I'm getting steamy!
August 24, 2011 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Tell me about steam cleaners.

I'm thinking of getting a steam cleaner after realising that my kitchen and bathroom are in dire need of deep cleaning, and I'd rather not inhale a ton of chemicals whilst cleaning it.

I've pretty much ruled out the As Seen On TV steam mop things, because the ones I've seen in stores appear to be incredibly flimsy. I was thinking about something like this, or this or this. I know it's possible to spend a bundle on these things, but I'm looking to stay under £80.

Steam cleaner owners, tell me your experiences. Are they worth the money? Is there anything you've ruined with steam cleaning (I have engineered wood floors, and was warned by the supplier not to use steam cleaning on engineered wood, as it can cause it to warp, so I won't be using it on that). Give me your hints and tips to make my home sparkle again.
posted by essexjan to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
We have owned two steam mops, both were As Seen On TV, which I know you mentioned you wanted to avoid, but...

We had an H2O mop and loved, loved, loved, loved it. We had it about a year and then the power chord broke off the back, which I believe is a design flaw most people experienced once I looked it up online. It blew out a fuse in our house when it broke and started the plastic on the back of the mop on fire. That was fun.

We now have a Bissel steam mop that is much higher in quality design-wise, but it doesn't do nearly as good of a job as the H2O mop.

I believe they are completely worth the money, overall, and I have never ruined anything with them, and I use them on wood, too. Even if our current steam mop breaks, I will buy another, then another, then another. I also want one that does more than just floors, someday.
posted by TinWhistle at 8:51 AM on August 24, 2011

I have one we got for $90 half price from Canadian Tire and it is good. It has a steam mop attachment but I don't use that part because we mostly just vacuum and spot clean (even on the wood floors). I generally use the wand with the little brush. The best thing is that you don't use chemicals with it. It cleans lots of things like sinks and doorknobs and refrigerators and spots on floors and grout and stuff like that. The worst thing is that ... well, there's really no worst thing, I'd buy it or one like it again. Not having my house fill up with chemicals when I clean the kitchen/bathroom is a revolution. I just wave the wand at things then wipe them down with a cotton rag and that's pretty much it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:08 AM on August 24, 2011

Best answer: I have a Euroflex Monster Steam Cleaner and it is a delight. I have an old house and I was very giddy over the first use, it being clear that I was blasting away many decades of filth that never would've been removed in any other way.

It was totally worth the money, hasn't ruined a thing (and I have steamed a lot; I am the sort who puts all sorts of non-clothing items into the washing machine and non-dishes into the dishwasher, and I have steamed some unlikely stuff), and I am enthusiastic about the model I own, which has been solid and trouble-free.

I don't do whole floors with it, just around the edges and spot-cleaning. It did come with a carpet attachment, and it does truly remarkable things to beat-up old carpet; it made it clean and fluffy instead of stained and matted. I took it to a friend's cottage (as thanks for use of the cottage) and did her shower enclosure with it; she was amazed, having thought that the particular tucked-away black build-up was a permanent feature.

They are a godsend for anyone with joint problems or other mobility hassles; it takes much of the 'elbow grease' factor out of cleaning up. It's like using a power tool; I really enjoy cleaning with it, which means things are a lot cleaner than they were before...
posted by kmennie at 9:34 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: We have the Polti Pocket one, which I think is quite similar to the one in your last link. I've only ever used it on hard surfaces - tiles, stainless steel, etc, never to clean carpets or anything like that with.

The main time it gets used is on the gas cooker. Even though it looks clean, something that boils over will often get into the 0.5mm gap between the stove top and the burner unit. There's no way to get any kind of cleaning rag into there, but the steam gets right in and fetches the crud out. It's also great for cleaning "dried" oil that has been baked on, especially in the oven. We didn't realise just how dirty things were until we shook this thing at them.

It's also great for defrosting the freezer and cleaning around and inside all of the little seals and joints. Unless you have some extremeophiles living in your house, I reckon this will kill pretty much every bacteria. It's also good on windows.

Two tips: get an absorbent cloth to keep by the jet of steam, because you'll get gunky liquid being fired about. Second tip is to get some heat resistant gloves, possibly from your local DIY store. I've scalded myself enough times to not risk it now.
posted by Solomon at 10:57 AM on August 24, 2011

I have the Shark 2-in-1 Vac Then Steam mop, and I loooooooove it. I got mine at Target for about $150; it came with two regular pads and one-heavy duty one. You vacuum the floors (hard surfaces only, no carpet), then flip it into steam mode, attach a cleaning pad to the bottom, pour a little water into the tank, give it a minute to heat up, and off you go. Couldn't be simpler.

The vacuum got up a very satisfying amount of dust, pet hair, and crumbs, and the clean floors even feel different to the touch. I love that it only uses water, love that the pads are washable and reusable (I just toss them in the washing machine along with a load of towels or whatever), love that the cord is really long so that I can clean the entire first floor of my house without ever having to switch outlets, love how fast the floor dries...I could go on.

So far I have not ruined anything, even my wood floors. My only cautionary tale is that you don't want to mop in bare feet, because the steam that comes out is HOT. Eventually I'll probably get something that does more than just floors, but mopping is the bane of my existence and this little beauty makes mopping almost fun.
posted by anderjen at 12:09 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, that's really helpful.
posted by essexjan at 12:44 PM on August 24, 2011

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