By Bob Cobe and Mercia Tapping

Editor's note. Somehow it has taken years for us to do a formal review of our best selling steam cleaner. We are enthusiastic proponents of vapor steam cleaning and I was reminded what a great machine the Ladybug is after using it on my father's condo in London recently.

Good for someone who:

  • Wants one of the easiest and fastest vapor steam cleaners to use
  • Wants to kill bacteria, mold and dust mites.
  • Have sufficient cleaning problems to make the expenditure worthwhile
  • Wants to have chemical free cleaning.
  • Prefers continuous fill and does not want to wait to add water when needed
  • Wants to use a cleaner for 5-6 hours a week
  • Wants to clean a house between 1000-2000 square feet

Most Important Features:

  • Continuous fill for ease of refilling water
  • A comprehensive set of excellent quality tools that snap on easily
  • High grade stainless steel boiler
  • Pressure gauge to monitor steam pressure
  • Finger tip steam control on handle for easy steam output control
  • Safety trigger switch

REVIEW - Rating - Excellent

The , and steam cleaners all come from the same factory and share the same high quality tool sets and accessories.

Customer Review:

The Ladybug Steam Cleaner is our best selling and a five star rated machine and for good reason. If you want a superb quality machine, this steam cleaner will not let you down.



  • The LadyBug Steam Cleaner takes about 10 minutes to heat up and can be refilled on the fly.
  • The Ladybug has the best instructional video manual, and a quick application cheat sheet.
  • All stainless steel boilers are not made equal, and the quality of this one is top notch with a 3-year warranty.
  • The Ladybug Steam is a very safe machine, not only because you are adding cold water to a cold-water reservoir, but it has a safety trigger as well. We have found in testing steam cleaners that we have often burned ourselves but never with this one.
  • The Ladybug tools are of excellent quality and snap on and off easily. It is the tools in a steam cleaner that make all the difference in the speed and effectiveness of the cleaning process.
  • The LadyBug is nicely balanced, compact and easy to carry and move around. We like to put the tools in a canvas bag and carry them around with us.
  • The LadyBug will produce steam for a longer time than the TidyVap, its cheaper cousin, and has a steam gauge, which the Tidyvap does not. We found it easier to maintain proper ideal pressure when using the gauge.

Because the Ladybug runs hotter than most steam cleaners and has better tools, its ability to clean is thoroughly is very impressive. Here are some of the problems we have tackled and been very satisfied with the results.

  • Steam cleaning the caked on deposits on the bottom of a refrigerator was a breeze.
  • Using the nozzle brush to get rid of semi- hidden dirt around the kitchen sink is a revelation.
  • We have steam cleaned the deposits and stains from anything from pets to coffee in carpets and upholstery.
  • Steam cleaning the wrinkles out of clothing, sheets or freshening up stale smelling clothing works well with the triangular brush.
  • Getting a large stain out of a window which had been there for years
  • Steam Cleaning bedding stains for mattress covers, pillows or coverlets is a fast and effective alternative to washing or dry cleaning and is also works very fast in killing dust mites in the bedding. The window tool is the best tool for killing dust mites!
  • We do not recommend steam cleaners as overall carpet cleaners, except with the upkeep of new carpet, primarily because it is too time consuming for most people, but steam cleaners on carpets are great for controlling dust mites and their stain removal abilities, especially with the help of a little Formula 212 cleaner is second to none.
  • Steam cleaners really come into their own when cleaning and sanitizing hard surfaces. The Ladybug can whip through the cleaning of tile floors, kitchen counters, bathroom floors and toilets[the bathroom never smelled so fresh].
  • Using a small steel nozzle brush grout between tiles can actually become clean. It is tedious to do but it does work.
  • We have steam-cleaned golf clubs, garden patio furniture, our couches and chairs and even tennis courts with no problem.


  • The frequency of the pump turning on due to water sloshing inside can be annoying.
  • It is expensive, but worth every penny if you start to use this steam cleaner to its full potential.
  • As with all steam cleaners this is a warm affair, and we needed to strip down to tee shirts when we steam clean.

The Ladybug is our favorite steam cleaner. It's ease of use, continuous fill, safety features, quality of tools, and overall quality of the machine make it a winner. We had to think very hard to come up with any minuses for the LadyBug. This is the favorite appliance of the clean freaks, and you know if you are one of them!

Learn more about steam cleaning in our .


We always try and distill all our wisdom about products into a handy product comparison chart. Sometimes that is very difficult to do, and we are constantly tweaking and fiddling with our existing charts, trying to make them as informative as possible. Now we have three new charts for you; , Mattress Pads and .

So if you are considering one of these kinds of products you will find these comparison charts informative.


We have been quietly very busy putting in new products on to the web site. We do have a handy , and it is actually nearly up to date! There are a ton of new products on this page.

We do have a handy starting at $79.95 is an excellent buy, the and is gorgeous and several of them are on sale but inventory is VERY LIMITED. We have also extended our natural lighting selection by adding . A recent article in the Wall Street Journal documented the health benefits of this kind of lighting to extend well beyond relief of Seasonal Depression to a whole raft of other ailments. This does not surprise me at all. We all know intuitively that when it is light, or the summer, we feel better.

If you want to get a jump on summer, you can check out our new line up of portable air conditioners new for this season. It has been pretty chilly testing them out in winter, but our product testing team have been very thorough and tested many more portable air conditioners than we decided to finally offer you. There is an excellent new line of Crown Water Filters which we use at the office and I have just recently installed at my house.

Also added, is a smoke stop carbon filter at $119.95 for the which assists with the removal of odors and gases.


Editor's note: Just in case you think air purifiers do not work.

Bob recently received a desperation phone call from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. They had a live butterfly display and the butterflies were dying.

After discussing the possible causes, the probable one being the carpeting off gassing, an was his suggestion. When asked how quickly they needed the machine, they said "yesterday". They ordered three of the machines. We had them "overnighted" from California so that they would arrive the next day.

Bob got a call the next morning praising our immediate delivery and great service. They said that even though they had taken only one of the three out of the box and had plugged it in an hour ago, they could already see a difference in correcting their problem.



From: Aimee R

Hello... I have some questions in regards to allergies I am experiencing. I believe that my mattress is molded... is this possible. A couple of months I was experiencing a severe allergic reaction, we narrowed it down to the bedroom and an allergist told me I have a severe allergy to dust mites. I got all of the dust mite bedding, etc. My allergies are somewhat at bay, but they are still bothersome (red eyes, puffy red skin around my eyes and wheezing when I get into the bed). Can the dust mites be affecting me through the dust mite bedding? Can the mattress be infected with a mold (we lived in a noninsulated house for three years, come to find out the outside of the house was completely covered in mold?) Is there a way for me to clean the mattress or should I just purchase a new one?

Nobody seems to have any answers for me, hopefully you and your team can offer me some insight and advice.

Thank you for your time.

Aimee R.

Hi Aimee,

There are other things you can do to control dust mites but you will need to do these things on a regular basis. First, you should wash your bedding in hot water because temperatures of 135 degrees and higher will kill the dust mites. Second, if you vacuum your rugs, bedding, and upholstery where dust mites live you will remove them for about two weeks. Third, if you vapor steam clean your bedding, rugs, and upholstery along with the vacuuming, the dust mites will be controlled for up to eight weeks.

The use of dust mite encasings is very effective but you are not eliminating the dust mites but keeping them between you and your bedding.

The best way to control the dust mites in your home is to maintain the relative humidity at 50% or below. The reason is that dust mites like a humid environment. When the air becomes dry the dust mite becomes less active and they will not reproduce. In addition, the larva and eggs will not hatch unless the humidity is 60% or above. Therefore, the population of dust mites will be greatly affected by what the humidity level is in your home. Eventually, the adult dust mites will die and the elimination of their reproducing will bring about their elimination.

Regarding the mold issue in your bedding, if this is truly the case, there is little you could do. You would need to replace the bedding. If you do think you have a mold problem in your home you would need to first consider the source of it (where it came from) and eliminate the potential for it to reoccur. Next, you would want to eradicate the mold you have by cleaning it up. The area needs to be isolated so it cannot spread to other areas of the house. It would probably be best to perform some tests to see if there is mold present.

Keep in mind: there are three things that are required for mold to grow. The first is you need mold spores and there is always an abundant supply coming in from the outside. The second thing needed is a porous surface for the mold to feed on and multiply. This can be any surface like wood, paper, wallboard, and concrete. Thus, this is also abundant in your home. The third thing needed is moisture, which can be as water on a surface in a liquid state or an abundance of moisture in the air through high humidity. This would be the easiest of the three to control through the use of a dehumidifier. Maintaining a relative humidity of 50% would eliminate the chance for mold to grow providing you have no situations where there is water present on a surface in your home. In this case, mold would start to grow if the water is not removed within 48 hours.

Another effective solution is the use of the Airfree Sterilizer offered on our website. This unit will work in an area of 250 square feet with an 8-foot ceiling so if you have multiple rooms or large areas you would need more than one of the machines. The unit has no fan and it works by convection. The air is drawn into an incineration chamber where the mold and any other microorganisms are incinerated at 400 to 600 degrees. The unit works gradually over a 3 to 4 week period. Eventually, all of the air borne mold spores will be removed from the area. Keeping the unit running all the time will maintain the area by incinerating any new spores introduced into the area. The result would be the likelihood no mold could develop in the area since you have eliminated one of the three things needed for mold to develop.

Remember, the elimination of any one of these three things will make mold development impossible.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss any of the products we offer from our website.

Dave Barnaby

For more help see our , our and article .


What capability would these units have for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Homeland Defense use?

Thank you,
Ken F


Hi Ken,

While IQAir units have not been designed for filtration of Homeland Security related pollutants, IQAir units are the most efficient air cleaners available in their class (high-end room air cleaners). IQAir does not follow or certify their air cleaners to any military specifications, because these specifications are not designed for room air cleaning devices, but gas masks and filters of much different size and different air flow conditions. IQAir does offer their series with EN1822 certified class H12/13 filters. EN1822 is the world's most current and toughest test for HEPA filters. The EN1822 certification has determined the series HEPA filters up to speed 3, a minimum of 99.95% of those particles for which the filter is determined to offer the least filtration efficiency - a worst case test. At the highest air flow setting, the series HEPA filter was determined to filter at least 99.5% of the most penetrating particles.

This test is a much tougher test than the dated DOP test. In addition, each series air cleaner as a whole is individually tested at the Swiss factory to achieve an overall efficiency of over 99. 97% at 0.3 microns. As a test aerosol, normal room air is used for this test, because DOP is a potentially health hazard and normal room air contains plenty of particles in the 0.3 to 0.5 micron size range (typically in the order of one million per cubic foot).

The gas phase filter in the is designed for optimum performance in reducing typical gaseous compounds in a household or office environment. IQAir is currently designing a specific gas phase filter which is optimized for "war gas" applications. The filter can in case of an emergency be used by IQAir owners to optimize the performance of IQAir systems under such conditions. The filter is not recommended for everyday use, due to environmental concerns.

They are currently working with the Swiss Army Laboratories on such a filter and hope to offer the IQAir "ABC Emergency Upgrade Kit" by April 2003.

We will keep you updated as to the exact date of availability.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss any of the products we offer from our website.

Dave Barnaby


Editor's Note: Not to sound unduly pessimistic but nothing is perfect, only helpful.

From: Lynn R

Hi, I am looking for an HEPA air filter system that could help keep a room safe from air borne containments resulting from a chemical or dirty bomb°≠ would they for 200 sq. ft. - UV do the job? If so I would like to order°≠if not do you carry any air purifier that might do the job?

Hi Lynn,

I am sorry but I would not be able to recommend any of our air cleaners to prevent exposure to radiation from a nuclear device.

Our air cleaners will however be effective against air borne particulates, including bacteria, germs, and viruses. The Hamilton Beach with UV would be effective but not 100 percent.

The closest you could come to perfection would be the to create a over pressurization in the room. This would create a where you would be introducing clean fresh air from the outside or an adjoining room. The gases and particulates in the room would escape through any cracks in the floor, windows, doors, or ceiling. This would be the result of the positive pressure you have created. In addition, this would also allow none of the particulates and gases from coming into your safe room from the outside or adjoining rooms.

The one thing that we have still not addressed is the chemicals that might be used and as I earlier mentioned the radioactive agents sent into the air from a dirty bomb.

I am waiting to hear from the Swiss factory at IQAIR where they are presently testing a gas filtration device with the Swiss army to counteract chemical and gas emitting devices.

Dave Barnaby


Hey there,

I understand that the IQAir has what they refer to as the "3-D Seal".

Modular sections of my IQAir, I can't help but wonder what keeps air from at least to a small degree seeping through portions of the seams between the sections. The "sealing portions" of the seams look very small, even delicate, and like they would provide very little sealing capacity (although I am convinced they work - somehow -). The fact that they make their own filters I understand how the filter is sealed and I can even see how the filter fits the grooves in the housing. I certainly see how the filter elements are sealed, but again, the attaching points of the modular sections baffle me.

Can/will you please explain how air is completely kept from escaping.

Between these sections AND - this is a big "and" - IF the technology guarantee in the seal is something that breaks down over time or even as the modular units are separated and put back together (even if you need to contact Frank Hammes).

I would be content to wait for accurate details :-)?

If you haven't figured it out by now, the IQAir is a very fascinating machine to me and having been around air purifiers quite a bit it is still able to interest/amaze me as I spend more time with it.


Answer: (Indeed, our Dave Barnaby went to Frank Hammes at IQAir for this):
Hello Dave

Please find below some more detailed information to your customer's questions:

The IQAir "3D seal" refers to the three-dimensional seal of the knife and groove sealing between the housing frame and the EPS filters. The knife-edge in the frame seals to the top and both sides of the slightly smaller groove.

As regards the sealing of the housing modules to one another, this is achieved by the self-aligning design of the modules, the tight fit of the modules, the knife-edge on rubber seal design and the uniform compression which is achieved by the clamping arms.

Some of the have been operated in Europe for over 5 years and we have not noticed a deterioration of any sealing mechanism. One of the reasons lies no doubt in the high quality plastic housing material and the high quality synthetic rubber seal which are used in IQAir systems.

Best regards,

Frank Hammes
President, IQAir


Hidden Mold In Wall Cavities

What evidence is there to support the advice that all mold in wall cavities must be remediated? Is there scientific data that shows how many or how few mold spores are released into the room from a wall cavity behind an otherwise normally-painted wall?
- Janet , California

Actually the evidence that has been presented at scientific meetings so far is quite mixed. In one reported case such "hidden mold" was associated with mold levels elevated above normal. In a second case it was not.

Whether "hidden mold" is a problem that requires remediation depends on a variety of factors. These include the extent of the infestation, the likelihood that it will contribute to increased airborne mold levels, the likelihood of disturbance, and in what walls it is located.

"Hidden mold" in an external wall is a problem and should be remediated. External walls are subject to air infiltration through the wall due to pressure differences caused by the wind and by indoor/outdoor temperature differences. In houses with hidden mold in exterior walls, it is not uncommon to smell mold odor on breezy-to-windy days and smell mold odor coming out of electrical outlets on such external walls. There is no doubt( based on my own testing experience) that such hidden mold increases indoor mold levels and mold exposures. As such, remediation is strongly recommended.

Hidden mold is also common in interior walls and floor cavities. These are typically associated with plumbing leaks and often involve gypsum board infestation by Stachybotrys. Is such "hidden mold" a problem? Intuitively, it is probable that in most cases it is not. Once the cavity is opened and not quickly resealed, it is more probable that an exposure risk will develop.

From a mold remediator's standpoint, it is good practice to remediate all mold, including that which is visible and that which is not. If one doesn't, and sometime in the future "hidden mold" is exposed, one will be held liable.

Ventless Fireplaces

My husband and I and my daughter are living in a house that is approximately 2500 sq.ft. We have a ventless gas fireplace in our bedroom and one in our living room. Just recently, my husband lit the pilot lights of the fireplaces and ran them. The entire house smells of an awful odor, which my husband says it's just because the fireplaces have never been lit before and it's just burning off the new smell and the dust. We've had them off and on for the last week, but the smell is still around. My 6-year-old daughter complained of the smell in her bedroom this morning. Today I had a bad headache, but I get them every once in a while, so I'm not sure if it's from the fireplaces or not. I've printed out literature on the effects that these ventless gas fireplaces can cause, but my husband says that I'm crazy and that he's going to use the fireplaces. I'm mainly concerned for my daughter's health and safety and it doesn't seem to bother him.
-Carla, Florida

The odor is likely to be due at the least initially to the newness of these systems. As such, it should decrease with time. If it doesn't, there is a problem with them and they should not be used.

I don't recommend ventless fireplaces as they emit a variety of potentially health-affecting contaminants into the air of one's home. These include carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), aldehydes and lots of water vapor. Though water vapor is not directly harmful, its condensation on building surfaces can contribute to the development of mold infestations which on exposure to airborne mold spores can cause significant problems.

A ventless fireplace in a bedroom is an especially poor idea absent some way to move air around the house, it can result in very high local concentrations of the contaminants described above.

The amount of CO produced by such devices depends on how well they are tuned, how long they are operated, and how small the space where they are being used. If you want to check on the CO level, I recommend the use of a digital Nighthawk CO detector capable of recording the maximum concentration (retrieved by pushing the button). The merits of these devices were described on a previous posting (check archives on the IEN website). The CO level should not exceed 5 ppm. If it is over 15 ppm, there should be an increased level of concern and may cause headaches in a sensitive person.

Children are at special risk of exposure to airborne contaminants since they receive a higher dose because of their smaller body mass. I especially don't recommend the use of ventless fireplaces in houses where young children are present.

Your husband's response is a classical case of denial. Wishing such devices to be safe does not make them so. The use of ventless fireplaces almost under any circumstances is a "poor idea."

December 19, 2002
(2000) Thad Godish, Ph.D, C.I.H.

Reprinted with permission.


Editor's note: These are excerpts from an article which shows you how you can help find a cure for diseases such as small pox. The essence of the idea is that the computer crunching needed to find the cures is horrendous and can take years. If each of us use our excess computing power when our computers are not normally in use we can accelerate the research by years. Two million computers are already participating in this project.


Date: 02/24/2003
Page: C3 Section: Biotechnology


Here's one way to strike a blow against bioterrorism: leave your PC running.

"Texas computer entrepreneur Edward Hubbard says it'll help. So does Graham Richards, chairman of the chemistry department at Oxford University. They're two of the people taking part in a digital assault on smallpox, which could be used by terrorists to kill millions.

What's needed are better drugs to treat diseases that could be unleashed through biological attacks. Finding these drugs will require a lot more than lab rats and test tubes. The scientists also need computing power, quite a few supercomputers' worth, in fact. And that's where you come in.

Here's the plan: Just leave your computer running. But first go over to United Devices, at and download a little piece of software. It's a program that hunts for chemicals that might disrupt the reproductive cycle of the smallpox virus.

Install the software, and leave it running. Whenever you're not doing anything else on the machine - even during the split-second between two keystrokes - the software will run its chemical analysis. All you have to do is log onto the Internet once in a while, so the program can send its results back to headquarters, and download a new batch of data to analyze.

Your desktop computer is now part of a worldwide network called the PatriotGrid, which has already attracted a million members running 2 million PCs. Hubbard, chief executive of United Devices, says the smallpox project would take about 45 years on a scientific computing cluster with a thousand processor chips inside. With PatriotGrid, he expects to get it done in a couple of months."

Editor's note: Shortening any research from 45 years to a couple of months is quite extraordinary.

"At the end of the project, United Devices and Oxford University will have a list of thousands of molecules that bond to the smallpox virus and might help kill it. The data will be handed over to the Department of Defense, which is trying to develop a smallpox cure. Even with the help of the PatriotGrid, a cure for smallpox is years away, but Richards estimates the grid will shorten the process by as much as two years."

The author Hiawatha Bray can be reached at if you want a copy of the whole article.

Mercia Tapping,