I was lucky enough to be given this to test by VAX to see whether it lives up to their claims. It usually retails for £49.99 but I've noticed that it is on offer at the moment on the official VAX website for £24.99. It comes with a 2 year guarantee when bought new though which I always find gives that added piece of mind.
It is a handheld steam cleaner which means that all it needs to operate is normal tap water. Brilliant! No more of the usual sighs of being forced into buying special cleaning additives and products in order for the gadget to work. I was quite dubious about the 'handheld' part though as obviously it is small enough to just hold BUT it runs off electricity and always needs to be plugged in to operate. The power cord is quite long but not always long enough for every job.
Upon opening the box, everything that is needed is included. It obviously comes with the main steam cleaner and an easy to read instruction manual. The diagrams clearly explain how to use each tool and gives general safety information. There is also a measuring jug, a window tool, an upholstery tool, small plastic brush, concentration nozzle and 2 upholstery tool cloths.
Using the cleaner
You have to fill the water tank with 260ml of water through a tiny hole in the top of the cleaner. Concentration is a must to avoid the water gushing everywhere. Once the lid is put back on and the safety catch is set to lock, the power can be turned on to strt heating the water. A red warning light on the base of the cleaner comes on and the after 2 minutes the green light appears to say it is ready. (Both lights stay on when it is ready.) I do love a good light system ~ can't go wrong. Releasing the safety catch by simply pushing across and it's ready.
It has a trigger on the top at the back which is pressed to get the steamer to work. The small little white button at the front rotates to be able to adjust the the steam pressure from minimum to maximum. Minimum is very slow pressure and only a slight spray of steam appears whereas on maximum it comes out with a good 'whoosh' sound.
*Handheld steam cleaner
Well, yes it does fit easily in your hand but then it does have to be constantly plugged into the mains.
*Ideal for cleaning windows, tiles and mirrors
I tried cleaning my windows with this and instantly the grime started to come away from the glass. I did find that I had to change the pressure up to maximum though on some parts to remove stubborn stains. Also, a lot of water started to accumulate at the bottom of the sills which had to be wiped away. It did seem like a lot of hassle to use the cleaner rather than a simple spray and cloth. I don't think the end result was any better than my usual method if I am completely honest.
*Eliminates bacteria and allergens
*Breaks down grease and grime
I have a brown suede sofa and thought I would try to clean this too. (Obviously test a hidden part first just to make sure it's not going to drastically affect the material.) I was impressed with the results and it gave a much better finish that my usual "let's wipe it over with a baby wipe" ritual.
I can see that it is environmentally friendly in that it isn't using any harsh chemicals however, electricity is being constantly used.
Overall, I award the VAX Grime Master with 3 stars as it is an average item. I wouldn't rush out to buy it myself as I feel that with a little bit of elbow grease, the same results are often achieved. I'm undecided as to whether I would recommend this to my friends as I feel that it could be Marmite gadget ~ either love it or hate it.
If everything goes well, I should be moving house in a few weeks. The house is in pretty good condition, but I will still want to give it a thorough clean before I move all of my stuff inside. I also want to leave my current house nice and clean for the new buyers, so thought that buying a portable steam cleaner was the best option. it would enable me to quickly and efficiently remove all the built up grime in both houses. And what better name for a steam cleaner than the "Grime Buster"? Whilst scouring Amazon, this Vax model caught my eye, particularly as it had a pretty good write up from some of the people that had bought it.
I ordered the cleaner and it came quickly, within a couple of days. I was glad that everything was housed neatly in a box compact enough to fit nicely in my kitchen cupboard. The box contained the cleaning unit itself, as well as various attachments and an instruction book. The cleaner also came with a 2 year warranty, which impressed me, as most things are only guaranteed for 12 months.
The steam cleaner was very simple to set up and use. It already has a cleaning nozzle, but you can add the various cleaning attachments depending on the job you have in mind. The cleaner comes with a small plastic measuring jug, which you just fill to the line straight from the tap and empty into the water compartment. The cleaner has various safety features, such as a secure locking machanism on the water compartment, and a lock on the trigger, so you don't accidentally shoot steam all over yourself!
Then it is simply a case of plugging the unit in and waiting 2 minutes. There is a red light on the side to indicate that the machine is heating up, and a green light to show that it is ready. The only slight problem is that Vax have put a yellow LED behind the green plastic light cover, so the light actually glows yellow instead of green. Judging from the product reviews on Amazon, this "yellow" light has confused more than a few customers and some have even sent the unit back thinking it faulty. It's not a fault, just a bad design and as soon as the yellow/green led lights up, you are ready to go!
I'm not a big fan of housework, but I couldn't wait to get strated with my new steam cleaner. I thought I would tackle our kitchen first, as the tiled splashback behind the hob had some greasy deposits of cooking fat that were tricky to remove and some of the fat had dried on the side of the cupboard too. I was very impressed with the control I had over the level of steam, and soon the fat was peeling off the tiles and onto my cloth. It should be noted that the steam only loosens the grease, and you still need a cloth or scourer and a fair bit of elbow grease to remove the grime completely.
I then worked my way around the kitchen to tackle the grubby grout by the kitchen sink and the grout between the worktop and the wall. The nozzle blasted away the dirt effortlessley, though it did splash back a bit, and you would need to wear and apron and protective clothes to avoid being speckled with muck when cleaning! The cleaner has to be plugged in at all times, but the cord was long enough to tackle the whole kitchen. The water in the reservoir lasts 10 minutes, which was plenty of time to tackle to worst areas before I ran dry. You have to let the whole unit cool down completely before adding more water or packing it away, which is a bit of a pain if you want to work continuously for more than 10 minutes.
The next day I tackled the bathroom, which caused an immediate problem: my power socket is in the hallway outside the bathroom and the cord would not stretch to the far end of the bathroom. I had to use an extension cable to allow me to clean the tiles on the far wall. This time, I used the squeegee attachment, which was ideal for cleaning my mirror and tiled walls, as well as my tiled floor. The mirror was grubbed up with soap scum and toothpaste, but the cleaner cut through the grime in no time. The concentrator nozzle easily cleaned the grouting around the bath, and got rid of the bits of mildew forming in the corners. The only probelm was that after 10 minutes, I still had some jobs left to do, including the glass shower screen, and needed more time and water to finish the job. The steam cleaner also did an amazing job of the loo. I have 2 boys and the loo sometimes gets "missed", meaning there was a bit of dried pee in the grout on the floor tiles, but the nozzle blasted away the yellow areas, leaving the grout nice and white again! Well, I didn't really want to leave the floor grubby for the new owners!
I tried some of the other attachments, which varied from useful to next to useless. The worst attachment was the brush, which looked useful, but was completely inneffective. it would be better to just use the nozzle and a toothbrush than this brush.
All in all, I am very happy with my Vax grime buster. It does a good job at tackling most areas and I like the fact that it is chemical free, as I have allergies and asthma. The only downside was the fact that you had to keep it plugged in and the cord was not always long enough. Also, it sometimes struggles with hard to reach areas. Some of the attachments are useless, but most are pretty good. I am confident that my new home will be sparkling, thanks to this little machine!
Wet & dry cleaner / The Grime Master gives you the tough cleaning grime busting power of Steam in a versatile handheld design / It's great for hygienically cleaning a wide variety of surfaces all around your home / windows upholstery tiles mirrors and much more / With a 7-piece accessory kit included you've always got just the right tool for the job / Simply fill up the Grime Master with water switch it on and it'll be ready to Steam in just two minutes / The high temperature of the Steam breaks down grease and grime kil / Short name: Vax S4