Does Steam Cleaning Kill Mold? (Read This First)

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Few things are as unsightly and unhealthy as mold and mildew in a home.

Not only can mold stain and damage surfaces, walls, flooring, and trim and cause musty odors, but it can also cause respiratory ailments and rashes. Put simply, mold can make a home uninhabitable.

One of the most effective cleaning methods is steam cleaning. But, does steam cleaning actually kill mold?

Steam cleaning can kill mold, since mold is heat-sensitive and destroyed by heat treatments at temperatures of 140-160°F (60-71°C). However, at least twelve seconds of steam vapor contact time was needed to achieve over 90% mold reduction on moist carpet.

That said, you need the right tools and the right technique to eliminate mold using steam effectively. In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about mold, mildew, and steam cleaning.

Where Does Mold Come From?

Mold, also known as mildew, is a fungal growth that develops on wet materials.

Although mold is a natural part of the environment and plays an important part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter, indoor mold growth should be avoided.

Mold reproduces by means of tiny spores. The spores float through the air and are invisible to the naked eye. In large amounts they can lead to health issues to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory diseases.

When the temperature, moisture, and available nutrient conditions are correct, the spores can form into new mold colonies where they are deposited.

Mold growth in an indoor environment is often related to water or moisture exposure.

They need only a damp, moist environment and organic material to establish themselves and thrive. incomplete drying of flooring materials. 

These are the common sources of moisture and what causes mold and mildew to thrive in a house:

  • Roof and foundation leaks
  • High interior humidity
  • Incomplete drying of flooring materials
  • Overflowing washing machines
  • Severe forms of flooding

According to the CDC, people with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. 

Worse, individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing.

Does Steam Cleaning Kill Mold?

Mold and mildew thrive in places with high levels of moisture.

Not only are they a recurring problem in the bathroom, but also in residential and commercial kitchens. Using traditional methods, it can be really hard to get rid of them completely.

The good news is, modern methods, like steam cleaning, are effective against mold.

Steam cleaners work by heating water in a boiler to convert it to vapor. This steam exits the steam cleaner through a nozzle that directs it under pressure to the area to be cleaned.

According to Certified Inspections, steam is the best solution if you are stuck with this problem as the high temperatures have the ability to open up the pores of the treated surface and disinfect thoroughly. Here’s what they said:

“Steam cleaners can kill mold. Because the steam penetrates the pores of the surface you are cleaning, it cleans deep to kill and remove mold, instead of just bleaching it invisible.”

Mold tends to die at a temperature between 140-160°F (60-71°C). And because a steam cleaner can easily achieve those temperatures, it can effectively kill the mold spores from the surface.

Look at how effective this Dupray steam cleaner, which utilizes dry steam, is to remove mold: 

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If you are using a similar steam cleaning, be sure to turn on the highest setting and use the lance attachment tool. Once you have finished steaming, gently brush the surface and watch the steam release trapped dirt and kill bacteria. Afterwards, wipe off the residues with a cloth and you are done.

Steam cleaning is as simple as that but delivers amazing results and will completely remove mold and mildew. If you want to have a clean home, do yourself a favor and invest in a steam cleaner to tackle all of your cleaning needs and to completely eradicate mold growth.

1. Does steam cleaning get mold out of carpet?

Steam cleaning can get mold out of carpet effectively. The high-pressure steam has the ability to penetrate carpet fibers, and cleans deep to kill and remove mold, instead of just bleaching it invisible.

If you flood a carpet and do not dry it within 24 to 48 hours, you will likely have a mold issue.

However, before you attempt to steam clean mold out of your carpet, be sure to vacuum first. Steam cleaners are meant to pull up small dirt particles that are down in the fibers of the carpet, not for removing hair and larger dirt pieces. Vacuuming before steaming will make your cleaning efforts much more effective.

Once you have thoroughly steam cleaned your carpet, allow it to dry completely. Remember, mold thrives in moist surfaces, so if your carpet is perpetually damp, mold can come back to that area.

Most carpet takes six to eight hours to dry all the way, but some may take 12-24 hours. Make sure you don’t walk on the carpet during this time and allow proper air circulation.

2. How long does it take for steam to kill mold?

According to the journal of occupational and environmental hygiene, it takes at least twelve seconds of steam vapor contact time to achieve over 90% mold reduction on moist carpet.

3. What temperature does mold die?

According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, most molds are heat-sensitive and destroyed by heat treatments at temperatures of 140-160°F (60-71°C).

Some molds make heat-resistant spores, however, and can survive heat treatments in pickled vegetable products. These molds, however, require oxygen to grow.


Steam cleaning is an effective cleaning method for killing mold and mildew, as well as removing grease and grime that has built up over time. The high temperatures and potent vapors of steam cleaning will kill mold and bacteria, leaving surfaces sanitized and clean.

While steam cleaning will kill mold, it should be combined with other cleaning and maintenance strategies to keep mold at bay. Throwing away moldy items and removing moldy surfaces from the home is essential to removing mold, as is locating and repairing leaks.