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
2. I don't have anywhere to store it.

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.

Microfiber Mops

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!)

Most microfiber mops are available with both a dry pad for dusting and a wet pad for washing.

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