|Clean floors without chemicals, without buckets and without bacteria-laden sponge mops.
Did you spend days of your childhood on your hands and knees, washing floors, then applying two nice fresh coats of wax?
Didnít you love the sense of accomplishment? And the extra nickel you got in your allowance for the privilege of developing a decent work ethic?
Nowadays the four-on-the-floor approach is considered old-school. People save their knees for recreational activities like sitting at their computer.
Mops, usually made of natural or synthetic sponge, now take the place of hand-scrubbing. However, sponge has been creeping me out ever since the guys on Mythbusters did an episode on the bacteria found on everyday objects.
Guess what? The highest bacterial contamination isnít on toilet seats, itís on kitchen sponges.
The Mythbusters crew didnít test the sponge mops we clean our bathroom tiles and kitchen floors with, but Iím guessing theyíre at least as bad.
And mopping also means lugging around a bucket full of water laced with whatever soap or chemical additives you choose for cutting the filth. (Note: You can use straight white vinegar if you want a natural disinfectant, although the whole house will smell like French fries for hours. Vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mould and 80% of viruses.)
There are lots of zingy mops on the market designed to make cleaning easier. But at what cost?
For example, 50 millions households worldwide cumulatively throw out more than a billion non-biodegradable ďwipesĒí every year, and send several million batteries to landfill (some of them used by the mops with battery-activated spray functions).
I found a more trustworthy solution in a $30 addition to my cleaning arsenal.
The Reveal Spray Mop doesnít require a bucket, so you can trot it out anytime for touch-ups. It gets into more crannies (like grout lines) and under more appliances than any sponge mop has ever dreamed of, and itís designed with sturdy industrial specs instead of those ďchicks will like thisĒ fashion-coloured plastics.
The soft, wide microfibre pad cleans far better than a sponge mop and scours surfaces using nothing but water. The cleaning pad is detachable via hook-and-loop fasteners, so you can launder it after each use (good for 200 washes). Thereís nothing disposable on this baby.
It has an onboard super-soaker-style squirt gun that you engage using the actual muscles in your hand (not a battery-powered motor). The fan-shaped spray pattern is easy to control, and you donít need a wrestlerís grip to trigger the sprayer.
The reservoir bottle is removable and refillable. You can keep a spare bottle ($4.99) stocked with a different solution if you have a second type of surface to clean (i.e. one bottle filled with vinegar for ceramic tiles and another bottle containing water and a hint of dishwashing detergent for hardwood floors).
The Reveal Spray Mop is available at Lowes, Loblaws, Home Hardware and The Home Depot for $29.99 and comes with one spray bottle and one cleaning pad.
TIP: A great remedy for bacterial activity in kitchen sponges is to dampen the sponge and put it in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds. The water turns to steam and sterilizes the sponge, also reducing that mildewy pong that fills your nostrils when sponges get unfresh. Donít try sanitizing your sponge-mop head in the microwave, since it contains hidden metal parts that will arc and possibly alert the fire departmentís attention to your home.
Mag Ruffman appears weekdays on Real Life on CTS. Visit her online at ToolGirl.com.