Car DetaiLing Steamers for auto detailing & Car Wash

The Ultimate Guide To Car Detailing Steamers

How To Choose A Steam Cleaner for Auto Detailing

When it comes to interior detailing, no other tool is as efficient, versatile, and powerful as a car detailing steamer. It’s the ultimate swiss knife of interior automotive cleaning. Capable of removing heavy grease or salt in an instant without any harsh chemical.

But with hundreds of models on the market promising to be the best at what they do, it can be hard to decide which model you need to fulfill your needs.

In this guide, we’ll go over every aspect of vapor steamers you must consider before choosing which will work best for you, whether you are a car detailing business owner or enthusiast.

Your Detailing Needs Will Define Which Car Detailing Steamer You Need

By having a clear list of detailing tasks you wish to achieve with your car steamer, you will have an easier time zeroing down on which steam cleaner will be best for you.

The Perfect DIY Detailing Steam Cleaner

Generally, if you are a DIY detailer, you will only work on your own vehicles and you will want it to perform a deep and sanitizing clean of your interior surfaces. 

Odds are that you maintain your car relatively clean all the time which means you won’t need a high PSI steam cleaner to complete your cleaning tasks.

You’ll also want a steam cleaner that is easy to store and move, so size will be an important determining factor. 

Smaller size, lower PSI, these are the perfect features to also keep the price tag of your steamer in the lower end which is perfect for DIY detailers as they try to build their detailing arsenal without breaking the bank.

The Perfect Auto Detailing Steamer for Professional Detailers

Professional detailers have widely different goals from DIY enthusiasts. And even as a professional car detailer, you may have different needs and goals as other pros.

Regardless of your needs, one thing is certain, you will need a commercial-grade steam cleaner to both maximize efficiency to reduce labor cost and to get great durability with replaceable parts to minimize equipment costs.

car detailing steamer used to disinfect interior leather.
Using A Steamer for Car Detailing As A Supplemental Tool

Most professionals will use a steamer as a supplemental tool to their detailing workflows as opposed to the center-piece equipment of their processes.

In this case, you will want one with a high PSI to remove embedded dirt quickly and a large enough boiler tank so that you do not have to refill it midway through your detail.

Using A Steamer As The Centre-Piece of Your Detailing Business

Many businesses are now switching to steam detailing exclusively, which means they will have one high-performance steam cleaner that will be used to wash the exterior of the car and fully detail every inch of the interior.

These kinds of steamers are referred to in the industry as car wash steam machines, and Fortador is the world-leading manufacturer of these high-powered steam cleaners.

In this case, you will want commercial-grade PSI, water-tank, boiler, and multiple detergent tank to allow enough power and energy to complete multiple cars both inside and out without having to pause in between to refill the water detergent or fuel.

Employing a Detailing Steamer for Installing Paint Protection Film & Ceramic Coatings

An increasing amount of detailing companies have a diversified portfolio of services that include installing paint protection products such as ceramic coatings for cars or clear bra. The efficiency and final results of these two services can be greatly improved with the use of a steam cleaner. Prepping the paint for both services require deep and comprehensive decontamination of the paint, steam is the perfect medium to adequately remove contaminants from the paint quickly. Steam is also used to both install or remove paint protection film.


The Key Features To Keep In Mind Before Buying A Detailing Steam Cleaner

Boiler (Durability & Size)

The boiler is the hearth of your machine. Without it, there is no steam. It’s important to have a boiler that will quickly heat the water so that your steamer can be up and ready to use quickly.

Fortador Pro Line are engineered with boilers built by Lamborghini. These exclusive boilers enable detailers to start working on a vehicle virtually after turning your Fortador on.  

Another key component of a boiler to keep in mind is its durability. You want a boiler that is built to last as once your boiler stops functioning your steam cleaning is rendered useless.

Lastly, the size of the boiler will dictate how long the steamer will provide steam without having to refill the tank and wait for the steam to build up. 

This is especially important for professional detailers as they do not want to waste time waiting for the boiler to be ready to use while in the middle of a job. The only caveat with a larger boiler tank is that it will carry more water which will make the steam cleaner for auto detailing heavier.

Replaceable Parts

This feature is virtually nonexistent for most retail automotive steamers but it is a fundamental feature every professional detailer steamer should possess. 

The parts should not only be easily purchasable online but should also be easy to install to reduce downtime when your cleaner needs repairs/ Without replaceable parts, you will be forced to replace the whole steam cleaner even if only one part stops working.

Chemical/Detergent Tank

This is a feature that has professionals in mind and can be skipped by most DIY detailers. Steam is renowned for its cleaning and sanitizing power but automotive surfaces or stains can sometimes require specialized detergent.

For example, washing a car with steam will require special wax infused cleaners to give the paint a true high-shine finish after completion.

Some steamers include a detergent tank. Fortador Pro Plus and Pro S comes ready with 3 detergent tanks, enabling detailers to clean and decontaminate any surfaces quickly.


For DIY enthusiasts and detailers that want a steamer as a supplemental tool, you will have to make a trade-off between mobility and power.

Smaller steam cleaners are clearly easier to move and transport however, they will have smaller boilers and water tanks which will reduce their power, PSI, as well as endurance before needing a refill.

Fortador products have the perfect balance between mobility and power. No other automotive steamer comes close to Fortador Pro Line’s power, while its high-quality wheels make every machine easy to move around and transport.

Steam Temperatures

It’s important to keep in mind the maximum temperature of the steam being produced as some interior surface may be damaged if the steam is too high.

For most car detailing steamers, this should not be an issue, but some commercial/industrial steam cleaners may be too hot for some automotive surfaces. 

Lastly, high steam temperature can be great to pulverize salt and other similar filth, professional detailers should keep that in mind when choosing a steam cleaner to detail cars.

Fortador products enable pro detailers to choose which temperature to use while detailing, offering the ultimate versatility and flexibility.

Vacuum / Extractor

Again this is a feature designed for professionals. With a vacuum, you can easily steam shampoo carpets and seats while vacuuming debris that is dislodged by the steamer. Without a vacuum, you will have to use a separate vacuum for this step which can be more time-consuming.

However, sometimes the vacuum incorporated in some steamers has a very low lift and a small vacuum tank, in those cases we recommend you skip the extra cost for the vacuum as it will not be very effective.

Vacuums are great but an extractor is the ultimate carpet and upholstery shampoo machine. Combined with steam, an extractor can extract dirt and soil deep inside the fibers to renew any fabric back to new. Fortador steam machines can come equipped with both a vacuum and an extractor.

Fuel Efficiency

When using an auto detailing steamer as the central piece of your detailing business, you will likely be using diesel to power your steam cleaner. Diesel cost can rapidly become an important operational cost of your business and must be considered before buying to maximize profits. 

Fortador Pro Plus and Pro S steamers are leading in their class in fuel efficiency with up to $2814 in savings per year compared to competitors.

Nozzle accessory for professional steamer.


Regardless of the class fo car steamer your purchase, accessories will make or break your purchase. Steam alone is powerful but a car comes with various surfaces that will require a few key accessories for most DIY and prosumer steam cleaner.

While most professional steam cleaner for car detailing will have a high PSI and high steam temperature that the steam alone will take care of any dirt build-up or heavy stain.

Tools may include brushes, nozzles, and scrubbers. Fortador Pro Line can come with up to 3 hoses, enabling one machine to be used by 3 technicians.

The high PSI of each Fortador car detailing steamer is enough to clean, disinfectant and pulverize any stain, contaminants or build-up without other accessories, making the technician highly efficient without the need to consistently change the nozzle or brush.

Read our Blog Post about Car Interior Detailing and get free ebook

The Total Package

Steam car wash is the process of using steam vapor to clean a car’s exterior and interior. For decades steam has been a critical component of the cleaning industry due to its effectiveness and sanitizing power. Today, steam has become an ever-growing asset to the car wash industry. Fortador Steamers is leading the way by introducing the first commercial grade steam cleaner specifically tailored for washing cars!

The steam generated by the Fortador Steamers is hot enough to lift off any grease and soilage, produces enough pressure to break down dirt, and is gentle enough to not damage the surface. In less time than a traditional car wash, the Fortador Steamers not only thoroughly washes your vehicle, but also sanitizes the interior and refurbishes greasy engine parts anew. It can even also reach the tightest spaces and fittings that would otherwise be completely inaccessible with a pressure washer.We have a variety of accessories that compliment your Mobile Car wash; from extended length hoses and guns, to brushes for tough grime and spray bottles for wax and an added shine!

Unrestricted Mobility

The Fortador Steamers allows car cleaners and detailers to take their business on the road. This convenient all-in-one system allows the customer to wash and detail anywhere and everywhere with little to no wastewater.
Producing barely any wastewater run-off, this machine can conserve the environment and save you costly fines from various municipalities that are often given if water and chemicals enter storm drains. By avoiding tough water disposal laws, you can conduct your business at an office park, parking structure, gated community or outside a country club. Even better, the effectiveness and efficiency of vapor steam allows one to wash a vehicle that is parked amongst many without spraying them, which would be unavoidable with a pressure washer.

Sustainable Business
Protecting the environment is what drives the design of each of our products. The Fortador Steamers uses less than a gallon of water to generate enough steam to clean a car’s surface, emitting little wastewater run-off. In addition, the sanitizing capabilities of dry vapor steam minimizes the need for chemicals, sharply reducing harmful residue that could reach our storm drains. With hardly any wastewater to clean up, not only will you save money from buying a storage tank, but also avoid hefty fines from wastewater regulations. Moreover, by using fewer chemical cleaners, you will accumulate savings from frequently buying chemical products. Environmentally friendly and cost-effective in the long run, the Fortador Steamers is the surefire tool for a sustainable business!We have a variety of accessories that compliment your Mobile Car wash; from extended length hoses and guns, to brushes for tough grime and spray bottles for wax and an added shine!
Steam Wash
Mobile App & Software

Client Scheduling App. Field Management. CRM. Detailers App. All in One.

Kyle Bryant
Hi-Definition Auto Detailing, Austin, TX
Thank you for the great tool, I like my Fortador Pro and hope to get more in a few months.
Gerard Suico
Miami, FL
I was so excited to get my equipment, and i was the second customer in FL who got the machine, special offer covers all my expenses for delivery and now are starting make money with my steamer.
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