I don’t know about you, but I’m not the biggest fan of housework.
I like the end result of a sparkling bathroom, freshly-made bed or dust-free surfaces, but actually doing the work to get to that point can be pretty boring. I don’t really like mess, but am comfortable living in it. I also find that the allure of sitting on the comfy sofa in front of the TV is stronger than that of fishing stray pubes out of the plughole.
I may call myself a stay-at-home dad, but luckily the missus does not expect me to fulfil the traditional role of ‘housewife’. She’s always been happy for my priority list to consist of Toddler L, my own freelance work and the housework, in that order. So, if the sprog is having a nap, I’ll be working on my laptop rather than hoovering the carpets.
As such, in our house, the chores tend to be shared between us and we both do what needs to be done when we get the time. This is the crux of the problem – time. There just isn’t enough of it in the day! I’m therefore always happy to hear about ways to either save time or allow me to fit more stuff into the same period.
Enter home cleaning product experts Vileda, who got in touch with me about reviewing their cordless window vacuum. Going by the futuristic, Jetsons-eque name Windomatic, it sounded a great product to help with household tasks like cleaning glass, tiles and surfaces. Below, you’ll find my review of the Vileda Windomatic:
The product is described as:
The Vileda Windomatic cordless window vacuum cleaner is the quick and easy way to a streak-free finish after washing your windows, for removing window condensation, wiping mirrors or cleaning up spills. The wide wiper blade and suction power efficiently removes water from windows without drips and without the need to polish afterwards.
The flexible head gives you the best cleaning angle to allow you to vacuum right down to the base of the window and into corners. The mains rechargeable lithium battery allows you to use the Windomatic cordlessly all around the home. Lightweight and with an ergonomic grip for easy handling, the Vileda Windomatic can wipe up to 60m² on one charge.
On opening the box, I was met with three separate pieces – the suction nozzle with squeegee, the main unit and the charger. Without even needing to look at the instructions, I was pretty confident of how to assemble the product. I simply slotted the nozzle into the main unit and it snapped into place – just call me a mechanical genius. I then plugged the charger in and let the Windomatic’s lithium battery fully charge, which the instructions advised me would be six hours. Job done.
My initial impressions of the product was good, although I’ll admit that it was slightly bigger and a bit bulkier than I expected. Having flicked through the instructions whilst waiting for it to charge, I liked what I read. Although it is mainly aimed at cleaning windows, it also seemed like it could be used for a number of different jobs, so I set about seeing what I could test it on.
It wasn’t long before the Windomatic got its first taste of action in the DADventurer household. Being the conscientious product tester that she is, Toddler L decided to grab at a cup of water that we had on the table whilst we were eating lunch and spilt half of it on the table. Rather than grab a load of kitchen roll, I instead grabbed the Windomatic.
I put the squeegee part of the product on the table, pressed the on button on the top, moved it in a backwards motion over the water and voila, the liquid was magically sucked up into the water reservoir (the blue tank bit) of the Windomatic. I was very impressed – it was quick, easy, more than capable and a much better method than using 5+ sheets of kitchen roll.
Much like the water spill on the table, I’ve also used the Windomatic when Toddler L has decided to play with the dog’s water bowl. When she’s not asleep, we try to remember to pick up his bowl so that there’s not the temptation for her to get all splashy in it. However, we sometimes forget, which results in water over the floor and a “it wasn’t me” expression from a half-wet toddler. Again, I’ve used the Windomatic to suck up this water and found it a much better method than using kitchen roll.
We’ve also been using the Vileda product on non-toddler created problems. For instance, we’ve been using it in the bathroom as a method to reduce condensation, moisture and water. We renovated our bathroom two years ago, so do what we can to ensure it stays in top-notch condition, particularly as we live in a hard water area which is a bitch in terms of leaving things like limescale marks. So, we try to ensure that the bathroom is always well ventilated to reduce moisture in the air and any subsequent mould, as well as squeegee down the shower doors and tiles after use (I’m not sure whether the latter makes us weird or not – I blame my mum).
The Windomatic has therefore come in really handy in the bathroom. Like most bathrooms, ours gets pretty hot and steamy, particularly when I’m naked in the shower (giggity). We’ve therefore been using the Windomatic on the mirror, windows, shower door and tiles. In all situations, I’ve continued to be impressed. As the photo above shows, it does a great job at de-steaming our bathroom mirror – not only does it suck away the moisture, but it has the added benefit of leaving the mirror looking cleaner that it was beforehand.
The same goes for the shower. As mentioned, we’re weirdos and use a squeegee anyway, so the Windomatic is basically a massive upgrade on our current method. This is because it actually takes away the water by sucking it up, rather than just displacing it into the shower tray. This is where I really noticed the benefits of having the flexible nozzle which adjusts to the correct angle. As our shower doors are curved and the tiles are small in height, we’ve had no problem with keeping the squeegee flat against the surface, thus still allowing water to be sucked up.
I’ve found that using the Windomatic on the shower is not only quicker, but leaves less marks and removes more water than just a squeegee. There is also the added benefit of being able to suck the water out of the tray afterwards, which is an area we particularly notice limescale marks from the hard water. To do the shower doors, tiles and tray, it takes little more than one minute and picks up around 100ml of water. However, the Windomatic is a bit bulky in smaller situations and I found that it does spray water out of the water reservoir when the unit is held upright. These aren’t major issues, but they are worthwhile noting.
Finally, let’s finish the different tasks that the Windomatic can do with it’s main function – washing windows. I’ll admit, we’re really crap at cleaning our windows. In the five years that we’ve lived in our house, I can count on one hand the amount of times the outside of our windows have been washed (either by us or hired help). We do the insides a little more frequently, but this is usually just done with some fake Windolene stuff and some kitchen roll.
I know I might be called a crap reviewer, but as we’re in Winter, I’ve not dared venture outside to try the Windomatic with a bucket of soapy water (sorry!). I have however used it on the inside of the windows, which surely is just the same as the outside, only less cold. The first thing to note is that you still need to wash your windows with whatever cleaning liquid you normally use, so the Windomatic doesn’t replace the need for this.
I’ve continued to use the fake Windolene spray – so I’ve sprayed it onto the windows, then instead of using kitchen roll, I’ve used the Windomatic as a squeegee and to suck up the cleaning fluid. We have bi-fold doors at the back of our living room which get pretty dirty courtesy of the toddler’s fingerprints and dog’s nose, so I’ve tested the Windomatic on this multiple times, as well as given other windows around the house a good seeing to.
I’ve noticed that the Windomatic is quick and easy to use, plus does a good job at sucking up the spray in the tank, as evidenced by the liquid I’ve poured out at the end. It leaves the windows (nearly) streak free, however this comes down to how you use it – come from the wrong direction or angle and I’ve been left with a streak in the middle of the window as the squeegee was running against the glass with no lubrication.
Slightly disappointingly, the Windomatic doesn’t do too good a job at removing marks or stains, particularly when compared to buffing them with kitchen roll. For instance, if there were marks from Toddler L’s fingers on the window, despite spraying and Windomatic-ing, some of these would still remain and I’d have to repeat the process using kitchen roll instead.
So after all of this sucking action, what happens to the water? Well, it’s collected in the water reservoir which is housed in the middle of the unit. Once it reaches the 100ml mark and after every use, you are advised to remove the tank from the unit and empty it. To do this, you push down the red release button, remove the blue tank, pull apart the top and bottom, then dispose of the dirty water. You then push the tank back together, then slot it back into the main Windomatic unit.
The process of emptying the tank is pretty straightforward and only takes 30 seconds or so. Although 100ml sounds like a reasonable amount of liquid, I was surprised at how quickly it does fill up. Depending on the job you’re doing, this does mean that you have to empty it quite frequently, but I guess this just goes to show what a good job the Windomatic does at actually sucking up the water.
It’s also worth noting two other points. After a full charge, the Windomatic supposedly has an operating time of 20 minutes. At no point though have we used it for 20 consecutive minutes, so I can’t say whether this is true, but we’ve only charged it twice in over a month despite it being used nearly every day, so the battery life is pretty awesome. In terms of sound, you can hear it, but it’s not too noisy – I’ve not had my decibel meter out, but I’d say it’s on par with a crappy hotel hair-dryer.
The Vileda Windomatic costs £49.99 and can be purchased directly from Vileda or from a number of retailers such as Tesco, Argos, Asda and Amazon. This appears to be competitively priced when compared to other window vacuums on the market.
All in all, I’m a fan of the Vileda Windomatic. It’s the kind of product that you don’t think you need until you have one, then you realise that it does help to make everyday tasks quicker and easier. As a parent, when time is already limited, saving the odd second here and there makes a big difference at the end of the day.
What I did like was the versatility of the bit of kit. It can be used to suck up condensation, vacuum up water or clean on a variety of things, such as windows, mirrors, tables, the floor and tiles, all with positive results. I particularly like using it in the bathroom after a shower to reduce moisture in the air (bathroom mirror, tiles and windows), in addition to sucking up water in the shower. As we already squeegee down the shower after use (yes, we’re weird), the Windomatic is a much better solution than what we normally use. It also really helps if your kid spills any water as you can quickly suck it up without wasting loads of kitchen roll.
There were a few slight negatives though. I did find the product a little bulkier and heavier than I’d have liked, particularly when dealing with tricky corners or tight spaces. I also didn’t find it much of an improvement on my usual method of cleaning windows with spray and kitchen roll, and found it didn’t really remove dirty marks. It also sometimes will spray out a fine mist of water when it is held on a certain angle when liquid has collected in the water tank.
On the whole though, I think it’s a good, solid product which we’ll continue to use, just not in every situation. I’ll warn you though, there’s something pretty addictive about it. It’s the same feeling as when you’ve got the vacuum out and can see all of the crap that you’ve sucked up. I’ve not quite got to the point of knocking over cups of water and blaming it on the toddler so that I can suck it up, but I’m probably not that far off!
The DADventurer Star Rating
4 out of 5 stars
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N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion of the product. The Windomatic was sent to me by Vileda with the purpose of writing an honest product review in exchange for the product.