Our Vax hand held steam cleaner finally gave up the ghost and is sadly no longer with us. Mr. T. was rather reluctant to assist me in my search for a suitable replacement, until that is, I casually reminded him of the days when cleaning the grouting in the bathroom involved an old toothbrush, diluted bleach and a great deal of elbow grease. Contemplating the effort that would be required to carry out such a task his reluctance amazingly vanished, obviously realising there would a lot less effort required opening his wallet and wouldn't be quite as painful either.
My first port of call was the good old reliable Argos catalogue, to get an idea of what was available and the likely cost involved. It is surprising just how many hand held steamers there are on the market, all varying in size, performance and price.
The one that really caught my eye was the Electrolux Z355A Enviro Steam Gun Cleaner, from the description it seemed perfect for our needs and it wasn't too expensive either.
I set Mr. T. the task of finding the best deal online. Not surprisingly it was available almost everywhere and the price was more or less the same, give or take a few pence.
The dark clouds that had descended around Mr. T. suddenly started to slowly lift and the sun began to peek through when he spotted Tesco Direct were amongst the list of retailers, as not only could it be purchased through a cash back site but we would earn Double Clubcard points too. Feeling rather pleased with himself, he immediately placed an order paying £48.97 and opted to collect it from store to avoid any delivery costs. (Ok it wasn't our usual store but it wasn't too far away and we did our weekly shop there at the same time, killing two birds with one stone). Given the fact I'd managed to use my somewhat limited female charm in persuading him we needed a new one in the first place, I didn't want to push my luck by suggesting we had it delivered to our home address as well.
I did manage to resist the temptation to test drive this new appliance as soon as we got home, instead taking the opportunity to familiarise myself with the operating instructions and various accessories included. The 11 page owners guide gives clear illustrated instructions and informs us that " The steam gun is designed as a complete change from old methods of traditional cleaning and that this appliance is designed as a multi-purpose cleaner with a variety of applications ".. Sounds rather impressive doesn't it!
Being more than pleased to learn the operation of this would not require undue pressure on my thumb ( or any other digit for that matter) like our old Vax did, I became rather excited ( sad I know) at the thought of putting this new addition to the family through it's paces.
**** WHAT YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY ****
Quite simply a 1200 watt hand held steam cleaner with 9 accessories. The actual machine weighs in at 1.8kg, has a 6 metre cable and a water chamber capable of holding 2.5 litres of water. It all looked and sounded pretty impressive and I found myself preferring to get started with it rather than relax with a coffee and finishing the book I have been reading on and off for the last 2 months.
This little machine is capable of providing 22 minutes continuous steam time, just by filling the water chamber, plugging it in and pressing the trigger, Ok you have to keep your finger on the trigger but it is by no means an uncomfortable task.
The steam Gun Cleaner has a very clever articulated joint which allows the jet of steam to be directed exactly where you want.
** Accessories **
As previously mentioned there are 9 of these in total including a measuring jug and funnel.
This is around 7 inches long and can be used alone or with either the round scrub brush or angled nozzle. I find you get better accuracy with this especially as you can adjust it to point just where you want it. This is brilliant for blasting the cooker hob, work surfaces, window ledges, tiles, wash basins, kitchen cupboards even on the floor round the loo (why is it that men seem to have problems aiming where they should?).
It also works a treat cleaning our kitchen and outside wheelie bin too.
It proved its weight in gold when we woke one morning to a blocked sink in the bathroom. No amount of plunging helped, neither did using the commercially produced drain unblocking powder resolve the problem. It was not possible to undo the U bend sump due to the sink pedestal being close up to the wall.
Mr T was seriously contemplating putting his hand in his wallet yet again and calling out a Plumber for some assistance. As I Watched the colour from his face slowly start to drain away unlike the water in the sink. It occurred to me that it was worth giving the plug hole a blast with the steam cleaner to see if it could dislodge what ever gunk was clogging up the drain. After scooping out most of the water that lay in the basin I braced my self, counted to 10 and blasted the plug hole with steam for around 5 minutes. The gurgling sound I heard was music to my ears, the small amount of water in the basin flowed down the plug hole,
"hey presto "the blockage was no more.
"Who needs a plumber when you have got an Electrolux Enviro Steam Gun Cleaner ", I shouted from the bathroom to Mr. T whilst doing a little jig. Ok I don't dispute the drain unblocking powder did the bulk of the work but I believe the blast of steam did the rest. Needless to say all the plug holes get a 5 minute blast of steam at least twice a week.
Attached to the straight nozzle this is perfect for getting right under the rim of the loo, behind taps, and all those other difficult to reach areas, leaving no nook or cranny untouched.
*Round Scrub Brush*
Whilst the nylon bristles feel rather stiff, I have found they don't scratch the surfaces you use it on. Attached to the straight nozzle we have used this to clean grouting and also on tea and curry stained work tops (thanks to Master T.), not forgetting the shelves in our oven too. It will no doubt be used on the racks for the BBQ should it get an airing this summer, assuming we get one that is.
*Flexible Extension Pipe*
This needs to be attached to the machine without the straight nozzle. The remaining 3 accessories can then be attached depending on what it is you want to clean. (You can if you wish attach the scrub brush or angled nozzle too should you desire).
This is meant to be used for cleaning windows of course as well as mirrors and glass doors. I would imagine this would make light work when it comes to the cleaning glass doors on those walk in showers (sadly not something we have), of course this shouldn't be used on glass that is cold as the dramatic difference in temperature could well cause it to break (that's the glass by the way and not the machine) it does however work well on tiled areas too.
*Fabric Tool & Cloth*
Slip the elasticated edged cloth over the end and you are ready to steam clean clothing, curtains and upholstery (although it is not recommended to use this items made of velour). I tend to use this for steam cleaning our mattresses around once a month (don't want any bed bugs making themselves comfortable and taking up residence). It also came in handy when my new winter coat was splashed with dirty salty slush when a very ignorant driver of a "Chelsea tractor" drove way too fast and far too near the kerb whilst I was waiting to cross the road for a split second the air turned blue and it wasn't exhaust fumes!! . The mucky marks vanished almost as quickly as they had appeared.
Getting started is simplicity it's self. Just make sure the machine is unplugged before slowly unscrewing the safety cap, once the hissing noise stops remove the cap completely then fill the chamber with water using the funnel and measuring cup provided. Replace the cap; plug the machine in, wait for the red indicator light to come on, it will then be ready to dispense steam in around 3 minutes; you can actually hear the water being heated. Slide the safety button on the handle downwards to unlock the appliance, and then point the steamer where you want and press the trigger. Should you be interrupted whilst steam cleaning simply take your finger off the trigger (obviously) and slide the safety button upwards to prevent steam from accidentally being dispensed ( very handy if you have young children around). Once you have finished your steam cleaning for the day and emptied any remaining water from the pressurised chamber you can wrap the cord round the cleverly designed base.
This little machine produces heat and steam similar to that of a steam iron and is capable of reaching temperatures in excess of 200 °F, it is therefore important not to direct the steamer in one spot for an extended period of time.
Given the temperature, it is obvious but important not to point this at people or animals. It is also advisable to allow the machine to cool for three minutes before refilling the water chamber should it be required. I have found we only need to refill the chamber once whilst cleaning the bathroom.
You can use this steam gun to virtually steam clean everywhere around your home, only a few exclusions apply which are on cold glass, adhesive vinyl surfaces, velour upholstery and unsealed surfaces.
I have read of people using steam cleaners to speed up the process when defrosting their freezers, but on checking the user manual that came with ours (freezer that is) it clearly states that the use of "steam cleaners or hair dryers" is NOT recommended as it could damage the appliance beyond repair. This may well work for some but is something I am not prepared to try as Mr. T. would have a heart attack if he had to fork out for a new freezer as well.
Whilst this Electrolux Z355A Enviro Steamer is the same wattage as our old Vax, that is where the similarities end. We are more than pleasantly surprised at the level of steam produced and this has proved more than a match for what I thought was our sadly departed Vax. I have no qualms recommending this little powerful machine, especially as you can clean your home from top to bottom without the need for any of those nasty chemicals we all tend to be so fond of these days.
**** Where Can You Get Yours ****
As mentioned earlier there are numerous outlets including;-
Tesco Direct £48.97
The above prices may differ slightly due to the recent VAT increase.
© tune57 (previously posted by me on ciao with pictures)
Electrolux Z355A 1200W Steam Cleaner with Round Brush, Angled & Jet Nozzles / 3 mins heat up time / 6m cable / 250cl capacity / 22 mins steam time / Pressured steam control.