CNY is fast approaching, and I know a lot of you are busy cleaning up your homes. Bust out the sponges and bottles and bottles of cleaners. And while you do that, I'll lug out my steam cleaner.
You read it correctly. I use a steam cleaner to clean my home.
Some of you may know what I'm talking about. Step into Harvey Norman, and you'll see the strange, Karcher machines with the many different attachments. And no, these are not the steam vacuums. They're steam cleaners. They're pricey, but if you're looking for a faster way to deep clean your home, this would be it!
Also, did I mention that it's an eco-friendly, non-toxic way to clean?
Why I switched from sponges to a steam cleaner
I don't even quite remember why we purchased the steam cleaner in the first place. I'm pretty sure it's because Grandfather OS (Oyasumi Scents) has been using a steam cleaner for YEARS and swears by it. Anyway, we purchased it, used it to clean curtains and put it aside. I was still a skeptic of its efficacy because how could I argue with the power of chemicals and bleach? But to be fair, Grandfather OS's home was always spotless and mould-free. Still, I didn't want to trouble myself with learning how to use that thing...
3 years later, Tang was diagnosed with a thyroid problem. I was told cats tend to get thyroid problems when heavy cleaners are used. I was appalled and felt guilty for unknowingly harming my cat. So, I busted out my steam cleaner, and FORCED myself to use it.
And let's just say, after a few tries, I could never look back. And here's why...
Mould was sloughing off in sheets!
We live in Singapore, and mould is common. Everyone tries our best to keep it at bay, but we all know those nooks and crannies where mould hole up and conquer. Bleach should do the trick, right? That's what I thought too! Which is why I used to douse our bathrooms with bleach and other mould-removing cleaners.
So, when I first tried my steam cleaner, I gagged when sheets of mould slid off the shower tiles! No, I actually nearly cried. I thought I was being super diligent with once, weekly cleaning, only to realise that I wasn't getting half of the mould off as I should be!
And you know that faint, persistent stink in bathrooms that never seem to go away? Well, that was gone after using the steam cleaner! Phew!
Home stays cleaner for longer
Before using the steam cleaner, it would take less than a week for our home to start to get gross. But now? I can actually push cleaning to a week and a half, even two weeks (but I'm way too OCD to let that happen) before the home starts to show signs of nastiness.
And do you want to know why? Check out the below photos of the steam mop that we have. We have a robot mop go over the floors everyday, but our steam mop can still pick up that much dirt. Yeesh!
Cleaning takes a lot less time
It used to take me almost an hour to scrub down one bathroom, but with the steam cleaner, I can get the bathrooms cleaned in 20-30 minutes.
This statement is hard to believe, but it's true. A steam cleaner (ones with a decent water tank) will run 350SGD+. It seems REALLY steep, but quite honestly, we had the same steam cleaner for seven years. But when I didn't use the steam cleaner, I would go through 2 bottles of cleaner per month. Each bottle ran around 6-7SGD, and if you do the math (6x2 bottles x 12 months x 7 years), you're looking at 1008SGD.
Eco-friendly and healthier
I'm happy to say after I made the switch, Tang's thyroid problem didn't get worse. This is amazing considering he's a super senior! And if a cat can benefit from a cleaning that doesn't use chemicals AT ALL, I'm pretty sure the rest of my family is benefitting too.
We're also so happy we aren't chucking away plastic bottles all the time, or putting chemicals down the drain. And just FYI, one full 1L tank can probably clean 2.5 bathrooms (as long as your bathrooms aren't huge). This includes the floors and mirrors and glass, so we're not using a lot of water either.
Of course, the steam cleaner isn't all rainbows and unicorns. It has many cons too, but I find its pros greatly outweigh its cons. Still, it's important to outline them.
It's a large chunk of change
Despite being cheaper in the long-run, it's still 350+ dollars you're dishing out in one go. For some people, this might seem a bit silly for a cleaning device.
You can't be lazy
The steam cleaners come with many attachments, and you have to be willing to change the heads frequently. There's one for general scrubbing (which can be used for most surfaces), but there's different heads for tight corners, and a squeegee for glass/windows. If you don't change out the heads, you won't get great cleaning results. But trust me--it still takes a lot less time to pop off the heads and change them than to get on your hands and knees and scrub.
It needs to be plugged in
This becomes a problem if you're cleaning an area that doesn't have a socket nearby. However, even with bathrooms with no sockets, I haven't found this to be a problem. The cord is pretty long!
You have to be careful!
There's a safety lock and all, so there's no fear for children burning themselves with steam. But hell, I've scorched myself a few times because I've been tired and released steam right into my hands. Again, you have to be running on 3 hours of sleep for this to happen. All I can say is don't be an idiot. It's pretty much the same thing as spraying your face with bleach.
So, who should use the steam cleaner?
I think everyone should consider them, but I get it. Not everyone can be convinced. However, if you are expecting, have elderly around you, or have someone suffering from illnesses, DEFINITELY consider a steam cleaner. Even those with allergies should use this device. Our family has asthma and sinusitis, but after using the steam cleaner, our symptoms only kick up once a year instead of monthly.