We’ve had a steam floor cleaner for a while, but it had never occurred to be to get hold of one of these (a smaller, hand-held steam gun) for cleaning other bits and pieces. The idea came to me through the usually funny Answer Me This podcast. I like everything about this podcast apart from the silly musical jingles and interludes. Someone was asking about how to clean a greasy kitchen hob, and presenter Olly just reeled out the Polti Vaporettino.
They come in various sizes, some with much higher capacity, but I wanted something small enough to store easily. We have a lot of space issues in our house. I went all the way to John Lewis on Sunday, hoping to pick one off the shelf, but it turned out they didn’t stock them. For around £35, this is considerably cheaper than the £99 Kärcher model they did have on display.
The Polti comes with a variety of attachments: a grout brush, two round brushes (one wire), a squeegee, a scraper, and a flexible hose.
Now, my problem with my hob is not grease. I have a ceramic hob, and the problem with ceramic hobs is that they are too hot to clean when they need to be cleaned. By the time the hob is cool enough to clean, the thing you spilt on it has burned on so thoroughly that its nigh-impossible to remove.
I have tried all the ceramic hob cleaning creams, and I’ve bought a razorblades-based scraper, but there are always permanent rings of burnt-on pasta and potato water.
I was genuinely skeptical that this would work, but it was recommended on a comic podcast, so…
The water capacity of this is small at 200ml, and you do have to wait a bit between refills to top it up because of the hot element problem. That said, it delivers enough steam for enough time to help you with a single job, or maybe two smaller jobs. So, for example: the kettle. Over time, bits of kitchen grease and debris insinuate themselves into hard to clean areas. A quick blast of steam and a bit of brushing: the kettle looks new. That burnt-on bit at the top of the toaster? With some carefully aimed steam (and allowing the toaster to completely dry before switching it on), and some brushing/scraping: much improved.
I won’t post photos because I don’t want you to see how greasy my cooker hood was, but the steam wand and brush was highly effective on this. That said, the encrusted grease on the brush required steam cleaning itself.
So far so good and to the hob. As I said: skeptical. This is burnt on starch that is so thoroughly burned in that it almost seems like discolouration of the ceramic and doesn’t seem three dimensional enough to respond to razor-based scraping.
But it worked. Not a quick or instant process, but with patience and care, you can clean the burnt on gunk away. I say “care” because I resorted to the wire brush option. I didn’t want to scratch the ceramic, but it was the most effective way. It clears a patch at a time. If you cleaned the spillage shortly after it was spilled, you could do it quicker, I’m sure. But I’m talking here about years of neglect (the shame).
Quite pleased with it, but it is yet another device that needs storage space for it and all its attachments, like the Magimix (which I often wonder about in terms of the balance between its undoubted usefulness when you need it but its complete pain-in-the-arseness when you don’t.)