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Air Filter Kills Mold and Germs

This post isn’t technically about carpet and floor cleaners, but when it comes to keeping the house clean it’s important to consider what’s in the air as well as what’s hiding in the rug. And if you are into natural cleaning products and want to reduce indoor pollutants this air purifier will keep a room 100% free of harmful natural pollutants including dust mites, pet dander and even mold and bacteria.

Super Pure Air FilterIt works by drawing air into a super-heated chamber that kills harmful airborne bugs with its 400º F temperature. Then it cools the air and ciculates it again.

It’s the perfect air filter for keeping a room germ free for young children, adults with allergies, sick or elderly or people with breathing problems.

Check it out here, Germ Killing Air Purifier.

 

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Natural, Non-Toxic Hardwood Floor Cleaners

In this article we promise not to offer baking soda or vinegar as natural floor cleaning solutions for sealed hardwood floors. Although these ingredients dominate the search results, they’re not really appropriate for cleaning sealed hardwood floors and they can even be potentially harmful to finished floor surfaces as we explain below.

What we do offer are simple, common sense solutions and products for organic and non-toxic floor cleaners that keep your home, your floors and the environment clean and fresh.

The Difference Between Sealed or Finished Hardwood Floors and Unsealed or Untreated Floors

Let’s first be clear what kind floors we’re talking about here. The solutions below are for cleaning sealed (or finished or treated) floors. Sealed floors are made of real wood (not laminate) and they have a coating of polyurethane or a similar type of clear protective finish.

Unfinished floors are raw wood. It’s very rare for a wood floor to remain unfinished because the wood would be left open to stains from water or other liquids. The only time you’re likely to encounter untreated or unfinished wood floors would be immediately after installation and they haven’t been sealed yet, or in a very old home where the finish has worn off.

However, finished floors are also susceptible to damage if too much water is used while cleaning them, a topic covered later in this article.

Reason for Using Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaners

Waster Reduction – Fewer Empty Bottles to Landfill

There are plenty of good reasons to clean your house using natural products. Many people don’t want to add more waste to the environment by buying plastic bottles of floor cleaner.

Safe for Pets and Children

Families with children, especially those young enough to play on the floor, may want to avoid harsh chemical floor cleaners so their children aren’t exposed to harmful fumes and residue.

Adverse Reactions to Strong Chemicals

Some people have very sensitive skin and allergies that limit their ability to be around potent odors or caustic chemicals that are often found in commercial floor cleaning products.

It Starts with an Once of Prevention

“An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure” as the old saying goes. Personally we always felt a little awkward at homes where we had to take our shoes off upon entering. But you know what? it feels good after a while and they might be on to something in keeping their home clean.

Not only is this preventative measure good at keeping carpets fresh, but shoes track dirt onto hardwood floors and then grind the particles against the wood with their hard soles. Obviously this is not good for the finish.

But whether or not you insist visitors take off their shoes, at least performing regular vacuuming or damp mopping on the floor to pick up particles will remove these tiny pieces of grit that act as sandpaper against the finish.

So What’s Wrong with Cleaning with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Any search of natural or organic or non-toxic floor cleaning solutions is bound to return a lot of results suggesting baking soda and vinegar, sometimes mixed together. These can be effective cleaning agents in some situations but they’re not the right the answer for cleaning hardwood floors.

The first problem with these compounds is that they are mildly corrosive. Baking soda is mildly alkaline which means it has an above average pH level and vinegar is mildly acidic with a below average pH level. This means they are mildly corrosive.

And as far as the advice to mix them baking soda and vinegar goes, this makes little sense. When you mix an acid and a base together they neutralize each other in an fizzy yet worthless mess.

It might make sense to use these ingredients to scrub your tiles, shower stalls, windows, countertops or grout, but don’t bother mixing baking soda and vinegar together. And don’t put them on your hardwood floor, either one alone or together.

Other Good Cleaners That Are Not Right For Hardwood Floors

The same is true with cleaners offering wax-based finishes or those that contain ammonia. These cleaners can cloud the nice shiny finish of a hardwood floor. These types of floor cleaners might be appropriate for tile, vinyl or laminate floors, but they’re not right for use on finished hardwood.

Natural, Oganic or Non-Toxic Cleaning Solutions for Sealed Hardwood Floor

Use Regular Dish Soap

So what are good mild cleaning solutions that won’t harm your hardwood floor? Actually the dish soap you use in the kitchen sink can be mixed with water for a safe mild mopping solution that won’t harm or dull the finish.

Off the Shelf Natural and Non Toxic Cleaners

Yes, above we talked about keeping plastic out of the landfill but hopefully most of us have access to way torecycle our household plastics. Also some of the companies mentioned here use bottles made recycled materials or plant based plastics.

method floor cleanerThere is a company called Method that makes non-toxic, biodegradable soaps including dish soaps, laundry cleaners and a wood floor cleaning product.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ZATG7Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004ZATG7Y&linkCode=as2&tag=carpetfloor-20

Biokleen is another company making natural cleaning products. Their Citrus Essence Bac-Out Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner is safe for sealed hardwood floors. Their products are concentrated to reduce packaging and non-toxic to be safe for people and the environment.

Even big brand Clorox has a line called Clorox Green Works has a neutral floor cleaner which is pH neutral and 99% natural made primarily of mineral and plant-based ingredients.

Bona Kemi Floor Cleaning MopA company called Bona also offers non-toxic floor cleaning products. They also have a Bona Floor Cleaning Mop for an easy complete natural mopping system.

Trewax also offers a pet safe, no fragrance, all natural and pH neutral sealed floor cleaner. Considering what a growing market green products are there are sure to be other lesser known, regional and upcoming products entering the market all the time.

 A Word About Wood and Water 

The thing to be careful about with water is to not leave it on the floor for long.  If you’ve ever kept a toothpick in your mouth for a long time you can understand the problem.

Even though the floor has a urethane finish, pooled water left on a finished floor for even a few minutes can leave a mark. This is why we use coasters under cool drinks sitting on a wood table.

Some people recommend only letting the mop get damp, but if you prefer to see soapy suds on the floor just be sure to wash a small area at a time and towel dry all the water completely before moving on to the next section to avoid leaving marks from any remaining droplets.

We recommend using an old bath-size towel for drying the floor to be sure the towel remains absorbent when cleaning a large area.

Steam Mops and Steam Cleaners Are Safe on Sealed Floor

While excessive water on a hardwood floor is bad, using steam mops and steam cleaners are actually quite safe.

Plus steam cleaners and steam mops don’t require any additional products at all so they’re a great way to safely clean floor with no chemicals, fragrances or residue.

By using only heat and water vapor your floors and your home will be left clean and safe your children, family, pets and the environment.

Visit these links for more information about the model choices and pros and cons of Bissell Steam Mops, the Shark Steamer and the Shark Steam Mop.

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Guide To Steam Mops and Floor Cleaners

Steam Mops and Floor Cleaners

If you’re looking for a powered cleaning machine for your home the choices can be a little confusing at first because there are several different but similar sounding options.

The quick explanation below gives some basic terminology to help you decide which steam mop or floor cleaning machine works best for your needs:

Steam Cleaners

  • “Steam cleaner” is a general term which includes both forms below. In a steam cleaner only the steam itself is used as the cleaning agent, no detergents or chemicals are added
  • Steam mops come mounted on mop handles to deliver steam directly to a floor
  • Handheld steam cleaners go anywhere around the house and use various attachments to clean all surfaces including counters, drapes, upholstery, furniture, walls, showers, tiles and grout, etc

Wet/Dry Cleaners

  • Use pads, brushes or moving scrubber heads to clean floor surfaces
  • Use cleaning solution (alone or added to water) to clean floors and other surfaces
  • Usually an upright machine and may have attachments for cleaning upper surfaces like counters, furniture, drapes, furniture, tile, grout, etc.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Steam Cleaners

Steam cleaners, both steam mops and handheld, can sanitize surfaces in the home IF the steam reaches a certain temperature. There are some questions about whether some home-based steam cleaners can reach these temperatures, usually thought to be about 212 degrees Fahrenheit at the nozzle output.

Steam cleaning machines can actually produce a “dry” steam which has a low moisture content. A dry steam is useful in cleaning dust off painted walls or grease off of surfaces and in other situations where too much moisture is a drawback.

Handheld steam cleaners can be good at cleaning vertical surfaces with large areas like walls and showers stalls, windows and glass doors.

Steam only cleaners that don’t use soap or chemicals are ideal for safe cleaning of pet cages and places where people, kids and animals live. No chemical use also mean odor, environmental toxins or added waste from buying containers of cleaning chemicals.

Evidence of grout cleaning abilities goes both ways, some say steam cleaners work great, others have not had success. Differences are in the details of each situation, the machine used and the user’s technique and abilities make it impossible to say whether steam is superior for getting grout between tiles clean.

Floor Cleaning Machines (Wet/Dry Washers)

Floor cleaners that use a chemical cleaning agent can benefit from the added cleaning abilities of the cleaning solution, and some people like the “just-cleaned” smell that gets left behind. Of course there are also the environmental drawbacks mentioned above.

Floor cleaners with moving brushes can provide added scrubbing power against spills and dried on materials (seen and unseen). Spinning brushes also help clean into textured surfaces and reach grout between tiles.

Floor cleaners that cycle water across the floor and pick it up again ensure that no dirty water is left on the floor. Some power mops also squeegee the floor and suck up excess water to leave the floor dry when done.

Floor cleaning machines with a vacuum function in addition to the floor cleaning abilities can cut out an extra step of having to mop or sweep the floor before cleaning.

Floor Cleaning Machines Summary

When it comes to floor cleaners price is a partial indicator of a machine’s abilities and the users eventual satisfaction and happiness with the results. In our reviews of steam mops and floor cleaning machines, those on the lower price end of the spectrum had more negative reviews than the middle or higher priced models.

Consider The True Cost of Low Price Options

Many times negative reviews of cheaper machines were not due to poor cleaning performance, but because the machine never worked at all.

Obviously buying a machine that never works – then needs to be returned – is a total waste of time. And buying a machine that works once or twice only or one that works poorly all the time is no solution either.

We’re not suggesting you buy the most expensive machine on the market, but we do recommend reading reviews and carefully considering time and frustration factors when looking at the lower priced machines. In fact, you’ll probably notice that some of the cheapest ones, even by big name manufacturers, are now on clearance because they didn’t make it in the market.

Great Choices In Middle Price Range

We’ve reviewed excellent home steam clean machines and floor cleaners in the $120 to $180 range that have hundreds of very positive ratings from actual users. When avoiding the low end there’s definitely no need to swing too far in the other direction.

There are higher priced commercial options are out there for people with unique needs. But for most home owners our advice is to avoid the low end and discontinued models, stay with a major manufacturer and trusted retailer and you should find a great floor cleaner that saves you a lot of time and leaves your home clean for your family.

Additional Information:

Hoover FloorMate

Bissell Steam Mops

Shark Steam Mops

Shark Steam Cleaner

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