Saturday, January 24, 2009

favorite thing friday

One of my friends recently wrote to me and asked if I was working with Restoration Hardware. Or Apple. And just out of curiousity, they were interested to know if I was making any money in advertisements off my blog.

Similar to Kim wanting to know if she could pay me for making her a baby blanket, it took me several days to realize that my friend was serious.

So, before I launch in to this post, I think it is really important to note that I do not make any money off my blog because I don't advertise or accept endorsements. That's not to say I wouldn't advertise or accept endorsements, I just haven't had the opportunity to pursue it. And my field of pursuit might be limited, since I wouldn't advertise or endorse anything I wouldn't buy or use myself.

(Although if Keen is looking for a spokesperson, I'm your woman!!)

At the moment, I'm actually losing money on my blog because I am buying iPods for strangers every couple of months and I just had to pay to upgrade my photo support site to handle the large quantity of pictures I'm uploading every week. The only reason I mention this is because I think it's necessary for people to know that I wouldn't post something as a "favorite thing" unless it really was something that I used and loved.

So, without further adieu...

One of the things that I really wasn't prepared for - when I became a mother of triplets - is just how dirty our floors would become. Before children, I would mop the floor once a week, maybe even once every two weeks, and all was good.

But once children arrived on the scene ... specifically, children that wanted to feed themselves ... our floors became so unbelievably disgusting, I was intensely bothered. Despite my efforts at wiping up spills and frequent cleaning, the floors always had a veneer of nasty. They were a haven of absolute grossness.

When the triplets were toddlers and the floors looked just as dirty as their faces after mealtime, I mopped every single night.

Every. Single. Night.

In the beginning, I used a mop and water. But it seemed that the grout on our floors would get filthy because dirty water would pool up in the depressions. And I never really felt like the floors were that clean, even if I drained and refilled my bucket with fresh water multiple times throughout the scrub fest because I was pushing dirt around.

Soon, I turned to a Swiffer, with the disposable mop pads. But considering I would go through three or four Swiffers a night, I was buying a new box every few weeks. And, I never really felt like the floors were that clean, even using multiple pads because all I was doing was wiping up the grime, not really scrubbing the floor. Plus, I didn't know what kind of chemicals I was spreading all over our floor - that the children would be laying across and licking the very next day.

Every so often, I would drop to my hands and knees with a bucket and scrub brush, and spend a morning or afternoon (or morning and afternoon if I was really obsessed) crawling around and scrubbing the floor until my hands cramped and my arms went numb. This was a great way to ensure my floors were really clean. (And an even greater way to waste an entire day.)

Just before Henry was born, Charlie hired a floor cleaning company and for $1.00 a square foot, they steam cleaned all of the tile in our kitchen and hallways. The grout, which had turned almost black, was restored to ivory and every single crevice and indent in the floor was sparkling clean. When they finished, it looked like a brand new floor. And if it hadn't cost us $400.00, I would have just suggested that we have professionals come in once a week and sanitize our house.

Sometime last year, while I was reclined in a dentist's chair watching an infomercial while having my teeth cleaned, I saw an advertisement for the Shark Steam Mop. I had never heard or considered such a thing. But while I watched in fascination as this little purple mop cleaned up floors that looked almost as unsanitary as ours, I was suddenly desperate to get something I didn't even know had existed five minutes previously.

But then, since I know that people who create infomercials are seasoned professionals that could sell life insurance to a dead man, I decided that I should do a little more research before I shelled out four! easy! payments! of only $19.95!!

During the course of my research, I saw that the Shark Steam Mop had split reviews. As in, 50% of the people who bought it loved it and the other 50% hated it. My initial thought was that the developers of the Shark Steam Mop had infiltrated the Amazon website and tried to skew the ranking. So, I abandoned the idea of a Shark Steam Mop and did more research because I was now convinced steam cleaning the floor was the best way to go.

Ultimately, I settled upon the Bissell Green Tea steam mop. Once I decided which mop I wanted, I looked high and low and couldn't find one anywhere, except on the internet. And once I ordered it, it took me almost six weeks to receive it.

Now, I actually hesitated posting this as a "favorite thing" because in order for me to genuinely love this mop, it would need to clean the floor for me. But seeing as it does a really good job when I use it, at least better than any mop that I've ever used in the past (or any product that I've found for the money), I think it definitely warrants recognition.

What I really like about this mop is that it uses steam to clean. There are no chemicals, just water. In addition, the cotton microfiber pads are reusable. It comes with two pads, which are machine washable and extremely durable. Usually, I'll only need one pad to mop the floor. But if the floor is particularly bad - I might use both. Whereas the Swiffer wouldn't work very well on certain substances - and a standard mop would require a lot of scrubbing - with the Green Tea you can just "steam" a particular trouble spot until it comes up.

It has a swivel head and a removable water canister. And although I've read some complaints that the cord is too short, we live in a very small house with a very small kitchen and this hasn't been an issue for us.

This little mop certainly doesn't clean the floors and grout as well as the professional steam cleaning company, and but I've got it down to a science. The longer you hold the lever to depress steam, the cleaner your floor (and grout) will be. And, consequently, the more steam you use, the wetter your floor will be. So, I will flip the mop over and use the dry pad to remove any excess (dirty) water that would otherwise pool in to the grout lines and cause them to darken.

Depending upon how wet the floor is, I'll also push along a rag with my foot to sop up the excess.

This mop also works well on hardwood, although you need to be cautious about your finish and the amount of steam that you use. Again, I will flip the mop over and use the dry pad on top to remove any excess water - or depending upon the level of dampness - throw down a dry towel. There might be some streaking on the floor, but that is easily enough removed by a dry mop and hardwood floor spray.

Next to owning a dog, or placing poly sheeting visqueen all over the ground, the Bissell Green Tea is probably the most cost effective and least time consuming means for cleaning a floor in a home where there are small children.

Although, now that the kids are getting a little older and enjoying "role play" I've been contemplating handing them all buckets and scrub brushes and telling them to act out the part of Cinderella.


  1. Have you ever thought about having your grout painted? My parents had painted grout (it was a creamy color) in their last house and it NEVER got dirty and nasty like regular grout does. The paint acts like a deterrent to the dirt, so basically your grout is just like the rest of the tile get's dirty, but it wipes right off the surface. I'm pretty sure you can even buy the grout paint at Home Depot or Lowe's and DIY. Might be worth looking into!!!


  2. I'm glad you posted this. I have been wanting a good floor mop that CLEANS. I'll have to check this out. Thanks!

  3. Love the green tea steamer!

    And you are going to laugh (or call DCPS on me) but I did buy my kids buckets and stuff to scrub with. And the weird thing? THEY LOVE TO DO IT!

    This is where I went:

    Montessori Services

    I warn you though. The site is addictive.

  4. Cute Pictures. Just had to tell you - finished my race!! Beat my time from last years 1 minute!!! and made it up the "monstrous" hill!! Also a photographer came up to our group and asked if he could take a picture of the five of us for his magazine!!!! Don't know if he'll use the photo but it was a real adrenalin rush!! Getting siked for Oct!! ;-) YEAH!

    Love, Marg

  5. I think you ought to send this to the company that makes the steam machine--good job!

  6. I thought you might enjoy this picture from my blog. Gracie loves everything Cinderella and pretends to clean the floor daily. I am seriously considering letting her do it for real.

  7. Jen,

    I can't thank you enough for this post! I have had the bissel mop in my amazon wish list forever. I was really encouraged by your review. I wanted to hear about it from someone I "know."

    I will have to add this to my cart. How many extra mop covers did you buy?

  8. I was JUST thinking in your "Best Laid Plans" post how CLEAN your floors look...and then I scroll down and see yesterday's favorite thing Friday post.

    I have the Shark, I like it, but your Bissell looks sturdier.

  9. Thanks for the heads-up. I had a Shark on my Christmas list and didn't get it. I guess I'll switch to a Bissell.

  10. This is great! I can't mop the floor because it hurts my back too much, so my husband has to do it. Since he's been working 7 days a week and my boys have started self feeding, our floors are disgusting! I am showing him your post tonight and hopefully purchasing this bad boy...

  11. Amanda, I didn't buy any extra pads >> although I probably will buy another set in the next six months or so, since ours are wearing thin.

    Currently, we just have the two that came with the mop, but if I had a larger kitchen or more space to clean, I would definitely want at least four.

  12. I think you have convinced me to try one of thos mops...

    I'm about to order keens for my kids for the summer...but have to purchase them online, since no one carries kids sizes in my area. Are they really as good as I'm been reading (it looks like you've purchased a few pairs...) This will be our maiden voyage and I don't get to "try them on them first" in the store. Do you have an online retailer that you order from?