We Get Greener Kit Cassingham & her Bigger Half

Mopping My Bamboo Flooring

I used to feel like Cinderella, the servant, when cleaning my hardwood floors. Cleaning my bamboo flooring is easy now, lifting me from that servant feeling.

First, let me share my biases about most commercial cleaning products. Most are scented, even if it's scented to smell like nothing, and that bothers my sinuses. I am nervous working with products that have CAUTION! warnings. And many commercial cleaning products rely on petroleum, something I prefer avoiding.

Ok, now for my evolution. The pattern I had with my oak floors in Boulder was to make a dilution of Murphy's Oil Soap and scrub on my hands and knees. With the washing rag in one hand and the drying rag in the other I felt like Daniel in "The Karate Kid" -- wax on, wax off. Wood floors are so hard!

It took me a wash or two to realize I needed to change my washing water more frequently. Though my oak floor area was small, it was big enough to need three changes of cleaning solution. I liked my results much better that way. I had a cleaner clean, which was the point of the exercise.

With the new house and the new bamboo flooring I graduated to a spray bottle and mop.It's been an experiment to get the right combination of cleaning solutions and mop equipment for me to get a clean floor without a tired back or knees.

I rejected a sponge mop with squeeze handle, on a fixed-length handle because of the awkwardness of the handle and my challenge in getting the sponge clean enough between uses.

For awhile I used, and liked, a mop with a removable terry cover on a fixed-length handle. Our bamboo floor installer sold it to me with the cleaning solution he recommended. It worked pretty well and the removable terry cover washed nicely in the washing machine. I liked it fine, until I found a microfiber cloth mop.

The microfiber mop with removable cover, on a telescoping handle is now my favorite. The reason it's my favorite is because the microfiber cleans so well. It's a rare spot that requires I bend over to scrub it away. I like that!

Cleaning solutions have an even longer list of trials than the mops. The primary commercial solution I used is Bona. I have also used several homemade solutions too, including vinegar water, a Prell solution, and my magic solution.

Bona is touted by professional flooring people to be the best on the market, and environmentally friendly too. My flooring guy sold me on it. But my sense was that the Bona didn't work any better than my vinegar and water solution, and cost a lot more. It has a mild scent, which bothered me a little.

The GoodGuide supports my observation that it's not the great cleaner it's marketed to be. GoodGuide gives it an overall 5.0 rating; it falls down on health ratings, though is ok with environmental and social ratings.

Two commercial products I've not tried, though know about, are Method and Ecos floor cleaners. GoodGuide rates them highly. I may get around to trying them, and I recommend you give them a whirl if you like commercial products.

The Prell solution was given to me by my housekeeper before she left. It cleans fine, though I don't like the residual odor. And it requires ingredients I don't keep around, so it seems like more of a hassle than benefit to me.

Microfiber Mop & Vinegar
Microfiber Mop & Vinegar For Mopping My Bamboo Floors Supplies for mopping my bamboo floors.

My favorite cleaning products are vinegar water and Kit's Magic Kleaner. The vinegar water is diluted to 1:10 or 1:15 vinegar:water. It's inexpensive, made of regular kitchen ingredients that won't hurt me, doesn't leave residual odors, and cleans well. I also like my magic kleaner, made with vodka, water and essential oils if I want, but it's a bit more expensive than the vinegar water solution.

Both solutions are all-purpose cleaners, the simplicity of which I adore. I like having one or two solutions that will clean everything I have to clean in the house. I can't wait to finish off the various solutions I've been trying. Maybe I should either give them away or pour them down the drain.

I carry my spray bottle and spritz the floor as I mop with my microfiber. A little solution goes a long way. My approach is quick, effective and easy, the only way I can stay motivated to clean the house. I may not feel like Cinderella, the princess, when I'm cleaning floors, but it's not the drudgery it used to be.

Vinegar water and a microfiber mop keep us greener as we get cleaner. Nice.

Comments

I use Greenworks natural cleaner on both my linoleum and hardwood floors, I was wondering if you had tried that one and how it compared to the other ones you use? I buy it concentrated, dilute in a bucket to mop and keep it in a spray bottle for my stove, counters, etc. It seems to work well for everything, but maybe I am being taken in by one of the greenwashing campaigns?

Rezty Felty at April 27, 2010 7:11 AM

Retzy, you sent me on a search to learn a bit about Greenworks. I don't use the product myself so was intrigued to see that it, and Burt's Bees, are products of Chlorox. The GoodGuide didn't list Greenworks in its collection of reviewed products so I don't know any more about it than you do, as far as its green-ness.

Chlorox (as in bleach and other cleaners) doesn't rate that well, but Burt's Bees does. I know that some of the big companies are starting to green their operations and adopt sustainable practices, and Chlorox seems to be one of those. The unanswered question is whether Greenworks is on the bleach end of things or the Burt's Bees end?

One of my standards is to read the ingredients label to see what's used. I also watch for warning labels. The longer the chemical list the more cautious I am, and the presence of a big red WARNING label tend to make me shy away.

Keep doing your research and questioning the greenwashing issue so you can get greener too.

-Kit

Kit Cassingham at April 27, 2010 8:20 AM

And doesn't the vodka cleaner make for a easier day? A squirt for the floor...a squirt for you...

Vicki at April 28, 2010 10:42 PM

I looked, but I can't find your vodka cleaning solution formula. Plz & thanx

JoLee at May 3, 2010 9:03 PM

I should have anticipated your interest in the vodka cleaner. Friends and strangers alike have been asking for the recipe, so here it is.

Kit's Magic Kleaner
9 oz vodka (cheap is good here)
5 oz water (distilled if you have hard water)
10 drops essential oil (if you want scent)

I've used it to clean hard-surface floors, mirrors, counter tops, sinks and tubs, fabrics, and carpet. It's also a good air freshener.

And as Vicki and Kay have alluded to, you could drink it if you got really tired of cleaning. But, I don't really recommend that.....


-Kit

Kit Cassingham at May 3, 2010 9:55 PM

Even with the Vodka this is probably cheaper than most commercials washes.. Cant wait to give it a try..

Mop Bucket at May 10, 2010 9:14 AM

I also add olive oil in my mix it gives it a nice little shine.

stef at March 30, 2013 11:25 AM
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