Product Type: other vacuums
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Why struggle to clean when you can just use this steam cleaner?
Earlex Steam Cleaner
Member Name: Randal
Earlex Steam Cleaner
Date: 30/03/12, updated on 30/03/12 (632 review reads)
Advantages: Simple to use with great results.
Disadvantages: Can be a hassle to set up.
We actually bought this quite a while back after seeing a friend use one, and her then commenting on how useful it was for tacking those really tough cleaning jobs around the house. Earlex seem to make a whole variety of steam cleaners, but the particular model we went for was the 2000W model, known as the Earlex SC125UK13P model, which we bought from a local retailer for £45.
The idea of a steam cleaner is that it will heat up the area you want to clean with steam, which in theory should then allow you to then easily clean that area without too much effort. So tough grime and burnt on stains that you often find on cookers and in ovens should be a breeze to remove with steam cleaning. Hence, purchasing this cleaner seems to have a fair attraction about it to tackle those tough jobs that everyone hates.
So for the money, what do you get? Starting off, you get a small tank with a 4 litre capacity (31cm wide by 21cm high by 21cm deep), into which you put your water. You have a heating element (mains operated) to heat the water in order to create the steam, which then passes out along a long 3.5 metre flexible hose and solid extension tube arrangment to an attachment head. To this head, you can then attach (via a push fit) a number of supplied brushes and pads to allow you to apply the generated steam to the chosen area, and to try to clean away any of the grime removed.
The all important bit is what is it like to use? With a 2000W heater, it will quickly heat the water to steam in a few minutes, and then continue such to give you about 70 minutes of steam from a full tank - so plenty of time to tackle tough jobs before a refill is required, and the 3.5 metre hose and tube assembly gives you a fair reach away from the tank, allowing you to get right up to the ceiling in a room if required without the need to lift the tank. Interestingly, the device itself, in terms of the hose and attachments etc doesn't really get that hot with all the steam passing through it. Everything gets warm, as you would expect, but not so warm as to be difficult to hold them. The only bit that obviously will get hot is where the steam actually comes out of the attachments on to the surface you are cleaning. So overall, it seems to be a fairly safe and easy system to use. The only thing here that I would advise is to ensure that you have your attachments attached to the head before you switch the device on. Once you switch it on and it warms up, the steam will begin to flow from the end of the hose and whilst you can change the attachments in situ when the steam is flowing, you can get a small element of escaping steam in the process, which means there is a small chance that you could burn your hand, not something I have experienced thus far, but something to be aware of just in case.
But how effective is it? Well, to be honest, it is rather good. Interestingly, we originally bought this to tackle the cooker and perhaps the odd carpet stain every now and then, and in those aspects it has proved to be very effective. For the cooker, it is often difficult to get heat into that particular nook or crevice in the oven where the grime builds up on the roof of the oven, and there is only so far you can apply boiling water, which often then rapidly cools. But with this steam cleaner, you can get an attachment onto the required location, apply the steam, and then keep applying the steam to soften up any grease or burnt on stains, and that is the key benefit of a steam cleaner in that you can apply, re-apply and sustain heat to a particular area. Similarly with the carpet, it's ok to pour boiling water on to a stain and then try to scrub it out, but you then end up with quite a wet patch afterwards. With this steam cleaner, you can heat the area with one of the pads without saturating the carpet, and again, keep applying that heat and wiping the area until the stain has gone, leaving you with only a slightly damp carpet.
But where this steam cleaner really gets interesting is when you realise it comes with a variety of brush and pad attachments of various sizes and shapes, and this allowed us to experiment by trying it out on other tasks. We tried it on the tiles in the bathroom with a pad attachment, and it cleaned up the grout between the tiles an absolute treat. Likewise, attacking the mastic seal around the bath with a small brush attachment also achieved good results. With the long stiff extension tubes, you can set it up as a general floor cleaner with a floor pad on the end, and again, it achieves good results on vinyl flooring surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms. A further area that we tried it out on was the BBQ when we dragged it out of the shed in the spring. The grill in particular had some very baked on stains, but again, a combination of steam, wire brushing and some elbow grease managed to get to some good results. Of note, the cleaner also comes with a large pad for use to remove wallpaper, although I haven't managed to test this tool out yet as our walls are all painted.
Negative points? Nothing that I can really think of. For some, it can be a bit of a hassle to get it out, set it all up, fill it with water, heat it, use it, clean it all up and then put it away afterwards. But this is not a device that I would intend or expect to use on a daily basis, more of a cleaner to use once in a while to tackle a particular stain, or to give something like a cooker a really good clean.
In summary, this steam cleaner has proved to be very useful for a wide variety of tasks, and whilst I can see many buying it, using it once and then burying it in the back of a cupboard never to be seen again, if you do appreciate what it can do and how much easier it can make a difficult cleaning task, then you will see that it is worth getting to grips with it and using it on a regular basis. OK, it can be a hassle for some to set up and use, but to me, the benefits of using it greatly outweigh that hassle. Hence, I can give this a 5 star recommendation.
Review also on Ciao under Randal1.
Summary: Stick with it and you can have a sparkling finish to any dirty job.
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