Steam cleaners

John you might want to rethink a steam cleaner. They have made great
strides in steam tech. in the last couple of years. I recently got a flyer
in the mail advertising one that uses dry steam and picks up the water via
a hose in a gallon bottle of undistilled water. It was priced around $325
or $350. This might be beyond your budget but it is a far cry from the $950
I paid for mine. Frank

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Ladies and Gentlemen: If you are going to buy a new steamer or if you
have on in use and DO NOT use distilled water I thank you. We make a nice
living rebuilding steamers for folks who are too frugal to buy and use
distilled water in their steamers. The price of distilled water is cheap
enough when balanced against the cost of freight to us and return, Plus the
labor and parts necessary to rebuild the steamer. I don’t wish to loose
that profitable part of my business. Please do not use distilled water in
your steamers (grin)

Lone Star Tech. Svcs…

We have been using the same Steamaster steamer for over 30 years. We us
regular tap water in this unit, not distilled water.

Hi, A friend of mine keeps his dehumidifier scrupulously clean and uses the
water produced in his steam cleaner. He bottles about 6 gallons every 18


Skip Meister
Orchid Jewelry Listserve Member
N.R.A. Endowment
"No man’s life, liberty or fortune is safe…while our legislature is in session."
Benjamin Franklin

I think the use of distilled water or tap water in your Steam Cleaner
depends on the steamer brand. Ask your distributor or manufacturer for
recommendations. In fact the instructions you received with the steamer
will tell you precisely what type of water to use and how best to maintain
the steamer.

For example, Gesswein carries the Reimers brand of steamer. We’ve been
carrying it for 20+ years. I love this steamer cause the last thing I
want to do is sell you a piece of equipment that you then call me up and
complain about. If you buy something from me I want you to LOVE it! :slight_smile:

Reimers recommends using ordinary tap water in their steamers. But
because mineral deposits can build up on heating elements etc., they also
recommend a simple cleaning procedure once a week (and if you can’t do it
once a week, at least once a month will suffice). The cleaning procedure
is real easy. It involves the use of an inexpensive powder cleaner.

Regular cleaning of Reimers steamers means they will last 15-20 years.

Best Regards,

Elaine Corwin
Tech Services: 1-800-544-2043 ext 287
Phone: 203-366-5400
Fax: 203-335-0300


I have a water softener system. Does that meet with your approval? I was
in a location with city water and always had some problem with the steamer
hissing, gurgling and running out by the end of the day without that much
use. Now, with soft water, it’s much better and the amount of rusty water
on the bottom is less. Patty on MO.

    We have been using the same Steamaster steamer for over 30 years. We
use regular tap water in this unit, not distilled water. 

G’day; I wonder if a bit from me might help clear the water? (so to
speak) To use or not to use: that is the question. It is in fact probably
’nobler’ to use distilled water in steamers, for the seller has no idea
where they will be used, and recommends distilled water for the reason
that some waters contain plenty of dissolved minerals which tend to make an
insulating coating over the heating element. For instance in places where
there is a good deal of limestone in the catchment area the following
chemistry occurs: There is always carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and
this gets dissolved in rainwater to make carbonic acid HCO3. This is an
extremely mild acid, but it’s what causes caves, potholes, and Karst
landscapes. So you get calcium hydrogen carbonate (bicarbonate) in the
water, for it is soluble. Eventually that water goes into the domestic
supply, and gets heated in kettles, steam cleaners, etc. Heating converts
the calcium bicarbonate into plain carbonate which isn’t soluble, so it is
precipitated to coat the heating elements. Leave that to build up and
there you go - you have a burnt-out kettle, steamer, or what have you.
BUT if you only use distilled or deionised water, it can’t happen. You can
even use good rain water - so long as you don’t live in a place like LA ,
NY, London, or other polluted city. I do hate it when people say 'do this’
or ‘don’t do that’ without telling you why or why not. I suggest that the
folk who sent my quote (above) have a nice calcium free water supply.
Incidentally, if you find this ‘hard water’ stuff hard to believe, chip a
bit of the ‘fur’ off a kettle element and treat it with an acid - and
watch it fizz to show that it is a carbonate. Places with ‘hard’ water have
to use more common soap in the laundry to get a lather. Which accounts for
why detergents are so popular - they work well in ‘hard’ water. Clear as
mud? Cheers, PS; Oh can you guess why sparex cleans furred up kettles?
John Burgess

John is so right. We live in a limestone rich area and are constantly
battling the calcium wars. I’ve found, however that the simple solution to
the calcium buildup in the heating coils is a good water softener. On the
rare occasion when I forget to properly tend to the softener and buildup
occurs, a mild muriatic acid flush cleans the “tubes” quickly. There is
another less caustic solution that works as well, but I could remember
what it is. Sparex?

Hank Paynter

My experience with water softeners and humidifiers is that soft water
scales up more and quicker but… is much easier to clean off. As to
cleaning; vinegar, sparex, CLR, Lime-Away etc all will soften and help
strip off the buildup; especially when used with a little "elbow grease"
and a scratch pad.

Patty: it sounds like the soft water is a solution. I do believe that
most of the scale forming minerals are eliminated by softening the water.
You do add some salt content but not enough to measurably shorten the life
of the steamer. Keep the machine as full of water as is possible based on
the work day. you shouldn’t have much trouble with the steamer. Best
regards Mike

PS Nobody needs my “approval”. It was a “tongue in cheek” bit of advice
worth exactly what you paid for it. (GRIN)

Hello from KS, John Burgess is right on target. Tap water contains a
multitude of minerals and the only way to know if your water contains any
form of carbonate is to test. Simple hardness testing gives the total of
all minerals present, but doesn’t break out the various compounds.
Therefore, if you live in the U.S. and buy your water from a public water
supply (ie. city, rural water district, trailer park, etc.) simply ask the
folks who send you your bill to also send you a copy of the most recent
water test for chemicals. The testing is mandated by EPA and is usually
done on an annual basis. That test will detail all the chemicals/minerals
found in your water supply. If you have your own well - sorry, the water
test cost is out of your pocketbook. Much simpler to use purchased
DISTILLED water. Be aware that bottled water is not necessarily required
to be tested. Some states mandate it, but the enforcement is pretty
sketchy. You might think of your domestic water heater as being in the
same category as your steamer. If water heaters in your area have to be
replaced every few years, you can bet the temporary hardness in the water
is pretty high. Just a clue. Judy

Judy M. Willingham, Consumer Pollution Prevention Specialist 237 Seaton
Hall Kansas State University Manhattan KS 66506 (785)532-5418 FAX
(785) 532-6944

Just a small word of caution on distilled vs. tap water in your steamer:

Some of the new steamers (the non-boiler type, instant steam - like the
Steam Dragon) REQUIRE distilled water. The minerals in tap water can
damage internal components on these units pretty quickly.

But for standard boiler type steamers (like our Reimers G260 JR Steamer)
tap water is recommended by the manufacturer. Here’s why.

For safety reasons, ASME Code mandates the use of a “low water cut-off” in
boiler type steamers. This low water cut-off is a probe that extends
inside the boiler tank. It sends a small electrical charge through the
water that goes to the casing and back to ground. In the event that the
water level drops below the heating element, the probe will shut the
steamer off.

Distilled water is very pure and has high resistivity. Current from the
low water cut-off probe will not travel through distilled water very well
– if at all. As a result, the steamer may not be able to turn on because
the probe thinks there is no water in the tank.

The minerals in tap water allow the current to pass through the water.
All you need to do to prevent unwanted calcium/mineral buildup is to “blow
down” (clean out) the steamer once a week or at least once a month.

If you live in an area with particularly hard water, you might want to try
using spring water instead of distilled water. Hard water is usually
localized and the spring water you buy in the store is most likely from
out of state and will have less calcium and minerals than your local

If your steamer does not have a low water cut-off it is probably an older
unit, or it is not an ASME certified unit which means it can be red-tagged
by any fire marshalls who happen to check. As we are all aware, both OSHA
and fire marshalls are beginning to target the jewelry industry. If you
are in the market for a new steamer, be sure it is fully compliant with
ASME safety codes before you buy.

Best Regards,

Elaine Corwin
Tel: 203-366-5400
Tech Support: 1-800-544-2043, ext 287 (for me)
Fax: 203-335-0300

Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for a steam cleaner for your jewelry projects? We recommend: