Floor Cleaning Products
These are my favorite floor cleaning products. Most require little or no use of potentially harmful chemicals.
Steam Cleaners for Hard Surface Flooring
Although I don't own one of these machines, I have never heard anything but good things about them. Friends who have them wouldn't go back to whatever they were doing before. I mean - really - since they seem to work well, what more could you ask for - no need for expensive and potentially harmful chemicals, simple operation, washable microfiber heads, small and manouverable. The only possible down side seems to be that it's electric - but that's probably not problem for most of us. even the cost seems reasonable - about the same price as a good quality microfiber mop system.
These machines work by heating water to steaming, and forcing the steam out of the bottom of a small triangular or rectangular head cover with a piece of microfiber. Between the steam and the microfiber - all dirt and pathogens are killed and/or removed from the floor's surface.
Check the instruction manual, but so far all the ones I have seen are safe for all flooring types, including hardwood.
When buying a steam cleaner - watch that it doesn't leave any actual water droplets or puddles on the floor - this is a deficiency. If it does - return it to the store for a replacement, or a different brand.
There are two main reasons I don't have my own steam cleaner:
1. I am trying to reduce my dependence on electricity for day to day functioning and
So, it's not the right floor cleaning product for me, but it might be perfect for you.
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Machines
Today I have all hard surface floors - but there was a time when we had carpet everywhere, three boys and a dog. Between accidents and 'experiments', the basement carpet was always a mess. I used my carpet machine monthly. I buy cleaners from a local commercial supply house that sells to the public - as they have a good line of eco-friendly non-toxic products.
One of the things I learned quickly though was that if I didn't rinse all the residues away with water and vinegar, the carpets seemed to get dirty faster.
Now that we don't have wall to wall carpets - I borrow or rent a machine to freshen the upholstered furniture and large area rugs once a year or so. The rental machines generally have a stronger extractor - so I do prefer them, but they are not always in the budget.
This is what I use. I have to admit that even though I am sometimes envious of my friends who have steam cleaners - I really love my microfiber mop. I did purchase one of the more expensive brands because I didn't want to have to use any chemicals. The microfiber on the cheaper brands is not as effective at picking up pathogens without chemicals. I am also rather happy with the fact that I don't need to use electricity.
It's light, it manouverable, and it's easy to find a home for when I'm done using it. Unlike the steam cleaner, with a clean pad I can use it to clean walls, and with a window cloth I can use it for high windows. (one of the things I really love about it though is that my husband likes to use it more than I do!)