Motor1 Reviews Team Take:

  • The best steam cleaner in 2024 is the Vapamore MR-100 due to its hefty cutting power, well-thought-out attachments, and warranty. It is a bit more of a premium option, but for someone who wants a steam cleaner for car detailing or tasks around the house, it is worth the investment.
  • The Bissell SteamShot is a great choice for someone new to car detailing due to its compact design and low price point. It may not be as versatile as other options, but it is easy to use and highly portable.
  • According to our team’s research, steam cleaners for cars can range in price from $35 to $350. The difference often comes down to the number and quality of attachments.
Best Car
Steam Cleaner
Vapamore MR-100

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

Check Price
Best Handheld Steam Cleaner
Bissell SteamShot

A lightweight steam cleaner with a variety of useful attachments.

Check Price
Best
Steam Cleaner
With Attachments
McCulloch MC1375

A powerful steam cleaner with lots of accessories.

Check Price
Highest Capacity
Steam Cleaner
Grobell Swift Vapore

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

Check Price
Best
Steam Cleaner
For Car Detailing
Wagner Spraytech

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

Check Price

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. 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.

 


 

Best Car Steam Cleaners

The best car steam cleaners are the Vapamore MR-100, Bissell SteamShot, McCulloch MC1375, Grobell Swift Vapore, and the Wagner Spraytech.

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

Best Rated Steam Cleaners

Each car steam cleaner in this review was thoroughly tested and evaluated based on several categories, including ease of use, versatility, and portability. You can find more specifics regarding our rating system here.

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 overall ratings and awards from our team, are highlighted below:

Brand/ModelOverall
Rating
AwardCost
Vapamore MR-1004.7Best Car Steam Cleaner$350
Bissell SteamShot4.2Best Handheld Steam Cleaner$35
McCulloch MC13754.2Best Steam Cleaner With Attachments$180
Grobell Swift Vapore4.2Highest Capacity Steam Cleaner$140
Wagner Spraytech3.8Best Steam Cleaner For Car Detailing$145

*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 for cars in the sections below:

1. Vapamore MR-100: Best Car Steam Cleaner

The Vapamore Steam Cleaner.

  • Cost: $350
  • Amazon review score: 4.2 out of 5.0 (based on over 1,000 ratings)
  • Weight: 18.9 pounds (lbs.)
  • Tank capacity: 54.0 ounces (oz.)
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Vapamore MR-100 Primo Review

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.

Here’s how the Vapamore MR-100 performed in each category:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use4.0
Versatility3.5
Portability5.0
Overall Rating4.2
Vapamore MR-100: Pros And Cons

It should be noted that Vapamore’s steam cleaner can deliver continuous steam for up to an hour at a temperature of 220.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Below are the pros and cons of the Vapamore MR-100:

Pros Many useful attachments Easy to use and portable Adjustable power settings
Cons Loud

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

Vapamore MR-100 Accessories

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

Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaning System: Our Experience

The Vapamore comes with many 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.

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

Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaner: What Customers Are Saying

People praise Vapamore’s 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. Bissell SteamShot: Best Handheld Steam Cleaner

The Bissel Steam Cleaner and all attachments included.

  • Cost: $35
  • Amazon review score: 4.3 out of 5.0 (based on around 45,000 ratings)
  • Weight: 4.0 lbs.
  • Tank capacity: 6.6 oz.
  • Warranty: One year

Bissell SteamShot Review

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.

Here’s how the Bissell SteamShot performed in each category:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use4.0
Versatility3.5
Portability5.0
Overall Rating4.2
Bissell SteamShot: Pros And Cons

While we really enjoyed using the Bissell SteamShot, the small water tank capacity means you may need to fill it more often. Below are the pros and cons of the Bissell SteamShot:

Pros Many brush attachments Easy to use A lot of power for size
Cons Small water tank

Bissell SteamShot Attachments

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

Bissell SteamShot Handheld Steam Cleaner: Our Experience

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-in. extension cord.

Attached to the cord is a velcro strip that 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.

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

Bissell SteamShot: 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. McCulloch MC1375: Best Steam Cleaner With Attachments

The McCulloch Steam Cleaner.

  • Cost: $180
  • Amazon review score: 4.4 out of 5.0 (based on over 35,000 ratings)
  • Weight: 10.8 lbs.
  • Tank capacity: 48.0 oz.
  • Warranty: One year

McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam System Review

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, McCulloch’s steam cleaner does not feature an extractor to remove dampness from fabric.

Here’s how the McCulloch MC1375 performed in each category:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use4.0
Versatility5.0
Portability3.5
Overall Rating4.2
McCulloch MC1375: Pros And Cons

The MC1375 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. Below are the pros and cons of the McCulloch MC1375:

Pros Great heating power Many useful attachments and features Very portable design
Cons No extractor feature means it can't remove moisture Long cord makes storage difficult

McCulloch MC1375 Accessories

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

McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner: Our Experience

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 in., which is useful but can be a hindrance for storage.

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.

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

McCulloch MC1375: 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. Grobell Swift Vapore: Highest Capacity Steam Cleaner

Grobell Swift Vapore

  • Cost: $140
  • Amazon review score: 4.4 out of 5.0 (based on around 100 ratings)
  • Weight: 7.0 lbs.
  • Tank capacity: 76.8 oz.
  • Warranty: Two years

Grobell Steam Cleaner Review

The Grobell Swift Vapore offers high-pressure, high-temperature steam for an unlimited amount of working time. It includes several 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.

Here’s how the Grobell steam cleaner performed in each category:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use4.0
Versatility3.5
Portability5.0
Overall Rating4.2
Grobell Steam Cleaner: Pros And Cons

It’s easy to maneuver the Grobell thanks to its carrying handle or wheeled base. The steam cleaner’s 188.9-in. power cord and 86.1-in. hose make it easy to reach any part of your vehicle’s interior. Below are the pros and cons of the Grobell Steam Cleaner:

Pros Easy to maneuver Quickest to heat up Storage bag included
Cons Hose and unit permanently attached

Grobell Steam Cleaner Attachments

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

Grobell Steam Cleaner: Our Experience

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. 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 many useful attachments, and we found the steam heat and pressure to be impressive given how quickly the Grobell heats up.

Grobell Steam Cleaner: 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 is that the hose and cord are permanently connected, which limits storage options.

5. Wagner Spraytech: Best Steam Cleaner For Car Detailing

The Wagner Steam Cleaner with all hose attachments included.

  • Cost: $145
  • Amazon review score: 4.3 out of 5.0 (based on over 15,000 ratings)
  • Weight: 13.4 lbs.
  • Tank capacity: 40.0 oz.
  • Warranty: One year

Wagner Spraytech Review

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. Wagner’s steam cleaner offers a fast heating time and excellent steam pressure.

Here’s how the Wagner Spraytech performed in each category:

Review CategoryScore (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Ease of Use4.0
Versatility4.0
Portability3.5
Overall Rating3.8
Wagner Spraytech: Pros And Cons

The Spraytech boasts 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 in. long. Below are the pros and cons of the Wagner Spraytech:

Pros Budget-friendly Easy to use
Cons Short cord

Wagner Spraytech Attachments

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

Wagner Spraytech Steam Cleaner: Our Experience

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.

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.

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

Wagner Spraytech Steamer: 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.

 


 

Steam Cleaner Buying 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.

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-oz. tank can provide about 90 minutes of steam, which should be enough to detail a full-sized automobile.

Steam Cleaner Attachments

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.

How To Steam Clean Car Interior

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.

How To Steam Clean Car Exterior

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 Cleaners For Car Detailing: Bottom Line

A steam cleaner is an incredibly useful device to have around. While our review team didn’t see much merit in cleaning the exterior of the vehicle with a steam cleaner, the products are 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 these steam cleaners can help to transform the inside of your car to look like new:

  1. Vapamore MR-100: Best Car Steam Cleaner
  2. Bissell SteamShot: Best Handheld Steam Cleaner
  3. McCulloch MC1375: Best Steam Cleaner With Attachments
  4. Grobell Swift Vapore: Highest Capacity Steam Cleaner
  5. Wagner Spraytech: Best Steam Cleaner For Car Detailing

 


 

Steam Cleaners For Cars: FAQ

Below are some common frequently asked questions about steam cleaners for cars:

 


 

Car Steam Cleaner Reviews: Our Testing Process

To test the steam cleaners for this article, our review team filled and used each device according to the included directions. We tested every attachment to clean the exterior and interior of our testing vehicles, which had fabric seats.

We tested these products using a Ford Fusion Hybrid SE and a Subaru Impreza. During testing, we noted how easy the car steam cleaner was to use, its versatility, and its portability. Each steam cleaner for cars was rated out of 5.0 stars based on this 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.

Steam cleaners that score highest in this category have straightforward instructions, heat up quickly, and are easy to pack away when not in use.

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.

Steam cleaners that include several attachments and have large water tanks for extended steaming score best in this category.

Portability

Lightweight and portable steam cleaners are most convenient for detailing your car. We also considered cord length and hose length when assessing portability. It’s important that a steam cleaner can reach every part of your vehicle.

Handheld steam cleaners that have long power cords, and/or long-reaching hoses score best in this category.

How We Score Products

Every steam cleaner we test is given a score between 1.0 and 5.0 stars in each category. Here’s what those star ratings mean in concrete terms:

  • 5.0 Stars: A 5.0-star rating means a steam cleaner is among the best in a category. It heats up nearly instantly, includes integrated storage for nozzles of every variety, or is handheld.
  • 4.0 Stars: A 4.0-star rating means a steam cleaner performs better than average in a category. It heats quickly, has wide, narrow, and bristle steam nozzles, and may not be handheld, but has a long retractable power cord.
  • 3.0 Stars: A 3.0-star rating indicates what is average or typical for a steam cleaner, based on our testing experience. It is not difficult to operate, includes a few attachments, or has a long power cord that is not retractable.
  • 2.0 Stars: A 2.0-star rating indicates the steam cleaner performs poorer than the average. It is difficult to handle, is missing important attachments for detailing, or has a short extension cord or hose.
  • 1.0 Star: A 1.0-star rating indicates that the steam cleaner performs well below expectations in a category. It does not work reliably, has no additional attachments, or cannot reasonably be used in an automobile due to size or cord length.

Why Trust Motor1.com

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.

*Data accurate at time of publication. Products subject to availability.