Endless white tile floors
September 15, 2022 9:07 PM   Subscribe

I have inherited a large house with white ceramic tile flooring throughout. The vacuuming and mopping is driving me crazy. I am willing to spend money to make this as easy as possible. The previous questions are all slightly older so I'm hoping that technology has improved. Help me.

The floor is slightly textured bone white tile in large squares. The texture on it seems to trap dirt like nobody's business. My normal regimen is to vacuum and then mop.

There is a lot of furniture in this house and a lot of nooks and crannies. I'm working on getting rid of some of the furniture but I can't do anything about the shitty layout.

I have a professional quality backpack vac that works great but sounds like I've strapped a jet engine to my back. Given that I only have light rugs here and there, it's overkill. I have an old Dyson stick vac which is just okay for vacuuming dust and cat hair, but terrible at anything larger than a small crumb. I loathe it - I find it badly designed and impossible to clean properly. I've hated it from the day I bought it. Flat mops like Swiffers just seem to stir up the dust and cat hair and I only use them to get under troublesome furniture and appliances.

Mopping is with a squeezy sponge mop and bucket. I've tried using a string mop but I hate that the floors stay wet for so long and the sponge is slightly better although still far too wet for my liking. I end up walking around with a towel on each foot to try and sop up some of the water. I find mopping exhausting and the tiles rarely look properly clean no matter what I do.

I have seen the combo wet vac-mop things and they look like they might be what I want, but they're expensive and I'm wary of buying another lemon (looking at you, Dyson!). I'm fine with spending money but I want to spend it wisely. Will those work for me? What does the HiveMind suggest?
posted by ninazer0 to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't really a cleaning tip, but.. do people wear shoes into your house or leave them by the entry?

(So that there's some cleaning advice in my response: you sound like you're set with the backpack vacuum, but if you wind up seeking another vacuum cleaner I recommend Miele. The vacuums themselves are good but also the tools are well designed. Their floor tool, in particular, is a lot better than what comes with most cheaper vacs.)
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:14 PM on September 15, 2022 [4 favorites]

Spin mop?
posted by nouvelle-personne at 9:17 PM on September 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

I also have acres of beige tile that seem to be dirty the moment I stop vacuuming. Seconding Roomba.

I also find that if I don’t do the vacuuming myself I don’t notice as well the need for mopping - like it doesn’t come into focus as much as when I survey the whole floor at the end of the vacuum - so it saves me work and angst that way too.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 9:50 PM on September 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Roombas are a good, low-effort way to keep your floors clear of dust and cat hair.

I can't recommend the vac-mop things though, sorry. I bought one about a year ago, and just gave it away. It just didn't clean well, at all. Like it was pointless. And after about six weeks, mine started to grow black mold inside, which was impossible to remove and smelled terrible. So ugh yeah it was a total fail.

Here's what I use:
-- Roombas daily, plus a cordless v7 Dyson hand vac for anything the Roombas can't handle
-- OXO mop daily plus Rubbermaid microfiber mop (with a wringer bucket, like in commercial kitchens) once a week

It is exhausting and I hate it. Wish I had better answers for us both :(
posted by Susan PG at 9:52 PM on September 15, 2022

Could you hire a cleaning service to just do your floors once a week? If your budget runs to that, it's probably the easiest solution.

You could put a large rug in each room, as vacuuming is easier (a Roomba will make even easier work of this) and they will hold the dirt and dust so it's not tumbleweeding all over the room. I had a huge kitchen with white tile, and putting down a massive indoor/outdoor rug I could hose off to clean if needed made my life much easier. There was a 3 foot walkway in front of the counters, but the rest of the floor was covered. Was it as clean as freshly mopped floors? Nope. Did I care? Also nope. Life is too short to mop vast expanses of tile.
posted by ananci at 10:19 PM on September 15, 2022 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I love my crosswave. If I have a lot of debris I do a quick sweep, but otherwise it handles stuff pretty well and dried quickly.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:26 PM on September 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Can't weigh in on the vacuum issue - I love our Dyson - but you really need a steam mop to do a quick, thorough, fast-dying job
posted by underclocked at 12:33 AM on September 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

Seconding the steam mop. I have old textured tile and the steam mop is great. You just pop the towel bits in the wash. With a whole house of tile you may want to get extra of those.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:14 AM on September 16, 2022

I have have this exact same problem, it's very annoying.

Solved most of it by covering large sections of the floor with seagrass carpets.

Wall to wall but not fitted, very easy to keep clean even with pet hair, they don't hold onto dust or hair, soft on the feet and they smell lovely.
posted by Zumbador at 4:22 AM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

I use a Roomba and a Braava mop daily. My horrid kitchen tile that attracts dirt like no one’s business gets an occasional scrub with sudsy water and a deck brush, and then I dry it with towels (I have a floor squeegee on a long pole and wrap a towel around that - Cuban mops are also supposed to be great for floor cleaning).

Lowering my standards + robots is how I manage a house full of pets and mainly hard floor surfaces which love to show fluff, debris and grime. Occasionally I pull out the regular vacuum and get the corners but mainly I’ve decided if the robot can’t get it, I don’t care.
posted by hilaryjade at 5:12 AM on September 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Seconding nouvelle-personne's spin mop recommendation. Dunk your mop, spin it 8 pumps. Mop. The corner I start with is dry by the time I get to the other corner. I cut back on detergents. I only mop with a cleaner once a month, otherwise, hot water and vinegar. I use a spray bottle of hot water / dish soap for anything that needs a little more attention. Once I dropped the cleaners, my floors didn't seem to get as dirty. I used to get a film that drove me crazy.

I also dropped standards to just ignore (2 dogs, 2 teens).
posted by Ftsqg at 5:43 AM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

I only have to do two rooms but I need them clean every day. I vacuum and use a steam mop. I would get a roomba.
posted by flink at 6:58 AM on September 16, 2022

Perhaps a Cordless Power Scrubber
posted by WizKid at 8:13 AM on September 16, 2022

If your floors stay wet after mopping, you’re not getting the mop dry enough. Get a professional mop, bucket, & wringer, mop with hot water, and wring the mop as hard as you can. The area you mop should be dry almost as soon as you put the mop back into the bucket.
posted by toodleydoodley at 4:13 PM on September 16, 2022

The latest generation of vacuum robots apparently now have mopping functions that are actually good. The Deebot X1 Omni gets good reviews, it empties the vacuum part automatically at the base, and the mops are cleaned and dried at the base also. It's 1350$ though, have look at some review videos to decide it something like that would work. Note that I don't own one of those, so no first hand experience.
posted by Lynx at 9:12 AM on September 17, 2022

Response by poster: I'm dealing with four bedrooms down a long hallway, and at the other end it's an open plan living room, kitchen and lounge room, one large rug and a lot of furniture. How's the Roomba for cleaning around, say, chair legs? I have a black cat (cat tax) so the dust bunnies are noticeable very quickly.

The main entrance to the house has a sort of vestibule/mud room area so I've covered it in rugs to try and grab most of the dirt from outside, and despite a no-shoes rule, leaves and crap still gets inside, which is where my stupid little Dyson fails so badly. Can a Roomba pick up small leaves or is that going to cause issues as well?
posted by ninazer0 at 8:26 PM on September 18, 2022

My first Roomba just smacked into things a lot. The one I have now, a 900 series, slows down before smacking into things. It does a pretty good job around chair legs - it has a side brush that spins and can be set to edge clean.

I have two long hair cats and a short hair 90 lb dog. We recently lost our 130 lb long haired dog - Roomba kept up with his hair too.

Depending on the type of area rugs, Roomba may struggle. He won’t like fringe for example. Mine picks up small leaves and grass well.
posted by hilaryjade at 1:48 PM on September 19, 2022

Response by poster: Okay. After much research I ended up buying a Bissell Crosswave Pet, which I managed to get for $400AUD. It's corded which I actually prefer given the fun I've had replacing the Dyson battery. It doesn't get into corners or under some of the furniture, but it tackles about 90% of the dirt and does an excellent job of mopping without leaving water or streaks - considering under the furniture is going to be mostly dust I think the backpack vac or a swiffer will suffice for those.

I don't know about the mould and smell issue that Susan PG notes, but this thing has a self-clean function and also pulls apart very satisfactorily for rinsing and drying so I'm hoping that will not be a problem. I vacuumed my just-mopped kitchen floor as a benchmark and it brought up a horrifying amount of hair and grime, so clearly superior to the mop and bucket I've been using. The rest of the house produced an utter horror-show of dirty water. I'm hoping that regular use should make that less and less Lovecraftian.

In time, I may get get a robot vac of some description but for now this is ticking all the boxes.
posted by ninazer0 at 7:36 PM on December 16, 2022

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