I had seen various hand held steam cleaners advertised when my son went through a (very annoying) phase watching those TV shopping channels and have to say that I was suitably impressed with the results they seemed to achieve.
Looking at the somewhat tired and sleepy appearance of our bathroom tiles and grouting, my memory took me back to those adverts and I started to wonder if a steam cleaner could be just the solution to wake them up.
Whilst on a shopping trip to B&Q, I noticed they were selling 1200 watt Vax V-084 hand held steam cleaners for £29.99. It looked like the answer to our problems and as I had a voucher for the shop, I wasted no time popping one in the trolley.
There are various attachments included which, on reading the instruction booklet, gave me the impression my life would somehow become easier when it came to shifting the grime and lime that tends to accumulate, especially in the bathroom.
Cleaning the grouting in the past with an old tooth brush and some diluted bleach had been a long, arduous, arm aching task but not anymore, or so I thought.......!
~~ Attachments ~~
There are six in total, each designed for a particular purpose, details of which can be found below.
***Long Nozzle ***
This adds extra length (obviously) and is the one I use when cleaning the grouting between kitchen and bathroom tiles, kitchen work surfaces and around the taps on the kitchen and bathroom sinks You can also attach the other attachments to this. It's amazing when you think something is clean and then find out that it isn't. This came to light for me first blasted our kitchen work surfaces, I was rather shocked to see the difference in the colour after they had been steam cleaned as they looked so much brighter and almost like new.
I don't own a dish washer (unless you count the hubby), so all my chopping boards get blasted with steam too.
This can be attached to aim in 6 directions and is brilliant for getting into awkward corners. I use this for getting right under the rim of the loo and around the hinges on the seat and lid.
***Nylon Brush ***
This one is designed for use on coarse surfaces (so definitely not one for anything delicate). I use this to blast the cooking racks on the BBQ just before it goes away for the winter and again when they see daylight in summer. It also works a treat on my oven shelves too.
Now I am unable to comment how this works on upholstery as we have leather sofas and chairs and I somehow think they wouldn't appreciate being blasted with steam every once in a while. I have however used it on our mattresses with great success after they have been vacuumed, just to make sure there are no bed bugs setting up house.
***Cotton Cloth ***
This is designed to pop over the Upholstery tool to clean your furniture; I use this when blasting the mattresses.
***Window Squeegee ***
This clips onto the Upholstery tool and as the name suggests is for
"Cleaning Windows ". (All though not on cold ones as the heat from the steam could crack the glass). I use this with great success on the bathroom tiles around the shower and bath area once a week then buff with a soft dry cloth it really does leave tiles sparkling without the need for any nasty chemicals.
~~ How it works ~~
Not wanting to state the obvious or even insult your intelligence, you do need water and electricity of course. There is a release button on the water chamber reservoir which you need to press to release it from the main body of the machine; this is very easy to do. Once you have separated the two sections, simply remove the cap from the water reservoir, fill with water (it holds 0.5 litres) using
the plastic measuring cup provided, replace the cap then attach the water reservoir to the main body again and you are almost ready to start blasting your grimy areas with steam. Plug into the mains, wait around 60 seconds for the water to heat, then it's time to start steam cleaning. It is worth pointing out that only water should be used, you should not add perfume, detergents or de-scaling products to the water reservoir as this could cause damage to the machine.
Sounds simple doesn't it!!
To release the steam you need to depress and hold the rocker type steam button, the problem is you need to keep it depressed while ever you want any steam to be released although steam will continue to be released for around 30 seconds after you release the button, so take care it isn't pointing at anything it shouldn't once you take your thumb of the button. The machine makes a sort of buzzing sound whilst it's in action, but it's not really noisy or offensive in any way. It has a 5 metre cable which is ideal for us when using in the bathroom as we can use a plug socket on the landing
( no need to use an extension cable here).
When we first used this to wake up our tiles and grouting in the bathroom it wasn't exactly easy. The fact you have to keep the steam release button pressed all the time certainly puts extended pressure on the old thumb...... hence my title, So what we first thought could be achieved in half an hour or so, actually took nearer two hours and that was between the two of us so we could give our digits a well earned rest. Still it was a lot quicker than the old toothbrush and bleach method and also eliminated the need to use any toxic chemicals.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing had I had it back in 2006 when this machine was purchased I would have probably done a bit more research before making a decision in purchasing this steam cleaner, had I know then that you had to keep the old thumb on the steam release button throughout the whole cleaning process, then I would have certainly looked for an alternative steam cleaning machine.
Having truly woken up the grout between the bathroom tiles we do blast them once or twice a month, just so they keep that "Just tiled look ". It doesn't take that long and I would hate them to fall into a deep sleep again.
Now this machine isn't brilliant but it is good for general cleaning or when you just want peace of mind around the loo or sink, it only weighs 1.9kg so it is by no means heavy or cumbersome to use.
Anything that requires major attention then I would advise looking for something that requires a lot less pressure on the thumb. It is adequate and serves its purpose for me and is still going strong 3 years on.
Replacement attachments can be bought should they be required from www.vax.co.uk for £2.93 each.
This machine is no longer available from B&Q instead they stock the latest model from Vax, it is however at the time of writing currently available from Amazon for £29.00.
Previously posted by me on ciao with pictures
With a formidable 1200W Steam power, the Vax V-084BU Hand held Steam Cleaner will have surfaces dust and dirt free in no time / Weighing in at a light 1.8 kg, this portable and easy-to-use Steam cleaning machine also has a 3 metre cable length, combined with a 260ml water tank that will help you easily clean tricky corners or curtains / The stylish grey/grey colouring will make cleaning less of a chore and more fun! Characteristics Type Handheld Steam cleaner Power (Watts) 1200 Bag volume or reservoir (litre) 260ml water tank Ergonomy Cable length 3 metres Others Colours Grey/grey Included accessories Stiff Bristle Brush Detail tool Steam nozzle tool Mattress/Upholstery tool Window tool Cotton cloth Extension hose Weight (Kg) 1.8kg / Short name: Vax V-084