The Clean Machine
If you take a quick inventory of cleaning products at your school, you’ll probably be astounded by the variety of harsh detergents, strong oxidizers and toxic chemicals that you’ll find. There’s a better, safer and ultimately cleaner way to remove the dirt of the school day. Use steam instead.
That’s where Haan fits in. The South Korean company specializes in steam cleaners to replace the use of traditional industrial cleaners. Not only can it cut costs, but using steam kills up to 99.9 percent of germs and bacterial; it can even kill dust mites. The best part is that the steam cleaner uses only live steam at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, so there are no caustic fumes or antiseptic odors when you’re done.
Unlike conventional steamer cleaners, Haan’s SS-25 goes a step farther with a pair of scrubbers that gyrate back and forth 850 times per minute to remove dried-on material. The SS-25 comes with a pair of rectangular brushes, two sets of microfiber cleaning pads and a set of buffing pads for polishing a floor.
Getting started is easy. Just fill the SS-25’s removable tank with 11 ounces of water and snap it into the handle of the gray and red device. The clear plastic tank lets you see how much water remains. Don’t worry if you have hard water because the system includes a dozen packets of lime and scale reducer.
About 45 seconds after turning the floor cleaner on, steam starts to come out of the cleaner’s 20 jets on the bottom; there are two steam settings. You can use the SS-25 with just steam to give a floor a sanitizing rinse. Or, tap the button on the lower section with your foot to start the brushes whirring back and forth. They make the whole thing vibrate, but the 7-pound steam cleaner is easy to handle, and its swivel head lets you clean in a corner, around a table or under a desk.
The best part is that unlike mops that tend to spread germs around, the SS-25 cleans up after itself. It leaves a thin sheen of sterilized water that condenses from the cleaner’s steam. The floor is dry to the touch in a few minutes.
All told, it takes about the same amount of time as vacuuming a room, but the SS-25 not only picks up loose items, dirt and dust on its pads but gives it a wash as well. At full blast, it uses 1,130 watts and contains enough water for only about 15 minutes at the high steam setting. The device has only a 12-foot electrical cord so expect to a need an extension cord or have to do a lot of unplugging and plugging to cover larger rooms.
Over the course of three weeks, I used the SS-25 on a variety of surfaces, including wood, ceramic, vinyl and concrete; the SS-25 includes a plastic guide for cleaning carpeting. I found that the reciprocating brushes removed dried peanut butter, gum and all manner of floor dirt. It was able to clean chalk off of a concrete area and splattered paint on an art room floor. Haan’s SS-25 should not be restricted to floors because it can clean the gym’s bleacher benches after a basketball game.
The SS-25 came into its own when we pulled a refrigerator out of its kitchen nook and found the area covered with 15-years of encrusted grime, grease and dried spills. The brushes chewed through the hardened material and afterwards the soft cleaning pads finished the job.
If you need something stronger you can use conventional cleaning products with the SS-25. For instance, I used a spray-on household cleanser to give a particularly dirty floor a good scrubbing with the unit’s brushes and steam. I followed this up with the cleaning pads, which removed any residual cleanser. Later, I used the buffing pads with floor polish to rejuvenate an old wood floor.
With Velcro backing, it’s easy to change from brushes to cleaning- to buffing-pads. The SS-25 comes with a foam mat to put it on when not in use. At the end of the day, just rinse them off or put them into a washing machine to clean; replacement cleaning pads cost $25 for four. Unfortunately, there’s no place to put these items while the others are being used.
The SS-25 is meant for home use, but should be rugged enough for daily school use for several hours a day, but its water container runs out all too quickly when going from room to room. It comes with a 1-year warranty and at $240 can pay for itself just in detergents and harsh cleaning chemicals that will no longer be needed.
+ Replaces harsh cleaning chemicals
+ Indoor and outdoor use
+ Scrubbing action
+ Replaceable pads and brushes
+ Quick start up
+ Removable water container
+ Swivel head
- Runs out of water quickly
- 12-foot cord