A woman sitting on a kitchen counter

Who Else Doesn’t Want to Scrub Floors on Your Hands and Knees?

A woman sitting on a kitchen counter


DEAR MARY: I live in Florida and LOVE your blog. I look forward getting it in my email inbox every day. My question: What is the best tool, machine or method to clean tile? I have a lot of it. Thank you, Alice


DEAR ALICE: The best as well as the cheapest method for getting all of that tile clean and sparkly is to get down on your hands and knees and scrub it hot water and mild soap, then rinse it several times until the rinse water comes up completely clean. Then dry it with a clean, soft cloth until it gleams. Were you looking for a more realistic method, given that you have a lot of tile? Well, I’ve got you covered. I’m not suggesting the hands and knees method because if I won’t do it myself, I wouldn’t expect you to.

The problem with any type of flooring is that dust and dirt (sometimes so fine you can not see it until you remove it) get ground into every time you walk on it. You can’t feel it necessarily, or as I said, even see it. But over time that wears on the finish causing the floors to look dull and dingy.

Once a week you should vacuum the floors well to get up loose dirty and debris. Then every two weeks, clean and scrub the floors with an excellent cleaner and a good mop that cleans and wipes the floor nearly dry in a single effort. Here’s the recipe for the best floor cleaner ever: Mix one part rubbing alcohol to four parts distilled water plus a few drops blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Mix this up in a spray bottle each time you clean the floors. Or if you make it up ahead, be sure to label it well and keep it out of the reach of children. 

As you may recall, awhile ago I bought a Shark Sonic Duo Carpet and Floor Cleaner (about $180) because I’d heard a lot about it.

Sonic Duo is a scrubbing wonder, that’s what it is. And because the machine is so lightweight and easy to handle, I think it would be the perfect fit for you and all that tile!

Seriously, I can pick it up with one hand and carry it upstairs, downstairs or wherever it needs to go to work. Sonic Duo is also a carpet scrubber, which is why it has “duo” in its name.

While my Hoover SteamVac is an amazing steam cleaner, it does not scrub anything. It shoots hot water in and then suctions it out. And I love that. But sometimes carpet—especially the high traffic areas—just needs a good scrubbing. This machine will do that.

Thanks for loving my blog! It’s not every day I hear that, so know that you have really encouraged me.

DEAR MARY:  I really want to send my compliments on recommending the Hoover SteamVac Carpet Cleaner. After I read your column about it more than five years ago (“The Best Thing I Ever Bought”), I really wanted one, but it was not on the budget priority list. Can you imagine my elation when I found an almost new one at my parent’s house? Someone gave it to them as a cast off! It got some sort of grease ring off my carpet from a previous owner and completely sanitized my carpet after a horrific potty training event.

If I’d not read that column, I would never have known the treasure hiding in plain sight. Jennifer

DEAR JENNIFER: A great find, indeed! If the machine was well used by its original owner, you may want to grab some rubber gloves and give it a good cleaning. My Hoover SteamVac gets pretty disgusting even after a few uses. And I still wonder where on earth all of that dirt comes from!

I remove both of the tanks, clean the one that receives the dirty water with a bottle brush and hot soapy water. Then I turn the machine over and go to work on the underside of the cleaning head. I hate the thought of starting any job with dirty equipment.

By the way, don’t forget to use a good spot remover on spots as they happen and or right before you give Hoover a good workout. I’ve tried so many, and believe you won’t find a better product that Spot Shot.

I wish you and your Hoover a long and happy life together!

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4 replies
  1. Dana says:

    Hi Mary,
    Do you use the recipe for homemade floor cleaner (one part rubbing alcohol to four parts distilled water plus a few drops blue Dawn dishwashing liquid) with your Shark Sonic Duo or just when using a mop?

  2. KathyW says:

    For goodness sakes, who scrubs floors on their hands and knees anymore? I have tile flooring and I use a cordless vacuum (Hoover LiNX) and a Shark floor cleaner. You don’t even have to add soap to the Shark; the steam does a marvelous job on its own. You could sprinkle a little vinegar on the floor if you’d like but not necessary.

  3. Elf says:

    I have a 30 year old Floor Beautifier by Electrolux. My kitchen floor has a tung oil finish that I applied (several coats). I recently used the Floor Beautifier with white vinegar and water and the scrubbing pads (like Scotch Brite). I followed each section with a sponge mop and it looks great. Amazing even. If anyone has an old Electrolux Floor Beautifier use it. It cleans carpets without soaking the carpet and stretching the backing. It will also wax and polish your hardwood floors – if anyone still does that. I used to in my 1928 house then I moved into a circa 1860 house that only had shellac on the heart pine floors. I still use the floor beautifier for carpets and now the kitchen floor once a month or so. Ok, it was very expensive but in 30 years I have not had to replace it.

  4. Margaret says:

    Dear Mary,

    Bad news! The Shark Sonic Duo has gone up to $179.99. I’m going to watch for a sale price on this and hope to find one during the year. Thanks for your wonderful recommendations as always! 🙂


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