Difference Between Pure Steam & Clean Steam

Clean SteamAlthough steam generation methods are fairly similar, not all steam is created equal. Where high-quality steam with no chemicals or additives is necessary, care must be taken to create pure or clean steam.

These types of steam are commonly used in the medical, pharmaceutical, and food & beverage industries. This is because many of their applications, such as sanitation, do not allow for conventional steam. Rust, debris, and chemicals in conventional steam have the potential to produce contaminants in the steam.

Pure steam and clean steam have three common factors:

  • They do not contain additives – additives and chemicals can compromise the quality and purity of the steam.
  • They use a steam generator built specifically to produce this type of steam. It is not used for other applications.
  • Use specific water types – Depending on the intended use, these steam types use purified water, highly purified water, or water for injection.


Are Pure Steam and Clean Steam the Same?

The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, and they do have some similar factors. Despite this, pure steam and clean steam are not the same. Here we explore some of the most important distinctions between the two steam types.


Although both are purer than conventional steam, they offer different levels of pure. Pure steam has more strict regulations. This ensures greater control on inhibiting the presence of chemicals, additives, or any other unintended materials.

You would use a boiler heater that generates pure steam in the most sensitive applications. While pure steam is suitable for clean steam applications, clean is not sufficient where pure is required.


While it is possible to use pure steam in a clean steam application, it would not usually be done. It is more cost-effective to create clean steam. So it is used wherever requirements do not require the added cost of generating pure steam.


Although both types of steam are used in similar industries, they have separate applications.

Some common applications of pure steam include:

  • Organic Food Products – In the production of organic products, pure steam is necessary to ensure foods do not contain chemicals. Non-organic foods might opt for clean steam, although pure is ideal.
  • Pharmaceutical Production – In healthcare, pharmaceutical drugs and products production tends to have strict endotoxin regulations. This is particularly so for any injectable or intravenous products. There is a significant risk of injecting unintended chemicals or additives into someone’s bloodstream.
  • Sanitation – Where intensive sterilization is required, only pure steam will do. From tattoo parlors to pharmaceuticals, pure steam is used for sanitizing equipment. This includes autoclaves, sterilizers, and even the humidification in cleanroom ventilators.

Common examples of clean steam include:

    • Non-Injectable Sterile Products – not all pharmaceutical production requires pure steam. Where endotoxin regulations are less strict, such as with non-injectable products, clean steam may be acceptable.
  • Biopharma Applications – Biopharmaceuticals are regulated by FDA standards or approvals. As such, they do not generally require pure steam.

Which type of steam is right for your application? Learn more about types of steam for electric boiler heaters.