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This is a product review for the Beldray 1500W Steam Mop.
Always being the cynic I have, in the past, looked at new products with a pessimism and disdainful sneer for new solutions to age old problems. So it was with great surprise that when I saw this steam mop in action and witnessed its effectiveness that I decided I had to have one.
It cleans and sanitises by using steam and collects the dirt in a microfibre cloth.
I paid £39.00 from a local electrical outlet, which seems to be a little over the odds as they can be purchased for around £33.00 including delivery.
~~~ The Product ~~~
The steam mop comes well packaged in a sturdy box with a much welcome carry-handle on top. Although not heavy the box is quite large and would otherwise be awkward to carry.
To assemble the handle section you may as well completely disregard the instructions as they cloud the issue rather than shed light upon it. Common sense and trial and error will win through and prove this to be not too difficult.
Also provided are two microfibre mop heads which attach to the mop foot with hook and loop - Velcro - in other words. This is more than adequate in operation and should last the lifetime of the mop. Replacement mop heads are available although I have no knowledge of price or availability, as the ones provided are easily cleaned in the washing machine and are holding up very well indeed. There is a "carpet glider" included for the cleaning of carpets.
A small jug and funnel are provided for filling the reservoir with water prior to use. Living in a hard water area I will only use filtered water to prevent limescale build-up, thus helping to prolong the life of the mop. Using boiled water will also help prevent limescale build-up, but will obviously use more electricity and will fur up your kettle. The water reservoir holds 400ml and is stated as being capable of providing 20 minutes of cleaning. You can monitor the water level through the opaque window on the reservoir body.
~~~ In Use ~~~
In use, the mop is very straight forward to use. The reservoir is filled and the cap is used to seal it. This cap is permanently attached to the neck of the reservoir to prevent loss. When the unit is plugged in and switched on a light appears in the opaque tank to indicate power. The unit is ready to use after 30 seconds. When downwards pressure is applied to the mop the steam is activated and is forced out through the microfiber mop head. A normal mopping motion is then used to clean as normal. The push and pull allows the steam to do its thing while the microfiber cloth picks up the dirt and grease.
I was a bit dubious as to the effectiveness of this on my kitchen floor tiles which are a rough unglazed tile. Normal mopping does clean them, but any stains have to be scrubbed on my hands and knees. So far, this steam mop is doing a sterling job of shifting stains from accidental spillages. I have yet to try it on more stubborn stains especially those that have dried on. It is just as easy to whip this mop out for a quick clean as it is to fill a bucket, so any accidents have been quickly dealt with.
On smooth tiles and on the vinyl floor in the bathroom this steam mop is brilliant. It cleans to a shine with no streaks and is dry very quickly. Gone are the days of the bathroom being out of bounds for an hour while the floor dries.
After doing some research on the suitability of this product for use on wooden floors I have to say I am not convinced either way. There seems to be conflicting evidence with the majority saying not to, especially on hardwood flooring. Personally, I would say the steam mop is a better method if the currently using a mop and bucket, as I believe much more water is used with a traditional mop and takes longer to dry. I guess "buyer beware" is the phrase.
I have tried to use this steam mop to clean my lounge carpet. To do this you have to attach the "carpet glider" which is a plastic surround that slots over a microfiber mop head. This then lifts the mop up onto the runners to enable you to slide the mop over the carpet while still allowing the mop head enough contact with the carpet to collect the dirt. The fixing of the glider is bit dubious as there is no proper fixing - it just kind of, well - errr - fits. It seems to do the job anyway. It does clean the carpet, evidenced by the dirt on the mop head afterwards, and certainly lifts the pile of the carpet - a welcome surprise for my tired old carpet.
When finished, I tend to kill the power at the socket and let it stand for a while to cool down. I then whip off the mop head and if it needs cleaning I chuck it in the washing machine to await my next load going in. If it is fairly clean I just rinse it through under the tap and hang it up to dry. It is a good idea to empty the reservoir of water over the sink - obviously once unplugged. The chord then wraps around two pegs on the handle for storage.
~~~ Positives ~~~
The main benefit of this steam mop is its effectiveness; for a domestic environment this mop does its job very well. As with a mop and bucket it has its limitations when it comes to stubborn dried-on stains, but this is to be expected.
It is very easy to use, something I was concerned about to begin with. Would it be just another gadget cluttering the understairs cupboard? I say "no" - I would say in some respects it is less hassle to use this than it is to fill a bucket with hot water and add the cleaning product suitable for the floor type you are cleaning.
While on the subject of cleaning products, this does not need any and so is environmentally friendly in that respect and will save money in the long term. The high temperatures also help to dissolve greasy deposits.
The speed at which it heats up is impressive, obviously helped by the 1500 watts of whoomph behind it. By the time you have shifted the furniture it is ready to go.
Another thing I like is its weight - light enough to easily carry upstairs but weighty enough to be effective at cleaning. The mop itself weighs 1.6kg or 3.5lb, slightly more than advertised.
~~~ Negatives ~~~
The instructions let this product down to a certain degree as the details for putting the handle together are more confusion than help.
There is a certain amount of flexing in the handle and clearly this has been built to a price. The plastic used for the handle, and the pegs around which the power chord is wrapped, seems rather fragile and brittle. I can say, however, that the business end of this mop - the reservoir and mop head - is certainly built for the job.
The power flex only measures 5 metres, which seems a tad on the short side to me. It is fine in the kitchen where sockets are plentiful, but could prove an issue in some situations and some households. Having to use an extension cable would negate the benefits of this mop in my opinion.
~~~ In Conclusion ~~~
I would not hesitate in recommending this mop providing the price is right and the purchaser recognises the limitations.
In a domestic environment as a direct replacement for a mop, bucket and detergent this steam mop will not disappoint.
I feel it justifiable to deduct one star due to the slightly less than satisfactory plastic used in the handle.
I was torn between this, and the H20 Steam mop, eventually pretty much doing a 'heads or tails' to decide. And I left with the Beldray, purchased at £39.99, almost at half the price of its' competitor. It's a rather ... blunt shade of orange which contrasts and blends with the white all at the same time. But who really cares about how pretty a cleaning device is? In the box, you get the basic mop (self assembly...) and a few other nifty gadgets including a couple of spare pads and a carpet glider.
Assembly wise ... it wasn't too horrific. I discarded the instructions fairly quickly and after a short while managed to figure out how to clip the handle together. Slotting it into the actual body of the mop was equally distressing, you have to push it with an alarming amount of force that you fear will shatter the plastic. Again it was the same case for connecting the base of the mop ... And once it was together I had no intention of trying to separate the pieces again! Though I imagine it would be horribly difficult.
However, once you're all put together, it's dead easy to use. Despite the leaflets suggestion of it taking just 30 seconds to be ready for use, I left the water for a little longer before attacking the carpets. Now, the carpet glider itself was a tad tricky to use. I found it snagged quite frequently, and did provide a bit of a patchy finish. But on the kitchen floor, it was fantastic! It took a couple of times, but it managed to take up stains that had been there since before I had even moved in!
The only issue I have noticed over time, is even though these kind of mops say they require no detergent and take only tap water, there is a problem with this too. The mop itself is obviously a rapid boiling product, and due to the hard water in the area I live in, I have noticed my mop has become horrifically scaly inside. It's quite hard to descale ... though I have found using deionised water, as you would in an iron or something, has really helped with the problem.
This product however, has really converted me to the idea of steam cleaning! It tackles stains, it's hygienic and the pads are fully washable and replaceable. Seriously considering investing in a hand steamer too!
When my darling husband (and sometime housework helper) broke the second Flash mop in a row I knew I needed to look for another solution for keeping the laminate floor and tiling in my house clean. I'd read a few positive reviews of steam mops but wasn't sure whether this chemical-free method of cleaning would be for me and, given the amount I'd already spent on mops and cleaning solution only to find they were landfill, I wasn't prepared to make a huge investment.
A small amount of research and I found the Beldray Steam Mop on offer from Robert Dyas for what seemed like a reasonable £29.99; though the site's advertised amount of £99.99 rrp seems to be unlikely as far as I can see, the mop being available elsewhere for around the £40-50 mark. Prior to purchase I couldn't unfortunately find any reviews for the mop which would have been helpful. Having bought and used it for a while now I'm pleased to report that it's a good buy, even though it has a few small things that could be improved about it, the bottom line is that it cleans well, easily and hygienically.
What you get:
The Beldray steam mop comes in a surprisingly small box ready for assembly, with two microfibre mop cloths, an attachment for cleaning carpets (more of which later on), a generous 5 metre power cord for heating up the 400ml water tank and a measuring cup and funnel for filling up said water reserve. It also has the world's worst instructions which made assembling the handle (in two parts) onto the unit far harder than it actually had to be and which failed to explain how to activate the steam. This made set up a bewildering and frustrating experience, though once we had worked everything out things got a lot more positive. The whole mop is a rather retro seventies orange and white - you can see pictures on the robert dyas website, link at the end of this review. It's not particularly attractive but then it is only a mop so I wasn't expecting it to win any style awards!
Using the mop:
The mop is, by measurements, about 115cm long once assembled. To use the mop you attach one of the microfibre cloths to the head (easily done as they attach via velcro) and plug it in. It is 1500W so only takes about 30 seconds, as billed by the manufacturer, to heat up, and then you are good to go. The mop is activated by pushing down on the head, there's no button to press on the handle or anything, though a small light within the tank does show you that the unit is on. This is a positive as as you are dealing with hot steam a little care does need to be taken. I like the fact that you can't make the mop steam without actively pushing down on it, though working this out was a little traumatic when I first used it.
Now that I know what I'm doing, I find the mop fantastic to use. It's light and glides easily around the floor and seems to have no problem producing enough steam to lift dirt effectively from the floor. I have found that my tiled kitchen floor is cleaner by far than it was before with my old system. The mop head, 25cm by 16cm approx, again by my measurements, could do with being a bit bigger for quicker cleaning, but on the plus side it does pick up dirt well and lock it into the pad. The pads are easily cleaned in the washing machine or can be hand washed. They seem to be long lasting in my experience, though you can buy replacement ones. In use the mop is a little noisy - in effect you are pushing around a boiling kettle I suppose, but the water goes a long way and I find that my floors dry very quickly, a definite plus when you are as pressed for cleaning time as I am. A nice touch is that there is a hook on the handle for the cord which keeps it safely out of steam range. Though this appliance does involve hot steam it seems safe to use in my experience.
Though I am really pleased with how well this cleans and disinfects my floors there are a few things, in addition to the abysmal instructions, that I think could have been better with this mop. Firstly I would have liked the handle to come in one piece. Though it is metal and has broken yet - and I've even let the mop-breaker use it, somehow it doesn't feel that solid. The plastic end part of the handle too continues this feel, it's not got a grip on it at all and it just feels cheaply made. I can sort of forgive this as the mop does heat well and quickly and, as I've already explained, performs its primary purpose really well. I can not forgive though the very poor "carpet attachment" essentially a round piece of black plastic to put round the mop head so that you can (allegedly) steam clean carpets. I've found, in practice, that this attachment is virtually impossible to attach and prone to falling off. When I have used the mop on my carpets I've not found that it cleaned, though I assume it may have annihilated the dust mites it's seemed a pretty pointless use of my time in all honesty. I think therefore that this mop is best used for wooden, tiled and vinyl floors.
On balance I would recommend this mop as it does clean better than any other mop I have used. I am a total convert to steam mops, even though when I used it first it seemed weird not to be leaving my floor smelling of detergent, but I really can see the difference on my floors and also the mop has practically paid for itself in cleaning product and Flash replacement mop heads not bought already. I am a bit between awarding the mop 3 or 4 stars however as I do think it is rather poorly built and could be made more sturdy and durable at a minimum cost. That said it hasn't broken - yet - and has had a lot of use so maybe the mop is better made than it appears to be, though to say that it has any function at cleaning carpet is pure optimism in my opinion.
At the price I paid though it's a good buy, though I wouldn't want to pay any more for it in all honesty. Overall then, recommended, just be aware that your first use of it may be a bit frustrating but hopefully like me you will grow to, if not love it, be glad that you own it.
UPDATE : After 9 months of happy use the mop, out of the blue flashed and then started overheating and smoking!!! Took it back for a full refund as under a year old - but thought I should update and hope it doesn't happen to anyone else.