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Steam Boat Cleaning: Optima Steamer

The Optima Steamer is an effective tool for quickly and easily cleaning boat interiors and exteriors.   Traditional methods require the use of chemicals and high volume pressure washers.  Using steam, an operator can clean a boat using over 90% less chemicals and water.

The Optima Steamer features an adjustable moisture control, producing both dry and wet steam.  Dry steam is ideal for cleaning, deodorizing and sanitizing almost all surfaces without producing waste-water or requiring chemicals.   Easily clean and sanitize compartments, toilets, coolers, mini fridges and windows.  Using dry steam, an engine compartment can be cleaned without producing excess bilge water, saving time and money.   For messy jobs, wet steam is used to wash down larger surface areas.

The Optima Steamer can easily be rolled onto a dock or operated from the back of a pickup truck.  Both the Optima DMF and DS models are suitable for mobile boat cleaning operations.  The Optima Steamer models DMF and DS support dual hoses and produce continuous steam pressure for all day use.

For more information about the Optima Steamer, please call Steamericas at (310) 327-8900.

To see pictures, click below:


Improve your mobile car wash profits using the Optima Steamer.

Improve your mobile car wash profits using the Optima Steamer.

Throughout the U.S. the Optima Steamer is greatly improving productivity and profit margins for mobile car wash and detailing operators.  The Optima Steamer’s ability to clean both car interiors and exteriors has made it the most sought after tool in the mobile car wash industry.  Cleaning with steam has many advantages over traditional methods. 


Reduce Your Water Consumption

For mobile car wash operators, the Optima Steamer can reduce water consumption by 95%.  Using steam, an operator can clean a car using less than one gallon of water.    Not only will steam reduce your water consumption and water bill, it will also reduce the equipment and space necessary to contain water.   Weight reduction will greatly improve vehicle fuel consumption, saving you money.  In fact, many mobile car wash operators using traditional pressure washers tow or carry over 250 gallons of water (over 2,085 lbs).


Eliminate Waste-Water

Untreated waste-water impacts the environment.  The equipment required for containing waste-water and the cost to maintain it decreases productivity and profit.   Using the Optima Steamer, a mobile car wash operator can clean a car without producing waste-water.   Eliminating the need for a waste-water reclamation mat and containment system decreases wash time per car and increases your earning potential.


Reduce Your Chemical Consumption

Steam allows a mobile car wash operator to drastically reduce their chemical consumption.    In fact, steam eliminates your need for window cleaning chemicals.  For many mobile car wash operators using the Optima Steamer, the minimum chemicals necessary to wash a car include a biodegradable citrus degreaser, a general purchase tire, plastic, and vinyl shine, and a liquid wax to add surface protection.


Reduce Your Exterior Wash Time

Steam greatly reduces exterior wash time.  The traditional method of car washing is a five step process (pre-rinse, soap, rinse, dry and wax).   Using steam, there are only two steps.   Step one, the operator sprays the vehicle’s surface with steam and then dries the surface with a microfiber towel.   Step two, the operator applies a surface protectant.


Reduce Your Interior Drying Time

The most commonly used tool for upholstery cleaning is the hot water carpet injector/extractor.  It works by injecting hot water and detergent under pressure onto upholstery and then immediately sucking it up.

Despite its popularity, up to 20% of the water injected onto the upholstery can remain inside the car, leaving the interior damp.  Damp interiors can quickly lead to the production of mold spurs and bacteria, in addition to producing unpleasant odors.  A damp interior attracts dirt faster, further adding to customer irritation.  In areas of high humidity, providing the customer a dry interior is priority.  To prevent damp interiors using the traditional method, mobile vehicle wash operators perform additional vacuuming of treated areas and use air movers to improve drying time. 

Use steam to avoid damp interiors.   Steam is a light, super-heated, vapor.  Steam penetrates dirt quickly.  Using steam, upholstery dries in seconds, not minutes.  


Reduce Your Equipment Requirement

Mobile car wash and detailing equipment cost money.  It cost even more to maintain and train employees on each piece of equipment.   The Optima Steamer can eliminate your need for a pressure washer, injector/extractor, waste-water reclamation mat, buckets, wash mitts and an air compressor.


Increase Your Customer Menu Options

Steam cleans everything easily.  With minimum effort, offer your customers more menu options.   Use steam to restore leather and remove stains from upholstery and floor mats.  Quickly and easily removes brake dust and engine grime.  Steam even sanitizes and deodorizes surfaces on contact.  Plus, with the Optima Steamer’s dual hose system, you can double your cleaning capacity.


The Optima Steamer is on course to become the must-have tool for mobile car wash and detailing operators.   Not only is the Optima Steamer a cost-saving and profit boosting tool, it is eco-friendly.  Contact Steamericas Inc. to learn more about the Optima Steamer.


Steamericas Inc. is the U.S. branch of SJE Corporation, the manufacturer of the Optima Steamer.


Steam Car Wash Machines

Steam cleaners are becoming increasingly popular in the auto industry.   This can be attributed to the simplicity and cleaning power of steam.   Due to technology, steam machines are more powerful than ever, now capable of cleaning vehicle exteriors.  In the auto industry, we refer to these machines as steam car wash machines.   Despite their increasing popularity, there still remains a lack of information available about steam car wash.   In the following article, I hope to share a portion of what I know.

What is a steam car wash machine?  A steam car wash machine can be used to clean both vehicle interiors and exteriors.   In its truest form, steam is a vapor.   However, almost all steam car wash machines feature an adjustable moisture control.   This feature allows an operator to apply a dry steam for interior cleaning and a wet steam for exterior cleaning.    In the past, steam machines were known for producing inconsistent heat and pressure.   Today’s steam car wash machines produce continuous heat and pressure and even support two operators at once.

Don’t be fooled.  There are steam machines and then there are pressure washers that produce water at “steam temperatures.”  Steam machines produce a vapor, which is light.  This improves drying time when cleaning interiors.    On the other hand, a pressure washer that heats water to steam temperatures continues to emit only water at temperatures exceeding 212 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures exceeding 1000 PSI.   Such specifications are not ideal for interior cleaning.

Why are steam car wash machines appearing now?  This question alone has fueled a great deal of disbelief.   Steam is hot.  The materials of which steam vapor machines, steam hoses and accessories are composed of must be designed to endure extreme temperatures for an extended period of time.   Recent technological improvements in materials have increased the durability of steam boilers and accessories and improved the flexibility and longevity of steam hoses.

Steam car wash originated in South Korea in 2003 to accommodate auto spas operating in the winter.  The frozen run-off produced by traditional pressure washers became a liability for property managers.    To prevent businesses from shutting down, Korean pressure washer manufacturers began manufacturing steam car wash machines, eliminating waste-water altogether.   

How do steam car wash machines benefit auto detailers?   The advantages include reducing exterior wash time, the ability to steam clean interiors and reduce interior drying time, a reduction in chemical and water consumption, and the elimination of waste-water.   Using steam an auto detailer can sanitize and deodorize surfaces without using chemicals.   Together these advantages allow a mobile detailer to save more, make more and improve customer satisfaction. 

Why we love steam car wash machines?  Clean the vehicle’s exterior, door jambs and the inside portion of doors and windows in a continuously motion, without slowing down or switching tools.    In regards to door jambs, easily remove dirt that has accumulated in the crevices of micro-scratches.   Steam easily removes salt stains and grease from floor mats and upholstery.   Using steam, an operator can open the trunk, clean the trunk gutter and then proceed with spot stain removal.    Most notable among customers, steam makes the difficulty of removing break dust a thing of the past.  Clean two cars parked side by side without producing overspray.   Wash a car anywhere, without fear of violating waste-water regulations.   Gone are the days of getting your shoes wet.

Will steam scratch the vehicle?  Once a week I conduct a 30 minute demonstration on steam car wash.   It takes me roughly 3 minutes to prove that the steam car wash process will not damage the vehicle.   For the remaining 27 minutes, we discuss cleaning techniques and marketing.    The operator sprays the vehicle’s surface with steam, blowing away mud, loosening contaminants and lubricating the vehicle’s surface.   Any remaining impurities and moisture are absorbed in a soft microfiber towel.

For extremely dirty vehicles, an operator increases the moisture content in the steam.  This will allow the operator to apply a heavily saturated steam, providing greater lubrication and giving the steam more pushing power.

Will steam damage clear coats or remove wax?   Steam only makes contact with the vehicle’s surface for fractions of a second.      If the operator keeps the tip of the spray gun at the recommended 6-8 inches away from the vehicle’s surface, the steam temperature at point-of-contact is only 165 degrees Fahrenheit.   At this temperature, the clear coat is safe from potential damage and wax will remain in place.   However, if the operator’s intentions are to remove wax or caked-on tire dressing, simply move the spray gun closer to the surface.  

Will steam damage electronics?  The short answer is yes.  When cleaning vehicle interiors or engine compartments using steam, avoid spraying electronics, speakers and exposed fuse panels.


What techniques and chemicals are involved?   Steam simplifies car wash.  Holding the spray gun in one hand, the operator first sprays the vehicle’s surface, blowing away dirt, mud and loosening surface contaminants.    In the other hand, the operator follows the steam trail with a soft microfiber towel, absorbing any remaining impurities and drying the surface in the process.  


The second method involves rinsing a microfiber first into a diluted “non-sudsing” car wash formula.    After rinsing the microfiber, proceed with the first method.   Rinsing the microfiber first will allow the operator to move faster over the vehicle’s surface, reduce the number of microfibers used per car, allow the operator to apply more pressure when required, and produce a shine in the process. 


Based on customer feedback, the most common chemical used in cooperation with steam is a concentrated, biodegradable, citrus degreaser.   When applied first to rims, grills, or heavily soiled areas, the steam and degreaser combo works exceptionally well to remove almost any surface contaminant.


What should I know prior to purchasing a steam car wash machine?  Hose length matters.   Steam is light.  As steam travels farther from the boiler the steam becomes cooler and looses pressure.   Prior to purchasing a steam car wash machine, know the maximum hose length for the machine.   This information is critical to your planning.   Hose length will determine your cleaning radius and whether your machine can remain secure inside a van or trailer.    

Mobile detailers are limited to diesel or propane powered steam car wash machines.  Steamer car wash machines that are 100% electric are ideal for detailers operating stationary, brick and mortar, locations.   The electric power required to produce and maintain continuous steam for “exterior car wash” is more than what is available from a standard household electric outlet or produced by a portable generator.   For instance, an electric steam car wash machine may require 3,000~12,000 watts.

Prior to purchasing or operating a steam car wash machine, it is important to know how the machine works, the availability of replacement parts and who to call during troubleshooting.   Based on customer feedback, customers become more reliant on a single piece of equipment.   For many mobile detailing customers, a steam car wash machine eliminates the need for a pressure washer, a waste-water reclamation mat, a hot water carpet extractor, an air compressor and various other tools and chemicals. Understanding your steam machine will help insure your revenue and reputation.

Finally, ask yourself one last question.  What am I trying to achieve?   Steam machines are often expensive.  The materials that compose steam car wash machines are designed to endure continuous heat, pressure and abuse.   If you require a steam machine for interior cleaning, a steam car wash machine maybe unnecessary, perhaps even overkill.   There are many steam machines designed specifically for auto interiors and feature numerous attachments and accessories.   Several steam machines even feature a vacuum attachment.   Steam machines designed for interior cleaning can be powered by a portable generator. 


I hope the information above provided greater insight into steam car wash machines.   The simplicity and cleaning power of steam will continue to fuel its growth.  The sanitizing and environmental benefits of steam will continue to support it publicly.   It will be the early adapters to steam car wash that will benefit from a competitive edge and greater customer satisfaction.  

For more information about steam car wash, please contact Steamericas, Inc. at (310) 327-8900 or


This article was written by Ryan Salkaln, sales manager at Steamericas, Inc.