This do it yourself cleaning method is really simple. It does cost more up front, it is cheaper and safer for your family and pets in the long run. I have been using this current system now for four years. There is a backstory to my desire to find a green way to clean your floors.
The backstory began shortly after adopting our rescue dog Lulu, back in late 2012. I realized I didn’t feel so comfortable using chemicals, such as tile cleaner, to clean the floors in our home. The floors are all hardwood or tile. She is walking around in her bare paws and often sniffing and sometimes licking the floor.
Green Way to Clean Your Floors
Dogs are great at picking up crumbs, right? Lulu was no exception. In addition to that, we operate a pretty strict “no shoes” household which means we are walking with bare feet or socks 99 percent of the time. Lastly, I kind of hate mopping and wanted something that would clean the floors while being less demanding on my back. Yoga practice can only go so far.
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I started to wonder what was really in tile cleaner, and then I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out. It didn’t sound safe to be spreading throughout our home so I began looking for alternative cleaning methods. Being frugal at heart, the idea of spending money on tile cleaner repeatedly, also didn’t sound too enticing. I started looking into options for a green way to clean your floors.
How to Select a Steam Mop
In my quest to find a green way to clean your floors, I took it to Facebook where the overwhelming response was to purchase a steam cleaner. After doing a measurable amount of research I decided to use the Eureka Enviro Steamer to clean the floors. I purchased it on Amazon.com for about $60.
I’m going to continue to use my current steam mop until it stops working. It’s been going strong for 4 years now. Unfortunately, the Eureka Enviro Steamer mop is currently not available on Amazon.com (I found it at a department store for $150 but I would not recommend paying that much for a mop!).
However, the Shark Steam Pocket Mop is a comparable product and only $64.99. If I had to buy a new steam mop today, I would purchase the Shark. It has great reviews and is also lightweight. Most of the steam mops available do have a cord. The one on my Eureka is 18 feet which gets me most places but I do have to unplug it and move the mop a few times to clean the entire living space. The Shark Steam Pocket Mop has a slightly longer cord at 20 feet.
Green Way to Clean Your Floors
My Floor Cleaning Routine
Using a steam mop as a green way to clean your floors has worked very well. We have a handful of handwoven floor rugs and runners. I usually vacuum those a week and flip them at least once a year. (It used to be vaccuming twice weekly, until we had a baby. Now that we have a little one toddling around I’m especially thankful I made the switch to a green way to clean your floors.) In between vacuuming I will also use Swiffer Sweeper Dry Sweeping Cloths to pick up dust and dry debris along with the Swiffer device.
Then, I use the steam mop once or twice a week. Oddly, I use the stem mop more now than I did before we had a baby. The kitchen and dining room tend to get a little dirtier so I will usually steam mop the entire house once a week and then do the kitchen and dining room area a second time.
How to Use a Steam Mop to Clean Floors
Using the steam mop as a green way to clean your floors is really simple. I use distilled water and measure it using the container provided with the mop, pour water into the machine and plug it in and turn it on. The heat up time does take a few minutes. I usually hear it steaming and then return to mop the floor.
After using the steam mop for several months I needed more pads so I did purchase additional steam mop pads on Amazon.com. They were affordable and I think we have a total of six pads in rotation now. I wash the pads with our towels and hang them to dry. I would advise avoiding the dryer as it can cause the pads to shrink.
I wish the steam mop had come with more pads and a more sturdy tray, but otherwise I have no complaints. It heats up really fast. I work the floors quickly so it doesn’t take very long to clean and the water usually lasts 15-minutes.
Whatever steam mop you purchase, be sure to read the entire instruction manual. For my steam mop, there is a warning to not let it sit on the floor in one spot for more than a certain number of seconds – or you could risk damage to your floor. Also, if you steam mop wood floors or those with worn finish – use extra caution.
Using a Steam Mop – The Long Term Results
The tile cleaner was pitched shortly after purchasing the steam mop. We haven’t had any spills that were too much for the steam mop to handle. However, if we did I would probably return to the old-fashioned mop with some hot water or perhaps a water/vinegar solution, which I’ve read works well, and is obviously, inexpensive.
If there is a direct spill I usually wipe that up immediately and then steam mop the area to remove any additional residue. For sticky spots in the kitchen I may hover the mop back and forth a few times but nothing more. Again, it cleans the tile floors and hardwood floors pretty easily.
After switching to using a steam mop as a green way to clean your floors, I was able to reduce or eliminate use of the following floor cleaning items:
You can read more about my adventures in do it yourself household cleaning products and projects, by visiting the cleaning section of my blog.
*This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness.