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We put the new Shark steam cleaner to the test – but does it deliver?

A steam-powered success story or another device destined to gather dust in our cleaning cupboards? We find out

Tamara Hinson
Saturday 01 May 2021 06:00
<p>More powerful than your standard mop, this steam cleaner can tackle the toughest of stains</p>

More powerful than your standard mop, this steam cleaner can tackle the toughest of stains

Shark’s floor and handheld steam cleaner S6005UK, which launched in late 2020, is being touted as an incredibly versatile model, capable of tackling a wide range of surfaces without the weightiness associated with many steam cleaners – so we decided it was high time we put it to the test.

It’s the cleaner’s versatility which is touted as its USP. Although it’s got just two settings, it can be used as a corded cleaner to tackle surfaces such as tile, stone and hardwood, or as a handheld cleaner to spruce up everything from household appliances such as ovens to bathroom tile grouting – areas not usually within the remits of this type of cleaner.

Five accessories, including a steam blast scrubbing tool, a copper brush and a steam crevice tool will – at least, according to the blurb – help to cut through grease and grime in seconds, no matter what type of surface is being cleaned.

Shark claims that the clever design – which includes a mop head which flips over to reveal a fresh cleaning surface – slashes cleaning times and boosts cleaning power without adding unnecessary weight (it weighs just 2.27kg).

One obvious advantage to steam cleaners like this one is the lack of chemical cleaning agents, and in an age where our kitchen cupboards are filled with more noxious chemicals than ever before, this will be a huge selling point for many consumers – but only if cleaning power isn’t compromised.

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So did Shark’s floor and handheld steam cleaner live up to the hype? Here’s our honest verdict.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-life testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Shark’s floor and handheld steam cleaner S6005UK

Weight: 2.27kg

Cord length: 8 metres

Capacity: 0.5l

Wattage: 1050W

Design

This is a lightweight steam mop which can be used as both a corded and handheld device, and which weighs just 2.27kg but has a reassuring rigidity. It’s easy to assemble – the steam mop handle and steam mop body slot together, although you’ll need a flathead screwdriver to secure them in place.

It’s a steam cleaner that looks good, too, with a high-gloss, grey-and-white chassis, an ultra-slim handle and flexible mop heads with a chevron design which wouldn’t look out of place on a racing car (the jury’s out on whether or not this will speed up your cleaning sessions). It feels incredibly tactile, with an ultra-smooth finish and extra cushioning in all the right places, such as the top of the handle.

We were slightly concerned by the small stopper on the water tank, but our worries were unfounded – the rubber bung has a precision fit which means it’s easy to remove, but will prevent any leaks. Removing the section of the mop which contains the water tank is incredibly easy – simply hold down the release button and it unlocks.

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We loved the way it can be used as a handheld cleaner. The section which contains the tank hasn’t just been designed to slip out easily to ensure effortless refills. It means it doubles as a cordless device, too – simply unlock it and attach one of the attachments. This cordless functionality proved especially useful when using it to clean hard-to-reach areas such as  oven doors and grouting.

The steam cleaner comes with a wide range of attachments, including a copper brush, steam crevice tool and steam blast scrubbing tool. There are also two cleaning pads, which means you can carry on cleaning while the other one’s being washed (a no-touch release mechanism allows these to be removed in a nano-second) although the clever “click and flip” feature also means you can simply flip each mop head over once it’s absorbed enough dirt to prevent it cleaning effectively.

Steam power

We used Shark’s floor and handheld steam cleaner on a wide range of surfaces, ranging from stone flooring and hardwood to tiles and vinyl. A before and after finger test proved just how much grime it removed from an area of dark stone flooring (as well as, scarily, how much dirt the stonework had concealed) and it worked equally well on vinyl, for which we took a cautious approach and switched to “low” mode rather than “high.” However, we’d still advise following Shark’s guidance and consulting your flooring manufacturer if using it on this type of material.

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It came into its own when used not on flooring but in the bathroom (as a handheld device), on the white tiles which had appeared – at least to us – pretty clean prior to our steam session. Apparently we were mistaken, because as soon we started tracing the lines between the tiles using the steam crevice tool, trickles of dirty water started dribbling down the wall (having a kitchen roll to hand was useful for precisely this reason). On the plus side, our tiles were restored to a shade of whiteness we never knew existed.

The ultimate test was the oven, for which we used the copper brush. Our oven’s seen better days so we had no concerns about doing so, but we’d recommend the concentration nozzle if you’re worried about scratching your shiny new kitchen appliance.

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We’d been highly sceptical about the cleaner’s ability to tackle oven grime, but we were seriously impressed. Don’t get us wrong – steam will never cut through the toughest oven stains in the way a chemical oven cleaner can, but it did a great job of loosening baked-on grime.

It’s worth noting that when used as a handheld device you’ll need to apply constant pressure to the power button (rather than relying on the on/off functionality available when it’s plugged in), but the ergonomically-designed controls means this is easy to do.

The verdict: Shark’s floor and handheld steam cleaner

There doesn’t appear to be anything this steam cleaner can’t tackle, and this isn’t simply down to the cleaning power of superheated steam – it’s down to Shark’s floor and handheld steam cleaner’s lightweight design, which is both incredibly manoeuvrable and easy to operate. It works equally well when used either as a handheld device or a corded one, and the brilliant array of attachments means there’s one for every type of surface and every type of grime. Trust us: manual mops will look truly primitive once you’ve got to grips with this dirt-busting miracle machine.

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IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.