TL;DR: The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner is the most versatile pet steam cleaner. Great value, great performance.
We will be covering these five steam cleaners in this article to find the best pet steam cleaner:
- Best overall pet steam cleaner – Versatile, value for money, great performance: Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
- Best heavy duty pet steam cleaner – For thick carpets and dirty pets: Dupray Hill Injection Commercial Steam Cleaner
- Best pet steam cleaner for hard floor surfaces: Bissell Powerfresh Steam Mop
- Runner-up pet canister steam cleaner: McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner
- Runner-up pet upright steam cleaner for hard floor surfaces: Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop
Steam cleaners are great for cleaning, sanitizing, degreasing and even deodorizing. Using high heat and pressure to get rid of dirt, grease, virus and bacteria is effective and very cost effective to operate.
All you need is some distilled water in the tank, plug the machine in, and off you go. They’re great investments if you have messy pets. Cleaning up pet mess including urine, feces, vomit or blood can be challenging.
On top of that, you need to keep an eye on parasites, and viruses and bacteria that your pet might bring in from outdoors. Here are the most important features to look out for when you’re considering a steam cleaner for a household with pets.
Make makes a good pet steam cleaner: Things to look out for
Canister vs. upright vs. portable steam cleaner
Like vacuum cleaners, there are also different types of steam cleaners. They usually serve slightly different purposes.
Generally speaking, the canister steam cleaner is the most versatile. They usually come with multiple nozzles and attachments in the kit. You can use them for practically any type of flooring and surface that you want to clean but don’t want to soak.
Upright steam cleaners, also known as steam mops, are built for flooring cleaning. And they are primarily used for hard floors such as hardwood, ceramic and tiles. Basically flooring that you would clean with a regular mop. The floor attachment is covered with a cloth or microfiber cleaning pad.
Hot steam seeps through the pad to clean the floor surface. Portable or handheld steam cleaners are also quite limited in terms of what they’re capable of.
This is mainly because they also have a narrow lance-type nozzle, usually without any other attachments. Also, the cleaning and sanitizing performance is just not as powerful as canister steam cleaners.
Steam cleaner cleaning pads
How affordable or readily available are the cleaning pads? Can we use any cloth or towel in place of it? A majority of manufacturers make their steam cleaners compatible with only their brand of cloth or microfiber cleaning pads.
Effectiveness and functionality wise, it may make sense to have a pad that is designed for a specific machine. But we often find ourselves needing more flexibility.
Sometimes buying extras or replacements are expensive, or hard to find, or you just don’t like the feeling of being locked into their system.
It’s important to research the ownership cost and convenience before making your decision on which steam cleaner to go for.
If you’re a pet owner, you’ll know that they are messy. They’re like babies that never grow up. Cleaning up after your pet’s vomit or muddy paw prints will require at least one change of cleaning pad. While most brands of cleaning pads can be machine washed, it’s always a good idea to keep extras on hand.
Steam temperature and pressure
Steam cleaners clean and sanitize with well, steam. But the quality of the steam matters, it determines how effective it will clean and sanitize.
There are two things to look out for when it comes to steam – temperature and pressure. Steam is produced by heating water to its boiling point of 212°F/100°C.
For household/residential steam cleaners, the steam temperature is typically around 200°F/93°C to 250°F/121°C. Commercial/industrial steam cleaners produce much higher steam temperature, usually upwards of 310°F/155°C.
The higher the steam temperature the better, but anything about the boiling point usually kills critters such as mites and fleas. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends steam sterilization at 285°F/140°C in healthcare facilities.
But why do we need commercial steam cleaners that produce steam upwards of 310°F/155°C? The jet of steam that’s exiting the nozzle will drastically become cooler as they’re exposed to the environment.
So the steam may reach very high temperatures in the steam cleaner boiler, once it exits, the temperature drops significantly. That’s why it’s recommended to direct the steam jet very close to the surface you’re cleaning.
The steam pressure is the other important factor. Steam pressure works in very similar ways as a high pressure water jet would. The strong water blast cuts through the grime, dirt and stains to loosen them up.
You can use steam pressure to cut through grease stains and to clean tile grout. But what’s even more impressive is using high pressure steam to clean thick, tightly woven carpets and porous surfaces/material such as the foam in the couch cushion. If you have pet stain on your thick carpet, then you’ll need to clean it this way.
After pre-treating the pet stain stop, direct high steam pressure at it to allow the steam to deeply penetrate into the carpets fibers. You’ll need to saturate the pet stain spot. And at the same time, be sure to be holding a towel near to it to dab and catch any steam droplets. The steam would atomize the pet mess (especially pet urine) and the droplets would be containing the particles.
Between the different types of the steam cleaners, canister steam cleaners typically produce the highest steam temperature and pressure.
Water tank capacity and features
How much water does the tank hold and how long can you use it before the need for refilling? All steam cleaners have a built-in boiler to heat up the water to turn it into steam.
The heating up process can take a little as less than a minute to upwards of 10 minutes. You’ll need to factor in this heating time every time the water tank is refilled. Small tanks naturally heat up faster than larger tanks, but at the same time, they will have a shorter runtime.
Upright steam cleaners have small water tank capacity, typically around 16.9oz/500ml or less. And canister steam cleaners usually have larger water tanks. They typically range from 48oz/1400ml to 62oz/1833ml.
Some higher end canister steam cleaners allow you to refill while the machine is running. So you can top up the water before the tank is empty, which cuts heating time. This means you’ll have a continuous supply of steam, and zero down-time.
The beauty of steam cleaners is that you only need (distilled) water to clean. No detergent, and any potential toxic chemicals involved. However, some steam cleaners do have a separate tank for dispensing detergent.
While you don’t need the detergent for sanitizing surfaces, they do come in handy when you’re degreasing the surface. Good old soap is still needed when it comes to grease and oil.
What purpose will the steam cleaner be serving?
Would you need it only for cleaning and sanitizing the floor because your pets tend to track in dirt and mud?
And what type of flooring do you have?
Or you’re looking to sanitize bedding, upholstered furniture, car interior, etc. as well?
We like to sanitize the cat litter box when we clean them out every so often. We also will sanitize the pet carrier after coming home from the vet.
The veterinary hospital floor and surfaces can be a breeding group for viruses and bacteria. The staff at the hospital are definitely sanitizing the area constantly, but you wouldn’t crawl into bed with the clothes you wore to the (human) hospital would you?
Better be safe than sorry.
If you’re only looking to clean the floor with the steam mop (and you have mostly hard floors), then an upright steam cleaner would do the job just fine.
If you have carpets or even large area rugs, you might consider getting a canister steam cleaner. We recommend getting a versatile steam cleaner that can clean almost any surface.
Ergonomics and weight
Is the handle comfortable and easy to hold? Is the steam cleaner awkwardly designed or too bulky for handling or storing? Is the steam hose long enough? Is the steam cleaner too heavy to be hauled around the house, and up and down the stairs?
Portable or handheld steam cleaners are extremely lightweight and take up very little space when you store them. Upright steam cleaners have a narrow profile and they can fit into small spaces in the cleaning closet as well.
Because of how lightweight the upright steam cleaners are, they are usually easy to maneuver and carry around the house. Unlike upright vacuum cleaners where the head can swivel, upright steam cleaners usually have their floor attachment in a fixed position.
The shape of the canister steam cleaner is usually the most clunky to handle. They take up more space in storage. Plus they usually come with a large kit of multiple attachments and accessories.
Now that we know what to look for, let’s look at the list of steam cleaners that’s most suitable for households with pets.
Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
Best overall pet steam cleaner – Versatile, value for money, great performance
The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner is the entry level product in the Dupray line of steam cleaners.
This European-made steam cleaner is ideal for most home use, and you get a lot of value for the money you’re paying. What’s impressive right off the bat is the design of the machine.
Most steam cleaners tend to look like vacuum cleaners, but the Dupray Neat looks nothing like any steam cleaners on the market. This white cube has a retractable handle at the top and wheels that tuck discreetly under it. It comes with an 18-piece kit which is quite standard for steam cleaners in this price range.
If you’re looking for a more versatile steam cleaner, we recommend this type of canister steam cleaners over the upright steam cleaner/mop. Within its 18-piece kit, it has 6 types of nozzle attachments for different purposes and to clean different types of surfaces.
Aside from the standard rectangular floor tool, you’ll find most use out of the triangular brush tool and the lance. Wrap the triangular brush tool with the microfiber bonnet and use it to clean and sanitize your upholstery, mattress and car interior. Aside from cleaning grout, the lance is very useful to remove stain from the carpet.
While it comes with 3 microfiber pads for the floor tool, you can snap on any cloth or towel. This is particularly handy for cleaning up pet messes.
With pet mess, you’ll probably need more than the available pads that come in the box. Your cloth becomes very soiled very fast and you would want to toss them in the washing machine for a wash. But being able to use any cloth and not have to wait for the laundry to be done is a huge plus in our books.
While the manufacturer advertises that you can use regular tap water in this steam cleaner, we highly advise against it. Using tap or even filtered water will reduce the efficiency of the boiler because of mineral built-up on the inner wall.
It can produce continuous steam and the steam temperature reaches up to 275°F/135°C. The steam pressure is up to 50psi/3.4bar, and is usually sufficient for many household cleaning.
Pros: Great cleaning capability, versatile, lightweight, can use any cloth/towels (not tied into only those made by the manufacturer)
Cons: Longer heating time, no indication of water level
Dupray Hill Injection Commercial Steam Cleaner
Best heavy duty pet steam cleaner – For thick carpets and dirty pets
This commercial grade steam cleaner is for heavily carpeted households trafficked by multiple pets that go in- and outdoors.
One of the major differences between the Dupray Hill Injection and its small cousin the Dupray Neat is the steam temperature and pressure.
It is a very big step up as the steam temperature goes up to 347°F/ 175°C and with a pressure of 121 psi (8 bar). This capacity is one of the cornerstones of a commercial steam cleaner.
But it has a much smaller footprint and water tank capacity compared to those large steam cleaner machines. In this model, it is about adapting the technology and making it ideal for home use.
The Dupray Hill Injection has a separate tank for detergent. Detergent will break down the dirt that’s trapped in the fabric fibers, making it easier to extract.
It has an unlimited cleaning time because you can add water to the boiler tank as you’re using it. This is a common feature in commercial steam cleaners, it allows for zero downtime.
It comes with an impressive 27-piece kit. It gets 5 extra nozzle attachments compared to the Dupray Neat.
It has a longer steam hose (9’10″/3m vs 6’6’’/2m) than the Neat, but a shorter electrical cord (14’9″/4.5m vs 16’/5m). It weighs 3 times more than the Neat (28lbs/12.7kg vs 9lbs/4kg).
For mess like pet urine or vomit on carpet, you’ll need extremely high steam pressure to penetrate deeply into the carpet fibers. This is especially true if it is a thick, tightly woven carpet.
The steam pressure of 8 bar will be excellent for the job. Using the lance tool, saturate the carpet fibers with steam and some detergent. Then use a robust carpet cleaner to suck up all the loosen particles.
Pros: Extremely high steam temperature and pressure, refill water tank while operating (zero downtime), very effective on thick carpets
Cons: Heavy, short power cord, longer heating time
Bissell Powerfresh Steam Mop
Best pet steam cleaner for hard floor surfaces
The Bissell Powerfresh Steam Mop is built like an upright vacuum cleaner. It has a slim profile and a floor attachment. And unlike the canister-models of steam cleaners, this built does not have the versatility to degrease or clean out stains from the carpet.
The Bissell Powerfresh Steam Mop is made for sanitizing hard floor surfaces only. And the flooring needs to be sealed and ideally non-porous. You can use this steam cleaner on sealed hardwood, ceramic, linoleum, granite, and marble.
The idea is to clean pet mess on the floor without using any chemicals, just high temperature steam. It is non-toxic and doesn’t leave behind a sticky film like some floor detergents do.
The steam cleaner has 3 steam settings, this adjusts the amount of steam that comes out of the machine. The highest steam setting can give off quite a bit of moisture and makes the floor wet, but only for a few minutes at best.
It comes with a ‘microfiber scrubby pad’, which provides a textured cleaning surface for scrubbing tough spots. For extremely tough spots, try applying pressure on the floor attachment and let it sit there for 10-15 seconds to get the spots out.
This steam cleaner is ideal for muddy paw prints, dry drool stains and even scoot marks (that’s when your cat/dog drag their bottom across the floor). If there’s loose dirt that you can sweep up, do that first before using the steam cleaner.
The water tank holds up to 16oz/500ml of water. Although it’s nothing like the 54oz/1600ml of the Dupray Neat, the refill process is rather painless.
Just remove the water tank from the cleaner, pop the lip open and add water. However, the start-up/heating time is much faster than the Dupray models which takes up 7 minutes. In 30 seconds, the Bissell Powerfresh Steam Mop will start producing steam.
It is also incredibly lightweight (only 6lbs/2.7kg) making it easy to carry up and down stairs. The steam cleaner also has a very long power cord (23ft/7m). You won’t need to unplug and replug too often as you move across the floor.
Pros: Lightweight, long power cord, quick heating time
Cons: Small water tank
McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner
Runner-up pet canister steam cleaner
The McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner is the runner-up model in the canister steam cleaner category. This steam cleaner comes with a 20-piece kit, having a few extra pieces than the Dupray Neat.
It provides the type of versatility only found in canister steam cleaners. You can use it on almost any type of surface that you don’t want to get wet, but still want to get cleaned.
An advantage of this steam cleaner is the knob-controlled variable steam. You can get a very precise pressure with this dial. At 48oz/1400ml, the water tank is smaller compared to the Dupray Neat (54 oz/1600 ml).
However, the steam hose (10ft) and power cord (18ft) are both longer than those on Dupray Neat.
This steam cleaner takes up to 10 minutes to heat up, which is a longer wait time than the Dupray Neat. Although the steam pressure is a hair higher than the Dupray Neat (58psi/4bar vs 50psi/3.4bar), it clearly lacks in the steam temperature department.
The steam temperature only goes up to 200°F/93°C, while the Dupray Neat is at 275°F/135°C. Not having a high enough steam temperature means that the sanitizing properties will drop.
This steam cleaner does the work well for most household cleaning. It handles pet mess and accidents well. Although it may not sanitize as well as the Dupray Neat, it does get the floors squeaky clean. No more crouching over the floor and scrubbing gross pet mess with your hands. Just let the floor attachment sit on the spot for 10-15 seconds, and the mess comes off like a dream.
It works well on pet mess on low-medium pile carpet. Use the lancer tool to spray at the spot. The steam should loosen the particles from the carpet fibers. Then suck up the particles with a wet/dry vacuum or a carpet cleaner.
Pros: Long power cord, long steam hose, dial to control steam amount
Cons: Long heating time, steam temperature could be higher
Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop
Runner-up pet upright steam cleaner for hard floor surfaces
The Shark Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System Pocket is a runner-up in the hard surfaces category. Like the Bissell Powerfresh, it is also made for hard surfaces only.
This unit has a few innovations up its shelves, but there are also clear disappointments. Starting off with the similarities, this Shark model is only a hair lighter than the Bissell Powerfresh (6lbs/2.7kg).
The quick heating time on this steam mop is also quite impressive. And at 22.4ft/6.8m, its power cord is almost the same length as the Bissell’s notably long power cord.
This steam cleaner has a 11.8oz/350ml water tank, which is much smaller than Bissell Powerfresh’s 16oz/500ml. But the bigger pain with the water tank is the refilling process.
The tank doesn’t snap off the body of the steam mop. To refill, you can use the fill flask that comes in the box. And to empty the tank, you’ll need to lift the whole mop over the sink or toilet.
Another disadvantage of this steam cleaner is it doesn’t stand on its own, like the Bissell Powerfresh does. You’ll need to lean it against the wall or counter.
However, a clear advantage this steam cleaner has over Bissell’s Powerfresh is that you can use the Steam Blaster feature to spray steam straight onto the floor surface.
The small nozzle unhinge from the main part, and shoots out steam. So instead of having the steam go through the mop pad, it goes directly to the mess. It helps with tougher stains/mess, but you can’t expect the performance to be the same as what you’ll get from the lancer attachment of a canister steam cleaner.
The steam pressure and temperature is just no match to canister-style steam cleaners. Still, this feature helps to tackle tough pet drool, vomit, urine or even scoot marks (that’s when your pet drags it bottom across the floor). Use this Steam Blaster feature as sort of a pre-treatment.
Pro: Lightweight, long power cord, quick heating time, stream blaster spray
Cons: Even smaller water tank, non-removable water tank
The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner is a versatile canister steam cleaner. Its many features makes it a very ideal machine for cleaning up after your pets. The European brand specializes in steam cleaners, for both residential and commercial use.
Although the Neat model is an entry level product, the performance is still very good and definitely worth the money. The machine comes with cleaning pads in the box, but the manufacturer designed the floor attachment to be compatible with any standard cloth or towel. The steam cleaner also comes with a 18-piece kit that covers most residential cleaning needs.
The steam temperature and pressure is above average in the residential canister category. If you want more heat or pressure, you should be looking at commercial models. It is definitely sufficient to clean most surfaces and mess.
The water tank holds 54oz/1600ml, which is on the larger end of things. The machine does lack the ability to view the water level. The heating time is about 7 minutes, which is pretty standard on this type of steam cleaners. The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner is easily our pick for the best overall pet steam cleaner.