If you're like me and enjoy all of the benefits of a clean house, but don't want to put in the time and effort to achieve it (and lets be honest - who really does?) you'll have no doubt considered the many gadgets on the market to make cleaning easier ranging from microfibre slippers, and hoover attatchments to sorcery.
Sadly, Sorcery isn't real so I had to settle for the next best thing (if the television adverts could be believed) - a steam cleaner.
Why the Vax S6?
Quite frankly, there was a nice balance between price and quality. I picked up the item from Very, where it was on sale for just under £100, which was less than the RRP, and comparable to other steam cleaners. Of all the comparably priced cleaners, this had by far the most features and attachments, and with a good trend of reviews I thought why not?
The first thing you'll notice is that the Vax is big. Really big! In fact I own a dyson that is just a little bit smaller, so hopefully that gives you an idea. It's not too heavy, even when filled with water, so that makes things a bit easier. It's mounted on a set of wheels too so moving it from room to room is no problem at all. The instructions were quite basic, and didn't really explain the optimal use for all of the attachments, which was a pain, but I can live with it. With that said, setting up the machine was a breeze - everything is fairly obvious where it is meant to go, so I was ready to clean within five minutes.
The steam cleaner has a basic hose, which connects to a 'gun' nozzle, where you have the trigger to power the steam. The nozzle of this gun can then connect with up to to three extension pipes, to make it longer, or connect to the small-device attachment. The attachments cover a wide variety of roles, from mop, brush, scouring, focussed nozzle, and a window cleaner. All in all you can pretty much cover any variety of cleaning jobs you may require.
Ease of Use
Once you've set it up, it's really as easy as filling it with water, and letting it heat up. This normally takes between five and ten minutes, before you can get to cleaning. As far as using the attachments goes that's a lot more trial and error. I tended to experiment a bit with what I thought the optimum one was, (which as often as not, turned out to be wrong) but there was no harm done, and I found a few good tricks along the way.
There's no denying that the quality is good, but is it as good as the adverts would have you believe? In a word - No. But then again I wasn't expecting that. The bottom line is it WILL make life easier. I love using it to clean grease off the oven hobs, interior and other devices such as a George Foreman. It's great for attacking grout between tiles too. Will this item revolutionise your cleaning? No. But it will make things a lot easier. I am told that it helps to bust dust and animal fur in relation to allergies too, but since I don't have any I can't comment on that. It really has made a difference to the quality of cleaning in our household, and made the truly unpleasant jobs a lot more manageable.
High standard of cleaning (even if it isn't as good as on TV), reliable, easy to use, and gets good results quickly. Has a lot of options for creative uses that I'm only just beginning to explore - youtube provides a lot of tips and tricks.
It's very large, which is a bit of a pain, but I can live with that. It takes a while to warm up, and you have to empty the water out when you're done. The amount of time you spend in prep and maintenance is sometimes off putting, especially if you only have one job. It's quicker to wipe down you bath, or kitchen counter yourself, rather than steam cleaning it if that's the only job you have to do, for instance.
A very good item. Not ground breaking, but a solid addition to the fight against mess. I am finding that I tend to use it for a once a month cleaning session, where I blast the whole house, rather than any daily use.
I purchased this steam cleaner with the hope that as shown on the adverts it would solve all my problems and make cleaning effortless. It didn't! I found it a complete waste of time and here's why:
First of all I purchased the cleaner from Argos, it had some very positive reviews and was on special offer from £130 to £99, bargain I thought - how wrong I was. It came in a typical vax box with all its various parts that needed assembling. Having never owned a steam cleaner before I was a bit apprehensive and had to read the not very clear instructions on how it all fitted together. The instructions weren't all that brilliant and I had to work it out myself.
You have several interlocking parts of the long hose which then connect to the handle the other end of which goes into the vax. One of the main reasons why a steam cleaner appealed to me was because I have tiled floors and thought this would be easier and more hygienic than a basic mop. You are provided with a jug and a funnel to measure out the required amount of water for the machine and once it's on takes a whole 20 minutes to heat up. When it was finally ready to use more water than steam came out, and the microfiber pad that attaches to the floor attachment kept falling off. I couldn't get the pad into the corners and found the hose really wobbly. I felt that I couldn't apply any pressure or it would snap. When I went over the floor with a tissue they were still filthy.
After waiting ages for the floors to dry, I thought I would try the windows. The tiddly window attachment really makes a meal out of washing the windows, to the point where I felt a steam stripper would have been more helpful. The window attachment was so small it was a waste of time, just made dirty water run down my windows and you couldn't use it to clean them in any real sense. Half of it didn't emit any steam anyway so out of the 3" strip only the middle 1" actually did anything so doing the edges was more than difficult.
The steam cleaner also came with a brush attachment, but the bristles were so hard they scratched the plastic fascia bit of the window and was completely inadequate to clean with as it just moved the dirt around.
To remove the water from the unit, you have to wait for it to cool, so in other words have it in the way whilst it does so, then lift it up and empty it upside down into the sink. Completely awkward
All in all it was a complete an utter waste of time and was returned to Argos Pronto.
I wouldn't list cleaning as one of my hobbies, but I do like things to be clean. So it would be fair to say that one of my dreams is that of 'effortless cleaning'. If it is not possible to clean and tidy Mary Poppins style, there should at least be appliances available that make life easier, and better. After some research I purchased the Vax S6.
The Vax S6 seemed a good buy as it was on offer for £79.99 rather than its normal price of £139.99. The manufacturer describes it as "ideal for total home cleaning", and provides a variety of attachments so that the unit can be used to steam clean hard and carpeted floors, windows, upholstery, tiles, oven grills and racks, as well as kitchens and bathroom surfaces generally. The steam cleaner should NOT be used on leather, wax polished furniture or floors, synthetic fabrics, velvet or water-sensitive materials.
The machine is very simple to set up. It took me about 15 minutes to read the instructions, unwrap, and assemble the unit. This simply required a hose to be attached to the front of the unit, which clicked easily into place. Using the jug and funnel provided I filled the steamer with the requisite 1.4 litres of water and waited the required 12 minutes for the red light to turn to green, indicating that steam cleaning could commence! The instructions for this process were all laid out clearly in words and pictures, 14 stages in total, none of which caused any confusion.
To release the steam the user simply pulls the trigger on the handle at the end of the hose. The ferocity of the steam is controlled by a dial on the base unit. At first I was not overly impressed and somewhat directionless in my steaming. Without using any of the attachments I steamed the inside of our glass oven door, in the hope that I would see the grease and grime lift and trickle away, but this did not occur. After steaming some cupboard doors I decided to tackle the main reason for purchasing the Vax S6 in the first place: the kitchen floor.
Our kitchen floor is tiled. The tiles are brown as the previous occupants chose them to blend with the brown wooden cupboards, brown wall tiles, brown doors and brown work surfaces. Such a range of brown closing in on one all the time means that I am generally not inclined to remain in the kitchen long. Since Baby started on proper food- puree and mash only- it has become increasingly difficult to keep the kitchen clean since spoons are thrown around, often full of food, and since much of her food is beige or brown it is camouflaged when it lands and may remain for some time, drying out and becoming hard to shift. Worse, the cupboard doors have a sort of groove design around them and food and grime becomes stuck in these when I attempt to wipe them down.
To tackle the floor I attached the three extension tubes and the floor head to the hose to form a type of broom. The floor head attachment has short, stiff bristles on its underside. Once I started cleaning these served their purpose well. The steam loosened the welded on porridge and the brush scrubbed them away. I applied quite a lot of pressure in doing this and felt that the 'broom handle' was not very strong. It felt as if it would break. I applied less pressure and the floor was still cleaned effectively, so this may be a concern that subsides when I become a more experienced steam cleaner. The floor head attachment pivots readily, and I was able to clean awkward corners and the edges of the floor easily. Not all the work was done by the steam cleaner however: I swept prior to cleaning and after steaming the floor was wet and needed drying. The debris that had been lifted also needed wiping away. The end result was superb, but it was certainly not the effortless cleaning of my dreams.
The success with the floor head attachment led me to go back and try the other attachments. There are three brushes included (one metal for cleaning grill pans), a scraper, a squeegee and a steam concentrator which has to be attached before any of these other attachments are used. The brushes were excellent: I used these around the grooves of our cupboard doors. They helped remove visible grime and also invisible grime! Once again, a cloth was needed to wipe afterwards to give a really good finish.
The squeegee gave a very good result on the kitchen window, though the blade is considerably smaller than a regular manual squeegee, being only 14cm long.
I cannot fault the cleaning power of this machine, the cupboards look very different. (Though still brown).
Downsides to the Vax S6 are firstly that there is no water level indicator. This is a shame since the instructions are at pains to point out that using the machine without water will damage it. I used it for about 30 minutes and there was still water left at the end. I suppose you know if it has run out because you won't get any more steam.
A further disadvantage is that you have to empty the water when you have finished. To do this you must up end the unit and it is quite heavy and cumbersome. You should not do it straight away as the water will still be very hot, and this means the unit has to hang around for some time after you have finished.
Some of the attachments store neatly in the unit itself, but the hose, extension tubes and floor head do not. Also, the power lead does not seem to wrap easily around the machine for tidy storage.
This is the sort of product you would use for occasional deep cleaning sessions rather than daily use, I feel. I can recommend it on that basis.
Brace yourself for a thoroughly impressive cleaner with the Vax S6 Home Master Steam Cleaner / The Home Master steam cleaner has everything you need for hygienic cleaning all around your home / The high temperature of the steam and 40 minutes optimum steaming time, eliminates bacteria, dust mites and other allergens, providing you with an all-round, unbeatable cleaning performance / It can be used in almost every room and is great for tackling larger jobs such as cleaning upholstery, pet beds and ovens / Powerful jets of steam help to break down stubborn grease and grime leaving sparkling results / As it's detergent free the Vax S6 is economical whilst also being kind to the environment too! With a 16 piece accessory kit , including a metal brush and concentration nozzle, you will be able to tackle any surface, including hard floors and windows / Also perfect for simply refreshing carpets / Short name: Vax S6