Tag Archives: cleaning

Kärcher FC5 Hard Floor Cleaner Review



Kärcher’s bright yellow products will be well-known to many and the brand’s almost synonymous with pressure washers: on any given Sunday, cars up and down the nation will be getting a clean aided by a Kärcher. Over the past few years, the company has been trying to increase its market with a range of household cleaning products and last year, the Window Vac seemed to be everywhere.

This year, it’s the turn of the floors and here we have the Kärcher FC5 hard floor cleaner. Hard floors are very much en vogue at the moment but keeping them clean involves dry vacuuming followed by wet mopping or steam cleaning. The FC5 is designed to get round this problem by combining elements of an upright vacuum cleaner with a wet floor cleaner. Let’s take closer look….and for those wondering, even geeks need to keep their houses clean.

The Kärcher FC5 arrives in substantial cardboard box, but it’s not as long as it could be as “some assembly is required”. Simply, the upper part of the handle needs to be slotted into the body of the cleaner. It’s straightforward and only needs a good shove to click it into place. Once together, the FC5 looks the business with a smooth aluminium handle extending out of a the obligatory yellow body. The unit is hefty enough at around 5 kg but it’s not unwieldy. The design won a Red Dot Award in 2017.

Taking a tour round the hard floor cleaner reveals most of FC5’s features. Starting at the top, there’s a rubberised handle with a power switch just within thumb’s reach. Slightly lower down is the power cable – 7m – which is coiled round two hooks. The lower hook rotates to quick release the cable which is handy when getting started. On the front of the cleaner body is the tall thin clean water reservoir and round the back is a stubbier dirty water container. At the bottom, are two fluffy rollers which spin when the cleaner is in action, giving the floor a good scrubbing.

The way the FC5 works is to suck water and detergent from the front reservoir, pour it onto the rollers, scrub the floor with the spinning damp rollers and then vacuum the now grubby water and debris up into back container. Sounds perfect and in practice, works well too.

Turning on the FC5 for the first time can be a little surprising as the rollers can get a bit of a grip on the floor and pull the cleaner away from you. It’s a bit little a powered lawn mower but not nearly as strong. Once mastered, the FC5 can be easily manoeuvred around the place and there’s a bit of tilt-n-swivel action. Tilting the handle to the left or right will turn the roller head in the same direction so you can kind of curve past things and into corners. The FC5 is noisy like a vacuum too – there’s no gentle gurgle of steam here.

Removing both water containers is easy enough – push down on the top and give the container a yank out. Filling the clean water reservoir is easy but it’s hard to see and use the “max” marker, especially as you’re filling the container nearly horizontal and you have to tilt it vertically to check on the water level. I found that one fill was enough to clean a hallway (solid wood), a kitchen (tile), a bathroom (tile) and a playroom (laminate) with a little left over. For reference, my house is about 100 sq. m on the ground floor.

After cleaning, the floor surface is left slightly damp but it dries within minutes. It’s much drier than it would be using a mop but it’s probably on a par with a steam cleaner.

The dirty water container comes in two pieces – there’s an inner structure which is designed to catch solid material like fluff, hair and squashed peas, and this comes out so that this stuff can be put in the bin. The grubby water can then be poured down the sink without worrying about blockages. Although it’s a little disgusting, you can see all the dirt that the FC5 has picked up. I don’t think of having a dirty house – there’s no pets, only two children who are fairly good at taking their shoes off at the front door – but I was still surprised at how dirty the water was.

The FC5 comes with a black plastic stand (or “cleaning station” according to Kärcher) which can be used both when the cleaner is resting under the stairs or in the utility room, and when cleaning is underway. If the stand isn’t used, the FC5 falls over – it won’t stand on its own. The base is also used to pre-wet the rollers for a quick cleaning start.

Talking about the rollers, or SmartRollers as styled by Kärcher, they easily unscrew for cleaning and drying. It’s very simple and as long as the blue roller matches the blue axle (and the green roller, the green axle), it’s impossible to go wrong.

In use over the past few weeks, I liked the Kärcher FC5. The pull from the rollers was an initial surprise but I was comfortable moving the cleaner around after a few minutes. It copes well with the different floor surfaces and after whizzing round the hard floors, I could see the dirt in the sucked up water. The FC5 handles fluff, hair, sand (Moon Sand), grit and other relatively small pieces of debris (Play Doh). It’s not a vacuum cleaner though, so larger items like stones, packaging and sweet wrappers are going to stay on the floor.

I have mixed feelings about the base that the FC5 needs to stay upright. I can kind of understand the need for pre-wetting the rollers but having to keep the base handy just to stand it up is a little annoying. If you can clean your whole house in one go, you’ll be fine; those of us who have to stop and move furniture will always be wanting the stand close to hand, only to find it’s on the other side of the room.

Priced at GB£239, the Kärcher FC5 isn’t cheap. In comparison, popular steam mops cost around a quarter of that, and you’re still going to need a proper vacuum cleaner. However the real benefit of the FC5 is the overall time saving of not having to vacuum before cleaning – you only need to go over the surface once with the FC5 and it’s job done. Definitely worth considering in homes with several hard floored rooms.

The Kärcher FC5 is available direct from Kärcher and other good retailers.

Unboxing and in action videos below.

This post was done as part of The Insiders UK Kärcher campaign.


Fluff, The Silent Killer



Processor and HeatsinkFluff can be a PC killer as I recently discovered, but the solution to the problem is straightforward.

As a true geek, I built my own PC, but it’s no speed demon with a mid-range quad-core processor. However, I’d been suffering from intermittent PC shutdowns that would always happen when I was at the PC and never when the PCs was on but not in use. It was very irritating because you’d be right in the middle of something and then you’d be dumped out. I put it down to buggy software.

Last week I started to rip a few DVDs for tablet viewing and every time the PC would shutdown within about 30 seconds of starting the file conversion. At this point I began to think that the processor might be overheating, forcing a shutdown before it was damaged. Upon opening the case, nothing looked particularly out of the ordinary; there was a bit of fluff but nothing you’d think of as being a problem. It was only when I looked more closely at the heat sink on the CPU that I saw many of the spaces between the thermal vanes were clogged with fluff.

Out with the vacuum cleaner and a good hoovering later, I powered the PC on and started a fresh rip. This time the PC didn’t shutdown and I was able to rip solidly for at least an hour without any shutdowns. Problem solved!

Tip of the Day – if you are experiencing intermittent crashes or shutdowns, open your PC and give your CPU’s heatsink and fan a clean with the vacuum cleaner.

And if any Americans out there are wondering what “fluff” is, I believe that you know it as “lint”.

Heatsink and fan picture courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com.


Touchscreen Kleen Review



Fingerprints are the bane of modern life. You’ve got your beautiful new tablet, you show it to your friends and before you can say, “oleic acid”, there’s a horde of greasy smudges all over the screen. Aaargh!!!

Here at Geek News Central we’ve seen several solutions to this problem, from carbon-based wipes to fashion self-cling pads. Touchscreen Kleen adds to the portfolio: it’s a special-formulated spray combined with a microfibre cloth.

TouchscreenKleen Package

It’s pretty simply to use….turn off the screen, squirt some cleaning solution onto the microfibre cloth and polish the screen with the cloth. Job done.
And it really is that easy. I cleaned tablets, smartphones, LCD monitors and they all came up looking like new, completely smudge free. Very impressed.

The microfibre cloth is washable so if you have to clean a really dirty monitor screen, the grubby cloth can be washed before the next use.

Touchscreen Kleen is available in two sizes, 15 ml and 50 ml, currently on special offer at £3.99 and £5.99 respectively in the online store.

Disclosure – Touchscreen Kleen was provided for review by Screen-Kleen Ltd.


Screen Cleaning with Stickems at The Gadget Show



Keep Calm and Drink Tea StickemIf you have a smartphone, tablet or other fingerprint magnet, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve also got something to clean your screen, whether it’s a microfibre cloth or carbon-based wiper. However, these all suffer from the same problem….you never have it when you want it. Stickems solve this problem by sticking to the back of your phone or tablet, ready for use at anytime.

Coming in a good range of sizes and patterns, Stickems have ultra fine microfibre cloth on one side to clean the screen of dust, fingerprints, ear smudges and make-up, with a self-cling backing on the other side. The Stickem simply peels off for use and sticks back on when done. Prices range from £2.99 to £4.99.

I caught up with Alex from Stickems at The Gadget Show Live and he told me more. I suspect he hasn’t actually wiped 10,000 times and I don’t think there’s really a guarantee….


Keep Your Tablet Clear with the Lenspen SideKick



Lenspen LogoLenspen have a long history of products in the photography market and they’ve brought their expertise of lens cleaning to the mobile gadget space. Their client list reads like a who’s who of the photography market with Nikon, Canon and Sony all producing OEM-branded version of Lenspen’s lens cleaning tools. Todd and Don chat with Peter from Lenspen to get an update on the latest products.

Last year, Lenspen introduced the first SideKick and since then the product line has been expanded with new colours and new packaging. The SideKick is a matchbox-sized sprung-loaded carbon pad that is wiped over the screen and completely removes fingerprints from tablet and smartphone screens. Using a carbon-based technology, the SideKick absorbs oils without any abrasion leaving a perfectly cleaning screen. It then closes up to keep all the carbon inside and one cartridge will do 300-400 cleanings before needing to be replaced. The SideKick is available online and in retail stores from $14.99 for a single SideKick. Other package combinations are available.

Lenspen also has specific cleaning products for LCD monitors and screens, such as the Laptop-Pro, that removes both dust and fingerprints.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Don Baine, the Gadget Professor for the TechPodcast Network.

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The Lenspen Sidekick



Jeffery Powers and Esbjorn Larsen interviewed Peter Meurrens, VP of Operations for Lenspen, about the Lenspen Sidekick and the Laptop Pro. Do you remember your grandmother using a newspaper to clean a mirror. The reason that worked is because the print on newspapers contains carbon. Carbon absorbs the fingerprint oil .

Lenspen took this concept and created the Lenspen Sidekick. The tip on the Sidekick is made of carbon and when you rub it across the tablet screen it collects the oil from the screen. When you close the unit back up it refills the tip with carbon. There are about 150 cleanings per unit and will last for years when not in use.

He also showed off an improved version of the Lenspen Laptop Pro. This application can clean your entire laptop from the keyboard to the screen. In the center of the application there are two knobs. Slide the one knob forward and the hard brush comes out. You use it to clean the keyboard both on top and underneath the keys, Pull it back and then pull the other knob forward and you have the soft moleskin brush which will remove the dust from the monitor. The cap contains a carbon tip you can use to clean fingerprints from your monitor.

The Sidekick will be available in March at various on-line and local retailers. At this time they are looking at selling the Sidekick plus a supply of cleaning tips for $19.95 The Sidekick only will be available for around $9.95 and blades only for $14.95. The Sidekick uses no chemicals or liquids and because carbon is a natural product and last a long time the Sidekick is very green.  Both Jeffery and Esbjorn really liked this product and thought it was one of the best things they saw at CES 2011.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast.
Interview by Esbjorn Larsen of MrNetCast.com.

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Moneual Silver Care Robot Air Purifier and Emergency Assistant



Targeted at independent living for older people, Moneual‘s Silver Care Robot is an air purifier that moves around the home to clean the air and improve the air quality, much like a Roomba does for dirt. But the robot also monitors the vital signs of an owner who is wearing wristwatch-type monitor. In the event of emergency, the robot can summon assistance via a wireless internet connection.

Built on Microsoft’s Windows 7 with a touch screen, the user can access simple functions such as playing music or making a voip call.

Available later in 2011 for over $8000.

Interview by Carissa O’Brien for Geek News Central.

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Lenspen Sidekick for Apple iPhone and iPod



If you hate fingerprints and smudges on your iPhone or other mobile device, then Sidekick from Lenspen is the product you’ve been waiting for. Using a carbon-based technology, it wipes away oil-based marks like fingerprints from flat screens, leaving them clean and shiny.

New at CES and available soon for $9.95

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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