Speed Reads:

  • The best steam cleaner in 2023 is the Vapamore MR-100 for its excellent capacity, lifetime warranty, and cleaning power. 
  • The Bissell SteamShot is our runner-up for the great form factor and price point.
  • Consumers seeking versatility should consider the McCulloch MC1375 for the quality attachments and cleaning capacity.
Editor's Pick
Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaner

A high-capacity steam cleaner that’s easy to transport and use.

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Best Handheld Steam Cleaner
Bissell SteamShot

A lightweight steam cleaner with a variety of useful attachments.

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Most Attachments
McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner

A powerful steam cleaner with lots of accessories.

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Great for Detailing
Wagner Spraytech

A large-capacity steam cleaner with high pressure and a long run time.

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Highest Capacity
Grobell Swift Vapore

A reliable steam cleaner with a large tank that heats up quickly.

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Need to deep clean your car’s upholstery? You can’t put your car seat in a washing machine, but the best steam cleaners for cars can bring the washing machine to your car seat. Steam cleaning is an eco-friendly means to remove allergens, bacteria, mold, and bad odors. It’s also a fast and gentle means to remove exterior grime like bird droppings and tree sap.

But which type of steam cleaner is best for cars? A portable handheld model, or a heavy-duty cleaner with a large capacity and more attachments? We reviewed both to help you determine which is the right for your needs and vehicle.

5 Best Steam Cleaners For Cars

Five of the best steam cleaners that were tested and reviewed by our auto product team.

For this review, our team thoroughly tested and evaluated each steam cleaner based on each item’s ease of use, versatility, and portability. The scores in each category are compiled into a single overall rating that ranges from 1.0 to 5.0 stars.

Each steam cleaner’s ratings, including their scores in each review category, are highlighted below:

What Are The Best Steam Cleaners?

Brand/ModelOverallEase Of UseVersatilityPortability
Vapamore MR-1004.7 out of 55 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
Bissell SteamShot4.2 out of 54 out of 53.5 out of 55 out of 5
McCulloch MC13754.2 out of 54 out of 55 out of 53.5 out of 5
Wagner Spraytech3.8 out of 54 out of 54 out of 53.5 out of 5
Grobell Swift Vapore4.2 out of 54 out of 53.5 out of 55 out of 5

How We Tested

The steam cleaners in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching retailers like Amazon, RealTruck, and Advance Auto Parts for top products, looking at factors such as the number of attachments, effectiveness, customer ratings, and prices.

Our product testing team then ordered the steam cleaners for cars that best met these standards. A team member tested each product on a Ford Fusion Hybrid SE, taking note of how easy the car steam cleaner was to use, its versatility, and its portability. Each steam cleaner for cars was given a rating out of 5 stars based on these criteria.

Best Steam Cleaner For Cars: Testing Process

To test the steam cleaners for this article, our review team filled and used each device according to any included directions. We tried each included attachment to clean the exterior and interior of our testing vehicle. We judged each steam cleaner against the following criteria:

  • Ease Of Use: Steam cleaners come in different shapes and sizes. Not all are equally easy to fill and use. While none of the cleaners we tested were especially difficult to operate, some have convenient features like retractable power cords or storage containers for the attachments.
  • Versatility: Our versatility score is based on the number of attachments included with each multi-purpose steam cleaner. Different attachments are useful for cleaning different areas of your vehicle. A wide brush can quickly steam down a seat, while smaller brushes with stiff bristles are good for nooks and crannies.
  • Portability: Lightweight and portable steam cleaners score best in this category. We also considered cord length and hose length when assessing portability. It’s important that a steam cleaner for a car be able to reach every part of your vehicle.

Why You Can Trust Us

Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. Our team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

Steam Cleaner Reviews

After we tested several options ranging in price, we determined that Vapamore offers the best steam cleaner with the MR-100 due to its hefty cutting power, well-thought-out attachments, and warranty. It is a bit more of a premium option, for someone that wants a steam cleaner for car detailing or tasks around the house, we feel it is worth the investment.

ModelApproximate CostWeightTank CapacityWarranty
Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaner$35018.9 lbs.54.0 oz.Lifetime
Bissell SteamShot$454.0 lbs.6.6 oz.1 year
McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner$16510.8 lbs.48.0 oz.1 year
Wagner Spraytech$14513.4 lbs.40.0 oz.1 year
Grobell Swift Vapore$1407.0 lbs.76.8 oz.2 years

*Because cost data fluctuates, the prices in the table above are approximate values that our team regularly updates.

For those interested in learning more, we’ve provided a detailed review of each of the best steam cleaners in the sections below.

#1 Editor’s Pick: Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaner

Cost: Around $350

Amazon Review Score: 4.2 out of 5 based on over 1,000 ratings

Other Key Features

  • Tank capacity: 54.0 ounces (oz.)
  • Weight: 18.9 pounds (lbs.)
  • Warranty: Lifetime

The Vapamore Steam Cleaner.

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The Vapamore MR-100 is a high-capacity steam cleaner that includes a wide variety of useful attachments. While the steam mop is not something necessary for car detailing, it’s a nice inclusion that improves the overall utility of this appliance. Featuring excellent cleaning power, this steam cleaner is a good pick for deep cleaning or small messes.

It should be noted that this steam cleaner for cars can deliver continuous steam for up to an hour at a temperature of 220.0 degrees Fahrenheit.


  • Detail adapter
  • Four nylon brushes
  • Floor head with triangle brush
  • Fabric surface tool

Our Experience

The Vapamore Steam Cleaner being used by one of our auto product testers to clean the seats of a vehicle.

Overall Rating4.7 out of 5
Ease of Use5 out of 5
Versatility4.5 out of 5
Portability4.5 out of 5

The Vapamore comes with a wide variety of attachments, and the manual details the surfaces and situations in which each attachment is useful. Overall, we felt the Vapamore had the most detailed and easy-to-follow instruction manual.

Filling the Vapamore is simple: An included funnel and measuring cup help ensure you don’t overfill the tank.

Though this cleaner is large, it’s easy to move this steam cleaner. The power cord is 198.0 inches and retractable. The steam hose is detachable, making this the most portable of the larger steam cleaners we tested. Another nice feature is the storage compartment, which holds several attachments.

The high-capacity tank allows for extended use, and the steam power is adjustable. Overall, this is a good product for car cleaning.

What Customers Are Saying

People praise Vapamore customer service, which is quick to replace broken components. Most say this is an easy-to-use steam cleaner that worked well for getting their car’s carpet cleaner. The large tank means a long cleaning time, and it is easy to clean and maintain this steam cleaner.

Some complain about the attachments coming loose during use. Another typical complaint is that the cleaner is loud.

#2 Best Handheld Steam Cleaner: Bissell SteamShot

Cost: Around $45

Amazon Review Score: 4.3 out of 5 based on around 50,000 ratings

Other Key Features

  • Tank capacity: 6.6 oz.
  • Weight: 4.0 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year

The Bissel Steam Cleaner and all attachments included.

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This handheld steam cleaner can spout powerful gusts of steam. The Bissell SteamShot includes a number of useful attachments for cleaning nooks and crevices (like your cup holders), as well as a brush for window cleaning. However, we don’t recommend steam cleaning your auto’s windshield.


  • Extension hose
  • Accessory nozzle
  • Detail brush
  • Flat scraping tool
  • Angle concentrator
  • Grout brush
  • Fabric steamer
  • Window squeegee

Our Experience

The Bissel Steam Cleaner being used to clean the exterior of a vehicle.

Overall Rating4.2 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Versatility3.5 out of 5
Portability5 out of 5

The Bissell SteamShot is filled using an included beaker. There is no funnel, but it is not necessary as the beaker has a narrow spout. This small and lightweight steam cleaner has a 186.0-inch extension cord.

Attached to the cord is a velcro strip which makes storage easier. However, there is no accessories bag, so you’ll need to find your own box to store all of the attachments.

Overall, we found the SteamShot simple to use, and we like the large variety of brush heads for many purposes. However, the smaller water tank capacity means you may need to fill it more often.

What Customers Are Saying

Reviewers appreciate the sturdy brushes and high pressure offered by this small unit. The size and various brush attachments are excellent for cleaning out small crevices and crannies.

Some complain about the low-capacity tank. When full, this handheld steamer offers about 15 minutes of steam power, which isn’t enough for some users. The cleaning process to detail an entire vehicle is likely to take longer than this.

#3 Most Attachments: McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner

Cost: Around $165

Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on over 9,000 ratings

Other Key Features

  • Tank capacity: 48.0 oz.
  • Weight: 10.8 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year

The McCulloch Steam Cleaner.

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The McCulloch MC1375 is a heavy-duty steam cleaner/mop. It heats quickly and to a considerably high temperature. While the steam mop feature is not useful for auto detailing, it includes several useful nozzles that are. The high-quality utility brushes are likely to last for many years. However, this steam cleaner for cars does not feature an extractor to remove dampness from fabric.


  • Jet nozzle
  • Angled nozzle
  • Triangle brush
  • Large brush
  • Scraper
  • Round scrub pad
  • Nylon utility brush
  • Brass utility brush
  • Mop
  • Bristle brush

Our Experience

The McCulloch Steam Cleaner being used to clean the interior seats of a vehicle.

Overall Rating4.2 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Versatility5 out of 5
Portability3.5 out of 5

The McCulloch comes with a measuring beaker but no funnel. However, the shape of the receptacle makes it easy to fill without spilling. This steamer has a handle and wheels and is not especially heavy, making it reasonably portable. The cord is 216.0 inches, which is useful but can be a hindrance for storage.

This device seems more specifically designed for steam mopping, but it also includes many attachments that are useful for auto detailing. The triangle head brush is good for seats, and the hard-bristled heads can get into crevices and clear out built-up grime. The steam is especially hot to fully sanitize hard surfaces.

We did feel that the pressure output didn’t rival commercial-grade steam cleaners, especially given the size of the MC1375. However, we were huge fans of the fact that this steam cleaner doesn’t use harsh chemicals, and is 100 percent chemical-free.

What Customers Are Saying

Some purchased this steam machine specifically for auto detailing and swear by it. It heats up very quickly and is good at maintaining steam pressure. The long hose is useful for reaching into a vehicle and a single tank can detail an entire car.

Some report issues with the mop attachment breaking. Others feel that the pressure is too weak and should be stronger considering the price.

#4 Great For Detailing: Wagner Spraytech

Cost: Around $145

Amazon Review Score: 4.3 out of 5 based on over 14,000 ratings

Other Key Features

  • Tank capacity: 40.0 oz.
  • Weight: 13.4 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year

The Wagner Steam Cleaner with all hose attachments included.

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The Wagner Spraytech is an inexpensive steam cleaner relative to its tank capacity. Considering the number of quality attachments, this is a good deal for those looking to buy a simple steam cleaner for light work. It offers a fast heating time and excellent steam pressure.


  • Squeegee
  • Fabric steamer
  • Jet nozzle
  • Nylon brushes
  • Brass brushes

Our Experience

The Wagner Steam Cleaner being used to clean the back windshield of a vehicle.

Overall Rating3.8 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Versatility4 out of 5
Portability3.5 out of 5

The Wagner Spraytech includes a funnel, but no measuring cup. It’s easy enough to use your own measuring cup to appropriately fill the tank, so this isn’t a major hindrance. The instructions let you know the maximum tank capacity so that you don’t overfill the device.

There is a storage compartment in the front of this cleaner that holds most of the attachments, and an accessory bag to carry the rest. The cord is 71.0 inches long.

We found the extended nozzle easy to use and helpful for getting into the tight areas of our vehicle. The large tank provides extended use, and this cleaner offers highly pressurized steam output. It preheats to a high steam temperature in under 10 minutes, which ultimately speeds up the process of your cleaning job.

What Customers Are Saying

This steam cleaner has been reviewed by auto detailers, who claim it is one of their favorite cleaning tools. Most say this has excellent steam pressure and can remove a lot of grime with little to no scrubbing. Steam power builds quickly and it’s easy to maintain this machine.

The Wagner may not get as hot as some other steam cleaners. Some also complain that the storage compartment is small as it does not fit all of the included attachments.

#5 Highest Capacity: Grobell Swift Vapore

Cost: Around $140

Amazon Review Score: 4.3 out of 5 based on around 100 ratings

Other Key Features

  • Tank Capacity: 76.8 oz.
  • Weight: 7.0 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2 years

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The Grobell Swift Vapore offers high-pressure, high-temperature steam for an unlimited amount of working time. It includes a number of useful accessories and is easy to operate. The long power cord and simple design make it easy to use, and it was by far the quickest to heat up out of the steam cleaners we’ve tested or researched.


  • Nylon brushes
  • Brass brushes
  • Nozzle
  • Microfiber bonnet
  • Insulation glove
  • Triangular brush

Our Experience

Overall Rating4.2 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Versatility3.5 out of 5
Portability5 out of 5

The Grobell Swift Vapore includes all of the instructions you need to properly steam clean your car, and it’s straightforward to operate. A storage bag is also included to keep your steam cleaner’s attachments organized.

It’s easy to maneuver the Grobell thanks to its carrying handle or wheeled base. The steam cleaner’s 188.98-inch power cord and 86.1-inch hose makes it easy to reach any part of your vehicle’s interior. One downside we note is that you can’t unhook the hose from the unit, which would make storing it easier.

This steam cleaner performed excellently in our detailing test. It comes with a number of useful attachments, and we found the steam heat and pressure to be impressive given how quickly the Grobell heats up.

What Customers Are Saying

Many say the Grobell is powerful and simple to use. It is a reasonably priced portable steamer that gets the job done. One man hails the product description’s accuracy, as true to its word, the Grobell heated up to 255.0 degrees Fahrenheit in under a minute.

Negative complaints about this steam cleaner for cars are few and far between. The only recurring complaint of substance is the fact that the hose and cord are permanently connected, which limits storage options.

Steam Cleaners For Cars: Buyers Guide

A steam cleaner is an excellent interior detailing tool for your vehicle. Steam cleaners can destroy mold and bacteria as well as help dislodge built-up gunk and grime. Many steam cleaners are designed for home use but work just as well for automobiles. Steam cleaning is great for auto detailers who want to cut down on chemical use.

If you’re looking to use a steam cleaner as an interior car washing tool, you’ll want to find something that is portable and includes useful attachments for auto detailing. Some steam cleaner attachments aren’t useful for auto detailing (like a steam mop), while others are necessary.

Look for steam cleaners that have stiff brush attachments for the small crevices in your vehicles. Also useful are wide triangle brush heads for stain removal on your car’s upholstery.


Another thing to consider when purchasing a steam cleaner is tank capacity. Handheld steam cleaners are portable but may not have the tank capacity to clean your entire vehicle in one go. If you don’t want to refill the tank several times, look for a steam cleaner with a large tank. A 48.0-ounce tank can provide about 90 minutes of steam, which should be enough to detail a full-sized auto.

How To Steam Clean A Car

If you decide to steam clean your vehicle, you’ll want to follow these steps:

  1. Prepare your steam cleaner: Fill your steam cleaner with distilled water (tap water has minerals that can degrade the interior), and plug it in near your vehicle. Most steam cleaners take about 10 minutes to pressurize.
  2. Clean out your vehicle: Remove all items from your consoles, seat pockets, floor, and doors.
  3. Vacuum: Before steam cleaning, remove as much debris as possible using a shop vac or handheld vacuum cleaner. If you have embedded pet fur, you should use a stiff brush in conjunction with your vacuum.
  4. Steam: Use a steam cleaner along with a cleaning solution that’s suitable for your car’s interior and upholstery.

While steam cleaning, make sure that you don’t apply steam to the same spot for too long. The hot steam has disinfecting properties but can damage rubber and plastic. If you make sure to keep the steamer moving while you’re sanitizing your car, you can safely and easily clean your vehicle.

Many steam cleaners include an attachment for glass cleaning. We tried this on our vehicle and do not recommend steam-cleaning your car windows unless you have a background in this already. In our experience, it can leave spots that make a windshield more difficult to see through than if it were never steam cleaned at all. We recommend using one of the best pressure washers for cars to clean your vehicle’s exterior.

Best Steam Cleaner For Cars: Bottom Line

A steam cleaner is an incredibly useful device to have around. While our experts don’t see much merit in cleaning the exterior of your vehicle with a steam cleaner, they’re perfect for chemical-free interior detailing. We recommend considering tank capacity and the attachments that come with the steam cleaner you’re considering before purchasing it.

Ultimately any of the steam cleaners highlighted in this review will help to transform the inside of your car to look like new.

Best Steam Cleaners For Cars: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.