Let us try it before you buy it.
Jonesing for a cleaning tool? Read enlightening Clean Like a Man reviews of products before you part with those hard-earned Benjamins.
Cleaning with steam – a HOT new trend!
Haan Multiforce® SS-20 Indoor/Outdoor Steam Cleaner (now $25 off – see below)
I’ve never used a steam cleaner before, so I actually read the Multiforce SS-20’s instruction manual – something most guys try to avoid at all costs. It turned out this cool tool is so easy and intuitive to use, I really didn’t need to read all that much, but the manual did enlighten me on some ingenious facts and features:
- The Multiforce SS-20 removes grease, dirt and grime from floor types ranging from tile to hardwood, laminate, linoleum and vinyl, and kills 99.9% of household germs, bacteria and dust mites. It also cleans outdoor stone and concrete patios and walkways.
- It’s a light, compact standup machine with an easily-removable water reservoir, a nice long cord, and a swivel head that maneuvers into even low, tight spots.
- Cleaning accessories include four cleaning pads and two buffing pads that attach with velcro, plus two bristle-brushes that snap on and off. All work with the steamer and produce impressive results.
- It uses CR-motion® technology – a scrubbing, “reciprocating”action that has the two pads moving in opposite directions to enhance the cleaning power of its steam jets.
- Assembly is a near no-brainer (right up my alley).
While I didn’t have a chance to tackle every flooring surface listed above, I did put the Multiforce through its paces on three of my floors that desperately needed cleaning. Results:
- Hardwood kitchen floor: This is a polyurethane-sealed, matte finish floor that looked beautiful when I moved in 10 years ago. Over time it has gotten smudged, scratched, stained and dull. I’ve tried the waxlike spray-on cleaners with the big mop applicator in the past, but wasn’t impressed. The Multiforce, however, did a pretty amazing job with the cleaning pads and steam, followed by the buffing pads. The floor looks great – not highly glossy, but very clean. MULTIFORCE WINS.
- Tile bathroom floor: You’d expect a steam cleaner to do a good job on hard tile, and it did. The white tile was cleaned, buffed and polished to a shine, and even the grout between the tiles looked much better than before. MULTIFORCE WINS.
- Shower enclosure floor: This PVC (or very tough molded plastic) surface had become pretty discolored over the years and I’ve tried everything to clean it. Even applying straight bleach didn’t have much effect. The Multiforce, with steam jets blasting and the bristle brushes scrubbing, improved it only slightly, but it was impossible task. TIE.
My only beef, however small, is that the Multiforce doesn’t have a hose with different attachments to handle above-the-floor tasks like cleaning shower tile and grout. I’d like that. Nonetheless, I now pronounce the Haan Multiforce SS-20 a fine steam cleaner, worthy of a place in your cleaning arsenal.
NOW SAVE $25 ON THE MULTIFORCE SS-20 WITH FREE SHIPPING FROM HAAN U.S.A.
Just use Coupon Code NOVTMSS20 at checkout when ordering online [LINK TO http://www.haanusa.com/multiforce-SS20-scrubbing-steam-mop.html}
READ IT AND SWEEP
Michael Graves whiskbroom & dustpan combo
After some lengthy reviews of cleaning machines, here’s a short-and-sweet profile of a low-tech item I love for lots of quick cleanups all around the house. This snazzy little tool consists of a handy whisk broom that sweeps everything from broken dishes and dust on the floor to countertop messes and spills (dry ones, like ground coffee scatterings) in a snap.
The lightweight broom’s rubber handle fits snugly into your hand and it’s angled, so sweeping is easier and using it won’t aggravate your wrist’s median nerve, which causes carpal tunnel syndrome (I been there – it ain’t no fun). The broom bristles are stiff enough to sweep heavy-ish things like broken crockery, yet the bristle tips are soft and electro-staticky to grab up dust and other small debris like that spilled ground coffee on the countertop.
The broom handle snaps snugly into the concave dustpan handle so you can store these two teammates as one, hanging them in the pantry or tucking them into your MCU (Mobile Cleaning Unit – see The Men Commandments, Number VI). And the dustpan’s edges even have teeth to help you get the last bits of dustbunny out of the broom’s bristles.
Yes, the Michael Graves whiskbroom/dustpan combo is sweet. It’s neat. And it helps you accomplish cleanups with two characteristics that form the cornerstones of “Cleaning Like a Man” – quick and easy. It’s available in two sizes. And they’re both so inexpensive you can get one of each – Standard ($5.99) and Large ($7.99) – at Target.
MAGIC CARPET RIDE
The Hoover MaxExtract 60 PressurePro Carpet Deep Cleaner
Is there some rule that says every slice of pizza you drop has to land toppings-down on the carpet?
My own formerly-white carpet (thanks to two dogs and my own frequent coffee spills, smoothie splashdowns and food fumbles) looks pretty post-apocalyptic between cleanings. I don’t like it, but I’ve always thought the solutions were limited to four options…none of them good:
- A spray bottle filled with carpet cleaner, which you apply, blot up, rinse and repeat – endlessly and tediously.
- A huge, hernia-popping Rug Doctor rental machine for $25 a day, plus $18 for detergent. Its results are not impressive.
- My own rickety, 11-year-old carpet cleaner (not a Hoover). It’s a pain to use AND does a crappy job.
- Companies like Coit or Stanley Steemer, whose steam-cleaning works great but costs $200-$300 or more per visit. And I ain’t no Rockefeller.
A whole new experience
I’ve never used a decent home carpet cleaner, just my ancient, dysfunctional one. So I contacted Hoover to ask if they wanted a model reviewed. They sent their MaxExtract 60 PressurePro Carpet Deep Cleaner – a mid-priced entry in their lineup.
- Is the product easy to use and maintain?
- Does it do a good job? How good?
- Is it economical? I don’t mean cheap, mind you, but a good value for the money: does it deliver a righteous return on investment (R.O.I.)?
Is it easy to use and maintain? CHECK.
Hoover’s MaxExtract 60 is almost easy enough to use right out of the box. But I’m glad I read the instructions, because it has some extremely snazzy features to make cleaning your carpet faster and easier:
- The machine sprays and scrubs a 13” swath as you push forward and squeeze the handle. When you pull back, it vacuums up the dirty water and blows heated air into the carpet fibers, leaving the carpet nearly dry.
- Each of its six rotating brushes has its own “shock absorber” buffer, so they clean gently, without a lot of wear-and-tear on the carpet.
- There’s a 9-foot hose with a spray/scrub/vacuum nozzle on it for hand-cleaning stairs, smaller rugs and even the carpeting in your car. Gotta love cleaning in the auto!
- There are two large tanks – one that holds clean, warm water for washing the carpet, the other to catch the dirty water when it’s vacuumed up. Each tank pops right out to fill and empty, then pops back in for the next round of washing. THIS IS HUGE! My old Brand X model, the Rug Doctor rental and many competing models take a lot of fussing (wrestling, unclamping and unscrewing) to change out water reservoirs.
- The clean water tank has a separate reservoir inside it for detergent, and fill lines for concentrated vs. regular soap. The water and detergent automatically mix properly as you clean.
- The MaxExtract 60 also has a nice long cord, so there’s no momentum-busting plugging and unplugging as you maneuver within a room or between rooms
Does it do a good job? YES (and I was very impressed).
- The water in the “used” tank was really, really dirty, even when I just went over clean-looking, just-vacuumed carpet. That showed that the MaxExtract 60 was getting dirt and allergens from deep down in the carpet. And it actually eradicated several old stains I’d given up on long ago.
- The machine has a “Rinse” setting – important because soap residue on carpeting is a dirt magnet.
- After I finished, I didn’t expect my carpet to be blindingly clean; after a decade of stains and abuse, even the pros from Coit can’t do that anymore. But the MaxExtract 60 made it look very, very good.
Good R.O.I.? Hey…like a blue-chip stock!
The MaxExtract 60 sells for about $199 to $230, depending on where you shop. And it got results approaching the $200-$400-per-visit steam cleaning professionals. It’s easy to use, performs admirably, and you’ll own it for years.
Now that’s R.O.I., my friends.
The detergent to use
The instructions recommend using ONLY Hoover-brand carpet-washing detergent, which according to one of the company’s R&D guys is specially formulated to work with Hoover machines.
I’d used a different brand of soap before reading this info. It worked fine, but the warranty is now history. As a conscientious reviewer, though, I went and bought some Hoover Platinum Plus Professional Carpet & Upholstery Detergent. A concentrate, it turned out to be only a few bucks more than the brand I’d been using, and it actually did work better – my carpet looked great.
FINAL GRADE: A-minus.
BONUS INFO – Amazon.com reviewers agree
To be “fair and balanced,” I checked on Amazon to see what their customers said about the MaxExtract 60. Of 65 reviews, there were 49 ratings of 4 or 5 stars (excellent/very good); twelve 1- or 2-star ratings (poor) and four 3-stars. Amazon reviewers are a tough crowd, so these results really speak well of the machine.
Keep it clean, amigos! – Tom
Eureka AirSpeed Gold Bagless Vacuum
I used to think that no vacuum under about $150 was really worth the investment, so always urged my readers to spend a little more and get a machine that wouldn’t do a hapazard job andor break down after a year or two, which many cheap ones do.
I’ve tried many vacs in all price ranges. Now I’ve had the opportunity to use the Eureka AirSpeed Gold, and it delivers all the cleaning performance and gotta-have-’em tools and features you’d expect to find on much pricier models.
- Great suction – easily equal to a Dyson, IMHO.
- A HEPA filter that removes even microscopic dust particles and allergens…important for anyone in the family who may have an allergy, however slight.
- A long, 32-foot power cord so you’re not constantly unplugging/replugging as you move from room to room…a real momentum-buster.
- A built-in flexible hose that stretches up to 14 feet for extended cleaning range; an extension wand adds even more reach and accommodates all the AirSpeed Gold’s special