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Black & Decker FSS1600-GB

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£34.95 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk marketplace See more offers
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      08.05.2013 19:44
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      how did I live without it?

      Since acquiring this hand held steamer I've used it extensively. I went a bit mad when I first got it finding various items to deep clean, and I use it every time I do the housework. It's no five minute wonder but a really good way of cleaning without using any chemicals.

      In the box:

      The steamer, rrp £99.99, comes with a number of brush attachments, there are three colour coded and identical round brush attachments, two squarer brushes with a blade on the end, a plain nozzle and also a tile grout and squeegee attachment. These can be connected to directly to the nib of the steamer or, attached to the supplied hose for getting into nooks and crannies. There is a webbed bag which holds all the brushes along with instructions and also a measuring jug for filling the steamer, which can also be filled directly from the tap. The build quality of the steamer is good and it looks and feels like a quality item - it's not exactly something you would necessarily want to have on display but it's fairly easy to store when not in use, it's only about 28cm high and about the same depth as a small ruler. You can wrap the cord around it to store and it's very quick to set up, you just plug in, fill the tank and you are ready to clean.

      In use:

      The steamer tank has a 350ml capacity and I find that it does need re-filling after 18 minutes or so as billed. It's just the right weight to be able to comfortably carry and has a generous 6 metre cord meaning you can use it easily as you are never likely to be further than that from a plug. The steamer does heat up in 15 seconds as per the product description, being 1600 watts it's quite powerful, and it produces a fair bit of steam - lucky I suppose as that's what it is supposed to do. There is a light in the water reservoir that changes from red to blue when the appliance is ready to use so you know when you can start attacking the grime. Design wise there are quite a few thoughtful touches like a swivel on the cord and a wide neck to make refilling the tank directly from the tap easy.

      I've found this highly effective on grubby tile grout, the oven door and the kind of areas you can't easily get into, like the shower base rim. It brings up surfaces like the oven hob a treat and also copes well with ingrained dirt around taps. It doesn't dissolve lime scale very well but it does blast away grease and grime with relative ease. I found it effective at getting rid of mold on rubber seals on the window - it's reassuring to know that the steam is killing off germs. To that end we've also used it to blast the toilet seats - which are cleaner now than they've been since we installed them. You need to mop up the water generated by this with a microfibre cloth or similar to remove dirt that is not blasted away.

      I find that the steamer works best with the nozzle attachment which can be regulated like a hose for a finer jet of steam. The nozzle can be attached to a hose for getting into, say, the back of the oven. The brushes that come with it in the little bag are of variable efficiency. The three colour coded brush attachments that are identical are for using in the bathroom, kitchen and garden/toilet. Adding these does seem to reduce the cleaning ability, although it's better for covering larger areas than using the nozzle alone. The tile grout brush is excellent and there are also two brushes with scrapers on, one wire and one plastic; these made short work of the bbq grill when I cleaned it recently. The window squeegee works well too, on mirrors, shower doors and windows alike, but seems less well made than the other items. It's fairly easy to change attachments but you must take care doing so, as you would expect the parts where steam come out get extremely hot. In use the steamer is not particularly that noisy, and I've found it safe to use, as long as used sensibly.

      The only downsides I can think of to this steamer, apart from the lack of a mattress attachment - which is something I would like to be able to kill dust mites, is that the strength of steam produced does seem to vary when in use, you do have to pause whilst cleaning to wait for it to power up. Also you can only use one hand to clean as the trigger (which is protected by another button) has to be held down continually so that it works. This makes cleaning an item like an oven grill a bit more tricky than it could be, however I do understand why you would have a safety trigger as this thing could be lethal, it feels very powerful. This steamer seems to come as part of the Black & Decker 2 in 1 Steam Mop, and is probably better value when purchased as part of the mop which isn't that much more expensive. Storage wise it's not too bulky and the net bag is useful to keep the brushes together; though I've put the one I use to clean the toilet in a separate zip lock for obvious reasons.

      Overall:

      Using this steamer is a bit of a learning curve, and the manual could do with giving a little more guidance, but once you have mastered it you will wonder why you didn't get one before and be surprised at quite how useful it is. I think this is a fantastic item and it's one that I am both happy to own and to recommend, it really has become one of my cleaning essentials.


      I received the steamer as part of the Amazon Vine program

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    • Product Details

      Short name: Black Decker FSS1600