Pros: Effective, easy to use, SpinScrub brushes clean better than traditional beater bar
Cons: Heavy, bulky, loud, high initial cost
While hyperventilating about the upcoming familial invasion this Christmas, I chose to panic about the small things. The caulk around the sink has a mark on it! The baseboards need to be scrubbed! The curtains are wrinkly! The living room carpet...well, I have to admit the idea of simply burning the house down and starting over did cross my mind.
Once I came to my senses, I decided to rent a steam cleaner. While I had it, I figured I might as well do the couch too. I estimated that with an active 4 year old and a 5 month old in the house, it should take at least 2 days to clean the carpet and couch. When I looked at rentals, I discovered it would cost $70 to rent the steam cleaner and upholstery attachments for that long.
I started looking at the cost of steam cleaners and found that I could purchase this one for $130 on sale. Considering the aforementioned children, I knew the carpets would have to be cleaned again, so purchasing my own cleaner seemed like the logical next step. The next day I purchased it from Amazon for $120, as the price had dropped overnight.
The Hoover F59140-900 Upright Steam Cleaner appears somewhat similar to an upright vacuum cleaner. The parts/features of the machine are:
- clean water tank which holds water and cleaning solution
- dirty water tank which holds water vacuumed up from carpet
- Clean Surge button to dispense additional cleaning solution
- SpinScrub brushes with Off-Lo-Hi switch and indicator
- SpinScrub handheld powered brush attachment, stored in front of machine
- upholstery attachment, stored on back of machine
- hose attachment for use with hand tools
The machine arrived requiring some assembly, which was a reasonably quick process. There were three sets of assembly instructions: a quick assembly guide in the book using mainly pictures, the full assembly instructions in the book, and a separate sheet of quick assembly instructions. I chose the full instructions, and they were easy to follow. I had read online that some owners had problems with leaking that were caused by failing to activate the Clean Surge trigger by fully depressing it during assembly. This step, while listed in the separate sheet of quick assembly instructions, was not in the full instructions in the user manual. Had I not read about this problem online, I likely would not have double checked to make sure the instructions all contained the same steps.
Once assembled, using the machine does not require much set-up. The clean water tank is filled with a mixure of cleaning solution and 1 gallon of hot tap water. While the machine claims to heat the water, from what I understand, it simply uses the hot air from the motor to warm the water some. It does not keep it very hot, but unless you're moving very slowly, this should not be a problem; simply use water as hot as your tap will get it. The screw top of the clean water tank functions as the measuring cup for the cleaning solution. The machine comes with a bottle of Hoover cleaning solution, which will fill the clean water tank 4 times. I used 3 tanks of cleaning solution to clean my 17x20' living room and a small hallway.
When the clean water tank is filled with a mixture of water and cleaning solution, the Hoover F59140-900 dispenses cleaning solution onto the carpet. For heavily very dirty areas, such as high traffic paths, the Clean Surge button can be depressed to dispense additional cleaning solution. The manual recommended using cleaning solution forward and back for one pass, then doing two passes to dry. You have to do at least one dry pass, but a second one will speed the carpet's drying time. When I used two dry passes, the carpet was nearly dry 3 hours later.
The F59140-900 has the additional feature of SpinScrub brushes. These are five brushes which, well, spin to scrub the carpet as you use the steam cleaner. (Traditional steam cleaners use a single beater bar.) The scrubbing of the brushes works to perk up matted carpet nap, helping traffic areas to look newer and fresher. The brushes can be left off or turned to low or high. The switch for this is on the front of the steam cleaner at the bottom next to an indicator that spins when the SpinScrub brushes are on, letting you see at a glance if they're working. While they do not make worn down carpet look like new, the traffic paths were much less noticeable after cleaning, more so than I have seen in past experience with other carpets and steam cleaners without the SpinScrub brushes.
The dirty water is vacuumed up by the steam cleaner into the dirty water tank. When the tank is full, suction to the vacuum cleaner automatically shuts off, causing a higher pitched noise that alerts you that the tank is full. The tank, located immediately below the clean water tank, is accessed by pressing the handle release and lowering the handle back to the floor. The tank can be easily removed by swinging open the tabs on either side of the tank and lifting straight up. The water can then be disposed of in a sink, tub, or toilet. The dirty water tank tends to fill more quickly than the clean water tank empties, although both have a capacity of 1 gallon. I am presuming that the fact that the used water is full of dirt is responsible for this discrepancy.
After use, it is a good idea to clean the nozzle that vacuums up the water. This can be done by pouring a cup or two of clean water onto a hard, non-carpeted surface and vacuuming it up. The water tanks should be completely rinsed and allowed to dry before putting into storage. The SpinScrub brushes are removed by depressing two levers on both the front and back, popping them loose. All 5 brushes remove as a single unit. They can be rinsed and allowed to dry before being snapped back in.
The carpet in our living room, which was embarassingly dirty with clearly defined traffic paths, is now MUCH cleaner. As I said, the carpet does not look new, but the difference is quite noticeable. The carpet looks much cleaner, and high traffic areas are no longer significantly darker than the rest of the carpet. Even the car grease tracked in from the garage came out with a minimum of spot treating beforehand. For cleaning floors, I found the Hoover F5914-900 SteamVac Upright Vacuum quite satisfactory.
A few days after I cleaned the carpet, I used the powered hand tool to clean the upholstery of our couch. It was easy to convert the steam cleaner to use the hose and upholstery attachment. You must open the dirty water tank, and a piece from the hose is inserted into a slot on the tank. A plug from the hose is connected to the bottom front of the machine, and once the dirty water tank is put back in place, the hose is ready to go. Either the powered hand tool or the upholstery tool simply snap onto the end of the hose.
I chose to use the powered hand tool instead of the regular upholstery attachment. The powered hand tool has two SpinScrub brushes. To use the hose and hand tool, you press down on a button on the hose to dispense solution, which sprays solution from a nozzle below where tool attaches. The nozzle of the tool is then pressed against the upholstery to vacuum up the water. I found that the upholstery attachment did not vacuum out nearly as much water as the steam cleaner itself did. I ran out of solution well before the dirty water tank was full, and the cushions took all night to dry. They did look significantly cleaner (and the dirty water shows you it's working!) but the change was not as dramatic as with the carpet, likely because not as much dirty water was vacuumed out.
For a time frame, it took about 5 minutes to fill the steam cleaner and be ready to go, about an hour to clean around 400 sq ft, and about 20 minutes to rinse and clean the machine. To clean the upholstery on the couch, it took the same amount of time to set up, about an hour to clean the three large cushions of our sectional with chaise, and about 10 minutes to clean the tool, hose, and tanks.
I have only had the cleaner for 3 weeks, so I cannot speak to durability.
excellent at cleaning carpets
effective at cleaning upholstery
easy to use
repeated uses will save money over rentals
SpinScrub brushes perk up matted carpet fibers
comes with powered hand tool and upholstery attachment
relatively short drying time
- hose and tool attachments remove less water, resulting in longer drying time
- claims to require Hoover cleaning solution to reduce sudsing, pricier than many other brands
- extremely loud
- initial sticker-shock