McCulloch MC1375 Steam Cleaner Review
This steam-fueled workhorse can clean just about anything
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What if I told you there was a way to clean and sanitize even the nastiest stains without using any real soap?
This is the promise of the McCulloch MC1375 Portable Steam Cleaner (available at Amazon for $179.99) , which lets you apply steam to loosen up and otherwise break up years-old stains on outdoor furniture, degrease an entire grill, or remove stuck-on adhesive residue from vinyl tile.
Of course, cleaning with steam isn’t anything new. But the McCulloch steam cleaner promises to be easy to use, affordable, portable, and comes with a variety of attachments to tackle jobs on metal, nylon, plastic, paint, vinyl, and a number of other materials.
Will it live up to the hype? We put it to the test.
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What we like
It’s easy to set up and start cleaning
The nicest thing about cleaning with steam is it can tackle just about anything, so there’s not much you need to think about when setting up the steamer. Just add 48 ounces of water, attach the wand or steam head you want to use, and turn it on.
You want to pick your preferred attachment in advance, because it only takes 5-10 minutes for the internal heater to convert water into steam.
Once the pressure gauge bumps into the “green” zone, you’re ready to go, and you don’t want to be fumbling with attachments and accidentally get hit with steam.
You get nearly two dozen different attachments
The steamer comes with more than 17 different attachments, and most of them cover the same ground: scrubbing away whatever you’re trying to clean while the steam comes out.
Despite the large number of attachments, they fall mostly into three groups: 1) small and medium-sized nylon brushes, 2) a metal brush for cleaning metal, and 3) a large mop head you can use to steam mop a large floor area.
Though there’s a lot of overlap, the variety of attachments gave me the flexibility to steam clean everything from the console in my car, to my vinyl floors, to my metal outdoor deck furniture and the greasy racks in my propane grill.
It emphasizes just how much steam is an incredible cleaner
I have used steam floor cleaners in the past, and while they were useful, I found that most of the cleaning still came down to me scrubbing residue off by hand.
It’s safe to say my expectations were low for this testing experiment, but the McCulloch Steam Cleaner totally blew me away.
Steam cleans best when you can effectively scrub away whatever residue you’re trying to clean—steam isn’t going to just magically dissolve the stain—but the shot of steam from the McCulloch broke up stains I had tried for weeks to get lifted.
For example, take my vinyl floors. I recently had to replace a few tiles, and some of the residue on the bottom got scraped on the top of the tiles. It seemed easy to clean, but dirt and grime kept showing up again and again. I tried every cleaner in the book, including mineral spirits and Goo Gone, but nothing got rid of it.
The McCulloch took on the challenge and cleaned it all in 20 minutes.
Overall, it did its most impressive work on my grill. Using the metal brush attachment, I was able to steam clean and scrub the inside and outside of my grill until it practically looked like new. The greasiest parts inside the grill still had some staining, but it was ready to eat off right away—no soapy residue or other cleaners to worry about.
What we don’t like
Trigger gets stuck in the on position, and this is dangerous
The biggest issue I had with the McCulloch was the tendency for the trigger to get stuck in the on position. The trigger is made of plastic, and it’s easy for it to get jammed up. While it does have a safety lock on it, it’s again, just a small piece of plastic that slides in to block the trigger (or lock it when open).
More than once while holding the trigger down this would slide into place and the steam wouldn’t stop coming out until I reset this safety switch by pushing it all the way back in and out.
Steam is dangerous to work with, and unlike other cleaners, a steam cleaner has one big drawback: You can pretty easily burn yourself. Steam burns are no fun, and while I didn’t get one while using the cleaner at all, it’s a constant concern.
The cleaner needs to be emptied after each use
You don’t want to leave water inside the tank of any steam cleaner if you can avoid it. When emptying, this means you need to wait for it to cool down, unscrew the reservoir cap, and pick the whole canister up to dump it out.
On that note, the cleaner recommends only using distilled water so that it doesn’t get clogged up with deposits from your tap water. You may be able to get away without it here and there, but we’d recommend sticking with distilled.
Since the tank isn’t accessible, there’s no good way to clean it or descale it—and it’s bound to get messy in there if you’re just using tap water.
Should you buy the McCulloch MC1375 Steam Cleaner?
Yes—it’s one of the best heavy duty cleaners I’ve ever used
Typically when you want to clean a heavy stain, you have to bring out the big guns: mineral spirits, bleach, industrial cleaners, and heavy machinery. It’s hard to believe that a lightweight canister that is little more than a plastic tank, a hose, and a hot plate could do the job.
And yet, it does—the McCulloch MC1375 Steam Cleaner was able to degrease my grill, lift sap stains off my car’s paint, and clean some kind of brown gunk off my car’s console that I don’t think science has a name for. And it did it all easily, without soap, and with minimal scrubbing. It’s pretty amazing.
The one major downside: It’s super hot. You could easily get burned using it if you’re not careful, and it could potentially warp plastic or anything that can’t handle too much heat. It’s also important to remember that steam turns right back into water when condensed, so you don’t want to use it on anything where you might get water trapped where it can’t escape.
If you can follow the directions and use it safely, the McCulloch MC1375 Steam Cleaner can handle all sorts of incredibly tricky jobs. You may only need it a few times a year, but when you do, you’ll be glad you have it.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.