Product Type: other vacuums
Newest Review: ... 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 w... more
Mmm, Eau de Dog Urine...
Member Name: skittle
Date: 18/05/02, updated on 17/02/05 (4320 review reads)
Advantages: Steams, Cleans, Cheap!
Disadvantages: Basic, Erm, that's it!
Age: 3 years 4 months
Height: 17 inches
Weight: 15 kg
Hair colour: Black and White
Distinguishing features: Shiny black eyes and a very wet nose
Age: 4 years 10 months
Height: 21 inches
Hair colour: Black and White
Notable habits: Usually carries a rubber toy
Special agents Mokee and Skittle, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to infiltrate your target, from now on referred to as 'the family home' in the guise of adorable family pets. Once you've won the trust of your kind but largely dim-witted new owners you must make every effort to wreak havoc in the name of the cause. It is essential that you maintain cover at all times whilst sabotaging at all corners the family's attempts to 'do housework'. You've got many weapons at your disposal on this one, ladies. You're already equipped you with your own unmistakable odour, but this is a tough assignment and that just isn't going to be enough. Make sure that you moult hair everywhere, track most of the garden back into the 'the family home' with you, eat your dinner on the run (cunningly dropping pieces as you go) and most importantly, if all else fails use your secret weapon, the stealth wee! This little trick has saved the lives of many a secret agent in distress, I can tell you. A well-placed wee in a cunning spot has got many an agent out of a tight corner (or sometimes into one). Behind the TV, next to the armchair and under the kitchen table are just some of the places your fellow operatives have deployed this tactic to great effect. Mokee... Skittle... This isn't an easy assignment, but we know you can do it.
Good luck, baby puppies, the good name of all dogdom rests upon you shoulders...
...Hm, I know that an opinion about a steam cleaner is never going to be THAT exciting, but I will
try my absolute best not to put you to sleep during this one, honest!
I purchased my Earlex steam cleaner from Argos about six months ago, and I can honestly say that I wouldn't part with it now for love nor money (well, OK then, I would probably part with it if you offered me more money than I'd paid for it, but I'm a sucker for a profit!) But seriously, the Earlex is a very basic machine, it looks like something your Gran might've been using thirty years ago, but it is absolutely worth it's weight in gold and I bless the day that mine was unceremoniously dumped on my doorstep by the Argos delivery man!
I decided to buy this item after reading an excellent opinion about it on this very site. I'd been considering investing in a Polti as the efforts of my two adorable, but incredibly mucky canines had left my once pristine beige carpets with an attractive 'mottled' effect. Wee stains battled for space with muddy paw prints and other unmentionable brown stuff that I'd rather not dwell upon for fear of upsetting the more delicate among you! Not forgetting, of course, hubby's effort to join in the dogs attempts at carpet decoration with some artfully scattered cigarette ash (rubbed in) and splashes of Coca Cola! However, the one thing that made me stop to catch my breath before rushing out and grabbing the first steam cleaner I clapped my beady little eyes on was the totally prohibitive cost! I hadn't looked any further than Polti at the time, and was shocked that a steam cleaner was likely to cost me almost double what I'd paid for my ever practical and much-loved Dyson vacuum cleaner, and I'd been put off for ages by the price of that! So, for me, the Earlex was a Godsend, everything I needed at a price I could afford, smashing!
OK, first things first, the Earlex steam cleaner is a very basic, no frills piece of equipment. If you do decide to purchase one of these, please don
9;t expect that when you open the box you'll find something shiny and glamorous with all of the bells and whistle's you'd expect on a (considerably) more expensive steam cleaner, this ain't no Polti, I can assure you! However, this is entirely reflected in the purchase price. The Earlex is currently on sale on www.argos.co.uk (not that I'm suggesting this is the only place you can buy it!) for the paltry sum of £44.75! An absolute bargain considering the cheapest polti Vaporetto I could find when doing a quick search of www.shopsmart.co.uk costs a staggering £339.95 from www.tesco.com Ouch!
First thing I did after tearing open the box of my new Earlex was wish I hadn't! I was shocked by just how basic the Earlex looks (and actually is, it's no more than a large kettle with a handle on top and a large hole where you can attach the hose!). More importantly, the only thing in the cardboard box is the cleaner and accoutrement's. I had quite naively expected that any tools/hoses etc that the Earlex arrived with would fit neatly and compactly onto some storage device supplied with it. The only storage device with the Earlex is the cardboard box it comes in, and trying to fit everything back into that box after you've raved it all over your living room carpet is no mean feat, I can assure you! (Especially when, like me, you've ripped the box apart in your haste to get in to it!)
Once I'd dragged everything out of the box I immediately started putting the whole thing together. After all, who needs instructions?!! Erm, well, I did actually, and you probably will too! The following information is stolen directly from the Argos website and tells you exactly what the Earlex comes supplied with:
For use throughout home, garden, caravan and car.
2000 watt boiler element provides fast 16 mins steam up time.
5 litre boiler allows up to 90 mins continuous use.
3.65m cool-touch hose an
d 2m mains cable.
Carpet cleaner for use on carpet, vinyl, cork, stone and parquet floors.
Attachment for removing dust, film and greasy marks from windows and tiles.
Jet nozzle with brush and scraper for cleaning cookers, garden equipment and work surfaces.
Even defrosts freezers in mins.
Long handle attachment for use when cleaning floors and hard to reach areas.
Large lightweight transparent steam plate for stripping wallpaper and a small steam plate for upholstery cleaning.
(Well, they put it so much more succinctly than I would!)
Once I'd rescued the instructions from behind the sofa and put the Earlex and attachments together properly it was time to start to use it. First the kettle needs to be filled with water. The sixteen minutes steam up time mentioned above is if you use cold water, this time can be significantly reduced if you fill the kettle with hot water straight from the tap, I do this and it usually takes about four to five minutes to heat up.
When using the Earlex on carpets the cleaning attachment is covered with what looks to me very much like a terry dish-cloth. What's great about the Earlex is that the manufacturers don't claim that you have to buy their 'special' dishcloths to use the machine, any old terry nappies, or similar material will do just as good a job, as long as they're cleaned thoroughly before use, of course! I bought some bargain dishcloths from a £1 shop and they work just as well as the cloth supplied with the cleaner. The great benefit of the cloths for me is that they not only pick up dirt, the longish pile and steam combine to create the perfect conditions for picking up all those stray dog hairs the Dyson manages to miss and rolling them up into convenient hair-balls which are incredibly easy to remove from the cleaner afterwards.
When the steamer is ready to use the carpet cleaning attachment is lightly st
roked over the surface of the carpet (no strenuous scrubbing, which I'd been expecting). The first time I steamed my averagely sized living room carpet it took a little over an hour for two good going overs. I steamed the carpet twice because the first time I steamed it it didn't look any different afterwards! I steamed it again and it still didn't look any different, so I gave up and put the cleaner away muttering unrepeatable things under my breath all the while! Of course, what I hadn't fully considered was that this is a steam cleaner, not a vacuum cleaner (I can be a bit dim like that, sometimes!). It works by releasing steam into the carpet which loosens the dirt, the dirt is then picked up by the cloth. This surprised me when I first used the machine, as I'd been somewhat naively expecting something more akin to a Vax, somehow combining cleaning chemicals and steam to wash the carpet, this obviously is not how the Earlex works, using only steam from pure, clear water without a chemical in sight! A couple of hours later, when the carpet had been allowed plenty of time to dry I have to admit that the Earlex had worked wonders! The carpet looked cleaner, brighter and lighter and even felt softer and somehow bouncier underfoot. Of course, the Earlex is not a stain remover, so the darker and more stubborn stains were still there, if considerably less prominently!
The Earlex is supplied with lots of other attachments. All are easy to use and clean effectively. I've tried cleaning windows, work surfaces, kitchen cupboards, vinyl flooring, etc. All with excellent effects, I don't have any wallpaper in my house at the moment so using the wallpaper stripper has eluded me so far, but I'm sure I'll manage it one day! I have to admit though that the carpet cleaning attachment is not only what attracted me to this product in the first place, it is also, in my humble opinion, the most effective and most useful att
achment out of all of them, it is certainly the attachment most used in my house!
I tend to give my carpets a good steaming every month or two when I seriously can't stand wading through the filth anymore! Although the Earlex is never going to be as effective as having your carpets professionally cleaned, it is excellent at what it does, leaving you with noticeably cleaner and brighter carpets after use, with the added benefit of reducing and often eliminating any smells. Living with a smoker and two little girls of the canine variety I find that nasty niffs are often prevalent in my humble abode. These can be dramatically reduced with a swift going over with the Earlex, just one piece of advice, though, be careful where you position your face when steaming carpets. A face full of steam is not only potentially dangerous, but can be extremely unpleasant if you happen to be steaming a patch of carpet which has previously been sprinkled with eau de dog urine...
...So, Secret Agents Skittle Bond and 00-Mo, your arch enemy 'Earlex' has foiled your dastardly plan for house ruination this time, (it would have worked if it wasn't for that pesky steam!) Better luck next time, Baby Puppies!
This opinion will self destruct in five seconds... 5, 4, 3, 2...