I have been wanting to know what all the fuss is about with steam cleaners for a while now. So when Bissell offered me one of their Lift-Off steam mops to try out for a few weeks I had to say yes. I had big plans to give my whole house a proper clean – floors, tiled walls, everything in the kitchen and bathrooms, and anywhere else I could see to use it. A proper spring clean was about to occur in the Splodz household… be afraid!
When the steam mop arrived all neatly packed in its box I set to putting the thing together. Actually not very difficult at all, the instructions made it very easy and it was upright leaning against my kitchen wall in no time. I checked out the length of the cable and would easily be able to do the whole kitchen and probably the whole of the downstairs without moving to a different socket. I worked out how to take the handheld steam cleaner away from the floor mop and that seemed really easy and very useful. But there it stayed for a little while, much longer than anticipated, due to some circumstances which meant trying out a new cleaning gadget just wasn’t at the top of my priority list (you’ll have noticed the lack of reviews here for a little while). Actually it even got moved to the spare room, which was its home for more than a week, probably a month. Oh dear. Sorry Bissell!
Eventually I had an afternoon spare and so filled up the water container and sat down to read the way I was supposed to use all the different attachments. It was at this point I realised I wasn’t sure if my kitchen floor was sealed or not. I mean, it’s a wooden laminate floor, a decent one, but as we didn’t put it down (it was like that when we moved in) we don’t actually know if it has been sealed. We suspect not. And not being funny, I wasn’t willing to test this thing out and potentially warp my lovely floor.
I unhooked the hand held cleaner part and got to work on everything else in the kitchen and in fact the house. The worktop, tiles, hob, sink – oh the sink looked brilliant after that. The different attachments go on the end of the hose really easily, and you press and hold the button on the cleaner to make steam. You have to press and hold, there is no on/off switch like on a vacuum cleaner, which is a shame as it’s a bit awkward to hold the cleaner in one hand and get a constant decent pressure with the hose in the other. It would have been good to be able to put the water container part (where the button is) down and still have steam, or for the steam button to be on the hose somehow. Anyway, it wasn’t that big of a deal, I managed, just a little niggle.
I found the flat attachment with the flannel-type pad on worked great on my granite worktop, and the tiles came up fab with the black detailer type brush (there are two of these brushes, black for kitchen and red for bathroom, a very hygienic colour coding system – I dread to think of the cross contamination!!). But the sink was the best thing. It didn’t even look that bad before I started. I mean, the steam just broke down whatever it was on it and brought it up looking brilliant. I would consider buying a steam cleaner just for the difference it made there.
Moving to the bathrooms the Bissell made easy work of the tiles. The biggest problem I found, though, was that once the pad on the cleaner was damp, which it gets understandably quickly bearing in mind there’s really hot liquid there, you have to dry as well as clean or you end up with really smeary tiles. I did the whole bathroom with one pad on the cleaner and left it to dry, but the tiles were so marked from the dried water that it looked awful – like I hadn’t cleaned at all – worse than before I started cleaning. I had to go over it again – thankfully hubby helped out. I realised the trick was to steam clean a section, and use a towel to dry it before continuing. That way I had shiny tiles and no streaky smeary water marks. I did learn the hard way though!
The red detailer brush made light work of the bathroom suite, well with a little help of the cleaner’s friend elbow grease anyway – burns calories you know! The taps came up lovely, they always seem to need cleaning, and my shower was much brighter. I didn’t try cleaning my windows but apparently you can use this for those too.
The heat coming from the nozzle is, well, hot. There is a dial on the side of the cleaner to adjust the temperature depending on the type of surface you’re cleaning. I found the water container easily gave me a “normal clean” (about 20 minutes of constant use)… I had to refill on that afternoon when I did the whole house, but I was cleaning for hours and it’s really no bother to take off and fill up. In the time I was using the cleaner the little beads in the bottom of the water container didn’t show any sign of changing colour (I like that the cleaner has its own water filtration system built in so you don’t have to use distilled water in it). I washed the pads a couple of times and they never seemed to come up properly white again but were obviously perfectly fine to use again.
Part of the point of Bissell sending me the steam mop on loan was for me to decide if I wanted to buy one or not. Would I buy one? Well to be completely honest I wouldn’t get this particular model. I have realised, thanks to having this one for a little while, that what I need is the handheld cleaner part only. That’s the bit I got the use out of. I want something small I can get out of the cupboard and use quickly in the kitchen and bathroom, not a big floor washing machine. If you do want something to clean your sealed wooden or tiled (or lino etc) floors then I do reckon this is worth a try for you, but if you’re just looking for a hygienic cleaning gadget then go for something more portable and compact.
I can’t argue with the cleaning power of this Bissell, though, and I admit I’ve been looking at handheld cleaner options that might become part of the cleaning brigade here (am I getting old?). Something like the Bissell Steam Shot, perhaps. Hygienic, no chemicals, and quick. I did like having the steam cleaner around, for now I’m back to chemical spray and sponges.
If you want to know more about the Bissell Lift-Off Steam Mop then see their website: http://uk.bissell.com