Pros: Less of a hassle to have clean floors.
Cons: Design could be better; expensive replacement cloths.
I hate cleaning the floors, but I love the look of clean floors. The old hassle of getting the bucket, filling it, lugging it around, mopping, remopping, slipping on the wet floor, tiptoeing across the wet floor to get something, dumping filthy water, having to refill the bucket and going through it all again is a pain. I'm no slob, but I have to admit that the floors would get pretty grungy - laziness would usually win over the idea of slaving on my hands and knees or fussing with a mop that never worked very well.
I saw the Eureka Enviro Steamer advertised, but figured it looked gimmicky. When I read some of the reviews here, I decided to give it a shot. I selected the Deluxe Enviro Steamer due to its improvements over what most complained about with the regular Enviro Steamer:
- Clips to hold the cloths in place
- Indicator light to show you when you've run outta steam
On opening the box, I have to admit I thought this thing was pretty ugly. It's a bright yellow color with dark gray trim. Assembly was easy - just extend the pole to the desired length, twist to lock in place, screw the pole into the base, and you're set to go. It comes with a nice long cord (over 20 ft. long) with a clip at the top to attach the cord to in order to keep it away from the hot base) and a "preheating/cool down tray" to rest the steamer on. Another Epinioner described the base as being like the kind of material that you see meat at the grocery store resting on, and she was right on with that description; however, it does appear like it will stand up under prolonged use. All it does is serve as a resting place for your steamer as it heats up and cools down.
So How Do You Use This Baby?
After you've got the Eureka Delux Enviro Steamer assembled:
1. Set the steamer on top of one of the "Magic Cloths" (you get two with your steamer), and clip the edges of the cloth under the two clips on the top of the unit. Leave the steamer on it's resting base.
2. Don't plug the steamer in yet! Unscrew the lid on the top of the unit, insert the funnel, fill the measuring cup twice, pouring the plain tap water into the funnel. Screw the lid back on.
3. Go plug the steamer in, and press the on switch.
In about 4 or 5 minutes, you'll see your steamer begin to emit steam. While it's heating up, I'm sweeping the floors and moving the stuff off the bathroom floor.
When the steamer is ready, you slowly drag it across the floor. It may look like it's not doing much, but when you change cleaning cloths, if you're like me, you'll find the cloth dirty.
Eureka even claims that the Deluxe Enviro Steamer will kill dust mites and some types of bacteria like E. coli and salmonella "when used properly", but lets explore what that entails. To disinfect an area, you have to position the steamer over an area for 8-15 seconds (any longer can damage your floor) to allow the floor under the steamer to reach approximately 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Considering the steamer is about a foot wide and maybe 1/2 foot deep, it doesn't take long to deduce that if you're buying this with thoughts of having a absolutely bacteria-free floor, this will be a time-consuming endeavor. If you simply want nice, cleaning looking floors, then you'll probably be happy.
One of the nice things about the Eureka Deluxe Enviro Steamer is that the floors are not wet long at all. I slowly drag the steamer across the floor, and usually by the time I'm done with the room, the floor is almost dry.
If you run out of steam-producing water, the orange-yellow indicator light on the top of the unit will turn on. You'll have to turn the unit off, unplug, refill, plug back in, turn it on, and wait 4-5 minutes for it to reheat. Not a great hassle. I find that I can easily do a kitchen and bathroom, and I still have water left in the steamer.
Some Important Notes
- The steamer gets very hot - you'll need to religiously adhere to the instructions, or you could easily get burned.
- Not for use on unsealed wood floors - You also can't let the unit stand on any wood floor for an extended period of time, or the woodgrain may rise.
- This might dull the sheen on your floor - Floors treated with wax as well as some no-wax floors may lose their sheen. My linoleum is a little less shiny than it was when I used a product like "Brite" to clean my floors, but I haven't noticed that it's done any damage or removed much shine.
- Only use water - no vinegar or chemicals - If you have hard water, you should use distilled water in your Eureka Deluxe Enviro Steamer.
- Maintenance - Once a month, you'll need to fill the steamer, shake it to loosen any accumulated calcium deposits, and then empty the water. After every use, you'll also need to empty the unit of leftover water. Floor cloths may be washed in a washing machine, but you'll need to air dry them or they could shrink.
- Flimsy pole that tends to turn and twist as you use the steamer.
- Poor cord storage - There's an "adjustable clip" at the tip, but it's a poor design. You have to turn it one direction to clip the cord out of the way while you use the steamer, and then turn it around if you want to use it to store the cord when the steamer isn't in use.
- Consider steam doesn't smell terrific - Ever open your dishwasher while it's running? That's what my kitchen and bathroom smell like right after cleaning. This is a minor thing, really, but worth mentioning. The smell goes away before long.
- Floorcloths that slip out of place - Even with the clips, the Magic Cloths can start to slip out of place while you're cleaning the floors. If it gets bad enough, you'll have to reposition the cloth and do so carefully, or you could get burned.
- Floorcloths that are expensive - The steamer comes with two Magic Cloths. Replacements can be ordered for $19.99 + $3.75 for shipping and handling for a pack of two, as of this writing. Considering there's nothing magical about these cloths, that's a pretty steep price for a couple flimsy, waffle-textured cloths. I'm seriously tempted to sew a few of my own, though the instructions naturally warn that you shouldn't use anything but the magical Eureka floorcloths.
- Some difficulty wrestling the steamer in tight places, like around the toilet in the bathroom.
That's it. I'm very pleased with my steamer despite the negatives. My floors are constantly spotless now. This is one of those modern luxuries that is worth getting if you hate the mop-and-bucket routine.