The Hoover FloorMate helps homeowners vacuum, clean and dry their sealed hardwood, tile or linoleum floors. While the device offers significant convenience and time savings for busy housekeepers, the cleaning solutions sold with it can be expensive. Many of them also contain an array of chemicals that might not be desirable for homeowners who prefer to use natural methods for housekeeping. Inventive homeowners can easily create inexpensive nontoxic cleaning solutions suitable for use with the FloorMate.
Things to Consider
According to the Hoover website, the FloorMate works best with the line of specialty cleaners they sell to be used with it. Its line of products does contain a natural floor cleaner as well as a traditional hard floor cleaner. Never use a solvent-based cleaner with your FloorMate since these types of cleaners can permanently damage flooring. Consult your owner's manual for specific information on which products are safe to use with your machine.
The cleaner appropriate for your flooring will vary according to the type of flooring you want to clean. Some wood floors require different care than tile or linoleum. Since the FloorMate and these homemade cleaning solutions can be used only on sealed, no-wax hardwood flooring, ensure your wood floor is sealed before using any of these solutions. Joseph Turney, or "The Wood Floor Doctor," who has more than 20 years of experience caring for wood flooring, recommends placing a few drops of water onto the floor and watching for beading to verify that your floors are sealed. Most modern floor installers use polyurethane or other water-based sealants on hardwood floors, but older floors might contain wax. Test for wax by rubbing a piece of steel wool gently across the surface and checking for waxy residue.
Multipurpose Floor Cleaners
Vinegar, with its natural antibacterial properties, provides thorough and powerful cleaning. Fill your cleanser cup with vinegar and then add it and hot tap water to the fill up the rest of the tank. This solution works well on hardwood floors, tile and linoleum. There is no need to rinse the safe, nontoxic solution from your floors after cleaning. If you dislike the scent of vinegar, try adding essential oils such as lavender or geranium to the vinegar for a scented floor cleaner.
Tea tree oil, a potent antiseptic and antibacterial essential oil, makes a gentle and effective all-purpose floor cleaner. Add 15 drops of tea tree oil and 3 drops of liquid castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner's, a plant-based cleaner sold in many natural food grocery stores, to your FloorMate's cleaning cup and fill the remainder of the tank with hot tap water. Alternatively, you can create a citrus floor cleaner by using 15 drops of orange essential oil and 8 drops of lemon in place of the tea tree oil. Other essential oils that make effective cleaners include oregano and eucalyptus.
Baby shampoo mixed with warm soapy water in the water reservoir of your Hoover Floormate makes a gentle cleaning solution. Make sure you don't use more than 1 to 2 teaspoons of the shampoo since too many bubbles might clog the FloorMate.
As a global nomad with experience living and raising children in China, the USA and Europe, Erin Carson loves to share her knowledge of both literature and travel through her writing. Carson has a master's degree in library science and a bachelor's degree in English literature. As a freelance writer, Carson has published numerous articles on various health, parenting and travel websites.