on the market is the Fortador PRO. This machine has an option for wet steam or dry steam. This allows you to use it for any desire cleaning task and manipulate the supply steam.

This machine can enable greater heating efficiency than most on the market. The supply steam of this steam cleaner is thick and powerful that will be able to battle against all bacteria, grime, virus, and more.

The Fortador PRO Diesel Hybrid Industrial Steam Cleaner is propelled by a strong and effective Lamborghini diesel burner. With the capacity to supply detergent for cleaning wheels, engines, or commercial cleaning, this appliance provides both a steam cleaning and washing function. With a high pressure of 16 Bar or 235 PSI, the steam can be used for many things, including industrial steam cleaning, disinfection, and car washing.

All are contained in a single, modern, aluminum power-coated shell that is built of an environmentally friendly, corrosion-free alloy. Auto-Diagnostics system on a 7" touch screen notifications concerning maintenance and services such as filter cleaning, descalement, burner adjustment, and vacuum cleaner.

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.
Kristina Tretyakova
Distinguished as a South Florida Top-10 student in 2021. Studying Marketing and Business Administration at FIU. Proficient in daily operations and skilled in cleaning, auto detailing and copywriting.

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