Kärcher SC1402 Dry Steam Cleaner (UK) - First Impressions

Had one of these for two days and it's been on the go continually.
The Kärcher (pron. Kercher, with 'ch' as in Scottish 'loch') SC1402 is second top in this company's UK domestic steam cleaner range. I chose it chiefly because of the 'reserve tank' feature, which allows periodic re-watering of the device without having to wait until the boiler cools down first. Thus, continuous steam is assured.
I also chose the SC1402 because of the Kärcher brand name. All parts of the unit are well designed and robustly built in the same way as is a Volkswagen Golf. So, if you love that sort of thing, this cleaner should immediately delight you.
My first job was defrosting the lower freezer section of the fridge. Compared to our previous method of performing this tiresome task, which involved a fan heater and a virtual lake on the kitchen floor, SC1402 did the job in around a quarter of the time with far less mess. The steam melted the ice in such a way that it soon lost its grip on the refrigeration pipework and fell off in blocks, which were easy to place in a handy basin. Any water left was sucked up with a wet 'n' dry vac. Brilliant!
Fair chuffed, I changed tools to set about the lino.
SC1402 has an accessory called a 'floor tool', similar to those that accompany cylinder vacs, but with steam holes along the centre in between the bristles. This can be used on its own, but they advise applying one of the tailored Terry cloths designed for the attachment, an extra five of which were bundled 'free' by my supplier. You fold one of these cloths lengthways, wrap it over the brush and secure it with two top-mounted retaining clips.
While SC1402 made a fine job of cleaning the lino, due to the width of the 'floor tool', it was hard to penetrate the sort of tight recesses found in most kitchens. So I changed over to 'the hand tool' - a smaller brush, but one that requires a different type of Terry cloth - also supplied - with an elasticated top that easily slips over the attachment. Yet even that was too wide for going between the cooker and the sink unit. So I had to finish ye olde fashioned way with a damp mop. The same problem followed in the bathroom, though less so because there aren't so many recesses.
Otherwise I was impressed with the SC1402's floor cleaning ability. It got all the dirt off with hardly any of the residual moisture that invariably remains after mopping. Both floors dried much quicker than usual. Plus of course - BIG BONUS - I didn't have to use bleach or Virkon.
I shall end by listing some other steaming tasks and remarking on SC1402's ability with regard to them.
1. Cleaning the WC = Excellent results - though bleach soaking is still needed for stubborn stains on the porcelain.
2. Sinks, basins and drains = Will not remove limescale without vinegar soaking first. Then it's quite easy. Using the 'power nozzle' SC1402 also managed to unblock the kitchen sink. Amazing!
3. Shower = Brings chromework up lovely and the 'hand tool' - minus Terry cloth - is great for scrubbing the tray. Meanwhile, using the power nozzle at close range quickly cleans all the crud away from the plughole.
4. Worktops and cooker hobs = The Business! Hand tool with cloth plus detail brush. Loosens dirt for speedy wiping with damp rag. Sterilises too.
5. Teddy Bears etc. = Great for freshening them up. They say that steam kills bed bugs and dust mites. I cannot confirm this. But all the teds smelled much fresher after steaming - and they seemed to enjoy it as well, bless em.
6. Duvets, pillows & mattresses = Again, all smelled fresher after steaming. The same can be said for chairs, cushions and curtains - especially if, like us, you have a cat/dog. I also understand that SC1402 does a sterling job on rabbit hutches, birdcages and kennels. Though again I cannot confirm this.
So - what's the conclusion?
Well, at around £190 SC1402 isn't exactly cheap. There are less expensive options available from about fifty quid upwards, but none, as far as I know, that offers the reserve tank facility of the Kärcher device under discussion. Whereas, if we're sticking to household brand names, a comparable model to the SC1402 appears to be the Nilfisk-Alto Steamtec 51H - albeit selling for around £35 more.
I bought SC1402 mainly because of the reserve tank facility, the well-established Kärcher name and, no less, the favourable price compared to the nearest competition. In every sense I can honestly say that my expectations have been met. SC1402 is a joy to use and does everything it claims on the box. Yet it won't remove all types of grime well - like the tea stains on our stainless steel sink for example, which had to scrubbed with a trusty Brillo pad as always.
Nevertheless, in terms of overall cleaning ability, user-friendliness and downright feel-good factor I cannot recommend SC1402 highly enough. Now I am raking around for other household items that would benefit from a damned good steaming. In which regard, if you are a hard pressed working mum, it seems that SC1402 might be perceived as a most entertaining 'toy' by those members of the family who, at the moment, don't help with chores as much as you'd like.
To describe the steam nozzle of SC1402 as akin to some extra-terrestrial zapper that might be used by The Daleks or The Cybermen would not be an understatement. Therefore, the implications of this for 'lightening your load' should be pretty obvious.
Indeed, SC1402 has resurrected the boy in me. Absolutely!
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