Is There An Easier Way To Clean My Floor???

smallsApril 12, 2008

We recently moved into a larger home. The living room (which is a pretty big area), hallway, bathroom, and utility area are all tile floors (a beige-like color). The previous tenants obviously didn't upkeep the floor well at all, and there is black stuff just ground into all of it, along with scuff marks. It is horrible looking. I have mopped numerous times to no avail. I tried my steam mop on it a few times, which didn't work either. So I decided yesterday to get down and scrub, and started with the utility area (smallest area of the house). Well, I used clothes washing detergent mixed with warm water (saw tip on cleaning show) and a scrub brush, paper towels to dry. It did clean it up pretty well (or MUCH better than it was). HOWEVER, I had to REALLY scrub and it took about 2 hours of hard scrubbing and "elbow grease" just to do that one small area. Needless to say, the utility area is as far as I got. It would take me a short year to do the living room, hall and bathroom, and the thought is dreadful. Also, I have a 14-month-old and a 7-year-old, plus all my other housework, and don't have a lot of free time to scrub the floors, since there is a lot of floor to scrub.

So, does anyone know of an easier way to get the grit and grime off my floors or some kind of gadget/product that may make it easier? I know it is probably going to have to be scrubbed regardless, but is there something easier that would suffice or a product that would work better where the scrubbing is easier???


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Unless you hire a pro, it appears it will take a lot of elbow grease and patience. Do small areas at a time. Once you get it clean, it will be easy to keep it up. Something to look forward to. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 7:10PM
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What material is the tile made from? Is it - ceramic, vinyl, linoleum, laminate?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 7:34PM
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I have ceramic tile in my foyer. I recently bought a canister-type steam cleaner (not the mop) and boy what a surprise I got! I steamed the grout and it was a different color. I hadn't even realized how bad it was! I also had some heavy duty velcro stuck to it and it got it right off. They run for about $100.00 for a decent one but well worth it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 8:09PM
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We just moved in to a new home (three years old, new to us though) and it has more tile than I know what to do with. There is tile (marble, travertine, & ceramic) in the HUGE foyer (foyer is bigger than my parents living room and kitchen put together), family room, kitchen, hallways, bathrooms and laundry room.

My original plan was to have it replaced in many area's because it looked so bad. My real eastate agent suggested having it professionally cleaned. Tile turned out to be a different color in several area's and the grout is different everywhere. They used some sort of machine on it and it looks amazing. Cost was about $2800 to do a 8500sqft house but had I replaced everything I was planning to I would have easily dropped $35,000.

Something you might want to consider if funds permit.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 8:42PM
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Thanks for all the advice!!

Graywings, It is either vinyl or laminate, I'm not sure what the difference is. I guess it's not really tile now that I think about it because it is all like one big sheet (instead of separate square tiles) and is gathered up at the walls or whatever.

Carolpoki, that is what I was afraid of (lots of elbow grease), but I guess I can do a little here and there each day, starting with small areas, maybe the bathroom next.

Ebear1271, that canister steam machine sounds like a dream, espec. for $100 if it works like you say. I will have to check into it.

Justjustin, my house isn't anywhere near 8500 sq ft, so it probably wouldn't cost $2800 for this house, but it would still be way out of my price range, as I am a stay-home mom trying to make ends meet, but that would be wonderful and I'd do it in a heartbeat if I had the $$!!

THANKS!!!! :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 8:58PM
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It sounds like vinyl. Try pouring a bit of ammonia straight from the bottle onto an area and then wipe it off with a wet cloth.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 9:06PM
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Perhaps it is a wax build up. I'd go to a Home Improvement store and read labels on products for cleaning floors. Hopefully you can find one that you can do with a mop. It may take more than one time to get it all up. Let us know what you end up doing and good luck.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 9:40PM
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I may try the ammonia but it will definitely have to be when my toddler and little girl are at my parents' for the weekend.

I don't think there is any wax build-up but basically it is just ground in (and I DO MEAN GROUND IN) dirt, plus the corners (like corners in the doorways) are really bad. Apparently (though I hate to make judgment) this floor was very neglected by the previous people who lived here and they must have never mopped it. Some of the skid marks, though, are from when we moved in. Lots of men carrying in furniture, etc., leaving skid marks with their shoes and the furniture. I like keeping a clean home and even though I mop every week to at least keep the surface clean, the thought of this floor is driving me crazy!! Plus it is embarrassing when someone comes over b/c I know they are thinking that I just don't mop my floor or something. The flooring has small raised indentions all over it for a textured feel and look. Anyway, most of those indentions are ground in with gray/black. I have to say that I was proud of how well the utility room looked when I scrubbed it, but gees, it was hard work for that little area!!

I may try the ammonia first when my kids aren't here and if that doesn't work, I may look into a steam canister cleaner like mentioned here b/c it could probably be used for other things also.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 12:59AM
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try Mr Magic. It will definitely remove the scuff marks. will probably do really well on the rest of the tile too. I just bought a steam mop and it is amazing- you might try one of those as well

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 8:08AM
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Ebear1271- I would like to know what brand canister steamer you have, I was going out today to buy the shark but maybe I will look at the kind you have

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 9:58AM
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You can get up black shoe marks with a Mr. Clean eraser,it requires some rubbing but it's not hard.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 1:53PM
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Phobie Privett

I'll throw my $.02 in...I also have a canister steam mop. It's a shark steam pro (bought at Lowe's for $99). I LOVE it. I have about 1500 sq.ft. of tile and I can clean all of it in less than an hour. It's much less strenous than mopping the conventional way. You wouldn't believe the ICK it gets off the floor. I sealed my grout and made quite a mess in several places (didn't get the sealer off the tiles before it dried) and after a few cleanings, even that is gone. I have also used a Mr. Clean eraser and Kaboom tile cleaner for tough spots, then steam mopped and the floor looks great, with little or no harsh chemicals.

If your floor is that bad, it may take SEVERAL cleanings before it is all cleaned up. If you do invest in a canister steamer, I'd suggest buying additional microfiber covers, you'll need them.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 3:15PM
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Ohhh, wait. I didn't realize that the steam canister was the same thing as a steam mop. Been there, done that. I got a Shark steam mop after Christmas. I ended up giving it to my mom b/c I didn't see what all the fuss was about IF you have a lot of areas to mop (instead of just a kitchen and bathrooms, like most). My problem with it was the fact that about 3/4 way through a room, I'd have to find another plug due to the cord not being long enough, as well as stop and fill with more water. I would like it if I didn't have so much areas to mop, which would require a lot of stopping and unplugging/plugging, plus refilling. Otherwise, I was pretty impressed with it, as far as it cleaning better than a regular mop and not redistributing dirt.

Anyway, when we moved here, I tried my steam mop on these floors 2 or 3 times and it didn't work, unfortunately. In fact, speacking of the microfiber covers, I practially ruined one whole cover just mopping it once or twice. I will say it did do much better than my regular old-fashioned mop, though and got the surface cleaner.

I will try to incorporate some of these tips and also just scrub here and there when I can. I will get some Mr. Clean erasers to try on the skid marks and corners and tough spots. Those magic erasers are the best invention! Never heard of Kaboom tile cleaner, so I may look into it if they have it at Wal-Mart.

THANKS again for all the ideas! I will be incorporating a lot of them into whatever I decide to do and welcome all ideas!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 3:39PM
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Phobie Privett

Hi again! Just wanted to clarify-the steam mop is not the same as the canister. My canister will go for about 30-45 straight with no refilling and the cord is probably 20 ft. long. Although it may still not be what you're looking for. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 5:40PM
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I am not familiar with a steam mop or canister so can someone please tell me what they are and the brands you have and are happy with. We are having a house built that will have lots of tile so I want something that will make it easier to clean/mop. My current house has tile in kitchen and bathrooms and the grout in the kitchen gets so dirty that I literally have to get on my hands and knees and scrub in order to get it clean. So would love to know a little more about these mops and canisters. And if they are different, do I need both. Will the canister clean and mop?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 2:40PM
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All steamers do the same thing - they heat water beyond the boiling point and send it out as steam. As it applies to flooring, the steam goes out through a cloth pad. The extremely hot water loosens the dirt and the cloth pad collects it. You remove the cloth pad, wash it in the washer and use it again.

Steam mops are inexpensive versions of steamers and work well for cleaning small floor areas - they appear to cost in the $50 - $100 range. Canister steamers are more versatile because the steam can be directed at things other than floors. You can pay anywhere from $100 to $2000 and more for a canister steamer.

The higher end ones ($400 +) use the term "vapor" rather than "steam," have a larger water capacity, heat the water to a higher temperature, put out a more powerful shot of steam, probably have a longer cord. I'm not sure they clean an area any cleaner than a steam mop, but they are a better choice if you have a large area to clean.

I can't advise you on the various brands of steam cleaners because my experience is only with the one I have. Mine is by Vapor Clean, whose website is worth going to if only to better understand the product in general.

Steam cleaning is really a wonderful way to clean ceramic tile. It is so much easier than mopping with soap and water. I too am a hands-and-knees cleaning type person, and, truly, the steamer eliminates the need for it.

Make sure you apply grout sealer in the new house before it has a chance to get dirty. The builder most likely will not do it. We sealed ours before we ever moved in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vapor Clean

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 8:07AM
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I picked up the Shark Ultra Steam Blaster, model# S3325 at Lowe's for $99.99. It holds about 45-60 minutes worth of water and for the price you can't beat it. I originally bought the EuroFlex SC60 from Sams Club for the same price. It was a great machine but I think it was refurbished. It came in a plain box, not original packaging, and about 3 weeks into using it the button that holds the attachments on popped off. If you got a new one I think it would be OK, I would recommend either one.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 2:16PM
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I am going to copy and paste my review for the Hoover floormate widepath (has to be the widepath) for $150. I bought a steam shark and felt it only pushed the dirt around.

I can honestly say I have tried about every floor cleaner out there. Swiffers, IROBOT Scooba, Shark, what ever, you name it, I have tried it. I always went back to the good old hands and knees. Until we moved that is. Our house now has 1400 square feet of hard floors, and there is NO WAY I can clean them on hands and knees.

I am ecstatic that I found the Hoover floormate widepath. I assumed like so many others that I have tried I would be taking it back. NO WAY will I ever be with out my HFW! You will be AMAZED at the dirt this thing picks up. Even in areas you thought were clean! Yes I had to change the dirty water out and add more to the clean tank quite a few times for how much square footage of hard floors I have. But no more so than any other machine I have tried. And I was more than happy to dump out that nasty water! I am actually pleased with how much dirty water there was, that means it is not left on my floor!

It was very easy to assemble, took three minutes and no tools required.

The dry vac part of it works okay to pick up crumbs prior to using the wet vac. However don't toss out your regular vacuum (or broom and dustpan) just yet. This will not pick up nearly as well for the times in between when you are not using the cleaning mode.

The scrubbers do an amazing job of scrubbing the floor. If you have something that is really stuck on I would pour water on it to let it loosen prior to using the floor vac. Take your time when using this machine. It is not a vacuum, use it like you would to shampoo your carpets, slow and in a good pattern.

The suction is AMAZING for picking up the water off of the floor. It practically leaves the floor dry. (At least it is dry within a few minutes.)

I use only water to clean my floors. For one I am cheap, and what is cheaper than water? And two, I have alergies to many cleaning products. It is nice to know there is no residue chemical when my kids are playing on the floor. If I feel the floors need to be sanitized I add white vinegar to the clean tank.

In the end, I still have to get on my hands and knees for nooks and crannies. But I would not expect a machine that works this well to get every tiny space.

I have heard others complain it is heavy or bulky. I simply did not find that the case. It is about the weight of a decent (not cheap) vacuum. As I would expet for something that does a good job.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 3:37AM
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Smalls - next time, try starting out with a paste of baking soda and hot water, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then try using a scrub brush like a push broom with a handle - they sell them at Home Depot for washing down decks and swimming pools (around here, they're actually called 'acid brushes' because of all the old concrete pools)

that, and products like Kaboom! or Soft Scrub will cut the scrubbing time down a lot without damaging anything.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 1:04PM
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