vapor steam cleaner and cat dander removal

juji14March 2, 2006

My fiance have merged our households, which now include five kids and two Persian cats. Several household members have dust mite allergy (we both have leather furniture, matresses and pillows in mite-proof casings, etc.), and 1 kid has cat allergies. No one wants to give up the cats or the cat-allergic child :)

We've been getting the cats close haircuts, regular baths, etc., and this has helped quite a bit. We've have been advised that vapor steam cleaning our (wooden) floors and painted walls (latex on plaster) would help control the cat dander. I called the allergybuyers club and the customer service fellow said it was OK to use these on our (Trax-sealed) floors and walls. I'm seeing mixed advice on the website. My fiance is a bit of a gadget maniac as well as a clean freak so I am sure he will enjoy whatever we buy.

Does anyone have any advice for me? It seems like the good vapor steam cleaners are quite pricey - $600 and up - and I'd hate to buy something that won't do the job.


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I have the Shark steamer that I purchased at Sears five or so years ago. I don't know if they still make it. Mine has all kinds of attachments. It has a long wand with the floor attachment to which you put on a microfiber cloth. I use it on my wood floors. Does a great job. The price at that time was around $149.00. It is small enough you can carry it around, but holds enough water to do a large room. Reheats in about 15 min. Euro Shark is the full name I believe. They make the Euro Shark vacuums.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 9:14AM
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I have one of the pricey "dry" vapor steam cleaners, from allergybuyersclub site, the tidyvap. I like that site and frankly am surprised they OK'd it for your floors and walls. DO NOT use it on painted walls! It will remove paint, or at least discolor the area you use it, plaster or drywall (drywall even worse). It is very intense heat, and would scald your hand if you used it on skin, so I would not recommend it for wood, either (although I am unfamiliar with trax?). I have used it on UN-painted wood to spot clean adhesives, but I would not regularly use all over wood floors, as I bet it would warp the boards.

The machines are WONDERFUL for tile, stone, metal, glass... it is a miracle machine in the bathroom and kitchen, no chemicals and cleans to sparkling new. It is OK for rugs but frankly a little too labor intensive to clean the whole thing regularly, I have only spot cleaned rugs too. (Cat throw up - great for that!) I don't have allergies but these machines are recommended specifically for dust mites, because the heat kills them, and it can be used on cloth/furniture and mattresses effectively.

A very good HEPA vacuum (Miele is the cadillac, I love my Oxygen) would be a much better bet for dander and you could use it on walls/wood floors. Dander is superficial, and you won't need the most deep cleaning to keep it clear. You could also get a wet steam cleaner like the shark and try that, but I think a good HEPA vac is all you need.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 10:57AM
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Thanks for the info about the Shark, lizql - since I posted, someone also suggested a Bissell steam cleaner that apparently is OK on wood floors. I don't think that gets as hot as the vapor cleaners.

lpolk, I agree - when I read the temperatures those machines throw out I was wary about using them on latex painted walls. The trax sealant is one of those aluminum oxide sealants - it is a super-hard layer and the floors are guaranteed for something like 25 years - but I still think I'd email the directly company and ask before I used one of those powerful machines.

We have definitely decided to retire our vacuums and get a higher end HEPA model. We'll be swhopping this weekend.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 4:11PM
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