Death smells like urine, simple as, why we hate going to hospitals. Anyone who has an elderly relative who is sick will know that acrid smell well from hospital and how hard it is to get rid off it from the home after that person has passed away. The elderly care service is in crisis here, not because the money is not there so much but because no one under 60 really cares what happens to old people, including the nurses. Dementia, not global warming, is our real inescapable disaster waiting to happen. With that attitude to kick it down the road there never will be a fix and because of that your elderly relatives will be kept in their houses to die and so there will always be a market for steam cleaners as they are the only hardware that will really get anywhere near getting that depressing smell out of your house or flat, short of ripping out the carpets and treating the floorboards, what I and my mum eventually had to do after my dad died battling Alzheimer's. Death offers no dignity.
The thing with modern steam cleaners is they have lots of options so you can really get into the nooks and crannies left unclean by your books and grannies. Anyone who has had to deal with a parent with Alzheimer's knows that near the end they don't know what a toilet is and so will wee anywhere and so you have to clean everything - and I mean everything! My old man even weed in me mums pot plants! Every time I go around me mums house that's the first thing I think of.
As foreign sounding my device is they have it listed on dooyoo and so here we go, sounding like it was made in Albania! There's a lot of steam cleaning to be done in Albania after the war so why wouldn't they make steam cleaners? It's quite a new brand to the UK by the looks and not cheap but I got the feeling you couldn't skimp on the money when you buy one of these. They have to do the job. My mate's dad has also got the illness so I passed it on to him for a bit as it did do the job for us. They aren't cheap and so not something left idle, ours coming in at three hundred bucks!
They are built like Hoovers and fairly small ad agile although the 4m cable with this one was pretty rubbish. Like I say you have to get everywhere and so you need enough cable to play skipping ropes at least. In hindsight the model was perhaps a little small for the job in hand and it didn't hold a great deal of boiled water either. It took quite a few refills and electrical chord extensions to get things done. The drag is not great on thick pile carpets either so if you pull the wire too hard it could topple over.
Applications wise there are lots of tentacles and attachments supplied with it to get where you need to go and you can buy additional ones. It seems to have a water filtration system, whatever that is, but I'm unclear where the bits have gone and how to clean the filter. When you empty the thing it reminds you of the sewers in India. There isn't any sort of measure, either; to tell you how much water is left in the tank and so it stink's in there every time you check. Have your airfreshner ready guys! I blast it with Lynx body spray.
As I say if you have one then you may as well clean everything, from your kitchen lino to your Grandfather Clock. The T-Bone nozzle puts down the right amount of superheated water/steam and you do feel you are in a Michael Jackson video as it gets rather steamy inside. You won't be able to clean all day on just one water refill though so plan some coffee breaks as it brews up like your kettle. By the way it's an expensive model because it's also a regular vacuum cleaner and so two mechanisms in there. The vacuum isn't that impressive though and feels like a design afterthought.
What its good at is it cleans fat away in the kitchen, the job we all hate. Nothing worse than turning the knob on the kitchen radio to feel that icky film of goo. It also tries its best on things like bathroom tiles that have built up that mildew on the corners. As far as the carpet's go it did take at least four cleans to get most of the smell to go away. We still had to throw down carpet fresnher to keep the smell at bay.
If you fancy a good spring clean guys this is the type of multitask kit I can see lot of people going for. It's not as prentecious as the Dyson and Vax ranges and looks quite streamlined, reminiscent of one of the droid on the Return of the Jedi that gets vaporized by Jabba the Huts henchman.
I bought this today from John Lewis and am absolutely delighted with it. The ability to adjust steam and vacuum level to suit different surfaces is really useful and the various heads and tools allow for cleaning most surfaces around the home.
I started by cleaning the kitchen tiles - boy oh boy was I surprised that we actually had beige coloured grout between the tiles! I thought it was meant to be black - but a quick blast and scrub with the crevice tool soon showed me differently - the dirt simply lifted off and was easily "sucked" away using the vacuum part.
You do still need to scrub at stubborn stains - but they lift so much easier after a blast of steam, a scrub and repeat this a couple of times and even the most stubborn of stains are gone.
The vacuum cleaner part works really well too - and the water filter ensures you're not just recycling the dust into the room too.
The steam generator "boiler" could perhaps do with being a little larger - it only holds 1.2 litres, but I found this will do a couple of rooms and then you're ready for a bit of a rest anyway. Hose really would be better if it was 1 metre longer to make doing the stairs that bit easier.
However these are probably relatively small niggles - I have no regrets buying it, have been delighted with the results and would recommend it to anyone whose home has suffered the ravages of teenagers!
It could do with a bag to hold the accessories!
I've owned a Polti Vaporetto Lecoaspira 690 for about 6 months now, so I think I'm ready to give you my review. Now, I detest housework (with a passion!) so when I spend my hard earned cash I do expect whatever I buy to make a real difference and cut down the time or effort I need to put in. I shopped around and read plenty of reviews before buying, and still think I got it slightly wrong on this product.
What is it? Well, it's a sooper dooper steam cleaner plus vacuum in one. Pricy at just over £300. It uses ordinary tap water, heats it to steam temperature under pressure and spits it out through a selection of nozzles and cleaning heads (supplied as standard). It can also power a steam iron, but as I feel the same way about ironing as regular housework, I didn't buy the optional iron attachment. The controls allow you to select either steam cleaning or vacuum cleaning or both at the same time.
The vacuum uses a 'water filter'. Yes, that's correct, you add water to the collection chamber before vacuuming, and all the dust and debris is dumped into the water filled bin. Absolutely great for asthma sufferers, as no dust particles escape into the air and there are no dusty clogged filters to deal with. Because it's a wet filter, the vacuum can be used for wet or dry cleaning and will pick up minor spills. It's pretty disgusting to empty though!
Technical spec: works at 4 bar steam pressure. The boiler holds 1.7l but you only fill to 1.3l to allow some expansion room. The vacuum is 1200w power with Polti's 'Eco-Active' filtration system. The build quality is great. The plastics don't feel flimsy, everything fits together very postively and it feels like a quality, solid piece of kit.
What's good: Love the steam cleaner element of this machine. If you've never cleaned with steam, try it. Steam is a very powerful degreaser and sanitiser, there's no need to add cleaning chemicals or detergents, and stains literally melt away. The detail lance is like a magic eraser, you can see grime and debris dissolving to nothing before your eyes. The floor sized heads are not quite so powerful, they don't concentrate the steam into a jet so won't shift stubborn stains without some scrubbing or rubbing, but they still do an excellent daily mopping job on floors.
What's not so good: Not really the machine's fault, but I find the vacuum is pretty useless in this context. I bought this machine thinking that the vacuum bit would help in the process of steam cleaning. It doesn't. Well, it can, but the process is so tedious that in practice you don't bother. It's actually far more effective to have a huge supply of clean cloths, blast with steam and wipe away the dirt with a clean cloth. In theory, you would blast with steam and simultaneously vacuum the dirty water away, but in real life you buy a whole load of cheap cotton cloths, use plenty of them and throw them in the washing machine.
In short, I've found that if I want to steam clean, I steam clean. If I want to vacuum, I vacuum. The machine does a good job of both tasks. However I already have a good wet and dry vacuum cleaner, and with hindsight I would not have paid the premium to get the vacuum function on this machine. If you don't already have a wet & dry vacuum, or are looking to replace your vacuum cleaner, it's not a bad bet.
What's in the box: Along with the cleaner, I got a floor sized cleaning head, a medium cleaning head and a detail lance. The large and medium heads have a nifty feature that allows you to slide in a selection of rubber squeegee blades, smooth plastic blades and bristle inserts. It's not fiddly to change them, and by using them you can adapt the cleaning head for steaming everything from hard floors to vacuuming furniture.
The lance is superb. It acts like a normal detail vacuum nozzle, but has an additional outlet for steam. The steam outlet can have a small brush screwed on, so that you can get steam delivered direct to the small brush and scrub directly with the lance. This works like a charm on grout between tiles, cooker racks, around taps etc. I have not seen our tiled floor so clean since the day it was laid. You get 3 small brushes in the box as standard, replacements are available to order but they are pretty long lasting. There is also a microfibre cover for the medium head, a filler nozzle and a bottle brush thingy for cleaning out the vacuum bin. There's also a very amusing DVD showing you how to clean every bit of your gorgeous palazzo while looking like you just stepped out of Vogue magazine (snigger!)
Controls: Variable steam control. Never use it, blast everything and get it done quickly is my watchword. Permanently set to maximum.
Steam boiler on - push button to heat up the steam. Light goes out when it's ready to work.
Vacuum on: push button to turn on the vacuum cleaner, can be used in conjunction with the steamer or alone.
Most useful for:
Floor mopping. Throw a clean cloth down on the floor and steam directly through it. With the squeegee blades on the large cleaning head, you can grab and push the cloth around. When cloth is dirty, throw down another one and continue. I will get through around 6 cloths on a large kitchen floor, if in doubt that you are cleaning just look at the muck on the cloths and realise all that was on your floor. Uck! Does a wonderful job, the floor is dry within 5 minutes and really, really clean.
Windows, glass, mirrors etc. I blast with steam and use a cloth to polish to dry. Not only do they come up clean without smears or streaks, they also seem to stay clean for longer.
Tiles. Fantastic. Blast with steam for a surface clean, every so often give the grout a really good scrub with the detail lance and brush. And marvel.
Kitchen cupboards, doors, woodwork, worktops. Watch out for painted or waxed surfaces, not all will take kindly to it. Never scrub painted surfaces with the bristly thing while steaming, it will take the paint straight off as it is being softened and heated.
Sinks, waste pipes, taps. Great for cleaning yukky bits of the overflow, blasting around the base of taps, blasting steam down the waste pipes etc. Don't go too heavy initially on porcelain or glass, steam it lightly first to warm it up and then let loose with full on power.
Also great for alloy wheels on the car, general freshen up of painted walls, curtains and soft furnishings. Don't imagine it will deep clean your fabric sofa or carpets though, it is just not a patch on a good shampooer. It will do a decent job of giving these things a surface clean, steam them and wipe with a clean cloth and you will see surface grime coming away.
Things to look out for: Remember to empty out the water filter after every use. Forget and turn it on 2 days later and it smells worse than the drains. Disgusting. I didn't tell you this, but it smells really nice if you put a squirt of your favourite but not too expensive perfume in the vacuum water when you fill it up. Polti will sell you a fragrance to add to the water, but I use Samsara in mine, lol!! Never ever use fragrance in the boiler water.
Steam is very powerful, and can't be used directly on light switches, electrical controls or LCD panels. You should get a folded cloth, steam directly onto the cloth and then use it to wipe them. Works well.
Real bugbears: Even at this price, the machine doesn't have a separate water chamber. Big, big mistake. When the water in the steamer runs out, you have to wait until the boiler has cooled down before you can take the cap off to refill, a bit like a car radiator cap. It takes at least 5 minutes. Best strategy - put the kettle on. Have a 5 minute tea break, cap will then be ready and use the just boiled kettle to fill the boiler up. It gets you back up and running more quickly than waiting for the machine to heat the water. I still think it's a poor feature on a machine of this price.
Also, while I'm being critical, there's no water measure in the boiler. so you can't tell if you have loads left, or if it's about to run out of steam just near the end of the job. Should have been a simple thing to incorporate in the design, but is lacking.
Overall, I wouldn't give this machine up. However, I would buy a great steamer, with continuous refill facility and sacrifice the vacuum cleaner if I had my choice again. Still a great machine, but I should have spent less and got more steam features for the money. Hope this helps someone.
Polti has long stood for excellence in manufacturing and customer satisfaction so to achieve this keeps tight control of its product manufacturing processes / Over 95% of their products are made in their own ISO certified Bulgarograsso plant in Italy personally watched over by the Polti family who live close by / When you buy a Polti product you can be sure that the attention to detail given to making it will follow though to give you a long lasting hard wearing and simple to use product / The Polti PVGB0020 Lecoaspira 690 Steam Vacuum Cleaner is a perfect combination of a vacuum cleaner and a Steam cleaner that sucks up every kind of dust whether its solid or liquid leaving your home clean and tidy / It features 4 bar pressure with a pressure switch and a Eco-active water filter that filters the water and traps dirt retaining it in the water it's HEPA filter also prevent allergens from getting out of the vacuum too which makes this perfect for homes with allergy sufferers.Safety cap / Polti patentEco-Active Filter water filtration Washable HEPA filterPressurized boiler4 Bar max pressurePressure switchSteam output : Up to 90 g/minSteam adjustmentBoiler material : Stainless steelBoiler volume : 1.5 lUse capacity : 1.3 lWater tank capacity : 0.5 l Steam ready indicatorLow water level indicatorVacuum functionSuction capacity : 21 kPaDirt collection tank capacity : 1.2 l + 1.8 lParking SystemBoiler power : 1250WMotor power : 1200WMax power : 2300WDimensions (WxDxH) : 52 x 36 x 34 cmWeight : 10.5 kg / Short name: Polti 690