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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Steamrolling the Chores

Let me tell you about the best $200 I ever spent.  Better yet, let me show you.

That's right.  A Bissell Steam Cleaner.

For a mere $200, and hours upon days of endless toil, I finally have the carpets in the shape that they were when we moved in.  That is no small feat.  I forgot to take a before picture (I was too excited to start steaming!) but just picture a carpet pock-marked with Nutrigrain jam, mushed food stuffs, and darkened spots of various shapes and sizes.  My children ruin things.  That's all there is to it.  They are messy.  If they can spill something, they will.  They could spill a cup of grape juice from 30 feet away.  I'm almost more impressed than exasperated.

A few months back I had heralded the use of Resolve Carpet Cleaner, and true to my word, it really did do the trick.  But it also took time, and the fumes gave me a headache, and it left an invisible residue on the carpet.  Resolve will do in a pinch, for one or two or six stains.  It is too weak to handle the all-over carpet rehaul we needed in this house.

A quick defense before I move on: my carpets were in this state because I allow my toddlers to eat anywhere they want.  They often carry orange juice in little cups to the living room.  Being two, they don't do it very well.  They often eat yogurt (again not very well) while sitting on their potties in front of the television.  I don't necessarily advocate this method.  My mother is a strict you-eat-in-the-kitchen-or-not-at-all believer.  Her house was always much cleaner as a result.  Still, at this point, I'd rather my pickier-than-picky toddlers eat than not, so I don't care where they choose to do so.  I have chosen my battles.

The steam cleaner has a few drawbacks.  It's heavy.  It's a bit hard to manuever.  It runs out of water (a lot, if your carpets are filthy like mine.  I'm embarrased to admit that by the time the first bucketful was used up, I'd forgotten that I would have to clean and refill it (since I'd only done half the dining room), and I spent far too long turning the vacuum upside down and cursing that it had broken already.)  It spits out a dirty lint-like substance sometimes that you have to pick up with your hands (again, perhaps your carpets are not in the state mine are.)  Most annoyingly, it really does take a long time -- at least it does for me.  It can take me an hour to do half a room, depending on the foot traffic and food spills in that area.

But the hours are worth it; the trouble is worth it.  It's not hard on your muscles; it does the work for you.  Now that I have a steam cleaner, I feel my life as a housewife has changed.  I plan on steaming these carpets once a month, and I've a feeling it won't take nearly as long next time.

Results like this are invaluable.


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  1. I have one & it works wonders!

  2. I am super excited for you! I got one for Christmas and I love it. I, too, let my toddler eat wherever she wants. I don't know why, because it seems like a horrible idea on paper. Your carpets look beautiful.

  3. Gorgeous! Congrats on your carpets. :)

  4. I want one! My carpets desperately need a cleaning, but it's not in the budget to buy a steam cleaner D: Thankfully I could borrow one from my Mom or my MiL, but I keep forgetting to ask!

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