I purchased a Shark hand held steam cleaner some months back and haven't yet used it much. I am wondering if folks who own them have anything that they could share about using them. What sorts of things do you use yours for? Anything that they are really handy for and cut out some elbow grease?
I do know that they do a lovely job on getting wrinkles out of clothes. I have also used them in the bathrooms where the walls sometimes looked streaked after running water and steaming up the room for too long. Just wondering if there are other jobs I could use mine for so that I feel as though I am getting my moneys worth.
Thanks for all hints and tips.
do you own a hand held steam cleaner?
I purchased a Shark hand held steam cleaner some months back and haven't yet used it much. I am wondering if folks who own them have anything that they could share about using them. What sorts of things do you use yours for? Anything that they are really handy for and cut out some elbow grease?
I have not used --- but a friend just yesterday told me about her Shark (I was asking if anyone used the floor/steam cleaner) (I got for Christmas and have not fired it up) ...anyway, she said she misses her Shark hand steam cleaner -- clothes, wrinkles etc., etc, but she said it makes her counters in the kitchen look fabulous and get very very clean.
Ruby, I use mine to clean my Hot Water baseboard heating units pre and post heating season. I remove covers, vac loose stuff put down several layers of paper underneath and steam away. Removes any film or tobacco residue too. And there is enough force behind steam (nozzle attachment) to blow away cob webs.
Thanks Rosie and Coleup. Good ideas. I hope that you will enjoy your new steamer Rosie. Report back after you use it and let us know what you think. Most of my home is carpeted so I am not sure I will invest in a floor steamer.
Hey there Coleup, I might just try using mine on the floor vents that are yucky looking. I will have to figure out some system to catch the gunk as it releases, maybe hold a rag or paper towels under the area I am steaming. I will give it some thought. Interesting use for yours though and I am sure it helps the performance of the air vents keeping them clean.
Hope some others will come along with some ideas.
In restaurants I've worked in, they have used high pressure steam cleaners (a hired company) to come in and degrease fume hoods and stoves as needed, or on a regular basis...steam being non toxic and fume and odor free, non chemically. If you can smell a restaurant a block away they need to clean the filters and probably change their fry oil.
Some think that smell of slightly burned, slightly rancid fat is good subliminal advertizing, so, if we smell fat we want fat to eat. Smell is a very powerful sense. But that's a whole nother topic!
Thank you Cole. One day earlier this week I was inspecting the hood over my electic range. I was thinking it was a terrible shame that the vent covering was as ugly and dirty looking as it was. Aha......you have now given me an idea. I am gonna pull that steamer out and give it a go. If it works and the metal cover comes out pretty and shiny.....I owe you one.....a big one too.
I have a hand held steamer that hasn't seen much use. On another thread they were talking about pouring boiling water on weeds to kill them. Then someone wondered if a steamer would do the same thing, so that is what I will try when the weather gets better.
If your steamer doesn't work for your fume hood IMHO it is not you, but the capacity of the steamer relative to the job. In other words , if you are not getting the results you want right off, it is not you who needs to try harder cause there isn't a way to get a little steamer to do a big steamer's job. Some hoods have removable filters...soak in a little ammonia or citriclean to degrease. Put in shallow pan and set outside then bring in to rinse.. For alternate ways to clean up hoods I've used an SOS pad slightly dampened to gently remove splatters, A razor blade like in those holders for removing paint splashes from window glass can also be used. and the combination of angle and pressure required to remove splat with out scratching surfaces
Be sure to empty out and clear your steamer after use so water mineral deposits don't clog it
Shune, Might kill plant but not roots, I'm thinking. Also, mine doesnt have a very long cord But I've considered using it on stink bugs and have heard the suggestion as a way to kill bed bugs and flea eggs. Hummmm Where there's a will there's a way! I love our creativity.
Hey there again........Cole, I got directly up from the computer and put water in the steamer and started her up to see what she would do. You guessed already......wasn't cutting the grime. I have a cleaner that I use for heavily soiled items called Purple Power. My vent cover was removable and boy did the pp do a fine job of making it all shiny and new looking. Good grief, that was one dirty, gritty and grimy area. I ended up using the Purple Power on the fan and area around the fan too. It cut the dirt but good!!! I love Purple Power, it will work on jobs when nothing else will. Oh yeah, i even went as far as taking the knobs off the stove and spraying them with the solution too. My stove is sparkling today. hahaha
Shune, cole has a good point on the steam not killing the roots. Oh well, good luck finding something to kill your weeds.
How do the steamers do on showers? I have been thinking of purchasing one? I seem to have a problem with mildew, and hate to keep using chemical cleaners.
Hi BGmom - I tried mine on the shower when I first purchased it but it didn't really impress me with the job it did. Maybe I am not doing something correctly, but I am disappointed with mine but wil keep it and use it from time to time.
I have a Shark floor model with a few different attachments and I use it everywhere. It is the only thing I use on the floors - wood, click flooring, linoleum and ceramic. I love how it makes the plumbing fixtures sparkle! It works great on grout and for cleaning the shower stalls and shower head. The only place I don't clean is around the toilet because I get the feeling that the steam may release ... unpleasant things into the air ;) I actually wear a mask when I use the steamer in the bathroom, just to minimize any risk. Same with the garbage cans and kitty litter box which I take outside to clean when the weather permits.
The biggest problem I have with the steamer is that it loses pressure quickly, so I have learned to multitask - steam for a minute or two, tidy up for the minute it takes the machine to come up to full pressure, etc. Also, I never clean the grout around the sink under full pressure for fear that I'll actually harm the seal, but even steam under slight pressure gets the job done if done regularly.
Another thing with steamers is that you have to wipe down your steamed surface immediately because a steamer is not a vacuum cleaner, and grit and grime will redeposit if not picked up.
Thanks, I am really considering buying one. Do they come in different powers?
I have a hand held steamer. Mine is a Bissel product, something that came with my Bissel carpet cleaner. On the downside, mine is electric, so I am tethered to the wall receptacle when using it. On the plus side, it's probably more powerful than portable models. I find mine to be extremely helpful in for cleaning the bathroom and kitchen.
In the bathroom it is great for getting gunk out of all the crevices around the faucets, around where the sink joins the cabinet, around the base of the toilet at the floor, and so forth. It also does a great job of cleaning the fixtures themselves and along baseboards, makes everything sparkle quickly and w/no scrubbing or chemicals. I do use chemicals in the toilet bowl, but not elsewhere in the bath. It's not good for cleaning the tile on the bathroom floor. For the tile, I use a 'mop' with removable, washable microfiber scrubbing pads which actually makes the white tile white again w/o chemicals. It gets up dirt, hair spray, etc leaving the floor sparkling clean with little scrubbing. WARNING: keep away from walls. I managed to cut through the wall with mine.
In the kitchen I use the steamer to clean the sink, the fixtures, and crevices around them plus the counter tops, stove, fridge, and other appliances. It also makes quick and easy work of cleaning the microwave, inside and out, even when someone forgets and cooks food w/o a splatter screen. It's great for cleaning inside the fridge. It quickly and easily got the spilled, chilled, and dried on syrup spill off the side of the fridge where it had dripped down on everything making a mess. Likewise, it got the syrup spill out of the groves for the vegetable bin (where the syrup had also dripped). As with the bath, the steamer does nothing for the ceramic tile floor in the kitchen. For that I use the mop mentioned above.
As for the range top filter discussed above, I remove mine and put it in the dish washer along with the burner tray things (electric range), all of which come out shiny clean. If they get really bad caked on, burnt on stuff on them, I soak them in water with ammonia to remove the stuff, and then run them through the dishwasher.
As for how to wipe up the mess when using the steamer, I hold the steamer in one hand and a clean rag in another. After every pass with the steamer, I wipe up the dirt/debris and small amount of water with the rag. As the rag gets soiled/wet, I refold the rag to reveal another clean surface and continue. When all surfaces of the rag are spent, I toss it in a bin and get out another one. When finished, I put all of the rags in the laundry. Cloth diapers, if you can find them, make great cleaning cloths for this kind of thing, but I just use a collection of old rags I make from torn sections of old T-shirts and such. To keep them straight I use a color system. White ones for the kitchen, dark colors for the bath, and so on. That way I can easily keep them sorted, launder them separately, and return them to the proper place.
Oh, the steamer is also good for cleaning the gaskets in the dish washer, washing machine, and fridge.
Hope this helps. These are the only uses I've found for mine so far other than getting wrinkles out of fabrics.
Thanks everyone. Good ideas. I suppose the next time I am cleaning the bathroom, I will try to remember to bring along the steamer. Brenda and Dream, thank you both for mentioning things such as possibly using a mask when cleaning in the bathroom and also the hint for wiping up the debris that steaming can kick up. I hadn't really thought about the dirt, grime or whatever if not being wiped away, once again settling back in from where it was just cleaned from. Good information.
As I mentioned, i was really excited when I first purchased mine because of the online reviews I had read that day. Maybe I should go back and re-read what the folks were saying and maybe there will be some other ideas for places to use the steamer.
Thanks for your input.
If you get any good tips not mentioned here, hope you will pass them on. :-)
not steam related, but for showers with mold or mildew, you really can't beat X-14. most hardware and grocery stores carry it. spray it on a dry shower surface and walk away...never any scrubbing involved. the mold just disappears almost instantly. i rinse the area after about 20 minutes. no harsh smells although it is "chemical", not natural. i haven't scrubbed a shower in 2 yrs. thanks to this stuff.
you would think bleach would do the same but it doesn't. i swear by X-14.
Hi Tracks.....never heard of the stuff. Will have to check and see if it is available locally. Yeah, definitely a chemical but for really tough dirty jobs, I swear by Purple Power. I have almost the same amazed feeling when seeing it do its job as I sometimes have when using my Dyson Animal Vac and seeing the dog hair that comes up from clean looking carpeting.
Thanks everyone for being so helpful. I will ask for X-14. I don't think I have noticed it in the store.
I am looking at a steam carper cleaner that is a Bissell
did you handheld model come with one?
Hi Everyone - I finally had a chance to go to the Shark website and read some of the customer reviews to get some ideas on using the hand held steamer. The reviews were set up in a different format than they were a while back and these weren't all as glowing as the previous ones.
Anyway.......one idea that I found interesting and am hoping to remember the next time that I need to clean the bottoms of my gardening shoes. Someone says they do a wonderful job on loosening the mud or other things that might stick to the bottoms of shoes. I always hate it when I can't wear my shoes back inside due to something yucky being stuck to the bottom. I usually try to leave them turned upside down on a table outside and hope that a rain will clean them. I am going to try using the steamer the next time to loosen whatever the offender is and bring along something that will be used to wipe the yuck away.
Severeal of the users had written in to say that the steamers are great to use on glass and mirrors. I hadn't thought of that either. I have a lot of mirrors throughout my house and also a few glass topped small tables that I will try it on.
One person said the steamer does a great job with window blinds. I will try that the next time I notice the blinds getting dingy. Several people writing the reviews and someone on this thread also mentioned something I hadn't thought of before but would have probalby figured out after a while, to always have a rag or paper towel or something to wipe away the debris after the steamer has loosened it.
I hope that the tips will give some of you good people some ideas on how to use yours. Being a Friday and all, I wanted to wish you all a very pleasant weekend ahead. Take care all.
My hand held steamer did come as a free bonus with my Bissell carpet steamer; however, that was some 5 to 10 years ago, so I doubt you will get that same offer now. Sorry. I just lucked out on that one. I didn't even particularly want the hand steamer at the time, but I love it now for kitchen and bathroom cleaning and for getting wrinkles out of clothes quickly w/o ironing. Mine is somewhat larger, longer actually, than the smaller ones I see on sale these days. Thus it's not quite as easy to maneuver, but I love it nonetheless. Can't beat it for 'free'. Also, I think mine may be more powerful than most since it is not portable/batter operated. It came with a case, like a plastic suit case of sorts that it fits in for storage along with all of its attachments. I've never tried any of the attachments. It also has a filter to keep hard water from damaging the unit. The filter changes color when it needs to be changed. Have never had to change it so far.
I looked on Amazon once but was unable to find anything like mine on sale separately. It is a Bissel brand, btw.
Thanks for those ideas. After reading one of your prior posts, I wanted to clarify that the steamer doesn't make dirt and grime disappear. It just loosens it, so that you can easily wipe it away with a single pass of a wrag and with no elbow grease. Thus it is very important to keep wiping behind the steamer as you go. As mentioned earlier I use a rag in one hand and the steamer in the other.
When doing this be very careful to keep your rag hand away from the steam to avoid a painful burn. I actually burned myself once but not too bad. I prefer a rag to a paper towel for several reasons. If doing much cleaning, I would think you would need a lot of paper towels as there is also some water from the steam to be wiped up with each pass. This would be costly and lead to a lot of waste, just my 2 cents. Also, depending how fast you wipe after you steam, the area may still be hot. The rag offers greater protection/insulation from residual heat. Here again, I believe my unit is more powerful than those portable types, so you may not have these problems. But definitely, you will need to wipe up the debris.
I don't know about using it for blinds. Sounds like that may be more messy than advisable. Remember that there is residual water from the steam plus debris being blown away from the surface under some pressure. I would think you would end up having to wipe down the blinds AND the windows, sills, etc. I would try a swiffer duster 1st to see if that does the job with less mess. Another good option for blinds is that are really messy, is to take them down and put in tub with shallow water and light cleaner (be careful to keep top mechanism out of water if doing this). If anyone tries cleaning blinds with the steamer and finds that it really does work well and w/o making a bigger mess, please let us know.
it seems to me that for some of these jobs, like cleaning the bottoms of garden shoes, it would make more economic sense to soak them in a shallow pan of water rather than use an electrical device. cleaning baseboards, blinds etc. with a swiffer (as suggested above) also seems less time consuming. if something has a build up of grease or dirt, then either soaking or swiping with a rag and cleaner (i use generic lemon cleaner) would be, at least for me, a lot less hassle.
a small dish of water microwaved for one minute usually loosens any stuck on foods.
using it outside in the garden for weeds sounds almost dangerous. you'd have to have a long extension cord. i'd rather just take them out the old-fashioned way, on my knees with a trowel.
i've been burned by steamers before too so really be careful. that can be a painful experience.
i don't know, i just keep picturing greasy dirt dripping onto everything below as the steamer does the loosening. i guess too, living in the south, i always feel that anything that makes more humidity can't be good! LOL a high heat humidity used around pressed board cabinets for instance, would turn them into a mushy mess eventually.
You have a good point as to the pros and cons of using the steamer for small jobs. Mine takes a few minutes to heat the water. That plus the minor aggravation of just getting it out, plugging it in, filling with water, etc, is something I have to consider when deciding whether to use it. I think this is why I pretty much only use mine for the bath and kitchen. In both cases I have enough cleaning to do to make it worth the small extra effort to get out the steamer and let it heat up. For the things I mentioned such as getting gunk out from around fixtures and such the steamer truly does make short work of these things, enough so that I would consider buying on if I didn't already have it on hand. It just makes cleaning the bath, in particular, so incredibly quick and easy.
As for the microwave, you may not have let yours get as bad as mine has been at times. For a while there I was eating a lot of spaghetti heated in a plate in the microwave w/o a cover - and, I'm embarrassed to admit, not taking time to wipe it down right away. The tomato sauce splatters would not come out easily. I tried the method of heating water and it didn't work for me. I haven't tried heating water with a little vinegar yet though. I've read that works great. I just love that a quick blast with the steamer makes the worst cooked on mess melt right off so that I can wipe it up with a single swipe of a rag.
I think you might be assuming the steamers are considerably more powerful than they really are. Remember, we are a litigious people, and these things are being made available to people of all levels of mental acuity. Thus they are not powerful enough to let you do much damage. I have what appear to be fairly average counter tops, nothing too special. I've used my steamer to remove dried on goop from counters, and have not had a problem.
During a period of disability following an injury, I regrettably let my baseboards get bad enough that the swifter won't cut it. I like those new, white, sponge things, don't recall name, for cleaning walls and baseboards but have also successfully used the steamer to clean them in the bathroom where hairspray and such gets on them along with dirt, dust, and debris. I especially like the steamer for getting into crevices like where the baseboards meet the floor, for instance. A quick steamer blast lets me wipe away the kinds of things people often scrub with a toothbrush, like around fixtures.
About taking the steamer out to the garden, while mine is electric, I think most of the ones I see on the market these days are portable/battery operated models with no electric cord. I don't use mine outside though. Also, mine has one of those ground fault things on the electrical plug. Those eliminate any worry about electricity and water as they open the circuit in a fraction of a second if anything goes wrong (I'm omitting boring details here, but they really do work - I'm an electrical engineer, btw.)
I did burn myself once with mine, but it was a very mild burn. It hurt at the moment the steam hit my hand, a reminder not to do that, but the burn was not even bad enough to continue hurting later, nor did it require medication or a bandage. Again, I don't think these things are as powerful as you are thinking.
As to the humidity issue, I've not found that to be a problem. It is woefully hot and humid here, too, so much so that I often swear we are living on the face of the sun. In fact, many zone maps, including the one here at DG, now put Charleston in with the upper 1/2 of FL. I have a split-leaf philodendron growing in a large pot on my driveway where it has been living year round for 10yrs w/o problems. One summer a plastic saucer under a pot on my patio actually melted and became severely deformed as did a mechanical pencil I left in my car. Our summer temps are often quite similar to those for FL, sometimes even exceeding yours. To make matters worse, in recent years, what with hormonal issues, I have become exceedingly heat sensitive such that I even have difficulty standing over the stove to stir things. Since the onset of this hormonal nightmare, the slightest heat will cause me to break out in a miserable bout of sweating, but I've not noticed any such problems when using my steamer. Neither the steam nor the heat is enough to cause me problems, not even when cleaning in the very small 'water closet' off the master bath or the relatively small guest bath. Again, they just aren't that powerful, which is probably why they don't work so well for many cleaning jobs other than those mentioned. For instance, mine is pretty much useless for cleaning floors.
Bottom line, I do like my steamer. I'm lazy. Anything that doesn't work really well and with minimal effort, doesn't get used around here, but I do use my steamer. It's the 1st thing I reach for when cleaning baths and for some kitchen tasks. But mine was free, so I didn't have to think about whether or not to buy it. (That's my 2cents worth adjusted for inflation.)
thank you for the in depth reply!
your adjusted 2 cents was well worth the read! lol
i guess i would just have to use one to see what's up with it. i have a hand held for clothing because i don't own an iron or ironing board and never will...been there...blah, blah, blah. i think i was trying to compare mine to what you all are talking about.
thanks again...always great conversation here.
Whoever said something about pulling it out of storage spot, filling with water, waiting for water to get hot and the other steps required to use the steamer is probably why after the first week or so of use, that mine has basically just sat where it is stored. It was great on wrinkled clothes but since the purchase of the steamer I have also purchased a new washer and dryer and the dryer has a built in steamer option that I will most likely use on wrinkles.
At least I have it now and I am sure there will be jobs that come up that the steamer will be used for. I did love the way it worked on the bathroom walls that sometimes have streaks after my son spends an extra long time steaming himself. I noticed some recently and before I had the chance to use the steamer on them, they were gone. Evidently someone else saw them too and wiped them down before I had a chance to. That works for me too.
Hoope you folks are having a great weekend.
That was me that mentioned the barrier to entry for the steamer being that you have to get it out, fill it, etc. I'm very, very lazy and don't enjoy cleaning. The trouble of getting the steamer going keeps me from using it for small, individual tasks. This is why I mostly only use it for the bath and kitchen, because in both places I can use it for numerous tasks back to back, cleaning most of the room, which more than makes up for the time needed to get it out and set it up.
btw, I'm not entirely sure what type of streaks you are seeing on the wall, but have you tried those new, white sponges on the walls? I bought some of those once and didn't even try them for almost a year. Then one day I got one out and I was amazed. You only use water with them. They are great for cleaning walls w/o damaging the paint.
are you talking about the mr. clean magic erasers?
Yes, tracks, that's it. Thanks for supplying the name. I love those things for walls, switch plates, receptacles, floor boards, trim, doors, and cabinets - everything related to walls. I'm sure there must be many other uses. These are just the ones I've tried and liked so far. I think they are a godsend for cleaning walls in particular because they take dirty, greasy hand prints and such off with ease but leave the paint unharmed. I've used some products on walls in the past that damaged the paint, but the magic erasers never do that.
The guys that installed the new A/C units a while back left a horrid, black, greasy hand print on the near-white wall just above the thermostat in my great room. Were it not for those magic erasers, I might well have called the company to send someone to clean my walls (and repaint if necessary to make it like new), but having used the magic erasers for walls for some time, I knew they would make the print go away like magic - and they did.
There is a place on another white wall - I won't elaborate - where I routinely leave an ugly dark area when I come in contact with the wall after working in my garden where I've trucked in several tons of rich, black compost - compost which somehow gets on me and gets transferred to that section of wall. There was a time when I would look at that discolored section of wall and think, "I guess I'll have to repaint this wall." Then I discovered those magic erasers and learned that I can just erase those dark smudges.
Hi Dream - I know what you mean. Being a shorty measuring in at 5'3", I have certain storage areas that someone taller needs to get things for me. My hubby happened to put the steamer on such a spot, but I can't even get it for myself but have to wait for someone else to get it for me. hahaha Oh well...
Anyway, I thought of one more use that I read in the customer reviews. Someone had written in and said that the steamer was great for removing dripped wax off of their carpeting. It would probably work on wax spilled other places too.
I haven't yet tried the Mr. Clean Erasers but have seen them advertised and heard others say they were good. Let me bring up a topic that I was discussing with someone a while back and get some ideas if anyone has any experience.
If any of you have ever let plant rootings sit in a glass container for any length of time, you may be familiar with the build up of something that tends to be around the rim of the glass. Even my handy dandy Purple Power which cleans most everything else won't even touch this stuff. Any ideas? I am going to post a new thread on this and see if I have anyone with a way to clean them.
Sounds like you are referring to the build up of 'salts' that accumulate on flower pots. I'm thinking maybe steel wool might do it. I haven't tried to get those salts off pots in a very long time. Maybe someone else will have a better idea.
i soak those vases/glasses in straight vinegar with a teaspoon of baking soda added for at least a week, depending on the build up. sometimes straight bleach will work too but i use the first recipe. steel wool will scratch glass.
You see, that is what I love about this place. There is always someone close by with the right answer.
ROTF, tracks! Good one.
Another wonderful thing about DG is that with so many, many people all over the globe, there are not only people who know the answer to just about any question, but there are also people who can quickly correct errors, such as my idea to use steel wool, before they become science experiments. :-)
Thanks ladies. Will give the vinegar and baking soda a try. A few months ago I was on a house cleaning binge and was grossed out by the spots on my white carpeting. I believe that the steamer I bought was for this purpose, but before purchasing the steamer, I found something else that worked, so never used the steamer on them.
I read somewhere to use vinegar and baking soda to remove the spots in the carpet. I worked very well, though the carpets are looking pretty bad again and need a repeat treatment. I used a bit of baking soda, enought to cover the spot and poured just a tiny bit of vinegar over the baking soda until the fizzing ws activated. I then took a small scrub brush and wiped in a circular motion. After the area dries you will need to vacuum up the remaining baking soda. I ws happy with th eresults, but new carpeting owuld have been my preference. hahaha
I also use baking soda and vinegar in the sinks and tubs in the house. I have been doing that for many years. It supposedly breaks up the gunk that tends to stick to the pipes and of course helps with any odor if there is any. Yes, the bubbling fizzing action reminds me of a science experiment.
You can also freshen the disposal (in sink) by putting in chopped/crushed ice plus baking soda. Then add vinegar while running disposal. Finish with water. Cleans and supposedly even sharpens blades while also freshening pipes.