Being a 'pool' car driven by a bunch of different people here at MicksGarage, Project GTi sometimes doesn't get the love it deserves. So much so that right now the interior of our car looks like bomb went off in a trash can! So we decided it was high time to do something about it and clean the car out. Given that we're in the business of selling car related things we figured It would make some sense to review a couple of products while we were at it! So here goes:
The products we chose to review are 2 of our most popular vacuum cleaners and 2 of our most popular upholstery cleaners:
Check out the video below to see how we got on, or more importantly how the different products performed:
The car interior really was in pretty bad shape as you can see from the image below but most of the mess was fairly superficial, crumbs, dust and small bits of rubbish, all of which should hoover up fairly easily. The Golf had been used on the school run for the last few weeks and the tell-tale kids-in-cars evidence was all there - half eaten bits of toast, stuff stuck to carpets and muddy shoe prints on seat backs.
Streetwise 12V In-Car Vacuum
We decided to try out the cheap and cheerful Streetwise vacuum first. This is a 12v in-car vacuum that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket in your car. The product costs under a tenner so being perfectly honest we weren't expecting miracles!
So what did we think?
Not bad at all - the material quality is perfectly acceptable and the plastics not too brittle - again bearing in mind this is a 10 quid product. The electrical lead is long enough to reach from the front all the way to the boot on the Golf but that may not be the case with large estate cars but most of them tend to have auxiliary power sockets in the boot these days anyway.
Does it Suck?
Yes it does! but in a good way. Again, our judgement of the product is relative to it's ridiculously low cost price but it does work well. Have a look at the Gif below and you can see that it deals with loose crumbs and dirt perfectly well when they're on a relatively smooth surface like the seats. It starts to struggle a bit more when dealing with the much coarser carpets which are notoriously difficult to vacuum due to the open weave which seems to really trap dirt and crumbs. The crevice attachment works ok as well and is good for getting into cubby holes and in-and-around buttons and knobs on the dashboard but it doesn't attach firmly enough to the main body of the vacuum and I ended up having to hold it in place some of the time.
The main criticism I'd have of the Streewise vacuum would be that the one-way flap system which stops dirt falling back out of the vacuum isn't completely effective which means that it can actually drop some of the stuff you've just hoovered and that isn't ideal. Also, while the level of suction is reasonable, it will take some time to achieve the desired result and you will have to go over places multiple times to get all the debris hoovered up. So to summarise, this is a great product to throw in the boot to keep on top of the mess in your car. It's best suited to cleaning up small spills and crumbs on the go rather than performing a full car valet. For the price, the performance of the Streetwise vacuum surprised us and despite its shortcomings we reckon it's pretty good value for money.
Draper 1250w Wet & Dry Vacuum
So what did we think?
This product is at the other end of the spectrum, coming in at just over 100 quid, which is still not expensive as far as vacuum cleaners go but our expectations for this product were set considerably higher. This is a wet & dry vac but it doesn't spray water/detergent out as typical wet & dry vac would, it's just capable of sucking up liquid.
Good! It looks cool, it looks sturdy and industrial and it looks like it means business! When you pick it up though you'll be struck by its light weight and on closer inspection some of the plastics don't look as though they are of the best quality, so I think this is a product aimed at the DIY'er rather than the professional. The vacuum itself has a large capacity drum so it won't need emptying every 5 minutes and it comes with a selection of handy accessories.
Does it Suck?
Yes it does! it sucks hard!.....and really, what else do you need a vaccum cleaner to do? Joking aside, the suction really is strong and the diameter of the hose is quite large so when presented with some of the bigger challenges in the Golf such as apple cores and half eaten bits of stale toast it sucked them right up without any hint of a complaint.
The crevice nozzle and small carpet attachment are the only 2 accessories we really found useful in the car as the other attachments are more suitable for home use.
The ability to switch between sucking up wet and dry spills without changing any settings is great, you just turn it on and away you go! There's no bristly attachment for getting in and around air vents which I would have thought should have been included and also the hose itself could have done with being half a meter longer so you can properly reach from one side of the car to the other without having to move the vacuum, but it's not the end of the world.
This is a good product that works well, our only concern would be around the durability of some of the materials and that's something we can't yet report back on only having used it a couple times. The ability to suck up liquids in a vacuum in this price range is quite rare and it does it very well. However if cleaning carpets and upholstery with detergents, don't expect the Draper vacuum to leave the surfaces bone dry, I don't think any vacuum will do this, so just bear in mind that you are still going to need to air dry the interior before you sit on it.
Simoniz Upholstery Cleaner 400ml
This is our best selling upholstery cleaner by far and now having used it we can see why. It's great value for money, it's well packaged and the brush built in to the cap makes it super handy to use
How does it work?
You very simply spray the foam onto carpet/upholstery surface you want to clean, leave it a few seconds then work it into the material with the built in brush. You then either dab any excess moisture away with a clean cloth or like we did, use a wet & dry vacuum
This stuff works really well, I think the foam action and the brush are really key to lifting dirt and stains away from the upholstery and the fact that it's all combined into one single unit makes it an extremely easy product to use. The only drawback I can see is the pack size - to do the whole car you'd probably need a few cans but on the flip side, if the can were any bigger it would be more cumbersome to use. Highly recommended!
Holts Professional Range Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner. 5 Litre
This product comes in a much larger 5 litre pack and is aimed more at the car care enthusiast or professional than the Simoniz product above. The lack of any method of applying the product means that you'll need your own applicator - but any household trigger spray bottle will do so long as you clean it out thoroughly before use.
How does it work?
You'll have to decant some of the cleaner into your trigger spray applicator which is a bit tricky as the 5 litre pack is quite heavy, inevitably we spilled a bit in the process. Then you liberally spray the cleaner onto the area you want to treat, leave it a few seconds then wipe away with a cloth or sponge. The immediate issue we encountered was hand fatigue from repeatedly pulling the trigger and we we're only doing the demo on a single car mat - but maybe that's a fault with the the operator being a wuss and not the product itself!
Counter intuitively the instructions don't tell you to work the cleaner into the fabric with a brush, rather it states the product works on contact and that any excess should be wiped away. We used the method described on the packaging and quite simply it didn't work as well as the Simoniz product on the car mat we were testing it on. Also we found that the fabric was left much wetter (after the same amount of time vacuuming). So while you get a huge amount more product for your money: €3.95 per litre for the Holts product versus €14.20 per litre for the Simoniz if it doesn't work as well is it actually better value?