Like most people, I bought all manner of oddities during the pandemic. Some, like a lazy Susan for my spices, have brought a sense of order to my kitchen. Others, like a rainbow-hued disco light, helped cheer me up during lockdown, allowing me and my boyfriend to turn the living room into a makeshift version of Moth Club once a month. But the best thing I have bought over the past two years is far more prosaic: a plug-in steam mop.
It began last summer, sofa-bound after testing positive for COVID-19. Previously, my pursuit of squeaky-clean floors revolved around a spray mop, but I left that at my old flat as something of a parting gift for my flatmate. In its place, I replaced it with a cheap “speed mop” from the supermarket — essentially, a disposable wipe that you fix onto a broom handle. It was so cumbersome to attach the wipe to the cleaner that, more often than not, I’d just get on my hands and knees with a floor wipe and manually scrub any stains. I felt like Cinderella. But still I put off buying a steam mop, for all sorts of reasons — they are bulky, they are expensive, and it felt like something of an investment. I wanted to buy sensibly, and now I had some time on my hands.
I scrolled through reviews on my phone, with a rigorous checklist. I needed a steam mop that had a variable temperature: hot enough to lift stubborn splatters from the kitchen floor, but also not too hot that it would damage my floors (I have vinyl flooring, which is fitted with an adhesive). I wanted a steamer that could be used on my rugs, too. I settled on the Vileda steam mop in a pleasing fire-engine red — it had a high number of reviews, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5. I noticed many reviewers had commented on the triangular head, which made it easy to position into corners, and the plastic guard that comes with it clips on top of the microfibre cloth, allowing it to steam rugs and carpets. A final sell: The model was featured in our own reporting on steam mops, both in the UK and the U.S. (though in the U.S., Vileda products are sold under the name O-Cedar).
When the mop arrived, I stopped what I was doing almost immediately to have a go. Seeing the steam curl out from under the mop and hearing the gentle hiss as it devoured sticky sauce stains and mud alike provided a serotonin hit so immediate that I’ve taken to steaming my floors twice a week. The mop comes with two microfibre cloths, which you gently peel off and stick in the wash when you’re done, and a dial on the front allows you to adjust the heat level to your liking. Once plugged in, the mop heats up in under 15 seconds, and it takes barely that time again for me to sweep it across the floor. A standout feature is the sheer length of the cable. I can traverse the kitchen, dining area, and living room in one fell swoop.
I tend to do one run sweeping the above-mentioned rooms before moving to the hall — the cable is long enough that I can do the hall, the bathroom, and my bedroom floors, too. Though it is heavy to lift (it’s worth noting that it was advertised as being particularly light), pushing it across the room — which feels like ironing a giant sheet — is effortless, and my floors now look show-home ready in no time. Case in point: In November, I steamed the floors with ease in the time between buzzing a friend up on my intercom and them knocking at my front door.
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