Steam mop?


I guess this is more home maintenance than repair, but I thought probably some of you have experience in this realm. I've been trying out steam mops, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm expecting too much or just getting a bad luck of the draw.
I started with the Shark steam mop, which I thought was just this side of worthless. Friends advised me that the problem was that I'd chosen a gutless model, and that I needed to move up to a better one.
So, I got a Gruene 2-in-1 steam mop, which has all kinds of bells and whistles, but doesn't seem to do much better at cleaning. I would say it cleans about as well as any damp mop, whether a run of the mill sponge map dampened with hot water, a Swiffer Wet Jet, or whatever.
All of the ads seem to show them magically lifting away dirt and grime that nothing else could touch. Have I just been suckered? Is this really all the better they perform? Or have I possibly just chosen two lemons in a row?
Thanks in advance, Jo Ann
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Jo Ann wrote the following:

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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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"Jo Ann" wrote

Jo Ann, I have the shark model and am happy. Perhaps you have a bit too much for it to handle? Spring mud and such tracked in by the puppies? Something like that?
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Yep, that's pretty close. Not only spring mud tracked in, but onto lots and lots of white tile (no, I didn't pick the tile). I guess I need to adjust my expectations. It's disappointing; I was really looking forward to having something grab 'n' go that would really do the job.
Jo Ann
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wrote:

My wife made up her mind we needed a Shark and it is pretty useless, as you found out. Once you have the floor pretty clean with a regular mop it might pick up a little more but not enough to be worth mopping again. We have lots of tile (1500 sq/ft or so) but we were careful not to get white ;-) This Lea Acero "wood look" tile is great about not showing every little speck of dirt
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"Jo Ann" wrote "cshenk" wrote:

Grin, our expectations were totally different. I was replacing a mop level device.
There's some disability and arthritis involved here. Bending over and things like that have become a trial. The simple shark model is easier for us to handle, works a bit better than a regular mop and no need to wring it out (just shift pads and drop dirty one in washing machine after rinsing at the sink where we can stand up as we do it). In a light dirt situation (kitchen and we are fairly neat), it removed needing to get on hands and knees which is difficult for us, or wringing out a mop which no matter what model you have is painful if you have elbow and wrist problems.
We knew it was a light weight model when we got it for cleaning, and the heavier models that do your need aren't sold under the name of 'steam mops'. You need something more in the line of a full floor cleaner with brushes and all that.
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It's like you're reading my mind, LOL! I actually *do* have a full floor cleaner, a Koblenz with brushes for tile, hardwood, and carpet, as well as buffing pads for hardwood. It does do a great job. I was hoping a steam mop might fill in between full-out scrubbings, but I think between white tile and numerous pets, I'm expecting too much.
By the way, I highly recommend the Koblenz for anyone who wants to get off their knees for floor scrubbing! I've been very happy with it, and since I have a variety of flooring, it's great to have all the options with the interchangeable brushes.
Jo Ann
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In typed:

Well, probably a little of both; you got suckered but you didn't. If how those things work is highly dependent on WHAT KIND of dirt they're used on. For the most part, those things never operate as advertised unless you use them on the exact same pre-prepared "dirt" exactly as they show you how. And then it can be iffy. It can be considered a positive in a way though because now you have learned something that will be useful in the future; stay away from them, especially with "fantastic" claims of superiority. Without pressure behind it, steam is pretty much, well, just steam that floats on top of whatever your'e cleaning; there's nothing to get the "steam" down into where the dirt is without something putting pressure behind it, especially with carpet. There ARE good brands of cleaners. But finding a decent one means for the most part, buying from a brand name you know from a reputable company name you have come to trust and not being afraid to return it if it doesn't live up to what it says it can do. In our case, my and my wife's mother each had a steam carpet cleaner, both of which did great jobs. My mother's machine pushed the steam out with a stream of air and then sucked it up thru the wand and out of the carpet, leaving it almost dry in the end. Her mother's had brushes on it and actually massaged the carpet, and did clean a bit better than the other one. But with that one you had to do the extra work of a rinse and then vacuum up the water out of the carpet, but at least it was all done with one machine, no matter which one you chose to use. The machine with the brushes cleaned better but was more work; and was used in a farming household, so probably was a good deal. For our less tough use though, the pressurized steam works fine and is les work and there is only a very short drying time after use before being able to walk on the carpets. And it'll also do wood floors. Each one required their own kinds of soap and cleaning liquids and the list goes on and on. It's kind of a "you get what you pay for" deal as long as you're dealing with a reputable company, IMO.
HTH,
Twayne` -
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Heck. I don't even know what one is and I have mopped a lot of floors.
On anything other than hardwood, a good wet mop, allowed to soak, a pick up and rinse has cleaned everything I have ever needed cleaning. That anything includes more than you want to know about.
So I guess I am saying the whole thing is a scam.
Elbow grease will win over marketing in the real world test.
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What does Consumer's Reports say? I haven't looked up the latest index to see when they last reviewed floor cleaners, but I'm sure they have done them in at least the past 3 years.
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wrote:

Actually, no, they don't appear to have reviewed them ever. I'm a subscriber to their website, and lots of users there are finding it hard to believe, but there's nothing. Maybe I should have taken that as my first hint....
Jo Ann
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wrote:

We got one not long ago. It was meet expectations and we are glad we got it. Is it magic, like the commercials suggest, no, but for the floor I have, it works well.
The steam gets the stuff that regular mopping was not getting.
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Pieces of garbage designed to separate you from your money without giving anything useful in return. As someone else said you need some power behind the steam to do any effective cleaning but then we run into several problems:
- they're too expensive
- they're too dangerous for the average householder
- they're too big, requiring their own garage to keep them in
- they're no better than the Swiffer (or a generic Swiffer) for the type of household cleaning you'd be doing; in fact, much worse.
If you want to see a worthwhile steamer look up the restaurant supply houses - the ones that supply hotel kitchens - and search for a machine to clean the stove. I think Northern Hydraulics also used to sell one. $10,000+; too heavy to carry; puts out a blast of steam that will strip paint; think of what it would do to your hand or the dog; but does a wonderful job on that grease-encrusted range. Oh, and you'd better have a solid surface (like tile) on the floor and a drain hole to hose the crud into. The building code will probably insist on a grease trap too.
Mind you, it'll also do a wonderful job on the underneath of the car and it's a much more practical investment than (say) a cathedral ceiling!
Speaking of restaurant supply houses (generally they supply professionals not homeowners) you can get some idea of the potential of steam for general cleaning (not the range) by looking at what is used by the people who clean for a living. For example: Powerflite. They sell to cleaning contractors but I don't think they have any steam machines. Their carpet cleaners are all hot water maximum and for things like bathrooms, they use the old fashioned mops.
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Just another idea of a half assed un needed product to get consumers to spend more money, is my opinion of steam mops, and how long do you think it will last, with mineralised tap water not long in hours, and by design less than 10 years. And the temp of the steam by the time it hits the floor, its water vapor and sucks up electricity. You need proof, Billy Mays comes to mind.
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