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Typically, I only trust Steve Jobs with making multipurpose tools that work (like my beloved iPhone that holds my email, calendar, music, internet, and endless apps all in one swipe.) When it comes to tools that clean, I'm more of a "pick the perfect tool for each task" kind of shopper.

I've tested countless so-called cleaning wonders that try to clean everything at once -- and end up doing nothing all that well. Case in point: wet-vacs that are so much more time-consuming to empty and clean out than simply grabbing a rag to clean up a spill.

But the power of steam cleaning is something I do trust. If you haven't tried steam cleaning, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Without the use of chemicals, steam cleaners shine and sanitize floors. You'll never buy a bottle of floor cleaner again. Just fill the steam cleaner with water and you have the best, healthiest sanitizer. It even kills germs! And you're not just moving dirt around, like you do with a mop and bucket system.

Steam is so powerful that it loosens and removes stuck-on dirt with hardly any scrubbing on your part. And I have to say, while you don't smell the clean as you do with chemical cleaners, you can feel the clean when you walk on a warm floor that's just been steam cleaned. It's pretty fantastic.

Haan duo steam cleanerHAAN duo Steam Cleaner & Sanitizer. Photo: HAAN

So I was interested in trying out the new HAAN Duo Steam Sweeper & Sanitizer to find out if it really does both jobs well -- and to see how it compares to my current steam cleaner. Overall, I was really impressed with the HAAN Duo Steam Sweeper & Sanitizer. Once it's assembled, you simply need to add the microfiber pad (two come with the unit) and use the included measuring cup to pour some water into its tank. You can press the buttons to sweep and steam clean at the same time.

I have hardwood floors and tile throughout my apartment (so I didn't try the Duo on carpeting, though it claims to work on carpeting as well). I had just about 30 minutes to clean my entire apartment before having friends over one night. Normally, when I'm so pinched for time, I'm only able to vacuum and wind up steam cleaning just the bathroom (if I'm lucky.) But I set my kitchen timer, and I was able to vacuum and steam clean my entire apartment with the HAAN Duo in 30 minutes (keep in mind I live in New York where apartments are on the small side).

It was a real timesaver to be able to vacuum and steam clean all at once. You do need to be aware of how you're moving the Duo around: you definitely don't want loose dirt to meet your wet microfiber pad. So you want to work in a linear path (rather than zigzagging back and forth) when you use the Duo. That way, it sweeps up the dirt before your floor meets its steam cleaning back end.

I will say that (to my surprise) I liked the HAAN Duo more than my current steam cleaner, which has served me well for years. My Bissell steam cleaner works great, but it's harder to attach the microfiber pad and its shape makes it hard to clear under the dresser and other tight places. I was able to move the Duo around and under most every surface in my apartment. I also loved being able to do a quick vacuum and steam clean at once. You can't steam clean a floor that hasn't been swept or vacuumed first, so I haven't pulled out my steam cleaner as often as I'd like. With the Duo, I'm sure that I would steam clean my floors more often, knowing that I don't always have to pull out the big, heavy vacuum.

That being said, i would not go so far to say that the HAAN Duo can be a replacement for an upright vacuum. It can't. And it did not come close to matching the power of my beloved Dyson. There are some issues with suction and sometimes it gets clogged and spits out dirt. If you're running the Duo along the side of a wall, it does not suck up dirt right to the end of its vacuum head. You also can't suck up anything with heft - this isn't the solution I would recommend for picking up spilled Cheerios. And I'm skeptical of its suction power on carpeting. I'm still going to rely on my Dyson for most of the vacuuming in our place. But when we have unexpected guests coming over or my floors are looking grimy, I think the HAAN Duo would be a great, quick solution for instantly shiny floors.

Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn. She curates the daily lifestyle blog The Haystack Needle.

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  • Love my steam cleaner

    I also have a Haan steam cleaner, but mine is hand held. I love it for getting into areas where I can't normally get to. I just used it on my car and it even got all the grooves in the pedals clean!

    For my floors I have a Shark Steam Mop. The author mentioned Bissell. I wouldn't have a Bissell in my home. I have bought 3 Bissell products and although they did work great for a while, when they did break down, there was absolutely no help from Bissell, even though it had only been a short time since I bought the product.

    But I do love my Shark. I have a large kitchen (12 ft x 35 ft) and from the time I take the steam mop off the wall till the time I hang it back up again is less than 10 minutes. And I can immediately walk across it in white socks and they stay white.

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