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New Model Shark Floor Steam-cleaner: FAIL!

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.

Welp…mind changed!

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 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.

6 thoughts on “New Model Shark Floor Steam-cleaner: FAIL!”

  1. I also had a bad experience with a Shark vacuum a few years ago. My own stupid fault that I never got around to complaining and returning it but it did not work well at all and broke very quickly – within about 6 or 7 months of purchase. It was a small hand-held model that I thought would be perfect for the carpeted stairs and also mattresses and sofas and chairs. It turned out to be a piece of junk. I ended up just throwing it away but I’m still mad at myself for not returning it.

    • Grr! That is SO frustrating.

      I bought mine at Target, which has an awful rep for returns. Wish I’d had the smarts to get it at Costco. Don’t feel inclined to hassle with Target so am just going to take this thing to Goodwill.

      Maybe. After seeing some of the reports from Amazon customers, am thinking it could be irresponsible to foist the thing off on someone else. Some of these people report the thing flying apart and spewing boiling hot water around the room. No sign that the one I’ve got is gonna do that, but…gee.

  2. This is why I have never spent any hard-earned on electric gizmos that promise to make my cleaning easier. They. Never. Do. The old fashioned method works fine (vacuum, sponge mop, scrub brush & rags for really filthy) and is immensely cheaper, plus I get weekly exercise so save on gym fees!

    • I’ve never felt a wet-mop really got the floor very clean. It just seems to push the dirt around. But it surely did do a lot better job than this new version of the Shark steam mop.

      The Hoover floor scrubber does a good job (or used to, when my friends and I used it some years ago…who knows, now?). But it’s very heavy, and using it to clean a whole houseful of tilework is hard work.

      Speaking of hard work, about the only say to get these floors really clean, in the absence of a power tool, is to get down on hands and knees and scrub. Scrubbing eighteen hundred and sixty square feet of tile with a pail of detergent, a scrub budget, and a stack of rags is no easy task, especially when your back and hips hurt under the best of circumstances…

    • Hmm… I didn’t realize Walmart was return-friendly. That’s interesting to know. Don’t shop there much — the shopping center where the nearest one resides is a bit on the scary side, and the people who habituate it have a cultural problem when it comes to driving.

      The rudest store manager, bare NONE, that I’ve ever encountered was at a Bed, Bath, & Beyond. The guy wasn’t rude to me: he was as nasty as nasty could be to an employee who was trying to help me…as I recall, I was trying to make a return. I never went back. Now that Linens & Things is closed, if I need something that’s locally available only at a BB&B, I’ll try first at Target and, failing that, order from Amazon.

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