Smart choices

The dirt on floor scrubbers

A multitude of products claim they make cleaning floors easier, but some are better suited to pick up crumbs or mop up spills

Consumer Reports / January 9, 2011

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Walk through your local department store, and you are likely to find almost as many ways to scrub your floors as there are ways to stain them. The latest entrant is the Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub, which claims, “No more bucket, broom, or hands-and-knees scrubbing with this 3-in-1 cleaner that vacuums, washes, and dries hard floors so quickly you might not know what to do with all that extra time.’’

Consumer Reports looked at how this $140 tool stacks up against other options it has tested:

Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub FH40010B ($140)Cleaning: It can vacuum up dry or wet spills and was very good at removing caked-on stains from flat-sheet flooring such as vinyl or linoleum. But it left soil in grout lines of tile floors and beveled edges of wood floors.

Effort: Similar to pushing a vacuum. Brushes need removing for cleaning. Can leak after use.

Wet Weight: 19 pounds

Bottom Line: Best as a wet/dry vacuum and cleaner for spills or crumbs on flat floors.

Hoover SteamVac SpinScrub F5914-900 ($146)Cleaning: Cleaned similarly to the FloorMate on hard surfaces, and it cleans carpets. Skip the hard-floor attachment (a $4 option), which worsened cleaning.

Effort: Much heavier and noisier than the FloorMate and doesn’t suck up dry spills.

Wet Weight: 33 pounds

Bottom Line: A good option if your home has a mix of flooring materials.

Eureka Envirosteamer 313A Steam Mop ($70)Cleaning: It removed dried splotches of various foods, but the pad can hold only so much. After the pad gets dirty, it moves more than it picks up. It left some water behind. Pads can be machine washed and reused.

Effort: Minimal effort, but you have to be patient and wait for the steam to build and loosen the mess.

Wet Weight: 7 pounds

Bottom Line: Much easier to use than a $15 squeeze mop, but doesn’t clean as well. Steam and water could be a problem for wood floors.

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