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Cleaning floors without chemicals
Ok does anyone here either have or know someone who has a steam cleaner?

I want to purchase a new kitchen floor and am afraid that chemicals on the linoleum, vinyl floor not only builds up but is harmful to my furry little babies. Another words my cats. I'm afraid of what cleaners will do to my Norton over time. He's so sensitive and I can't see risking using harmful cleaners if I can avoid them.

I hear plain water is good to use but that doesn't get the dirt off. O saw one on QVC but I think that most of what they sell is, for the most part, still in the testing stages. Not everything but a lot of their products I do suspect that and the buyers are the paying guinea pigs. Now the one I saw had only 2 coths to it and that doesn't quite cover the whole kitchen. I'd much prefer something that works similar to a dry cleaner or steamer for carpets. it would then at least suck up the dirt with the dirty water from the steam.

Any suggestions or experience with these things.
I have no idea what "only had 2 coths to it" means! LOL!

I'm confused-what I'm getting is that you're planning on new flooring for your kitchen, and it will be linoleum or vinyl. Right, I'm with ya so far. Soooo...the question is how you'll clean it?

Vinegar works great to clean those types of floors, especially in kitchens, as it cuts grease. You might want to add some essential oils to it so your house doesn't smell like a pickle though. Still, there is no need whatsoever to use toxic harsh chemicals to get dirt and grease off your kitchen floor-dish soap will work just fine, as long as you go over it a couple of times after with clean water, and don't use too much in the first place.

Check out the library for a book called, I think, "Green House, Green Planet" that has recipes for homemade cleaning products using basic non-toxic household things.

As far as steam cleaners-on a linoleum or vinyl floor I'd be very wary of using them as they can degrade the adhesive used to apply the flooring. You can use them on tile flooring but not too often and you have to reseal the floor so your grout doesn't stain afterwards.

PLEASE don't put carpet in your kitchen! It gets NASTY, attracts insects and vermin, and stinks. Just don't do it!

Bamboo flooring is nice, easy to care for, etc., but probably would be prohibitively expensive in a large room.
Edited by schmoo on 11/23/2008 20:33
That said-a shop vac will suck up dirty water. Kinda loud though.

I have a teensy little Dirt Devil mini carpet steam cleaner that really does work well just with hot water on carpet. I don't see that it would work well on hard surface floors though.
A tiny bit of bleach in water would work. Just keep the cats away until it evaporates and they should be fine. It's probably less harmful than other chemicals.
Yes I want a new linoleum kitchen floor. I can't afford laminate and really don't want the wood look in the kitchen. That would require new cabinets. My floor gets so dirty I don't think dish soap would get it clean. Right outside my door is the hallway where everyone walks past and all the dirt from the hallway gets into my kitchen. I vacuum the hallway and have a carpet runner right where they and myself must walk past my door but that doesn't keep all of it out of my kitchen. BTW my apt. entrance door is in my kitchen not the living room or a mud room. I'm not sure that they would use adhesive on linoleum floor as long as it's one piece. The individual square do it yourself pieces would have adhesive under them. Though I thinkk the rubber glued on trim under the kitchen cabinets might come off from the steam, I'd have to look into that.

The cloths I was talking about are microfiber cloths that pick up all the dirt. Thing is I can't help but think that would only be like the old fashioned mops that spread all the dirt around the floor. Even when rinsed you can see all the dirt on the mop that's just being put right back on the floor. I don't know if the microfiber cloths are different. I had a an electric mop that I could squeeze out the water with lysol cleaner in the compartment and it would suck it right back up after the soft round rotating brushes would scrub the floor it was great but eventually I broke it, bummer. I used bleach in it once to kill germs and it kind of ate away at the plastic holder. Not only that but learned my lesson not to use bleach on a large floor. Bleach gives me a headache big time but I still occasionally use it when I can open the windows and only in a little spray bottle for the sponge I wash the dishes with then it goes in the microwave (one minute each side) oven to kill more germs. I also only use it very rarely on the kitchen counter for stains but even that little bit gives me a headache. I also worry about the chemicals in it even when it dries. What about some of it still being on the floor when my kitties lick up something that I usually spill. I worry there's still some residue on it they could be ingesting.

Here's what I mean about the cloths:

EDIT: almost forgot Schmoo Yeah I know what you mean about carpeting the kitchen....bad idea. I remember when they were popular in the 70's. A real bitch to keep clean, unsanitary, bugs are attracted to them, and even worse almost impossible to take up since the rubber backing sticks to the floor.
Edited by Sinny on 11/23/2008 23:55
Bob of QF
If you want a truly friendly cleaner, try soda water.

If it is of high concentration (it fizzes really well) that means it is very high acidic or very low pH. This is pretty effective anti-bacteria.

Add in a bit of ordinary soap, say a few drops of mild dishwashing detergent, and you'd have a very safe, but effective cleaning agent.

Pour it over the floor, spread around with a mop, and lit it sit for a few minutes, then mop-up, vacuum up, etc.

If your kitties get into it, it won't hurt them, and the high-fizz will likely discourage them right away. Sooner or later, they will ignore the whole process as a mild annoyance.

Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
If I try this then won't I just be swooshing dirt all around the floor? and no matter what I do I just can't get the head of the mop clean for the next time I mop the floor, yuck. This is why I try not to use the mop. Plus I tend to over do it with anything that isn't already measured for me. I have a heavy had when it comes to that. At least with the microcloths I can wash & keep them clean for the next time. I have been using the swiffer cleaning products. They are good for disposal and always a new clean cloth evrey time. But they smell terrible even the orange smelling one stinks too. I worry about the residue and chemicals even after it's dried.

I also make sure I keep both of them locked in the bedroom, though Trixie has gotten wise to my routine and tries to stay in the kitchen/living room with me. Maybe I'll have better luck getting the new floor clean since it won't be so worn out that nothing really gets and keeps it clean. I'm thinking I could order extra microfiber cloths if I purchase that product from qvc so this way I could go over the floor a second time just to see if the cloth gets dirty again a second time. That would let me know if the steam really does get it clean and I think such a hot temp of steam/water would kill germs.

What is soda water ? do you mean seltzer?
I can see it coming now I'm going to drive myself nuts trying to decide on the type, color, pattern of the new kithcen floor and what type of steam cleaner, if any, I will purchase. I am so fussy that I even put my wisk broom and pan in the washing machine. I hate anything dirty on the floor that is suppose to clean it.
You'll muddle through, OK, Sinny. Just enjoy!
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
What about Tea Tree oil in water? I wonder if it'll work on floors. It has a VERY strong smell though.
Bob of QF
Sinny wrote:
If I try this then won't I just be swooshing dirt all around the floor? and no matter what I do I just can't get the head of the mop clean for the next time I mop the floor, yuck. This is why I try not to use the mop. ....

Perhaps you're not using the mop correctly?

If you use the common "push-pull" method, yes, you'll leave traces behind.

I was taught by a Navy guy, way back at my first real job (I also used the push-pull, and had blisters to prove it). He quickly set me straight, mop-use-wise.

The best way to use a string mop (those sponge ones are bacteria growth experiments, not useful) is to hold the handle in your hands in such a way that you can easily rotate the handle about it's length. (no, not like spinning a quarter-staff, but rotation about it's longer length, like it would do of placed on a floor, and rolled.)

The trick, is to always lead with the mop-head, never with the string-end. You make a series of sinuous motions with the head, sort of like the letter S or a figure-8, always leading with the head. This lets the strings trail behind the head, and do most of the work.

It also has the benefit of gathering up any crumbs you left behind when sweeping with a broom.

Only work on a small patch at a time, say 3 or 4 square feet, before returning the mop to the bucket.

At the end of your patch, you kinda swirl the head in a tight circle, which picks up most of the crumbs, and the whole goes into the mop bucket (an essential part of mopping-- a really, really good, sturdy, wheeled mop bucket. with a mop-wringer).

If you put any quantity of soap or detergent in your water, it will literally "grab" the dirt and keep it in solution: a handy property of soap/detergent molecules. The smallish particles will either sink or float, depending. Most sink. You avoid the very bottom of your bucket when dunking.

But, a really good dunk is essential, too, because when you wring it out, the gush of water washes any clinging particles back into the bucket, and the mop is quite damp, but never sopping wet. Practice!

I eventually learned how to mop so well, that I sometimes amazed subsequent supervisors: and the nice thing, a cursory brooming was all you needed beforehand.

Another benefit: since you are rocking your wrists, you never slide your hands along the handle; blisters are eliminated, too.

It's a kindof rocking, swaying motion, leading always with the mop-head, letting the strings trail and do all the work.

Results: spotlessly clean floors, and nary a crumb in sight.

See? The Navy is good for something after all.... *ducks the inevitable throws from ex-Navy types...*
Edited by Bob of QF on 11/25/2008 11:34
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
Bob my Dad would have liked you. He taught me how to do exactly what you said only you explained much better than I could LOL. I learned how to do that from him when we owned a store many years ago. I used to mop that floor squeaky clean. I mostly used bleach and water to disinfect and get the white really white. I got really good at it. I hate sponge mops and can't have the good string mop like I used to. I have to keep everything I have in one small closet in my bedroom but that closet for cleaning supplies such vacuum cleaner, broom, etc. is separated by a wall from my clothes. At least I got to make sure the contractor did that much. The stupid ass wanted to make it all one closet!! I nearly strangled him!! He couldn't understand why I wanted it separate from my clothes even after I explained I don't want dirty cleaning appliances, etc mixed in with my clothes and the clothes would eventually, as I add in more clothes, move towards the end of the closed and end up being mixed in with the cleaning appliances. He just couldn't understand why I didn't want them mixed together or that that's what would happen in a short time. So the smell of any cleaners on any mop would eventually get into my bedroom even when I rinse well enough. I just hate mops. That's what made me get the swiffer wet jet. No muss no fuss just throw away the cleaning pad when left over cleaners to smell except what's on the floor until it finally get aired out.

I will enjoy a nice new floor once I finally decide a decent pattern. I'm sick of the square look and am considering the marble look but still not sure.

I'm the type who needs something that steam cleans really good then sucks it up for me so I can empty the pan it sucks the dirty water into. All I have to clean out then is that little part. I had something like that except it wasn't a steamer. It only took lysol floor cleaner and I went and used bleach water once and destroyed it. It was the hoover floor mate it cleaned really good. It also sucked up the excess water and dirt and I could run it again with clear water to make sure the floor was properly rinsed. It was loud though. If that product was a steamer that sucked up the excess dirty water I would purchase it in a second depending on the price of course.
Bob of QF
Sinny, have you considered purchasing a real steam cleaner used? E-bay or your local junk/thrift/pawn shops?

Sometimes you can get a barely-used steam (or hot water at least) cleaner that way; often these were given as gifts, and they take up room, never(barely) used and off they go to the thrift/pawn shops. Usually the price is cheap, too.

Now that you've learned about the bleach thing, you would be careful with the next one, yes? Grin

Another useful chemical to use, is oxygen bleach. It's much, much less toxic than chlorine bleach, but very effective on stains and as a disinfectant. (Oxy-guard, Oxy-clean, etc).

Of course, I have a certain fondness for hand dishwashing liquid. It's relatively benign, as compared to other cleansers (it's literally designed for people's hands to be immersed in it over a long period of time). The worst side-effect of ingestion is usually mild diarrhea. It easily rinses cleanly.

Another benefit not often mentioned, is that all pathogenic bacteria and viruses will die in even moderately strong soap solutions. No, not all bacteria in general, but that is a good thing, actually. Most bacteria are useful, and many are symbiotic to mammals. Mild soap will kill any of the nasty stuff, though. At least, anything you are going to have in your kitchen! Grin

Most folk worry way, way too much about "disinfecting" stuff. Anything strong enough to kill all bacteria, is strong enough to kill you, too. Wink

Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
Sinny - for a new floor I think the white vinegar alone or with just a little dish liquid would be your best bet for cleaning and the safest for your pets. If you do use a steam cleaner I doubt if you'd need to use it every time you clean the floor - maybe 3 or 4 times a year?

In that case you could possibly look into renting a steam cleaner and save yourself some storage space. Of course, you'd have to figure out which is financially smarter - to own or rent, depending on how much you'd actually use it.

I really like vinegar and water (not enough vinegar to make things smell like a salad) for cleaning around the house - it works very well on just about everything, from windows to counter tops to flooring to wiping down furniture.

Sinny there are several hypoallergenic cleaners out there that will do the job nicely and have no effects on you dear furry ones at all. Give your vet a call and ask him for suggestions.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
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