Product Type: Polti vacuums
Newest Review: ... washing machine), I filled it with water and waited for it to heat up, my trigger finger itching ‘Clint Eastwood’ style all t... more
Hot ‘n steamy, but keepin’ it clean!
Member Name: fruitcake
Date: 02/04/02, updated on 02/04/02 (1195 review reads)
Advantages: High pressure dislodges dirt while high temperatures kill germs, eliminating the need for chemical cleaners.
Disadvantages: A negligible amount of waiting around for the machine to heat up or for the pressure inside to drop before refilling.
Reasonably small in size given what it’s capable of, the Polti Vaporetto 2001R more than makes up for this nod towards unobtrusiveness by being a violent lime green in colour. I worked out that with the hose removed, there would be enough room for it to live out of sight with Basil the hoover (so named because he’s forever faulty), and set about putting the thing together. With more strength than I thought I possessed (and a few cuss-words I didn’t realise I knew), the wheels were eventually on and it was finally ready to roll.
I found the awkwardly shaped filler bottle to be about as much use as a codpiece in a convent, refusing to part company with much of its contents, and given to launching its nozzle into the tank - creating a vacuum of such force that it was difficult to remove it without having previously eaten three Shredded Wheat. After just two or three uses, it now sits redundantly under the sink, abandoned in favour of an ordinary jug.
The cleaner itself was a different matter. Being the kind of person who disinfects every door-handle in the house as well as the banister at the first sign of any stomach bug (and was once famously caught doing the same thing at work when I thought no-one was looking), if it could live up to its claims, it was always going to find a home with me.
It’s said to frazzle all those gruesome germs and blow their remains off this mortal coil with dry steam heated to 120 degrees centigrade, released under sufficient pressure to reach into spaces so tiny that previously only the germs could get into, blasting out dirt and grime at the same time. Armed with rags to polish up the corpses (
old bar towels are ideal – hard wearing and a doddle to chuck in the washing machine), I filled it with water and waited for it to heat up, my trigger finger itching ‘Clint Eastwood’ style all the while.
Around ten minutes passed, and then the relevant light went out. All systems ‘Go’. At the end of the hose, narrower than that of a vacuum cleaner, presumably to help maintain the pressure (but you should see the *length*, girls…), is a lightweight steam pistol easily held in one hand. Pointing it closely at the nearest door-handle, I took aim, fired and found myself enveloped in a cloud of rapidly cooling steam. Turning the output down, I tried again. Considered reasonably clean before, the door-handle seemed to positively glow now, but something else was happening too. The paint surrounding it had began to bubble and melt (it later turned out to be a small amount of adhesive around the handle, and not the paint at all) Oops. Was I going to let this put me off? Not a chance.
The dining table and chairs were blitzed, as were the wall units and TV and video, etc. Unless you’re in a hurry to meet your maker ‘death row’ fashion, electrical items are best cleaned with this by spraying onto the cloth first and then wiping over – it seems to work just as well. Without the slight stickiness left by furniture polish (which, given the choice, I would not now go back to using), it proved to be longer before the dust and dirt was attracted back again. Twenty minutes later, with the lounge sparkling, paintwork and all, I spotted the gerbil eyeing me suspiciously. I eyed him back. Hmm…
Fear not, gentle reader, I was not about to steam-clean a gerbil here. He was deposited in the kitchen sink with a lump of cheese to keep him busy while all the awkward to reach horizontal bars of his cage that he idles away the happy hours dumping on were zapped in minutes with the cleaner. This was the o
nly thing I usually bought Milton fluid for, preferring to use stronger stuff elsewhere, so I’d just made *another* cut in the household chemical budget – we wouldn’t be needing *that* stuff any more either.
But what about my kitchen sink? It had just had a gerbil in it! Zap! (The sink, not the gerbil…) The results (on stainless steel at least) easily rivalled those obtained by ‘It’s-Jif-not-Cif’ and other cream cleaners, something else I wouldn’t be buying again.
By that time I had gotten completely trigger-happy. The kitchen floor got the treatment (no more buying a new mop-head three times a year, either) as well as the glazed back door (be gone, squirty window-cleany stuff!), and within a very short space of time I’d done the entire kitchen to the point where you could probably carry out surgery on the worktops without risk of infection. I’ve since discovered that a blast of steam at 120 degrees makes much lighter work of defrosting the freezer too.
Throughout the house, bins were blitzed, beds de-bugged, and even my husband’s fearsome trainers lost most of their deadly potency. With regard to carpets and upholstery, I think the machine is probably better at *keeping* these things clean as opposed to *getting* them clean, but for spot cleaning t’is truly a wonderful thing, especially for those bits of Blu-Tak and ground-in chewing gum that kids have a touching habit of offering refuge to in the bedroom carpets. (Cake tip: If you don’t have a steam cleaner, WD40 does an ace job of getting rid of chewing gum and Blu-Tak from carpets and clothing – you’d never know it had even been there)
I’m a bit precious about my bath and will probably never give up my Kleeneze ‘Astonish’ habit, but I found its residue was rinsed away far more quickly and effectively under the pressure of the steam cleaner. Likewise the toilet - always g
oing to get a squirt of Domestos down the pan every night, an additional blast with the steam cleaner every morning now only adds a minute or so onto the time it takes to keep the place clean, and whatever lurked behind the jumble of inaccessible pipes at the back of it lurks there no longer. The big fluffy bath mat gets cleaned every day now instead of being washed twice a week as it was before – an expensive way of doing things since it couldn’t go in with anything else and so left a lot of space doing nothing in the machine.
All this so far has been achieved with just the aforementioned bar towels and itchy trigger finger, but the capabilities of the steam cleaner add up to still more with the accompanying accessories – two long extension tubes (even *more* length, girls!), various brushes and cloths and a couple of window squeegees. Optional attachments include a steam iron and a wallpaper stripper among other things, but I think there’s a danger you might end up needing the steam cleaner surgically removed from the end of your arm (on your clinically clean kitchen worktop if necessary!), if you get *too* carried away…
The only downside is a small one, this being that you have to wait for the machine to cool and the pressure to drop inside the tank before you can release the safety cap to refill it when it’s empty. It probably only takes about twenty minutes, but if you don’t like being put off your stroke midway through your performance, it’s best to start out with your reserves at full capacity behind your hose rather than risk disappointment.
My steam cleaner has been in use every day since I got it in mid-December, and I wouldn’t want to be without it now. So much part of the furniture has it become that even the kids have stopped taking the Proverbial, or at least the “Don’t stand still too long in here or our Mum’ll ‘steam’ you!” cracks to t
heir mates have stopped (but should they make a comeback, my finger’s on the trigger…). Depending on which way the wind is blowing with Basil the faulty hoover, my housework is usually done by the time they head off for school on a morning, leaving time for other things. Like laundry. And cooking. *Sigh…*