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I'm buying a steam cleaner tonight! Which one?

(10 Posts)
ElBombero Tue 07-May-13 19:52:47

Just wondering if any of your lovely ladies can point me in the right direction. Karcher or Polti? Both have fab reviews... I have a voucher that runs out today so buying tonight!

phantomhairpuller Tue 07-May-13 19:56:47

I had a Karcher, was really disappointed and took it back as a result. Put me off all steam cleaners tbh.
Sorry to be a spoilsport wink

ElBombero Tue 07-May-13 20:16:37

Why were you disappointed? Which model did you get? X

phantomhairpuller Wed 08-May-13 07:34:16

Well call me naive but it didnt clean anything like as easily as it does in the adverts (I know, I know, the ads are made like that on purpose!) a lot of elbow grease was still needed which kind of defeated the point of the steam cleaner. Basically I thought it would make all my cleaning easy and it didn't wink
Can't remember the exact model number. Cost £100.

SomewhereInTheMiddle Wed 08-May-13 14:55:35

I had a thread in chat about this (I decided on the polti and am very happy with it). As the chat threads expire after 30 days I came over here to put the reviews I did of it into a thread here so that people in the future who are searching like I did for info, can find it. Since you're asking the same question, I hope you don't mind if I cut and paste what I wrote here into your thread. Hope it's useful info for you in making your decision.

I bought the Polti Evolution from Lakeland and said the following...

Ooh it's very exciting and I like it very much. It's not the total miracle machine I was (unrealistically) hoping for, but it's bloody good. I realised, too, just how much the chemical smell puts me off cleaning usually - I'm really sensitive to smells and especially in confined spaces like the bathroom I find it really unpleasant spraying cleaners around and inhaling them while I'm scrubbing.

With the Polti, no smell, although there's a faint plasticky odour to start with, which I assume is from the plastic parts heating up. I also really love the fact that it's sterilising things - I'm no clean freak (I'm so shamefully far from being a clean freak that I've no right to even use the words in a sentence), but it's great to steam the chopping boards etc after washing and know that they're properly clean.

Ok here's the stuff I had a brief go at yesterday and what the results were:

Kitchen floor - did a test couple of tiles.
Our kitchen floor is properly manky. It's tiled with cheap adhesive tiles that were already grey and sad when we moved in nearly four years ago. However much DP mops it, it never looks clean. And he doesn't mop it all that often! I was hoping for a miracle here, that it would bring them up sparklingly black and white. It didn't. It cleaned them and they looked a bit better, but I think they're well beyond ever looking sparkly again tbh. sad DP will use the Polti to do the whole floor later, so further feedback to come.

Sink and draining board.
Stainless steel that's all scratched and marked. Again, not a miracle cure, but it did well. Using the 120degree concentrator tool and a scrubbing brush, the brown marks came off really well with a bit of elbow grease. The limescale was shifting but it took a lot of scubbing. It would probably come off as well with chemicals and scrubbing.
The stuff that came out of the sink overflow when I directed the jet of steam down there was indescribable. Actually I could describe it, but you really wouldn't want me to.

The hob came up beautifully. It's a steel hob with 5 gas rings and I'd let it get manky in anticipation of the steamer's arrival. Usually I'd have sprayed a load of flash onto it, waited while it soaked in and then scrubbed it. With the Polti I just steamed it, then wiped with a sponge and majority of bits came off cleanly. Another couple of blasts for the tough stuff and it was sparkling. The steam seems to almost emulsify the fat so that you can wipe it without any smearing, and it rinses really easily from the sponge too. I even had a go at the gas hob bits themselves, and was astonished to descover bits of silver peeping through the black at me. blush
I then had a quick go at the small oven, which is truly revolting. It blew out loads of congealed fat [boak] from behind the glass on the door, and started to lift the congealed dirt. It does take elbow grease though - the steam lift the dirt but you still have to scrub it.

Venetian blind in kitchen.
Never been cleaned I don't think. blush Dusty, greasy, grimy. It took ages, but I blasted off the dust etc from each slat. Probably would have been as effective to do it with wipes, but the steam is more fun. grin

Walls and cobwebs. Just blasting with steam doesn't get rid of the cobwebs and dirt - you do have to wipe. However you can use the small brush with towelling cover on the extension tubes. I didn't, because it only came with one measly cover and I'm saving that to use of upholstery and didn't want to get it manky.

Now this was bloody miraculous! I tested it on a patch of carpet near the patio doors where the dog comes in with muddy feet. It's a revolting carpet anyway (was when we moved in), which we can't afford to replace. The dirt almost leaps out of the carpet onto the cloth (i used the direct steam jet and a handheld cloth to dab it). I think it might also work well if you steam it then hoover, as it seems to magically lift the dirt up. Better result than a rug doctor on that little patch, and left the carpet much drier. I'll be doing lots more testing!

Got stubborn marks off the paintwork really easily (that I was unable to get off before), although you have to be careful not to melt the paint.

Haven't tried the sofa properly yet, but it was amazing at lifting a wax stain that's been there for over a decade. The patch is still stiff, but looks much better.

Also, the steam is properly dry steam - you don't feel like you're in a sauna when you're using it and it doesn't feel hot on your face. It's bloody hot at the point of exit though. It does produce a fair bit of moisture on hard surfaces though, which you have to wipe up.

Ok that's enough for now, I'm happy to update more when I've done more steaming, if anyone's interested. At the moment I'm a woman obsessed - I look around the house and just see a succession of steamable things!

SomewhereInTheMiddle Wed 08-May-13 14:57:48

Then I added...

Hi Belltree, I've been doing lots more steaming, and the results are as follows...

Absolutely bloody brilliant. It really smelled stale and musty after years of animal and human abuse! hmm I'd tried a hired rug doctor on it, washing the covers, covering it in bicarb of soda, carpet shampoo, everything. The inside of the cushions and the base still smelled. I love the style of the sofa though and we can't afford a new one so this was my last try. It worked! I used the 120 degree concentrator tool to go over it all inch by inch. It took ages but it really worked and finally I have an odour free sofa that I'm not deeply ashamed of.

Brilliant again. I use the steam concentrator and it really lifts the pile and the dirt to the surface. Yesterday DP had just mown the lawn and the dog tramped dark green footprints all over the bit of the carpet I'd cleaned. angry Hoovering made no difference to the stain but the Polti lifted the stains straight out.
Our multicoloured longer pile rug came up like new.

Dear god, the stuff it blew out of the radiators was terrifying. Cobwebs and dirt that you could see were years old!

The window blades aren't perfect but they're pretty good. A quick buff with an e-cloth afterwards to dry them and they look brilliant. It blasts all the much a mould off the window seals. The edges of our patio doors look cleaner that they ever have.

DP used it to clean the big oven which had recently stopped working. I said I was too embarrassed to call someone out to fix it until he'd cleaned it. He did, and voila, it's working again! He was impressed with how it just lifts up all the encrusted gunk. Like picking a big scab, he said. grin

I did the metal grills that go in the extractor fan and that was a bit of a nightmare - they're multi layered aluminium mesh and it blew the grease off each side I did but kept blowing it back into the middle. I soaked them in very hot soapy water in the end.

Cleaned the extractor fan really well, and round the loo, especially at the back where it's very hard to reach. Didn't miraculously dissolve limescale, unfortunately. It gets the pinkish mould off the grouting really easily, but doesn't make any difference to the black stuff. sad

It's amazing for blasting the dirt out of cracks and crannies that you can't access any other way. Also congealed grease [boak] out of bits of the cooker, slow cooker, oven doors etc etc. You still have to wipe everything afterwards.

The iron attachment is astonishing. It's volcanically powerful and I hung up a really creased top, wafted the iron over it and the creases just dropped out.

So overall, it's not the miracle, effort-free solution I dreamed of - you still need a lot of elbow grease and time. But if you put in the time and effort the results are bloody brilliant. I loathe housework and cleaning but this does make it easier and gives better results. The enormous plus for me is the lack of stinky chemicals, which give me a headache and make me feel nauseous. It's fun to use, too. I feel like the scales have fallen from my eyes and now that I've realised just how filthy the house is, there's no going back. It's taking so long because I'm really deep cleaning everything - hopefully once that's done it will be much easier to maintain with the Polti.

In terms of your budget, I did lots of obsessive googling too, but came to the conclusion in the end that I'd rather pay a bit more for the increased pressure and spec. I've just looked on the Polti website at the Comfort and the 950. I would definitely go for the 950 out of those two, firstly because it has the 120 degree concentrator tool, which is what I've used for virtually everything and is what really blasts the dirt out of the cracks of things. Secondly it's 3.5 bars of pressure (the Comfort is 3 bars, my Evolution is 4 bars) and is half a kilo lighter than the Comfort. They have a comparison tool on the website for you to compare the different model specs.

I would honestly by the best model you can possibly afford - I think it's better to pay a bit more and use the thing all the time, than pay less but find that it's not very good and it ends up stuck in a cupboard never used. I bought mine from Lakeland. I could have got it a fair bit cheaper elsewhere, which normally I would do, but I'd read some not very complimentary things about Polti's customer service, and I wanted the security of Lakeland's excellent customer service reputation. I checked with them before I bought it, and they said they'd take it back if I was disappointed with it and it didn't live up to my expectations of its cleaning abilities. I rang them to say that one of the castors was slightly damaged and could they send me a replacement and they offered to replace the whole machine!! They offer a lifetime no quibble guarantee, which appealed to me when it's such an expensive purchase. Maybe you can make a deal with your DH that you buy it from there, and if he isn't impressed with it then you just send it back. wink

Hope that all helps. Just to confuse you further, have you seen this thread about the Karcher?

One last thing, don't scrub with the brush on the end of the steam concentrator - it distorts the bristles and I don't think it would last long. Better to use it to blast and scrub with a brush in your other hand. smile

SomewhereInTheMiddle Wed 08-May-13 14:59:14

Sorry the link to the original thread was here

It's a lot of money but I haven't regretted mine.

nowwearefour Wed 08-May-13 15:01:04

Anyone use one on wooden floors?

ElBombero Wed 08-May-13 22:14:21

Hi somewhereinthemiddle. I actually found your review last night and I went for the Polti Valporetto Evo as a result! so thanks very much. Really glad to hear your still happy with it now the initial novelty has worn off. I'm eagerly waiting its arrival.

And yes think you can use of wooden floors xx

CrabbyBigbottom Fri 10-May-13 00:07:48

Brilliant! I hope you're pleased with it. smile

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