For a steamer, this one is top-notch
Jun 23, 2005
Review by lordchocice
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Effective, easy to use, powerful, gets rid of old stains
Cons:Must be cautious when using steamers
The Bottom Line: If you've been considering a steamer, go for it! It cleans well and is easy to use!
I had always wanted to get a steam cleaner for my apartment. I dont like using chemicals if I can help it, and I like the fact that it only requires water and electricity to operate. My primary concern when purchasing a steam cleaner was the durability, because those steamers shown on TV for $39.99 (but wait, theres MORE!) just looked a little anemic.
Recommend this product?
The Steam Fast Steam Max (please choose a product name different than your company name) is everything I wanted in a steamer. Its efficient, it cleans well, it sanitizes, and comes with all the tools needed to do the job.
EDIT: This product name seems to have changed; this product is NOT a vacuum! It is a steam cleaner!
The Steam Max (hereafter: steamer) has significant steam output, which is good for cleaning nearly any type of object.
My favorite tool is the steam nozzle, which basically just shoots concentrated steam. This is exceptional for cleaning those in-between places like where your sink handles connect to the faucet assembly, or in between tile. The steam comes out fast enough to propel any dirt out of the area, and following the steamer with a small cloth completes the cleaning process.
My newly discovered attachment is the tile/linoleum steamer. This is basically a brush with a towel clamped to the front, and this is used for cleaning floors. The brochure mentions hardwood floors as well, but Im not sure that I would use it on a wood floor that is not protected by some sort of laminate. Anyway, this works great for steaming walls as well. When I moved into my current apartment, the previous tenant was a smoker, and the ONLY thing that got rid of the smell was steam cleaning the walls with this attachment. I found that I could use any type of towel, too, since the accessory just uses clamps.
I also like the window-washer tool, but this one is a bit hard to use properly without exposing yourself to a higher risk of scalding (more on that later).
As far as how well the steamer cleans, I would give it an 8 out of 10 for hard jobs, and a 10 out of 10 for easy jobs. By hard jobs, I mean the kind of use that I put it through- admittedly, I do not clean as often as I should, and by the time I get around to it, most stains have set in for QUITE a while. By easy jobs, I mean something like the kitchen sink, which I keep pretty clean.
Sometimes, the steamer is the only tool that will get a job done. For example, I had some stickers from apples on the outside of my microwave. I do not recall how they got there, but they had been there for nearly two years. Scrubbing with chemicals did almost nothing, as Im sure you can predict, because old adhesive has a way of never completely disintegrating. One of my first tests with the steamer was the apple sticker. Sure enough, the steam just melted the adhesive to the point that I could wipe it all off with a paper towel. The microwave is good as new.
For other jobs, the steamer requires chemical backup. Cleaning the bathtub would probably be easier if I did it as often as I should, but given that I dont, the steamer takes way too long to cut through the grime. Those scrubbing bubbles foaming cleaners destroy all that scum in the tub, but I can also feel them burning my lungs and hands at the same time. The steamer works, but it takes more diligence.
In all, I think the steamer excels most in cleaning up sticky messes. The steamer just liquefies these messes and they can then be cleaned up with just a wipe of a towel.
This was my largest concern when shopping for a steam cleaner. The steamer actually is built quite well, and all of the parts are heavy duty. Nothing here feels like it came from a toy store, as some cleaning appliances can. I used my steamer a few weeks ago, and when I opened it for re-filling today, I noticed that the internal water canister was still highly pressurized- this means that it had not leaked any steam AT ALL over the past few weeks since its last use. (A push on the handle will release the pressure immediately). Even the drain plug has a very solid feel to it.
Please note that you must use distilled or purified water with this unit. This is less and less a problem these days, as more of us have water filters in our homes (I use my Brita filter to provide water for the steamer). Even if you do not, just go buy a few gallons of distilled water at the store.
To begin the steaming process, you fill up the unit with purified water (accepts a maximum of 48 ounces) with the provided funnel, screw the top on, and plug it in. I usually use about 32 ounces of water, which is good for nearly an hour of intermittent steaming (I think 48 ounces is supposed to be good for a continuous hour). The heating time varies, but usually takes about 15 minutes. After that, keep it plugged in and begin steaming!
When using a steamer, you are cleaning with boiling water. Thats 212 degrees Fahrenheit, so if youre not careful, you can hurt yourself. This is not a criticism of the steamer; it is designed to blow hot steam. Much like a car, it can be dangerous if misused.
For one, if you are using the steam nozzle (my favorite all-purpose tool) at more than a 45 degree angle (roughly), steam can condense into near-boiling water, and travel down the side of the tool onto your hand. Also, do not steam clean anything that you are holding in your hand. Trust me on this one; its just a bad idea.
Fortunately, all of these side effects can be avoided with proper use, and I have never had steam come out of an area that it shouldnt. All accessories snap together solidly, and I have never had any errant steam erupt from the unit.
The Steam Max is a great product, and definitely worth the price. To be perfectly honest, I think the $120 or so that I paid was a screaming deal, because I would have easily paid more for it had I known how well it would work. Its not a one-step solution for cleaning, but its the closest thing that Ive found!
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