Patrick Dunford: Steam Mopping Vs Chemical Cleaning [2]

First published on Patrick Dunford

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In Part 1 I wrote about my purchase of a steam mop. Since then I have also continued using string mops and recently purchased a wringer bucket from Bunnings for $42 to use with string mops. I can tell you that I think folding foam mops are largely a waste of time because the foam pads have only a short life. I did buy a Vileda folding mop a few years ago with a long life pad fitted, but these pads are no longer available as the manufacturer has phased on this model. Both Vileda and Sabco, and NZ manufacturers like Raven, have ranges of mops that require special proprietary buckets to wring them out. The mops that spin to remove water are interesting and probably work quite well, but you are locked into their platform, just as I was with the Vileda mop that I previously owned. String mops and roller wringer buckets are pretty bog standard, cheap and work very well, as that is what commercial cleaners commonly use.

Compared to the very common Raven folding mops, the string mop’s huge advantage, apart from long life, is the narrow head can easily get into that gap down the side of the stove, fridge or washing machine and make it easy to keep those areas clean without having to pull these appliances out to clean around them. Wringer buckets these days have foot pedals that you press on with one foot while the other foot presses on a moulded step on the base of the bucket to prevent tipping it. However I would think if you want the bucket to last a long time, avoid using your foot and press the pedal with your hand instead. To avoid using chemicals, use vinegar for all your cleaning requirements; it can be readily purchased in 2 litre bottles from the supermarket. The steam mop is still going to be useful for a final wipe across the floor for sterilisation mainly, as the regular string mop is much better for taking the dirt off the floor really easily.

Handy hint for cleaning toilets: Vinegar is a mild acid which does really well for removing lime scale. Citric acid, which is commonly sold for baking, also does a great job. So you don’t need to buy expensive proprietary products like CLR or phosphoric acid products to remove limescale. Personally I found that the current formulation of CLR, which has been changed to be environmentally friendly, doesn’t actually remove much, and phosphoric acid, which may have been in previous CLR formulas, causes phosphate pollution of waterways. So the trick is to use vinegar to clean the toilet, a cup of it poured into the toilet once a week and scrubbed on the sides takes all the scale and stains out, and as it is a food grade product, doesn’t cause any problems when flushed.