One of the products I have been desperate to buy has been a steam cleaner. As an asthmatic, with various allergies and a husband plus a messy 5 year old and two extremely mucky Maine Coon cats, I am always on the lookout for chemical free and environmentally friendly cleaning products. Since Katie and these two particular cats joined us I spend a lot of time cleaning round. I have mentioned in previous posts that Maine Coons are the most untrainable cats I've ever met. Adorable but untrainable. They traipse all over my work surfaces (which I've never allowed with previous members of my furry family). I spend half my day either hollering "DOWN" at them or wiping up their muddy footprints when they come home after a fun hour or two in the garden.
Imagine my delight when I was selected by Mumsnet and Karcher to receive one of their new steam cleaners, the Karcher SC 2.500 C, to play with and review.. I was as giddy as a school girl and waited excitedly for the doorbell to ring heralding the arrival of my new toy. Willow, one of my adorable Maine Coon cats, was in the box the second I had unpacked it so there were two happy females in the house (a rarity Daddy might comment that this point!).
With any new gadget my tests are:
a) how quickly I can remove it from the box and get it ready to use;
b) how easy the
c) how well the product works (and for how long).
The cleaner comes with a booklet which explains in words and pictures how to put it all together. I will say I found the pictures easier to follow. If you've ever put together a vacuum cleaner you will find the Karcher steam cleaner a total doddle to assemble. Everything slots easily into place (I had the cleaner clicked together in about 5 minutes). There are a variety of different attachments for different jobs such as a steam gun (called a detail nozzle) and a small brush that attaches to the gun for cleaning areas such as sinks and baths and around the taps. The cleaner is very light and easy to move around on the wheels. The power lead is a decent length and I was able to clean my kitchen and downstairs bathroom easily from one plug socket. You can store all the attachments in a section at the back of the cleaner and you can hook the extension tubes and floor nozzle onto the back of the cleaner, rather like you can do with many vacuums. The unit is quite small so it's easy to store.
It is important to read the instructions on which surfaces you can clean before using the cleaner. It was hard to restrain myself long enough to do this as I wanted to get on with it. Actually I'd say you could fill the reservoir up with water and get the cleaner heating up whilst you read this section of the instructions. It takes about 6 minutes to warm up properly. I found I had to re-read the written instructions a few times just to make sure I'd understood it properly. They feel a bit wordy but actually I think it's more that there is a lot of information crammed onto the page to save space (the instructions have been translated into 28 languages so space is limited).
The first thing I did was clean my kitchen floor. The terry cloth is folded in half and clips onto the vacuum-like floor nozzle. You do have to be careful of your fingers when doing this but it fits tightly once attached and is easy to adjust. As soon as the light had indicated that the steam was heated I squeezed the trigger and watched excitedly as the steam hissed its way out of the floor nozzle. I was locked and loaded and ready to go.
First I cleaned my kitchen and hall floor. This space is a few hundred square feet in size and it only required one filling of the reservoir. The book warns that you might get some smearing in the first instance as previous products are removed. I didn't find this was the case at all and my floor looked beautifully clean (for about 5 minutes until the cats came in again and put muddy footprints all over it!). The terry cloth cover on the other hand was filthy. My floor was mopped only a day before I used the cleaner so I was very impressed at the depth of cleaning achieved (and slightly concerned about the poor job my mop has been doing). It's important to keep an eye on the reservoir whilst you are cleaning to ensure that it doesn't run out of water. There is a warning light that lights up to remind you to refill. I think, in time, I will get to know roughly when I need to refill. I erred on the side of caution for my first outing with my new toy.
So, after a quick refill of the resevoir and a little wait for it to reheat, I tried out the detail nozzle on my chrome kitchen taps and kitchen sink. The taps, sink hole and overflow cleaned beautifully and were left very shiny. There was some staining on my ceramic kitchen sink which I generally bleach white again once a week. The steam cleaner wasn't able to clean these stains off (I'm not totally slovenly I promise. The surface of the sink does stain easily). I then cleaned my shower quadrant and enjoyed getting into all the nooks and crannies that usually require the use of a skanky old toothbrush that I've saved for such occasions. I am delighted that I will never have to use that toothbrush again. Blasting the cleaner through the space where the door slides and watching in disgusted awe as lots of unsavoury gunge and dirt came whooshing out. I cleaned the glass doors of the shower (remembering to gently allow some steam to coat them before cleaning them with the hand nozzle so as not to risk breaking them).
So did the Karcher SC 2.500 C fulfil the requirements that I set out at the beginning?
Yes it did. It is very easy to assemble and use and cleans amazingly well. The instructions are pretty good (particularly the pictures). I'm not sure I would use it every day for all the small jobs and will still need to wipe my surfaces where the cats have climbed over them (otherwise I'd have the cleaner out all the time) but it will be great for a bigger clean several times a week. It will be interesting to see if, what seems to be impressive cleaning with no chemicals, impacts positively on my asthma. I feel incredibly positive about being able to clean effectively without using any chemicals and how this will impact on myself and Katie and Daddy in the longer term.
If you're interested in seeing the cleaner in action and all the technical details then check out this online clip from Karcher (I actually found this clip useful when using the cleaner).....
“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity”.