I tested the Vax Steam Fresh Total Home steam cleaner - it's a true all-rounder for everyday household cleaning

We put the Vax Steam Fresh Total Home steam cleaner through its paces on a range of messy cleaning tasks in a busy home with small kids

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner graphic
(Image credit: Future)
Ideal Home Verdict

Vax Steam Fresh Total Home Steam Cleaner is a brilliant all-rounder, tackling everything from carpets and upholstery to kitchen and bathroom grime. It made light work of even the dirtiest nooks of my house and that's no mean feat in this busy household.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Great cleaning results

  • +

    Powerful steam

  • +

    Onboard storage

  • +

    Lots of attachments

  • +

    Optional detergent

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    On the heavy side

  • -

    Small water tank capacity

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I tested the Vax Steam Fresh Total Home Steam Cleaner around my house to see if it could tackle all the grubby jobs my kids and cat leave me to do. 

Like most of the best steam cleaners, this model has an upright, steam mop design, designed for floors, but it also comes with a removable handheld unit with a flexible hose and its range of accessories to clean everything from windows and tiles to grout and hard-to-reach areas. 

Thanks to my busy household, there’s never a shortage of mess to clean up so I put the newest Vax thoroughly through its paces. I also took in the practicalities like its size, storage, accessories, quality and value for money, as well as its cleaning performance.

Vax Steam Fresh Total Home Steam Cleaner product specs

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner

(Image credit: VAX)
  • Capacity: 0.26l
  • Power: 1400-1600W
  • Cord length: 8 m
  • Voltage: 220-240V
  • Dimensions: 116 x 31 x 30cm
  • Weight: 4.63kg
  • Accessories included (14): 1x Hose with Ergonomic Handle, 1x Flat Surface Tool, 2x Small Flat Steam Cleaning Pads, 2x HD Small Flat Steam Cleaning Pads, 1x Large Scrubbing Brush, 1x Deep Scrubbing Brush,1x Window Tool, 1x Detail Nozzle, 1x Grout Brush, 2x Triangular Steam Cleaning Pads, 1x HD Triangular Steam Cleaning Pad, 1x Carpet Glider, 1x 250ml Vax Citrus Burst Steam Cleaning Solution, 1x Additional Filter

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner in a hallway

(Image credit: Future)

The Vax Steam Fresh Total Home does what it says on the tin: it can steam clean pretty much anything in your home with minimal effort, so it couldn't be more perfect for those wanting to clean the house from top to bottom, even on carpets and rugs.

I found myself blasting steam at every stain I came across and it made light work of most of them which was (sadly) deeply satisfying. Not to mention the fact that it kills 99.9% of bacteria which in a house with two snotty children, I welcome greatly. Plus it features a bonus long-lasting Citrus Burst solution to freshen up floors. 

Unboxing the Vax steam fresh total home steam cleaner

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner parts on a rug

(Image credit: Future)

The Vax Steam Fresh Total Home was delivered in a tall box and upon opening, I was imagining a massive heavy unit but I was pleasantly surprised that it has a relatively compact and lightweight design, with its ergonomic handle and two-part assembly.

All the accessories came neatly packaged in their own little drawstring bag, which made it way easier to get it set up without having to contend with loads of packaging.

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner water tank

(Image credit: Future)

Setting up the Vax steam fresh total home steam cleaner

There really wasn't a lot of setting up needed for the Vax Steam Fresh Total Home, except for clicking the long handle to the main unit. The carpet glider attachment came already set up so I could get right to work on the Play-Doh stain my four-year-old and her friend kindly smooshed into the landing carpet. Everything clips together nicely, with minimal effort involved. 

Once this was all set up, I could move on to adding the solution and the water to their respective tanks. It was pretty easy to figure out what to do with the solution, as the tank has clear markers so you know exactly how much solution to add in combination with water. 

Since the carpet glider was attached already, I got cracking. Vax clearly explained that the solution shouldn't be used on the carpet and have a handy dial on the side of the unit to turn off the solution flow when steam cleaning the carpet. I plugged it in, switched it on and within 30 seconds it was ready to rock, which was pretty impressive since some steam cleaners take minutes to get going.

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner parts on a floor

(Image credit: Vax)

What is it like to use?

The power cord is a generous 8m which meant I could plug it in and not have to worry about switching the plug out while steam cleaning the carpet.

It was an easy job to change the attachments while the cleaner was on so I didn't need to pause on my cleaning tirade at all. Plus all the attachments were handily stored in the tool storage area on the back of the cleaner so I didn't need to go searching for the tool I needed. 

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner-on-carpet

(Image credit: Future)

Clicking out the handheld unit was simple without any niggles, the flex hose was long enough to reach tough spots without having to lug and lift the handheld unit awkwardly.

If you need to refill, I switched it off just to be safe and clicked out the tank which can be directly filled from the tap without any issue.

Steam cleaning the floor

I tested the Vax Steam Fresh Total Home on the Play-Doh stains first since the carpet glider was already attached. I steamed the carpet with the glider and then blasted the stains with the concentration nozzle. It took a bit of effort but the combination saved my carpet. 

I then got inspired by the grout brush attachment and went to town on my bathroom floor, scrubbing in between the tiles with minimal effort and with little to no drying time required. 

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner nozzle on tile

(Image credit: Future)

I also used the steam mop head on our tiled kitchen floor which gets hoovered and mopped regularly but could always do with a little more attention because of my children's and cat's grubby paws. 

I turned the solution dial on again at full throttle, clicked on the microfibre pad and got to work. I've got to say I was impressed with the results, especially when I discovered a number of suspicious-looking dried-in stains near the kitchen island and it got those off with no problem at all.

There's a controllable steam dial so I felt more confident using the steam cleaner at a lower setting on our wood flooring in the hall and living areas. I was slightly concerned about going a bit too far and damaging it but it worked a treat.

Steam cleaning by hand

I then used the concentration nozzle to tackle my rain shower head which is as hard to reach as it gets. It made light work of this finicky job and it was a pleasure to get it over with without much effort. 

Since it made such a horrid task super easy, I started on a bathroom cleaning frenzy, doing around the taps, plugholes and grouting and I was impressed by the ease with which I blasted grime away. 

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner nozzle on shower head

(Image credit: Future)

I then tackled the cat's litter box which is always a joyous task but honestly, using steam to clean the tray and box made it a way nicer experience. And with no need for any irritating detergents to spray and wipe off, it felt like a way quicker task than usual.

Then I got to cleaning our windows. Our garden sliding doors have always got a series of tiny hand prints adorning the panes. The special window squeegee was just the ticket to sort them out, with no need for window cleaner. While I was there I blasted the window pane sill where garden debris often collects, and the steam really helped get right into the nooks and crannies for a thorough clean.

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner nozzle on taps at basin in bathroom

(Image credit: Future)

The one thing I did notice when I was going around doing these odd jobs, is that while it was possible to store the different attachments on the unit itself, like our top-rated Vax Steam Fresh Combi for example, there wasn't space for all of the tools. 

In addition to this, some of the tools didn't quite fit beside each other because of their size. However, this was only a little niggle and the little bag for the extra accessories is handy enough to store them away in.

What's it like to clean?

The microfibre pads are machine washable and the rest of the cleaner just needs a wipe. Most of the tools like the brushes can be washed in the sink. Any blockages that can happen from time to time can be cleared using a thin object to remove the obstruction to the steam flow.

Vax recommend you empty and rinse the solution and water tanks after each use to prevent any problems with the steamer's performance. It is also recommended to check and change the filter periodically. Depending on water hardness and frequency of use, the filter should be replaced every three to six months.

If you live in a hard water area, however, Vax advise the use of filtered water and to replace the filter every two to four months instead. Handily, a replacement filter is included.

VAX steam fresh total home steam cleaner onboard storage

(Image credit: Future)

Storing the Vax steam fresh total home steam cleaner

As it's an upright steam cleaner, it doesn't take up too much floor space in my utility room but it's still a big enough footprint for a small space, especially if you also own a vacuum and other cleaning tools. 

However, it's great that the tools can be kept onboard in the designated tool storage area at the back of the cleaner. Any additional tools that don't fit can be stored in the drawstring bag included and hung on the handle. The power cord storage is also great as not only is there the usual cord tidy but also plug storage so everything stays in place.

Should you buy the Vax steam fresh total home steam cleaner?

If you want a steam cleaner that can clean pretty much everything and more, you can't go wrong with the Vax Steam Fresh Total Home Steam Fresh cleaner. Like with any new cleaning gadget or tool, I gave the house a thorough going over and I found its powerful steam cleaned really well.

The set-up was very minimal, it's super simple to use and the onboard storage is impressive. The steam control dial, range of accessories and rapid heat-up time made the experience really easy too. The only fault I can think of is it's a bit on the heavy side which could be a problem for some.

How does it compare to similar steam cleaners?

Compared to other upright steam cleaners, the Vax Steam Fresh Total Home performs pretty highly. And if you're still wondering if a steam cleaner or a steam mop is best, you won't need to choose with this puppy as it does both. Priced reasonably for all of its abilities, we think it's definitely one of the best steamers out there.

However, if an upright isn't for you and you are looking for something with similar features like onboard storage but more compact and lightweight, the Polti Vaporetto Smart 100_B PTGB0077 might be the one for you. Or compare it with our top-rated Vax Steam Fresh Combi, which is lighter, with a slightly bigger water tank capacity.

About the review, and our reviewer

Jenny McFarlane is Senior Digital Editor for Ideal Home and has been writing for Ideal Home and other homes titles for many years. She’s a design obsessive, an avid collector of homeware (much to her husband's despair), and a lover of period properties. 

She was sent the Vax Steam Fresh Total Home steam cleaner to test in her Belfast home, to find out how well it performs across various floor types and surfaces and how well it copes with busy family life, and her black and white cat's many adventures.

As with all our reviews the Vax Steam Fresh Total Home has been tested first-hand in our homes, using it just as you would so you know exactly what you are buying. The products are given to us free of charge and we test them for as long as possible before sending them back to the brand unless we are able to keep them as we are with this steam cleaner. This means that we can continue to use the product which allows us to return to our reviews for updating, so you can keep up-to-date with how it's fared over a period of time.

Jenny McFarlane
Senior Digital Editor

Jenny is Senior Digital Editor and joined the team in 2021, working across Ideal Home, Real Homes, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc and Gardeningetc. Since getting on the property ladder, her passion for interior design and gardening has taken on a new lease of life. She loves collecting and salvaging unique items (much to her other half's despair) but sniffing out stylish home bargains is her one true love. When she has a spare minute, she loves crafting, having studied textiles at university – although she hardly gets the chance with her daughters keeping her permanently on her toes.