Asked on Feb 22, 2013

Can I add fragrance to portable steam cleaner water?

Glade Interiors
by Glade Interiors

I bought a small portable steam cleaner used. Anyone tried using febreeze or other scented product with water to clean carpet or upholstery? Sorry...I'm a scent-aholic and plain steam just doesn't feel clean to me...

Best distilled water for a steam cleaner

Don't break your steamer with scented products, use this distilled water that Amazon reviewers swear by!

  19 answers
  • Z Z on Feb 22, 2013
    I'm not sure what brand or type your steamer is but mine said not to use anything but tap water. You might want to Google the brand name and see if you can find out for sure.
  • oil scents should not be used with steamers, unless the manufacture provides instructions that their system is designed for this. I know of no steam unit that allows this to be used as such. Perhaps having a scented oil in a dish near by might be picked up with the steam.
  • Z Z on Feb 22, 2013
    Good idea @Bob.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Feb 23, 2013
    I still laugh when I see those commercials that claim "spray cleaners" actually "clean the air". There is not a single spray product on the planet that can make the air cleaner by being "added". The only way to clean air is to "remove" items. dust particles, chemical residues etc. This is normally accomplished by filtration. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for a number of years and we had various levels of "clean rooms". The air quality in some of these rooms was 100 times cleaner than that of hospital operating room. This was all done via large air handlers and filtration equipment. Some of these air handlers were the size of a school bus. Check out this article I wrote
  • Funny you said that Kevin, I did a clean room many years ago for Lucent. They made silicon chips. We had to wear white suits, all of our tools had to be specially cleaned to bring them in. Our job was to air seal the ducts from the inside, change the HEPA filter banks which was the entire ceiling of the room, Each filter cost over a grand and there must have been over a 100 of them in the room, and replace the air handler motor on the roof. We had to repel down five stories inside the duct system that was over six feet square. We only had two days to do the entire project. It cost them at that time over a $1,000,000.00 per day of loss revenue to shut that room down. But you are 100% correct, Sprays only mask odors, some will kill the mold spores floating around, but even dead spores can cause breathing issues etc.
  • Sherry Sherry on Feb 24, 2013
    To get the freshest and cleanest steam possible only use distilled water in your steamer. Then apply Febreeze right after the steam cleaning and allow to dry. Best of both worlds and no damage to your steamed
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Feb 25, 2013
    I have never been a fan of "Chemical Sprays"...Febreeze is one of the worst. here is a link to a study that found 87 chemicals. Sunshine and fresh air will do wonders.
  • Z Z on Feb 25, 2013
    Thank you @Kevin. I really appreciate the info. I don't know why, considering how careful I am about using chemicals, that it never dawned on me, that when using Febreeze, I was spreading chemicals around our whole home! That's down right scary. I'm going to read the links provided on the page you linked to. Thanks again.
  • Leanna Stupperich Leanna Stupperich on Mar 16, 2013
    You could also try DIY febreeze - rubbing alcohol or cheap vodka in a spray bottle with your choice of essential oils....
    • See 1 previous
    • ChelsuhDawn ChelsuhDawn on Jun 14, 2020

      The alcohol keeps the product fresh longer :)

      Here's my "recipe" I use and it's MUCH BETTER than febreeze! It smells better (bc you pick your flavors of course 😉) and it lasts longer. One store febreeze is equivalent to about 57 DIY freshners!!! ENJOY 😊

      1 spray bottle (I use the 28oz. one from WM for $0.98)

      1 cap full of alcohol

      1/4 c. Downy Unstoppable beads

      1 1/2 TBSP softner

      -Fill bottle half way with warm water. (DO NOT USE SPRAYER WHILE WATER IS WARM!!!) Lol

      -Let solution sit until all beads are dissolved

      -Fill bottle rest of the way with cold water

      -TADAAA!!! ☺

  • Benecya Jackson Benecya Jackson on May 23, 2015
    Don't worry i was asking this same question as well. Maybe a drop of essential oil? It might clog the spray head but it doesn't seem that likely or that much of a risk to kill my curiosity. I will say use the oils for their indications with the smell being a bonus (lavender is usually a failsafe as long as its diluted, calming, not overpowering & pleasant to smell). I don't like steam going in my face smelling like whatever stale smell I run across haha it'd opening my pores & idk how I feel about it. Anyway does anyone know if I can add anything or do anything to get ketchup out of my upholstery (micro suede,
  • Charlotte Cox Charlotte Cox on May 25, 2015
    I added just a tiny bit of vinegar to mine. sort of 'welded' the screw on lid to where it would no longer come off. Hubby and I tried everything. Finally gave up and bought a new one.
  • Manuelbralic Manuelbralic on Jun 24, 2015
    I came to the idea to put a few drops of essential oil onto the BACK of the pad before mounting it onto the steamer. This way no oil (or anything else you might want to use) would go into the steamer, but rather the steam would "push" it out of the pad. By putting the drops onto the back, rather than onto the face of the pad, it should not "smear off" straight onto the floor. Didn't try it yet, but will do next time I use the steamer.
    • Esther Marie Esther Marie on Dec 13, 2018

      Brilliant idea!!! Thank you! I'm going to try this. So glad for an idea that won't damage my new garment steamer.

  • Jessie Jessie on Aug 29, 2015
    Yes I'm with you, I dont lime just steam. I have to have a great scent. I pour about an 1/8 cup of febreze into my full size steam cleaner and add the rest water. Never had a problem and my house smells great. I have dogs so this really helps to freshen my house when I don't always need to actually shampoo my carpets.
  • Joj2270663 Joj2270663 on Sep 08, 2015
    you can use liquid fabric softener....give it a try, test with a small does work
    • Amanda Young Amanda Young on Sep 18, 2017

      I put a tiny bit of conditioner in the water in my iron, it clogged it up something terrible, in the end I binned it and had to buy anothe, try scented ironing water, surely if it's safe for an iron it's safe for a steamer?? Maybe?

  • Keemee Keemee on Mar 11, 2016
    my friend uses essential oils in her floor steamer. it makes everything smell nice and fresh. We love it and there's been no problem with her steamer.
  • Giz Giz on Jan 01, 2017

    The problem with adding your own ideas of fragrances to the steam cleaner is that you don't know if they will later gum up in your spray nozzle and clog it up.

  • Mike Wagner Mike Wagner on Sep 18, 2017

    If the machine is making steam, then it is basically a boiler. I have operated steam boilers for over 20 years, and while the quantity of water in the two items is vastly different, ANYTHNG you put in will eventually become scale or sludge in the heating vessel. In big boilers we use lots of chemicals to remove this, but in this tiny little boiler, it will definitely scale up or plug up, or at least take lots longer to heat the water to the boiling point. So, basically I'm saying that to keep this at a minimum, only distilled water like you used to use in your steam iron should be used. It's still available in grocery stores and is cheap by the gallon, like milk, but cheaper! If you have soft water in your home that will definitely help too, but if you want a fresh smell, spray a room freshener, not put stuff into your steamer!

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 09, 2022

    Some steamers only recommend using water to clean. Other manufacturers suggest only using specific cleaning products like diluted bleach or vinegar so check your instruction manual before using.

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 10, 2022

    I used to add Pinsol to my rainbow vaccum.