There’s an easier way to maintain flooring without resorting to hard scrubbing. The Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop System is a new design from one of the most popular manufacturers.
This upright floor steamer offers a good mix of power and convenience with its steam blasting functions and flexible cleaning pads. Homeowners in the know use steam to displace dirt and grime while sanitizing things at the same time.
Mopping up with heat and mist
Steam mops use heated vapors to dissolve and dislodge stuff without the use of detergents, which are absorbed and caught up by their damp fabric pads. Since toxic chemicals are not necessary, treated rooms are left smelling fresher. It’s why parents prefer steaming as a more child-friendly technique.
Tile, slate, and other hard and sealed surfaces are ideal for steaming, these materials tend to dry faster after treatment than with conventional mopping. You can refresh a range of fixtures around the home, including bath and kitchen cabinets, appliance exteriors, and shower stalls.
As only tiny amounts of moisture get deposited on the floor, whatever remains is absorbed by attached cloths or quickly evaporates. Hard-surfaced areas such as tile, slate, marble, and vinyl or wood-laminate floors will be left drying in a matter of seconds.
Veteran users have learned to vacuum first, to avoid ending up with wet clumps of hair and dust bunnies. Many people use distilled as opposed to tap water, as the latter contains minerals that may deposit and clog a steamer’s internals.
Laminate flooring can tolerate the occasional spill, but care must be taken while working on wood and vinyl laminates.
Excessive steam can lead to excess moisture seeping into the narrowest cracks and joints. This is less of a problem with seamless vinyl and linoleum flooring.
Properly-sealed hardwood can be lightly steamed without issue, so long as the treatment is not prolonged. Commercial carpet steamers are not advisable in such cases, for their wet flows deposit much more moisture. Microfiber dry mops are safest on wooden and laminate flooring and can be used to supplement steam mopping in turns.
A proper steamer
The lightweight plastic body is slim and easy to maneuver around furniture and fixtures. With the mop head folded up, it can be stored almost anywhere. Its 22-foot power cord has sufficient length to reach most power outlets, which reduces the need to continually stop and re-plug the unit.
The ergonomically-designed grip allows for easy handling, while touch-free operation lets you avoid grappling with a dirty cleaning pad. There are controls for releasing steam and adjusting the flow, located by the reservoir cap located lower down the housing.
To remove the pad, you just push its release button, the head will unfold and any dirty cloth will readily fall off. To swap in another attachment, you position it as instructed then press the latch button.
Once steam starts flowing, you can sweep across flat surfaces as with a conventional wet mop. The operation is very quiet, no one in the household is likely to be disturbed while this model is working at full power.
Steam can be applied to bath tile walls, although that would require you to heft the unit then hold the mop end up high, which can get cumbersome. You will have to wait as the boiler regenerates steam after every refill on longer jobs.
There is no steam on/off switch, but there is a release button and the flow can be adjusted to low, medium, or high flow via a cluster of controls. Laminate floorboards can be safely treated using lower flow settings, while stickier gunk may require full-power steaming.
A pair of 13 x 7-inch ‘Dirt Grip’ cleaning pads made of highly absorbent cloth are included. The material washes well and you should be able to get a lot of use from each. The pad slips over the dual-sided mop head, which is mounted on a swivel and flips to expose the other cleaning surface.
There are no other accessories other than the rectangular mop head and a refill flask. Although this particular package does not include the triangular head for cleaning into corners, this and the standard rectangular type are available as replacements.
The water reservoir is not detachable but is easily emptied by tipping the body over and letting the excess drain off. Capacity is only enough for 20 minutes or so of steaming, though. A larger tank would have been nice as the extra water would have enabled longer stints between refills.
Performance with convenience
With the reservoir full and the boiler plugged in, you will be steaming in less than 30 seconds. The hot vapor courses through the cloth when it is affixed to the regular position, eliminating almost 99% of all harmful germs.
You don’t have to worry about putting weight on the shaft, thankfully. The forceful hot mist produced performs most of the clearing action, leaving the treated surface dry in a few seconds and with no streaking whatsoever.
The control buttons are located a bit low on the casing and not at the top, which users are normally expected to grip. Steam can be adjusted to low, medium, or high flow, with the highest ability to deal with encrusted dirt and oily films, along with a bit of hand brushing.
The mop head unfolds into dual sides and is mounted on a swivel. You flip the head to the rear to mop with direct and forceful jets, flip it forward to use less direct steam. If you need stronger blasts, you just swivel the mop head to the rear, directly exposing the ‘blast” channel.
With the pad flipped to the back, blasts of vapor are channeled onto the surface. This is most effective on hard flooring but works well enough on grout lines surrounding tiles. The technique is not advisable for unsealed wooden floorboards and fixtures, though.
Each fabric pad cleans well enough that you will rarely need to do this. The supplied cloth pad works fine at catching dust, hairs, and so on, with compatible replacements available at most hardware stores and online.
If you do find yourself taking a break, you will have to lean the shaft against walls or fixtures as the unit is not designed to stay upright. The running unit cannot be left unattended either, as any running moisture will eventually condense and form pools of water on the ground.
The supplied fill flask is very helpful as the water reservoir is non-detachable. To drain it before storing, you will need to turn the body upside down. On longer jobs, you will have to let things cool down before you can open and refill the reservoir, then wait again as more steam gets produced.
Features and Specifications
- The powerful 1,200-Watt boiler produces continuous steam
- The lightweight body weighs 6 pounds and is readily moved around
- Reservoir volume of 350 ml enables some 20 minutes of steaming action
- Steam temperatures of some 200˚F eliminate almost 99% of all microbes
- Selectable channel blasts steam directly onto heavily stained areas
- Controls let you adjust the amount of flow according to 3 levels
- The cleaning pad is easily detached or attached with a press of a button
- Washable double-sided Dirt Grip pad leaves floors dry in a few seconds
- The lengthy 22-foot power cord will let you reach most power outlets
The Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop is a true workhorse. We liked that the model can be readied quickly – it takes only a few seconds after plugging for the pad to start steaming. The mop is light and easy to use. It dries the floors immediately, and floors feel clean under bare feet. There is no need to pump the shaft to produce steam, or to bear down on the mop head to deep-clean trouble spots.
A minor issue we noticed is that the latch button for releasing the pad is situated further down the body. However, this is okay since you will be lifting the mop off the floor anyway.
Also, beyond our own experiences, this move has drawn many positive comments in user reviews on Amazon, earning some very good ratings.
The way we see it, Shark knowingly traded steam capacity in return for efficiency and versatility, but the small capacity ought to be sufficient for working in smaller spaces. Homeowners with bigger houses may still find it effective, even if slightly lacking in operating time.
For light steaming, this is among the most effective steam mops available. The powerful operation and flexible outputs make this model a good pick for any homeowner with hard floors to clean.
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