I'm not sure whether I'm the most ideal or non-ideal person to review a steam cleaner. Firstly, I don't do the bulk of the cleaning in my home, and I'm sometimes a creature of habit – favouring mops, brooms, cloths and detergents over gadgets that make huge promises, but which I have to learn to use.
One thing I do have going for me is that I don't like dirt. I'm not OCD about it, but even on weekends, I'm wiping, cleaning and washing the things that bug me the most – whether its a dirty sink, marks on the floor, grease on the stove, or a counter that doesn't sparkle.
So it was with part excitement and part reluctance that I tried out the Kärcher SC2 steam cleaner, which promises to clean 99% of bacteria, without the use of chemicals – just steam and pressure (you can read the benefits of steam cleaning here.
Here are some of the features of the SC2:
– The Kärcher SC2.500C is a single tank powerful cylinder-style steam cleaner. Other models in the range offer with twin tanks: one stores cold water, the other boils it to create steam. That means that it offers non-stop cleaning – you can top up the water tank at any time without disrupting the boiler.
– It cleans areas of your home effectively, and you need nothing but water from your tap – no cleaning detergents or materials required!
– It's lightweight (less than 3kg) and really easy to manoevre and reach dirty spots.
– There's a range of nozzles and attachments so you can use it on lots of surfaces, and hard-to-reach spots.
– There's a child lock, so that kids can't get hold of it and use it improperly
– It can be used to clean floors, taps, wash basins, wall tiles, windows, mirrors, extractor hoods and hobs.
The setup of the unit was way easier than I thought – I put the wheels on, placed the desired nozzle on, filled it with a litre of water, plugged it in, and waiting for the water to heat up. The instructions say it takes around 6.5 minutes to heat up, but it took around four minutes, perhaps becuase it wasn't filled fully..
The cleaner doesn't have to be plugged in the whole time for it to be used, which makes it quite easy to use, and portable. There are two pressure settings, and cleaning basically involves squirting steam onto the desired surface by pulling a handle.
I started off with my gas stove, as there was some grime from cooking the night before.
I was blown away, much like the grease marks were, I guess. Without any wiping, chemicals or scrubbing, the marks disappeared, and the stovetop sparkled.
I then hit the counters, floor and basin, and again, was impressed by how dirt and marks literally disappeared. I even got rid of the initial grease on a grill pan before putting it in the dishwasher, something that would have taken me a lot longer and used more energy by hand.
At 36 weeks' pregnant and with a heavy waddle and general heaviness, I found the steam cleaner easy to use, and dare I say – even fun. Carting around a little cleaner on wheels, and "shooting" at dirt was not only therapeutic, but indulged my need for cleanliness – and nesting phase.
Before trying out the Kärcher SC2, I would have guessed that a steam cleaner was a bit like something from those old Verimark ads – a gadget that looks good on paper and in the "results", but something that you might regret buying because you never actually use it, either because it doesn't work well, or you realise you never needed it.
With this however, the results are good, and it has brilliant uses. You just need to see beyond the mop and detergent to really get it.
PS: I'll be giving one away next week – watch here for details!
Disclaimer: A review unit of the Kärcher SC2 steam cleaner was provided for this post