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I often wish I could develop some mild form of OCD when it came to cleaning as it is one thing which I absolutely hate doing. I don't mind the odd tidy up but when it comes to actually cleaning and polishing I would quite easily leave it as is if not for the fear of my mother showing up unexpectedly and shouting at me for living in filth. I decided to buy myself a handheld steam cleaner to make the cleaning process a little easier. I wasn't looking for anything industrial or too big but just a nice small steam cleaner that I could easily carry round with me when I was attempting a deep clean. ~~~~~ The Vax V-084BR ~~~~~ There was no particular reason as to why I decided to purchase the Vax V-084BR steam cleaner. I bought it online and I chose it because of a combination of the price and the fact that it was a Vax which is a name I always associate with quality. The steam cleaner was only £40 so it isn't a top of the range one but when reading about it, it seemed to ideally fit my needs. When it arrived and I unboxed it I was quite happy with how it looked and more importantly how well it seemed to be constructed. I usually try and find cheaper products that do the same as more expensive ones but I have been burnt in the past with trying to save a few pounds only to receive the item and fear that it is going to fall apart after a few uses. The steamer measures approx. 8 inches in height and about the same in length at its longest point. It is encased in a heavy duty orange plastic and is a really nice compact size. The plastic casing is securely screwed together and it doesn't look or feel cheap and nasty. Another reason that I chose this steamer over some other I was looking at is that it is light on features and pretty basic to use. I wasn't looking for bells and whistles and wanted something that I could just unbox and use straight away which with this one I can. Basically all you need to do is unscrew the top and fill the steamer with water and plug it in. There are two light indicators on the steamer, a red one telling you that the steamer is heating the water up and a green one that lights up when the steamer is ready to use. It is then just a case of pressing down the button to release the steam. That is as far as features go and it is basically just a case of plugging it in and off you go. There is a safety catch where you can lock the steamer so that you don't accidentally press the button and end up burning yourself on the steam and the time it takes to complete heating the water up enough to produce the steam is only 2 minutes so it is good to use for those times when you are in a rush. ~~~~~ Using the steamer ~~~~~ I use this steamer all the time and for every conceivable cleaning job as I find that it just makes it so much easier to clean. The steam that comes out of the steamer is quite powerful for such a small unit and I find that the pressure is enough for the steam to really hit whatever it is I am cleaning and give it a good blast of steam. The nozzle itself is really small so it is ideal for getting into small nooks and crannies and the cable is a good length at a couple of metres long that I rarely have to bother with finding and using an adapter plug for it. As I mentioned I use the steamer all over my flat from the kitchen to the bathroom and even on my laminate floors when there is a particularly bad patch of dirt or spill that needs shifting. When I first got the steamer I was under the false impression that it would do most of the work for me but unfortunately that isn't the case and some elbow grease is still required. It does help to loosen everything up though and make it easier to clean and I would say that the steamer helps me cut down cleaning time by at least half. Because of its compact size I find that I end up using the steamer for lots more than just the kitchen and bathroom and I find it really handy for helping to clean my car. The small nozzle and the attachments help me get into the spokes of my wheels and on the inside the other attachments such as the upholstery brush really help me get my seats looking spick and span. The attachments that come with the steamer include: * Upholstery brush * Window tool * Stiff bristled brush * Detail tool * Measuring jug * Longer steam nozzle My biggest bugbear when it comes to this steam cleaner is that its compact size does mean that it doesn't hold that much water. The amount it holds is only 300ml which is enough for say the oven but when I am doing my car or deep cleaning my bathroom I have to refill it 3 or 4 times before I am finished. This is a little annoying but is the compromise that you have to make for having a compact steam cleaner. The other thing is that even though the handle is a perfect size and really comfortable to grip the unit itself is quite heavy and this can be uncomfortable on the wrist when you are using the steamer for prolonged periods of time. ~~~~~ Conclusion ~~~~~ I am glad I bought this steam cleaner. There are some days when I wish I had got something a little bit more powerful but then that would no doubt have involved extra money or added bulk and for most everyday cleaning I find that this is sufficient enough. I like the fact it is compact and easy to carry about the flat and its compact size means it is also easy to store and with the amount of junk and limited storage space I have this is an added bonus. The Vax V-084BR is a nice compact inexpensive steam cleaner that is extremely well put together and although it does have its limitations they aren't enough that they would stop me recommending it to people. You do still need to be willing to put some elbow grease into cleaning when using it as it isn't a magic product that makes cleaning disappear but it will help you cut down on the time it takes you to do things and it has become indispensable in my household since I bought it.
Short name: Vax V-084BR