I bought the Earlex steamer when I was moving flat and wanted to give the place an intense clean. The two biggest jobs were the cooker and the carpets.
I found the parts to be very "bitty". I'm assuming they give you so much as they all have different purposes but for me it was too much.
The instructions were not very clear. They were mostly in picture form and the illustrations were ambiguous. When I finally got it assembled, the parts didn't fit very well together and felt a bit loose.
It works whereby you fill the boiler with water and the steam comes up through a hose. The hose attaches to a universal handle which you then attach to different plastic implements/nozzles depending on the purpose. The steam comes out through a hole in the nozzle.
I had been expecting the steam to be pushed or propelled out somehow. In actual fact the steam came out as strongly as you would experience from a kettle at boiling point. So really, just a natural flow of steam directed through a hose and out from a nozzle. You then point the nozzle as what it is you want to clean.
I found that the only use for this was in creating a steady flow of hot water that I was able to direct on to an area of dirt that I then cleaned with a traditional scouring brush.
The floor cleaning function consists of attaching a nozzle shaped like a vacuum brush onto the universal handle and an extended pole with a hole through its middle. The steam then travels down through the pole then through the handle and out through the vacuum nozzle. By the time it has reached the carpet there is very little steam and you just end up with a wet carpet.
On top of all of that the steam is piped through very thin plastic hoses that get very hot as does the universal handle.
I was very disappointed with this appliance. It made the cleaning process wetter and messier than necessary.
I would recommend elbow grease instead - it's free and there's less chance of scalding yourself.
I, like most people, hate cleaning, especially when it comes to cleaning things like cookers and, even worse, toilets.
The process of cleaning such things always starts with a trip to the shops to buy the cleaning solutions, bleach, cloths, scrubbing brushes and anything else that claims to be able to make cleaning a lot more effortless. So by the time you get home you're not only skint from the ever increasing prices that shops are keen to implement on their goods, but your too tired to actually get any cleaning done anyway.
This was a bit of a ritual in my house until we started to use a device called a steam cleaner, which, as the name suggests, cleans things by using steam, and only steam.
Well a few months ago my usual little buddy steam cleaner somehow managed to break down and just didn't have the power to steam clean anymore, so I decided to stick with the steam cleaning process and went out to get my hands on another steam cleaner.
Whilst in the shops I spotted a rather fine steam cleaner, which, according to the lovely picture on the box, came with an array of accessories and was in fact a little more than your standard steam cleaner, it was in fact an all round steam machine that not only would clean away all that grime without the use of chemicals, but would also, in a way, steam the wall paper off your walls. And as the wife had been commenting on her need for a fresh new look in the house I decided that this would be ideal for more than just cleaning the toilet.
This particular steam cleaner that I went ahead and bought was in fact from a company called the Earlex, who make things such as spray guns, wet/dry vacuum cleaners and more, (it's amazing what google brings up isn't it?)
Anyway, when I got this home and had a look at it I was pretty amazed with all the little bits and bobs that were neatly packed inside the box, although I've never managed to get everything back into the box after I've finished using it.
** But here's a list of those bits and bobs...
* The steamer itself
* Three pronged mains cable
* 3.6metre hose
* Three plastic extension tubes
* Various brushes of different sizes
* Tile cleaner
* Jet Nozzle and scraper
* Universal handle
* Jet nozzle
* Brush and scraper for jet nozzle
* Large plate for wallpaper stripping
* Plughole utensil
* Floor cleaner and towel
* Upholstery cleaner and towel
* Small steam plate
Wow, I can here you say. That's a lot of bits and bobs, but believe me, you'll use everyone of them at some point if you ever get your hands on this steam cleaner.
The steam cleaner, or tank, itself can hold up to 4.5 litres of water and, when full, can produce enough steam to last a good couple of hour, maybe longer in fact, depending on what you use the steam for.
The mains lead is about 3000mm long and allows you to have the unit itself well away from any electrical sockets so that the steam can't get near them.
There is a safety cut off switch which, as the name states, cuts the heat off if the 'tank' becomes empty of water, which is a great idea in itself.
** What does it look like then...?
The main unit, or tank as I will call it, is made of a white plastic material, although when I say white I really mean that it is a clear white material and you can actually see the water that is inside the unit. The top of the tank is a black plastic with a little yellow cap covering the hole in which you pour the water into it, with the cap having a little pressure safety valve in the middle. In the middle of the black lid there is a very sturdy handle for carrying the tank around, although it does get heavier the more water you put into it.
The array attachments are all made of a sturdy black plastic which, although they do get hot, can easily withstand the heat of the steam as it blasts through them.
The hose is as flexible as a piece of string and as tough as old boots, which allows you to twist and turn it without any danger of it splitting. But if you want to make the hose solid, so to speak, then you just slide it through the three tubes and you have yourself a long pole for steam cleaning the floors or those high hard to reach places.
The only attachment that isn't black is the wallpaper stripper as this is a clear/white plastic but again is as sturdy and durable as the rest.
** How do you use it..?
This is pretty easy really, just unscrew the yellow cap which is on top of the water 'tank', pour in some cold water then screw the cap back into place, making sure it's screwed on tightly so as not to allow steam to leak out.
Then, to turn it on, as there is no actual on/off switch, you just plug it into the plug socket, give it a few minutes to get to heat, which on a full tank can take about 15 minutes to get there.
Whilst the water is heating up you can set the hose and attachment up as this may pass a bit of time.
Once the water gets to the right heat the steam should start coming out of the hose end and there should be a few hissing sounds as well. This all means that you're ready to get steaming, whether that be cleaning that exploded casserole off your cooker, scrubbing the dogs 'accidents' from the carpet or even stripping that horrid woodchip wallpaper off the ceiling
A couple of points to mention regarding safety are...
As I mentioned this doesn't have an on/off switch so when you plug it in the wall it instantly begins to heat up, then when you unplug it it turns off, so do remember to take the plug out of the wall when it's empty, or you're refilling or in fact you've finished with it.
And, when refilling the tank first unplug the cable from the wall and then allow a few minute for the tank to cool down before unscrewing the yellow cap as there will still be some very hot steam in the 'tank' and it will burn you if you take the cap of too soon.
** The attachments themselves...
The main attachment, which is the hose, is about 3 and a half metres long which gives you plenty of length so you don't have to carry the water filled tank up and down ladders or around the room as you clean or strip away. Then, using the three tubular handle type attachments, which all slot together with ease, you then get a 'standard' size handle which the hose slides through and gives you the stability to use it as a floor cleaner, like you would with a vacuum cleaner or brush.
If you don't use the tubes you'll just have a floppy hose.
The other attachments all have there own little jobs to do, such as the towel covered floor cleaner which allows you to steam clean your wooden floor without scratching them, the plug hole unblocker which blasts away all that 'gunk' that is stopping your water flowing down your drains. Then there's the jet of steam for blasting away the grease and grime on your cooker, or maybe add the scrapers which attach to the jet nozzles and narrows the steam jet to give that slight more pressure in a more direct way. You could even try the window cleaner attachment which makes light work of any grime stuck to your glass, such as bird poop on your windows, as the steam jets out underneath the head and straight onto the glass.
Suffice to say that all the attachments do a cracking job in what they are supposed to do.
** My opinion...
This is more than just a steam cleaner, this is an M & S steam cleaner... sorry, I mean this is an all round steamer as I don't think you can get it from M & S, although they should sell it there.
It not only helps clean up around the house in a none chemical sort of way it helps when you're pressured into doing a bit of decorating too.
It's pretty lightweight to start with, but it does get heavier the more water you add into the tank.
Each attachment slots into place without any trouble at all, allowing me to get the job done without the hassles of anything not connected properly, it's all just a matter of push and twist, simple really. And it's just as easy when disconnecting the attachments too, although it's twist and pull this time.
I have used the wallpaper striper pad several times since I first go this as I seem to have spent plenty of time stripping wallpaper either in my own house or at friends and families. This plate is a brilliant addition and saves hours when stripping paper off the wall, rather than the old fashioned method of using a sponge, a water spray bottle and a lot of elbow grease.
It's so safe to use, even though it pumps out very hot steam, as the steam comes out of the flat underside whilst you hold the comfortable handle on the opposite side, thus keeping the heat away from yourself, although when using it for stripping paper from a ceiling it can drip hot water onto your head so do be careful.
Plus there's the smaller stripping plate which is great for getting into smaller areas that need to be stripped.
The upholstery cleaner is another great little tool and has really helped clean such things as the curtains, cushions and more, which is very useful when you have a hyped up dog and a couple of even more hyped up kids all in one house.
But, as with the floor cleaner, it's best to attach the little towel supplied to get the best results as this stops any damage to your things.
In fact each little tool has come in very handy for some cleaning task or another.
The hose is so flexible and even though it has jets of hot steam flying through it it doesn't get that hot, and when you push the hose through the tubes you've then got a 'brush/mop' length type handle so you can go about cleaning the floors without breaking my back, or more the wife's back, (kidding).
In all, it's an all round cleaning machine which is great for the environment as it eliminates the need for cleaning chemicals.
I've used this all around my house, and even in the garden, on such jobs as the toilet, bath, glass, mirrors, sinks, cookers, furniture.... Well, you get the point. If it needs cleaning then this will clean it.
The one downside I have to add is the fact that it doesn't have an on/off switch so you do have to keep plugging it in and unplugging it. I mean, how hard would it have been to fit a little switch?
As for the price, this little steam cleaner. Nay, all round steaming machine, sells for around the £50.00 region which is great value for money for the results you get.
So far I have found the Earlex SC165 steam cleaner very disappointing. I was expecting it to make cleaning immensely easier, but so far while it certainly helps, it's not a miracle worker. While it does lift dirt and grime, it then still needs quite a bit of scrubbing to get it off. Perhaps this was a mistake of mine, in that I thought that a steam cleaner actually cleaned, rather than just made it easier to clean with other equipment.
There are a number of attachments that come with the Earlex, such as a nozzle, a floor cleaner, an upholstery cleaner, a scraper and a window and tile cleaner. The most useful of which I have found to be the nozzle, but it does get dirty quickly. It is very easy to put together, and only takes a couple of minutes.
I have two main issues with the cleaner, first that the plastic pipe casing gets very hot, so much so I can no longer touch it and have to wrap a towel around it, which makes things difficult. I have had a number of burns also from the steam which escapes from the top of the plastic piping.
The second issue is that the material that goes around the bottom of the floor cleaner doesn't hold properly, and the second I start to use it, the material comes off. This is a huge flaw in the design, one I feel could have easily been prevented with a different way of attaching the cloth.
It takes quite awhile to heat up (around fifteen-twenty minutes), but it does keep a good steady flow of steam once it starts, which the manufacturer suggests would last two hours, but I have yet to put that to the test as it gets too hot to continue with after about fifteen minutes. Another good point is the once the machine is turned off, the steam stops very quickly, which is good from a safety aspect.
All in all, I would not recommend the Earlex to anyone, and has been a very unsatisfactory purchase.
I remember my mum having an Earlex steam cleaner, but not as exstensive as this one, that one only had a few parts, the part I remember most was the wallpaper stripper because there was always a family member or friend who wanted to borrow it , that's how popular it was!
The Earlex SC165 Combi has many more parts, 8 to be precise,
I've owned my a steamer for about 5 years now and have used it extensively indoors and outdoors and to be honest I would be lost without it as it saves a lot of hard work making cleaning a lot easier.
Steam is a natural cleaner which loosens dirt and grease making cleaning a lot easier minimising or even eliminating the use of chemicals found in household cleaners.
This steamer is designed to clean carpets, flooring, windows and tiling ect..................
First of all the boiler has a 4.5 litre capacity and is at boiling point in around 20 minutes giving around 2 hours of continuous steam.
The steamer is easy to handle and safe, having wheels making it easy to move around unlike my mums which had no wheels at all.
Below is a list of jobs I've done using my steamer.............
Wallpaper stripping is superfast with the steamer actually making it quite enjoyable, The only thing is, you must be sure your walls are sound with no loose plaster otherwise the wall may come off with the paper!
I've cleaned the concrete patio flooring which came up a treat, steaming away weeds which were poking up here and there never to be seen again.
Its great for defrosting the freezer when you have no time to wait .
Cleaning the cooker and oven, the steam melts away the grease and stuck-on bits, getting into the hard to reach places making an otherwise hard job a lot easier.
Once a month I steam clean my worktops sanitizing and making them brighter.
Its great in the bathroom for cleaning the tiles and around the taps and also the toilet bowl. again sanitizing as it cleans.
When my son moved into his flat the lead pipes were in a right mucky mess,
No one wanted to put their hands near them, so out came the steamer,
I placed a bin liner under the pipes and then an old towel on top of that and sprayed the steam over the pipes letting all the gunk drip off onto the towel........nice clean pipes!
My son has also cleaned his motorbike leaving it shining bright and saving him a lot of hard work.
Another thing this steamer is good for, is for freshening your mattress and killing any dustmites, a quick once over each side, (without lingering too long as you dont want a damp mattress)then leave it uncovered for about half an hour really does freshen it up!
The only thing I was'nt happy cleaning was the window's I tried the steamer on one and it cracked costing me £70 to replace!
after that I did'nt risk cleaning anymore window's, but I think this was because it was a really old type of glass.
Even though I had the mishap with the window I would recommend this as an inexpensive steamer that does a multitude of jobs too many for me to mention.
As with all steam appliances you must be careful and use this properly, I have used it many times and never had a problem, I also have never had to replace any of the parts as yet which are available to buy from the Earlex website, which also has a lot more information available.
The steamer cost me £49.99 5 years ago and came with a 2 year guarantee and an easy to follow instruction manual listing all the parts and how to use them.
I recently saw it selling on Ebay at a buy it now price of £44.99 which promted me to review the item.
Short name: Earlex SC165