Patrick Dunford: Steam Mopping Vs Chemical Cleaning

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I’ve decided to take a foray into the world of steam cleaning your house and household items due to the obvious need that we will all have to do a lot more cleaning because of Covid-19 risk. Of course we can also use vinegar instead of chemicals to clean our houses, but using steam is a great simple step forward, and as it turns out, very effective in a number of situations.

There are a range of products available at various prices and I have decided to start with the Anko JC-230 steam mop which Kmart sells for $59. It is the first time I have purchased something from Kmart, and I was able to get it delivered free of charge. Anko is an Australian company who produce a range of domestic electrical and other household items which mostly target the lower price range and Kmart sells quite a few of their items. The Anko JC-230 is a lightly constructed product that does the basics and appears to do them quite well. It resembles an upright vacuum cleaner and is operated in a similar way.

The mop is quite easy to use. The tank needs to be filled using the plastic cup supplied and as soon as it is plugged in it heats up quite quickly. There is a telescopic handle provided for different height requirements. Although there is only one hole in the base the steam spreads quite effectively. The handle attachment to the head makes it very easy to steer on the floor which is important as the pad tends to drag a bit as I suppose all mops tend to do. The pad fixing seems flimsy, relying on a type of velcro, but was able to stay attached reasonably well, made easier by the effectiveness of the cleaning as you really do not have to press down hard on the floor to get results, all you have to do is drag it across the floor and it works wonders. Using it on my kitchen floor which was quite grubby and had not been cleaned for a few months has proven surprisingly effective and I can see this product getting a lot of use. The power cord is a reasonable length, the water tank takes a while to run out and the steam flow is easy to stop temporarily by clicking the handle into the fully upright position. It draws about 5 amps so you should not run it through a plugbox and be careful with an extension cord. Only one cleaning pad is supplied but a pack of three spares currently costs only $10 at Kmart. It is also supplied with a glider to be able to be used on carpet, this is an interesting capability that I will try out sometime but not the key reason I purchased it.

I have been pleasantly surprised at just what a good job this unit is capable of doing in lifting dirt off the floor and I expect to use it a lot as there will be no need to buy cleaning chemicals for as many things as I would currently use them for now. Due to its lightweight construction I am not confident of its being durable to last for a long time beyond the 12 months warranty expiry and will probably in future look to purchase a more expensive model from Godfreys who have a range made by Hoover and other reputable cleaning appliance companies. My next step for now is to purchase the handheld steam cleaner which is $29 also from Kmart in order to do even more chemical free cleaning of other surfaces as well. This handheld cleaner will have its limitations (in fact it was an article in the Press about it, which gave a negative review, that got me interested in steam cleaning in the first place), but it does come with several attachments for various cleaning tasks and I would just expect to use it on flat surfaces like the kitchen benches or in the bathroom.