Some of you may remember the raves I wrote, way back in the Dark Ages, about the glories of the Shark steam-cleaner for hard floors and the Shark steam iron and the Shark vacuum cleaner. Oh, how I loved that little Shark steam-cleaner…far as I was concerned, the Shark company had a customer for life.
Four, five years later, the handy-dandy steamer gave up the ghost. Naturally, I went out and bought another one, figuring to replace the thing with a unit that would be just as good or better.
Why, why, why do manufacturers think they have to “improve” products that already work perfectly? If it ain’t broke, guys…
The new Shark has an on-off switch — the old one had to be plugged and unplugged to turn it on and off. The new Shark has a larger footpad that can be flipped over — steam will come out of either side. Nice.
But whereas the old one operated quietly, the new model makes a stupid, annoying noise when you turn it on, one that increases in annoyance factor the higher the setting. Okay, you can live with that…
The new footpad, though, is much larger, too large to allow you easily to clip on a microfiber rag with a couple of clothespins. You HAVE to use their mitt-like thing that has to be pulled on with a great deal of back-bending hassle and that just. doesn’t. WORK to pick up dirt.
On closer inspection, actually, what doesn’t work is the device itself. Force it to hold a rag that will allow steam to pass through with one helluva blast, and you get the same result as you get with the steam gasping and struggling to get through the shag-rug thing that comes with the machine: a mess.
After a week or ten days on antibiotics, Ruby the Corgi Pup is down to peeing on the floor only a couple of times a day — a big improvement over a couple of times an hour. So I figured it was time to break out the contraption and clean the 1680 square feet of tilework that is my flooring.
Wasn’t very pleased with the Shark’s performance the first time I used it, two or three weeks ago. But by the time I’d vacuumed and dustmopped and done a lot of other housework, I was beat, and so I figured I’d just not done a very good job because I was so tired by the time I reached that last housecleaning stage.
No. Not so.
This time all I did was clean the floors, and since there wasn’t a lot of dog hair, I used dustmops to pick up the hair and dust. So was still feeling pretty gingery by the time to fire up the steam-mop came around. And after running the thing on the kitchen, family room, and dining room, I got exactly the same result that 265 Amazon.com customers got: it stinks.
The old cleaner’s pad (or microfiber rag) would need to be changed by the time I finished the kitchen. If I’d run it over all three rooms, it would be black. This thing’s pad was barely soiled.
The floors, however, were still plenty soiled: streaky, dull, and dirty-looking.
Rather than go over all that tile again (and have to do that two or three times throughout the house), I decided to cut my losses and get out the wet-mop. Ordinarily I’m not fond of mopping with a wet string-mop…to my mind that process mostly just pushes the dirt around. But seeing no other choice, I filled up a bucket with hot water, Simple Green, and vinegar. Wrestled the mop in there, slopped it around the floor, et voila! In short order, the mop water was black, the floors clean, and the grimy-looking haze gone.
Very, very disappointing. I’ll never buy another Shark steam-mop again, and I probably won’t buy another Shark product at all.
Unfortunate. And highly not recommended.