Review summary: The Shark 2-in-1 Vac-then-Steam is a very water-efficient way to get your floors super star clean, really fast. Although I thought the vacuum function could be a bit better.
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Product: Shark 2-in-1 Vac-then-Steam
Use: The 2-in-1 Vac-then-Steam combines a vacuum (for hard floors) and a steam mop for two-step functionality. This vacuum/steam mop is meant to help significantly time crunched people by cleaning faster with better and more efficient results.
I don’t use harsh cleaners at home. I always use either eco-friendly stuff that companies send me to test out OR make homemade cleaners with natural ingredients. For years, we’ve used a simple broom and a mop for our floors. Usually I use hot water and some natural soap when I mop. Although I’m an advocate of hot water for cleaning, I was a little skeptical of using just steam to clean the floors, which tend to get super sticky (three kids) but figured I’d give the Shark 2-in-1 Vac-then-Steam a whirl anyhow.
It’s a build it yourself deal:
The fact that you have to put this vacuum together freaked me out a little. I’m sort of crafty, but not so great at putting things together. However, it turned out to be pretty easy – even for building-challenged me. It really only takes one person to put this together too, which is nice. I’d say in all, including skimming directions, it took me 10 minutes to figure it out.
- Eliminates floor cleaners altogether – eco-friendly cleaners, chemical cleaners or otherwise. With this steam mop, you just need a little water. This is a big deal. According to the National Environmental Trust (NET), chemical household cleaners rank among the top five products containing neurotoxins, carcinogens and reproductive or developmental toxins. Since this product uses zero cleaners there’s no worries.
- The packaging that the vacuum came in was all clearly marked with recycling reminders. From the looks of it, most of the cardboard packaging was made from recycled materials.
- It took almost no water to clean all the floors in my house. Usually we use a lot more water. PLUS we use water to clean the mop afterward. This was a very water-efficient way to mop.
Usage & Health Perks:
Shark notes that this steam mop, “Eliminates 99% of germs and bacteria – including the viruses that cause H1N1.” Because I don’t happen to have any H1N1 laying around, and also because I didn’t swab the floor and then attempt to grow bacteria in a petri dish, I can’t confirm or not confirm this statement.
I can tell you this much – when I was in microbiology during the the RN program at college, we did run tests with bacteria and cleaners. During one test, we swabbed the floor in an attempt to grow icky fun stuff in petri dishes.
The test we ran with steaming hot water killed more germs than tests we ran with a couple chemical cleaners. SO, in my very unscientific opinion, I wouldn’t doubt that this steam mop kills germs. The benefit of course, is that you’re not using weird antibacterial cleaners that could grow cute super germs – you’re just using water (well, steam).
Other stuff to take note of…
- According to tests conducted by Shark, the Vac-then-Steam cleans hard floors up to 120% faster than traditional methods. See what I think about this below in cons.
- You can use this on used on all sealed hard floor surfaces – including sealed hardwood, linoleum, ceramic tile, or marble and other stone floors.
- The Vac-then-Steam comes with 2 dustcup filters – 1 in the unit and 1 replacement. It also comes with 2 post-motor filters. You only need to replace the filters once every year.
- The vacuum has a pretty powerful suction that’s supposed to pick up even even fine particles from hard floor surfaces, leaving them prepped for mopping.
- Usage was fairly simple once we got the hang of it. One simple flip of a switch and steam pad attachment allows you to change the vacuum into steam mop mode.
- NO messy wringing out the mop issues.
What I think:
I actually don’t mind cleaning. I like washing dishes. I don’t mind laundry much. I really like organizing. But I HATE, HATE, HATE sweeping. It’s my least favorite household chore. To get around it, I’ve tried to use our vacuum on the kitchen and dining room floors. However, our current vacuum cleaner is really only meant for carpet, so I’ve been stuck sweeping. Ugh.
It was pretty exciting to get the Vac-then-Steam, because I didn’t have to sweep before mopping! Weeeee! The reason I hate sweeping is because it’s totally inefficient. Brooms are lame. They don’t pick up anything small. The Vac-then-Steam rocked in this respect. It picked up bigger stuff, hair and so much dust you’d be amazed. Actually, I can show you – I left the floors alone for two weeks (to really give this a go) and look at the cup from the Vac-then-Steam after I used it…
Yuck right? This vacuum picked up almost everything; even really little bits of dust, with one exception (see below in cons).
My floors were a crazy sticky mess but the steam mop cleaned like a dream. The best part was that the steam mop got into all those little crevices – you know along the wall, where the border meets the floor, and dirt gets all icky there. This steam mop got it all nice and clean (see image above for what I’m talking about crevice-wise).
A huge perk was not having to stop and wring out the mop at the sink and then somehow get back across the floor to where you were. This mop was surprising because although it cleaned amazingly well, it seemed to use almost no water. Your floors are almost dry literally seconds after you clean them.
After going over the floors, my son put on a pair of clean white socks and ran around on the floor for a bit. His socks stayed clean, which is more than I can say for when we mop with an old school mop. This steam mop REALLY got the floors sparkling clean.
Other stuff we liked…
- We liked the telescopic handle on the pole. This adjusts the height of the unit, which is nice, especially because then you, your taller partner and shorter child (in my case) can all adjust this system to suit their height.
- The pads washed up well and were okay to air dry, thus saving me from using the dryer and extra electricity.
- The Vac-then-Steam is slim and doesn’t take up any more room in your closet than a typical broom and mop.
Were there any negatives?
- The color was one of the least user-friendly aspects about this shark 2-in-1. It’s fairly pink/lavender in color, and that’s not great for most guys and some girls. Everyone who has seen this at my house has commented on the weird color and most of the males said, “I wouldn’t want a pink vacuum.” While personally I don’t think color is a big deal, I think it sort of makes this a tough product to suggest for guys and gals who like a more neutral color.
- While I liked how the steam mop cleaned, I actually felt that it was a little slower than floor mopping. The drying time was shorter, but there were a few sticky parts of the floor that took longer to go over – i.e. I had to go over the sticky a few times to get it clean. It wasn’t a huge deal.
- You have to use the micro-fiber cleaning pads that come with the Shark. These are supposed to be replaced every three months, but I think it depends on how often you use the steam cleaner. It seems like they’ll last a good long while, but if something happens to it, you can’t simply replace it with a towel from around the house. The new pads are about $8 each – not bad, but still it’d be better to be able to use a towel.
- I’m not sure if any parts of this were made with recycled materials. Some companies are starting to experiment with recycled plastics and such, so that would be cool if Shark did too.
- I have no clue if Shark has other green initiatives, such as at the corporate level, because they have no environmental statement. It’d be nice to know if they do stuff like battery recycling, paper recycling, zero waste home computer recycling and so fourth.
- The vacuum system didn’t get into tight corners very well. It did pick up dirt from against a wall, but in corners; say under the kitchen cupboards, we had some problems. I had to get out the broom to get a couple of corners. It was still better than having to use the broom the whole time though.
3.5 out of 5 little trees. With some minor changes the Vac-then-Steam would have scored a 4 or 4.5. For example, I’d like to see an environmental statement at the Shark website and maybe a better color for non-lavender loving consumers. I also didn’t like that I still needed a broom to get into tight corners – although, keep in mind, I let my floors get terribly messy before testing this out.
As for usage – being a broom and mop hater, I really loved how easy the Vac-then-Steam was. I’d highly suggest this product over a basic broom and mop set-up. It got my floors extra clean with zero cleaners (NO chemicals) and just a little bit of water. Overall, I’d say this is not a perfectly eco-minded product, but much better than using an obnoxious broom and mop or a steam cleaner that requires cleaning solution to be added to the water.
If you’re sick of your broom and mop, it’s well worth it to give the Vac-then-Steam a whirl. I think you’ll like it a lot.
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