It’s Summer, it’s meant to be sunny isn’t it? We’re all set for a heatwave in the UK apparently but let’s be honest, that’s likely to be followed shortly by rain if the past few months are to be judged.. We’re just being realistic, we have to be prepared for the muddy paw prints don’t we?
Following our review of vacuum cleaners last year paying particular attention to what we as dog owners need, we decided to find out if steam cleaners are really worth the hype, and in some cases, price tag.
With three black coated dogs, including a puppy who has successfully conquered (thankfully) house training, a cat, and husband (who spills but never admits) at home, our house has a heavy footfall daily.
Not only that, we have cream carpets throughout except for two rooms which have hard floors. The carpets, flooring and rugs take the brunt of the paw prints but nevertheless short of attaching clothes to every paw/foot, I knew I needed to try something different and wanted a different option to bleaching constantly but at the same time, wanted something which could kill bacteria. So could a steam cleaner be the answer?
I’ll be honest, I was a little excited to try this. The time I spend cleaning our hard floors means the doors are closed to all and I can put any cheesy music on full blast without worry that I’ll be asked ‘what on earth are you listening to?’ because no one wants to come in and risk being told the floor cleaning task can happily be assigned.
So, on with the reviews. We chose to review three steam cleaners with different price points.
Name: H20 X5 5in1 Steam Cleaning System
RRP £79.99 (Free P&P)
Pros: Great price, easy to store with great customer service. Speedy start time from switching on to being able to use.
Cons: The cloths which attach to the steam cleaning head weren’t hard wearing enough to cope with our stone floor sadly so they lasted one-two uses each.
The H20 X5 mop uses water only (no chemicals) and they say the steam alone will ‘kill up to 99% of bacteria like salmonella and E. coli’ (less on wooden floors). It uses ordinary tap water that it turns into super-heated steam to help sanitise and deodorise.
It comes with a fantastic array of attachments and clothes and with the extra heads and cleaners available, it can be used to clean what felt like virtually everything – Floors, Windows (in its hand held function), Clothes, Curtains and Carpets.
Available in different colours, you can choose from Red, Green, White and there’s currently a Special Pink edition available.
During our review we had an issue with the ball which attaches the head to the cleaner. The ball essentially allows the head to fit into different corners and move with ease. The customer service team acted swiftly to help us resolve and send a replacement, which was fantastic.
The H20 X5 gives lots of flexibility to change it’s use with multiple add on’s available to purchase, including a ‘Pet Kit’ which available to purchase separately for £14.99 and includes: 1 x Red Lint Cloth, 1 x Green Nylon Brush and 5 x Disposable Bonnet Cloths.
Sadly, we found the cloth heads weren’t hardy enough for our tough stone floor which suffers primarily from muddy feet, but we have used repeatedly on windows and once you’ve got used to maneuvering and the weight of holding (it’s heavier to hold than and move up and down on windows versus the light feeling of using on floors) it becomes pretty easy to use.
If you’re looking for something that does it all, this cleaner is worth a look. It has so many cleaning options, if you find just one like we did that saves you time and money in the long run, then it could be worth it to you.
Find out more at ThaneDirect.co.uk
Name: Vax Steam Fresh Combi Multifunction
Price: RRP £159.99
At the time of writing, it is currently on special offer (link below) as an online exclusive with additional add-on’s included for £109.99
Pros: Really light to use and quick drying (Vax say it dries in three minutes). Uses a combination of water and a scented detergent which leaves a fresh smell. Great lead length meaning from being plugged in, it could stretch across a fairly large floor space with ease.
Cons: During our review, the pads which attach to the bottom of the cleaning head kept getting caught and folding underneath so corners being cleaned weren’t getting the full benefit of the cleaning session.
Winner of a ‘Which? Best Buy’ award for 2014, we were really keen to put this 2-in-1 steam mop and handheld cleaner to the test.
Coming with an array of 10 tools to clean every nook and cranny as a handheld cleaner as well as for hard floors and carpets, it’s clearly designed to give you confidence that whatever the space, whatever the job, it can tackle it.
The refillable container has clearly marked lines for the scented solution and water and it’s really easy to fill, remove and place back in if you need to re-fill before you’ve finished.
For me, I really enjoyed my first few tries varying between wooden floors, where it performed very well, and my tougher stone floor, and I loved the fresh scent from the solution provided with the cleaner.
The pads wore much better than the previous cleaner, with no visible damage which was fantastic, but sadly I couldn’t keep fixing the pads on the cleaner to ensure I managed to get into every corner needed with ease. I can’t say if this is typical, but it was typical of my trial sadly no matter how many times I checked the grip between the cleaner and cleaning pad.
That said, the cleaner does so much more and if you’re looking for something to help you clean all of those hard to reach places, it’s worth investigating.
Find out more at Vax.co.uk
And last but not least…
Name: Shark Sonic Duo – KD450
Pros: Lightweight, easy to maneuver with hardy cleaning pads which have stood up to our stone flooring. Good lead length from plug in point for use.
Cons: Not a negative as such, but the solution bottles don’t last many months and would have been great to have larger bottles where possible. Our cleaning solution lasted two months (weekly cleaning), the polishing spray, which is guided by you and how much you use, lasted three months (weekly cleaning) and the rug sprays have lasted approximately 6 months because they’ve been used less, but again how much you use is guided by you. The solution can be bought separately from different retailers varying in prices from £9.99 upwards.
The most expensive out of our three cleaners, we were keen to put the Shark Sonic Duo to the test to see if the price tag was worth the end result.
It cleans a range of household surfaces with gusto. Coming with three different colour coded pads – 2 x green for cleaning hard floors, 2 x orange for polishing hard floors and 2 x purple for cleaning carpets/rugs. The solution bottles are colour co-ordinated to match the pads for easiness.
To clean the hard floors you mix the solution with water filling up to the lines marked on the bottle before you replace the bottle into the front of the cleaner. Using on hard floors, the cleaner allows you to use pressing down on the head to scrub the floor almost. Admittedly this took some mastering, holding down and moving, or working out which spots in front needed a little extra attention on one spot before moving onto another, but you find your rhythm.
Once finished, you then remove the bottle, detach the cleaning pads and re-attach new pads to polish spraying the brightening polish solution wherever you wish to then move over with the Sonic Duo.
It advises you leave the floor without walking on for around 24 hours, in our house this just isn’t possible so I try to finish the task just before everyone two legged and four legged heads off to bed to give it a decent amount of time to settle in. The results on our hard floor truly are amazing. Being a dark brown stone, it can easily look dull. The brightening solution transformed it into a shiny, clean looking floor.
As with the floor cleaning you tackle cleaning carpets and rugs in two stages. For us with Christopher house training, and I don’t want to say being slow to catch on fully, but he did have a few accidents when we thought he’d cracked it, this part of the trial was also very much needed at home.
Once you’ve cleared the space from all (cue the cheesy music mentioned in the introduction), you first of all use the Pretreater Solution to spray the area/s needed before you go over it with the cleaner having attached the purple co-ordinated pads to the head. Once completed, you change the solution placing the brighter into the bottle holder at the front of the cleaner and repeat.
The following day once dried the rugs and tested carpet areas smelt clean and fresh.
Overall, this was our favourite cleaner. Although the most expensive with additional solutions needing to be purchased on an ongoing basis, we most definitely saw the benefit in our home with our specific floors with the cleaner. The pads have shown no signs of wear and tear on our hardy floors and I think from the moment I saw the brightened look on our stone floor, I fell in love. From years of cleaning and feeling like I knew it was clean so that was all that mattered, I felt like I actually saw a difference.
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Find out more at SharkClean.eu