Can Steam Cleaning Remove Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that is resistant to heat, resilient, and durable. Due to these amazing properties, the material was used to make construction and fireproofing materials before scientists discovered that it’s dangerous to human health.

Asbestos can cause many breathing problems like asbestosis and pleural thickening when inhaled. Prolonged exposure can even cause cancers like mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.

In one way or the other, asbestos can find its way into your home. But there’s no cause for alarm when it does so because this article describes how to get rid of it without any harm.

Can Steam Cleaning Remove Asbestos

The question is, “will steam cleaning remove asbestos?” We help you understand this and take you through the process of removing asbestos from your home to avoid the risks. But first, let’s answer the question below.

Will Steam Cleaning Remove Asbestos?

Yes, steam cleaning removes asbestos. However, it needs to be complemented with other methods like vacuuming to realize maximum effectiveness. Here’s how to do it.

How to Remove Asbestos Using A Steam Cleaner

1.     Put on Safety Gear

Asbestos is dangerous when inhaled or ingested. Therefore, you need enough protective gear to prevent its entry into your body by all means. Some of the gear that we recommend includes a disposable pair of rubber gloves, rubber boots, and:

  • Full-face piece air-purifying respirator with replaceable high-efficiency filters
  • Safety goggles
  • Disposable coverall
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Note: Do not handle asbestos with bare hands or an open face. The dust particles are too tiny to see with the naked eye. If you’re cleaning outdoors, notify neighbors to close their doors and windows to avoid the dust.

2.     Vacuum The Asbestos

Before starting to use the steam cleaner, vacuum the affected area first. And for this exercise, you need a specialized vacuuming machine fixed with a HEPA filter. Ensure that you only go for replaceable HEPA filters.

Turn the vacuum cleaner on and run it over the affected area in a defined pattern to ensure that you cover the whole area. And when it’s time to change the filters, find an isolated area and do so while still in your protective gear. We recommend dumping the old filters inside waste disposal bags that are approved for asbestos.

3.     Steam Clean The Area

It’s now time to use the steam cleaner. So, add distilled water into its reservoir, plug it in, and let the water heat to about 120°F. Run it across the affected surfaces which you had vacuumed in the step above. Do it slowly but comprehensively.

We advise that you use a towel or piece of cloth at the head of the steam cleaner. When it gets dirty, consider disposing and replacing it as you did with the HEPA filters above.

Steam cleaning will not only help you clean the asbestos but also kill bacteria, and some viruses, and loosen dirt. So, it’s important to vacuum that area again to suck up all the debris.

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4.     Wipe All Surfaces

While cleaning the floor, carpet, or upholstery, there’s a chance that some asbestos dust might have found its way to your walls, counters, and other places. So, consider wiling all these surfaces using a damp cloth.

Kindly avoid using a broom or a normal vacuuming machine; they’ll only spread the asbestos dust farther. Remember to dispose of the used damp cloth.

5.     Remove And Clean Your Protective Gear

Now, take off all your protective gear. Dispose of some of them like the disposable gloves and coverall together with the filters and damp cloths that you had disposed of before. Clean all reusable gear like rubber boots and goggles.

Meanwhile, don’t remove your respirator until all cleaning and disposal are done. Lastly, find an asbestos disposal facility near you and dispose of the waste disposal bags that you had used.

Precautions While Cleaning Asbestos

  1. Take care not to use sweeping or any other dry method to clean asbestos. Avoid normal vacuum cleaners and go for those with replaceable HEPA filters. Dry cleaning asbestos spreads it to more places, increasing the risk of inhaling it.
  2. Always use high-end protective gear (like the ones recommended above) while cleaning asbestos. Avoid cleaning and reusing disposable gear.
  3. Do not smoke, eat or drink in the area that you’re cleaning.
  4. Dispose of all used gear in the right place that is recommended by the health department in your area.
  5. If necessary, take enough training on handling asbestos before steam cleaning it. Luckily, comprehensive tips are already available in this article.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How Long Does Asbestos Stay In Air Once Disturbed?

    Asbestos dust can stay in the air for between 48 and 72 hours before settling. The dust is usually very light and can be difficult to see. When disturbed after settling, it becomes airborne yet again.

  2. Can Vacuuming Alone Remove Asbestos?

    We only recommend the use of H-class vacuum cleaners to remove asbestos from your carpets, upholstery, floor, and other surfaces. While it works just fine, you also need a steam cleaner to make the results perfect.

  3. What Are The Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure?

    The most common signs of asbestos exposure include sneezing, chest pains, and shortness of breath. They’re only noticeable after the dust has affected the lungs. Others may include: Crackling sounds during breathing, Pleural plaques, Pleural effusion, and Dry cough.

  4. Where is Asbestos Mostly Found in Homes?

    Asbestos was mostly used to make construction materials for homes in the 1980s. You might be asking where to find the mineral within your home to help protect your family from its risks while handling such areas. Well, take care while handling: Textured paint, Steam pipes, Cement, and Spray-on insulation.

The Bottom Line

Yes, steam cleaning removes asbestos, loosens dirt, and kills bacteria. The results are more perfect when the method is combined with vacuuming, and there are a lot of precautions involved. With this information, you can now remove all asbestos from your home without trouble.

Take action now and ensure that your family is safe. Stay safe.

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