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I Liked the Idea of Dark Hardwood Floors, Now I am Not So Sure!

My Search For a Keep Clean Solution!

A very dark hardwood floor pictured at night.

One of the most beautiful features of our new home was the hardwood flooring on the main level. My wife and I were instantly sold based on this feature alone. While carpeting is excellent for sound deadening and warmth insulation, it also brings with it certain disadvantages. Given that each member in the house has some allergy, the carpeting is detrimental because it holds dust, dirt, and mites. I never cease to be amazed by how much our vacuum pulls from the carpeting after a cleaning. Couple that with a good scrub using a water-based carpet scrubber and the dirt continues to flow. I remove the dirty water container, and the muddy water is enough to make us want hardwood floors throughout the house.

View looking down at the dark hardwood floors.

Dark Hardwood Floors (media by Jeff Clos)

If I had one regret, it would be the darkness of the floors. No one told us, and we certainly did not ask, just how hard it is to keep these floors looking clean. In retrospect, would it have changed our decision to buy this house? Given the cutthroat market of 2021, most likely not. The problem stems from just how dark the floors are. When the flooring is clean, it looks spectacular, but it will show anything and everything with any dark color. Couple this with kids, and you have yourself a perfect scene for footprints, watermarks, dirt, dust, and anything else you can imagine. As beautiful as these floors are, they will highlight just how dirty we human beings are. This is not to say we have not always been this way, but the darkness of the floors will highlight our shortcomings.

As I stated in previous posts, our household believes in the iRobot line of Roomba’s. I am delighted with the cleaning ability of our Roomba and have it programmed to clean three times a week. The Roomba does a great job picking up the dirt and dust left behind, which is half the battle. It can’t do is remove the footprints, scuffs, and other blemishes left behind by whatever we bring into the house. To perform a more thorough cleaning, we had invested in the Braava 380t series offered by iRobot. I was always looking for a way to perform these functions when we were not home. The Braava worked well in our previous household as I developed the habit of running it once a week. The key was to ensure loose items on the floor were removed or relocated, and the Braava had free reign. The Braava can be used strictly as a dry sweeper or switched to a wet mop. We would use this unit as a wet mop predominantly.

Braava floor cleaner by iRobot.

The unit comes with two beacons to ensure it correctly maps out the room. We always placed one beacon in the center of the room, slightly elevated. The cleaning solution is added to the removable holder. The unit came with reusable microfiber towels, which we always dampened with hot water before affixing to the holder. Once the unit was in action, it was always a joy to see it work itself in a sweeping motion, working right, slightly backward, and then sweeping left as it plodded over the landscape. The product works provided you are patient. It will not return to the base for recharge and relies entirely on the amount of solution it can hold within its reservoir. I would rank this item as a pretty good room option.

We toiled with additional options to keep our floors clean. We own a few Swiffer Wetjets, which work well in a pinch but always seem to attract or amplify the problem.

These Swiffers work well in small areas, but the amount of coverage seemed too limited. My wife did some additional research on items recommended on Amazon and settled on a mop with a giant head. Not too dissimilar from the Swiffer but with a better cleaning solution. It had quite a few 5-star reviews, and people were generally happy with the results.

We loved the large mophead as it covered a lot of area on a first pass. Any spot which needed a little more effort could be covered with multiple passes. It did work well, and the microfiber towels could be easily added to the wash as they were reusable. The cleaning solution was available with the flick of the finger trigger.

This product worked better than the Swiffer in that it covered more area and completed the job in less than half the time. The cleaning solution seemed to be better than the Swiffer solution. As well as this worked, there had to be something better, and we were going to find it.

On a whim, someone had recommended we look at a product made by Bissell. They call this item their Crosswave and color me impressed. I immediately purchased it off Amazon, and it was delivered the next day. It came with a cleaning solution, an extra beater brush, and loads of potential. The question was, how well would it work for our needs?

I immediately assembled the handle, filled the solution bottle with water and cleaning solution, and went to town. As is custom with these units, they recommend laying down solution in the forward motion and sucking up the excess water in the backward movement. I developed a nice pattern going back and forth, making sure to hit all of the areas. The unit worked well in picking up any stray dirt left behind as advertised. I had it set in its hard floor setting. It also had a setting for carpeting, although we would most likely dedicate this for strictly bare floors. We are already two months in using this machine, and I must give this unit very high marks.

My wife has remarked on how well the unit cleans and leaves behind a small amount of protection on numerous occasions. Our floors do not show as much dirt as they used to, and we give this unit all of the credit. First and foremost, the unit does not leave any trace of dirt behind on the floor that it has traveled over. The beater brush has proven it is safe but effective when traversing our dark floors. The cleaning solution works well in removing the signs of daily life and seems to prevent prints and marks from returning. What often seemed to be a daily cleaning has now been strung out many days. Keep in mind; this is not a miracle-working device. If you have heavy traffic in your home, more regular cleaning would need to be performed.

I don’t plan on the Crosswave being the “forever” solution, as I am always looking for the next best thing. I plan on this being our “right now” option as I don’t know of a better option. We are pleased with the results and will continue to use this until something better comes along.

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