I recently renovated the kitchen in my small flat, but the excitement of having adequate bench space and a new induction cooktop was tempered by the fine plaster dust that caked every surface, especially the windows where it lay an inch thick. Luckily, the Karcher Window Vacuum WV2 Plus ($123) had recently turned up at Consumer HQ.
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Basically, it’s a squeegee attached to a hand-held vacuum cleaner with a water collection bin in the handle. The idea is you spray water mixed with Karcher’s glass cleaner on to your window, then loosen the dirt with a microfibre pad before “vacuuming” up the dirty water to leave your windows sparkling clean and streak-free. Included in the box are a spray bottle with a microfibre pad, along with enough concentrate to make 250ml of glass cleaner, though Bug-Off car window cleaner solution or vinegar works just as well.
I used the Karcher to clean my dusty kitchen window. It started off well — after spraying the detergent on the window and giving it a scrub, the vacuum squeegee left a spotless and mostly streak-free window in its wake, as long as I pressed firmly and kept it upright.
The trouble is my windows are set quite far back into their frames, so as I got close to the bottom of the window, the Karcher’s bulky handle meant I had to either angle it upwards or turn it horizontally, both of which reduced its ability to suck up water. While most of the window was crystal clear, the lower section was damp and streaky. I had to go back over it with a cloth to remove streaks and excess water.
Its performance was much better on glass surfaces like my bathroom mirror and shower door, as I could reach the entire surface without frames or sills getting in the way.
The Karcher has another application — removing condensation from windows. Its advantage over a standard squeegee is you won’t end up with puddles of water seeping into your window frames, though you’ll often need a cloth to mop up the last bit of water at the bottom of your windows.
Overall, the Karcher Window Vacuum does an admirable job cleaning and removing condensation from windows, but it can leave streaks unless you use lashings of window cleaner and press the vac firmly at the right angle. It’s also not great if your windows are set back into the frame, or on windows that run to the ground. It does what it says on the box, but at $123 most of us will be content with a normal squeegee and cloth.
Karcher Window Vacuum WV2 Plus
As an alternative to the Karcher, I tried the manual version. Scoopy is a squeegee that funnels water into its hollow handle. I was skeptical at first as you have to run the squeegee up the window — I thought it would judder and scrape. But on wet windows it travelled smoothly, scooping up condensation and leaving my panes dry and mostly streak-free. The handle holds 150ml of water. On the worst mornings I filled it three times drying all my windows, though it only took five minutes.
Like the Karcher, the Scoopy doesn’t reach to the bottom as the sills get in the way, but a quick wipe with the supplied microfiber cloth deals with the last few centimetres of dampness. For $20, I’m sold.
Available from Community Energy Action.
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by George Block and Paul Smith
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