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Steamy Stuff

I bought a steam cleaner. (Bear with me, this does have something to do with clothes) Not like a carpet cleaner but a little boiler basically, that has a hose and several attachments to clean any surface. And, since it's steam, it also sanitizes without chemicals. I was watching (yes, I admit) an infomercial about one and it's many uses. Well, the one they didn't list that I was wondering about was if you could use it as a garment steamer. I didn't see why not. But this infomercial wanted $169.00 for the little steamer. Um..NO. But now my natural instinct to anything I want is, "I bet I can find it cheaper on-line" and I did! I found a very similar small steam-cleaner on clearance at Marshalls on-line! It was $49.99 AND it came with FREE SHIPPING. SCORE! I checked that it could be returned and came with a 1-yr warranty as well. It was the same size and capacity as the one I'd seen on TV and had pretty much the same attachments. I expected delivery somewhere around the 25th.

But when I got home yesterday (the 21 st ) it had arrived! Yippee! See, the best way to motivate me to something is for it to have a gadget or accessory. I exercise more after I buy new yoga pants. I clean more when I have better cleaning supplies.

Justin and I went to Sam's Club to get some foodies and I noticed there they had a garment steamer (and that was ALL it did) for $98. I vowed to see if my little steamer at home could do the same that night.

After we got home, cooked and ate I pulled out my new best-cleaning-friend and cranked it up...after I threw out a breaker in the house and we lost power twice. Apparently my steamer uses a lot of juice. But the third time was a charm and let me tell you, I LOVE this little cleaning machine. The nozzle that has the small jet-o-steam tip can clean gunk out of the tightest space, getting uggy stuff out of crevices on the floor and counter and oven. It cleans great.

There are 2 drawbacks, but both are logical. First, you have no switch to turn the steam on or off during use. You put water in, it heats up and you get steam for 15 minutes. There is no pausing. But that makes sense because if the steam pressure built up, your steamer would explode. Also, you cannot change attachments during cleaning. But that makes sense because you would burn your hands. If you start with the floor attachment on, that's what you have to work with for the next 15 minutes. If you want to use the squeegee attachment, you must wait until the 15 minutes of steam are used and then change it. But that's ok really.

First I tackled the kitchen. Specifically, the frightening floor and the countertops. In 30 minutes (there was a lot to clean) they were looking better than they had in a long time. Next, on to the bathroom. I was in a cleaning mode akin to a shark feeding frenzy. Nothing could stop me. I had my hair up in a bun with a little bandana and my Chanel glasses, slightly fogged. The bathroom sink and toilet now sparkle, though I need to have a go at the fixtures with the metal brush attachment. That will remove a few years of encrusted toothpaste and grime. EW.

Ok, on to the last test of the evening. Could it steam garments so I could avoid the dreaded task of Ironing? I hate ironing. I don't know why, but I do. I know some people who see it as a relaxing Zen-like activity. Just you, the garment and the hot iron, resulting in a flawlessly pressed shirt. HA. Not so with me. Instead I end up almost in tears and a shirt that barely looks better than when I started. I know that by steaming a garment it would not give you that crisp look from and iron, but it would release the wrinkles and at least look a lot better. I was delighted to see that the steamer DID come with a garment steaming attachment. A nozzle with 2 rows of small steam jets, one above and one below a row of bristles, if you wish to brush the garment. Or you could put a terrycloth bag they included over the attachment so that it was just steam for more delicate fabrics.

I lifted it to a French blue oxford-type shirt I wear to work. I was impressed. The wrinkles were gone. I would steam the sleeve and pull it a little and it looked great. The only drawback would be that occasionally the steamer would sputter and you would get a few spots of water on the garment, but those were small and dried quickly. I tried different fabrics (a corduroy jacket and my satin cargo pants -both bad for wrinkling) and each came out quite nice and wrinkle-free. I was so tickled by this I began looking for things to steam and started in on Justin's shirts. Ta-da! No more wrinkles! I was a clean-freak wrinkle-steaming fool. I love items that multi-task. Just an FYI.

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