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Robot floor cleaners for the home
Old 06-28-2013, 10:52 AM   #1
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Robot floor cleaners for the home

Has anybody had any recent experience with Roomba or Mint floor cleaners? The threads I have found are over two years old and I figure the technology has had to improve somewhat. Or maybe not?

I have a nice new wood floor that I want to keep in good condition. I do the usual remove the shoes when entering the house, but dirt and grit still manage to get tracked in. It's this grit that concerns me since it acts like sandpaper and ruins the nice wood finish. I figure a device that would clean my floors every day or two would help. Of course, the device must not harm the wood floor or its finish. It would also be nice if it worked on carpeting, but that is a lesser concern of mine.

Please share your experiences if you have a Roomba, Mint or other such advice, and especially if you have used it on wood flooring.
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:03 AM   #2
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I have an old, dead Roomba in the cellar. In the back of my mind I think of refurbishing it. IIRC it worked well on hard surface flooring, less so on carpet.
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:46 AM   #3
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I have a couple of friends with these devices. For hardwood, tile, some very low pile (not sure if that is the correct term) carpets, etc. they reduce the need to clean it yourself from daily to a couple of times a week. My friends who have them did so for pet hair/dandruff/etc. and seem happy overall. These devices will not eliminate the need for you to clean the floors yourself at least a couple of times per week.
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:50 AM   #4
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Ditto. I suppose they must have gotten better since then, but we haven't been motivated to see if that's the case.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:00 PM   #5
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bUU, I'm pleasantly surprised that we have been able to find something that we can agree on!
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:01 PM   #6
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I also have an old dead Roomba, but it worked great on the wood floors.
My only trouble was dog hair getting wrapped around the wheels. That, and the battery eventually not holding a charge.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:07 PM   #7
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bUU, I'm pleasantly surprised that we have been able to find something that we can agree on!
There's a lot of that going around, today.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:17 PM   #8
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For what it is worth, I do not have any pets so pet hair is not an issue. I just want to keep the small bits of grit from grinding my floor down over time.

Has anybody with wood floors noticed any damage to the floor caused by the Roomba or Mint or other such device. No point in having a clean floor that is scratched.

I am coming up on my one year anniversary of retirement and it seemed that this device, if it works well, would be a nice gift to myself.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:29 PM   #9
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If your floors can be scratched by a Roomba, I'm worried about the finish.
Is it matte or gloss? The high gloss ones are harder, but do show scratches more. The important thing is to protect the wood underneath.
You can expect to do a light sanding every year or so to bring out the shine again.

FWIW, my DH installed all our wood floors, direct from the sawmill, and I put down every last coat of polyurethane on them myself. 7 coats. 10 years ago. Just 'bout time to do a touch up.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:33 PM   #10
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This is interesting. We do have pets including 4 indoor cats one of which is a light colored ragdoll and so I can constantly see little balls of hair on our dark wood flooring which we've had for about 6 months. I've always thought the Roomba wasn't worth it but it might be nice for our hall and the main rooms.

Anyone have a specific current model to recommend?
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:40 PM   #11
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From my experience, you'll just need to be prepared with long tweezers to pull hair out of the little wheels. Other than that, my early model was awesome! I'd hoped to replace it with the sweeper model, the Dirt Dog, but I think they discontinued that one. I need to sweep more than vacuum, really.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:11 PM   #12
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I bought one of the 550 Pet Series Roomba for my wife's Christmas present a couple of years ago. (Yes, she really asked for one) We have both tile and hardwood floors and it works great. The collection tub is small so it does need to be emptied according to how much dust, hair and sand you track in. Occasionally you need to check hair, string, etc. that might wrap around the brushes. She seems to like it just fine and never had a concern for damaging the floors. I understand the the batteries have a limited life span but that is something that is expected in todays technology. But some aftermarket batteries are better than the original. That being said we have yet to replace a battery.

Since we have 3 cats I still like to sweep the floors once in awhile with a rice straw broom to catch all the dust bunnies that might fly away from the Roomba as it circulates the floors.

Cheers!
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:15 PM   #13
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Question: What happens if after the Roomba has learned the room layout, you move a big chunk of furniture it could not go under. Will it discover the previous unreachable areas are now reachable?
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:56 PM   #14
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Question: What happens if after the Roomba has learned the room layout, you move a big chunk of furniture it could not go under. Will it discover the previous unreachable areas are now reachable?
Yes. I think it just uses bumpers to figure out where it can and cannot reach within the area you have confined it. So, moving furniture, pet beds, suitcases, etc. are not a problem.
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:19 PM   #15
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I've posted this before, but will do it again as a TMI PSA. Roombas are great, although if you have a lot of pet hair you have to clean them every day. However, don't use them around old dogs with continence problems. You don't want to experience coming home to a house where the dog had diarrhea and the Roomba spread it all over the house. Take my word for it.
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:23 PM   #16
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We have 1200 square feet of hardwood floors and the Mint has been a worthwhile investment. Keeping our floors clean and lustrous is a daily chore. I'm always shocked at how much dust, cat hair, and grime the mint picks up because we use it almost daily. It comes with dry sweeper cloths and a textured mopping cloth. We bought an extra set so we now have four dusters and two mop cloths. First you run the duster, then you attach the wet mop cloth (water with a dab of vinegar works great). The process is slow, but thorough.

The mint has one achilles heel - the short battery life. We get about two "runs" out of each charge, which is enough to clean about 2/3 of our condo. So if we want to do all the floors, (sweep and Mop) here is what it looks like.

1. Charge it.
2. Attach duster and let it run.
3. Change duster, place on opposite side of the condo, let it run.
4. Charge it. (5-6 hours)
5. Attach duster and do the bathrooms.
6. Attach wet cloth and mop.
7. Change mop cloth.
8. Charge it 5-6 hours.
9. Final mop.

So on the one hand, this is a pain. It is faster to sweep and mop by hand! On the other hand if you get into a rhythm of running the little sucker 3-4 days a week while you are doing other things, it will keep your floors looking lovely. It does a great job of doing corners and going under furniture, it does nothing for carpet.

The added bonus was watching the cats follow it from room to room and watch it work for the first week. Now they just give it the stink eye if it disturbs them

Hope this helps.

SIS

PS: Use a 20% off bed bath & beyond coupon if you can.
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:46 PM   #17
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We have 1200 square feet of hardwood floors and the Mint has been a worthwhile investment. Keeping our floors clean and lustrous is a daily chore. I'm always shocked at how much dust, cat hair, and grime the mint picks up because we use it almost daily. It comes with dry sweeper cloths and a textured mopping cloth. We bought an extra set so we now have four dusters and two mop cloths. First you run the duster, then you attach the wet mop cloth (water with a dab of vinegar works great). The process is slow, but thorough.
Thanks for the detailed information. I did look at the Mint since it is $100 cheaper than the Roomba at Costco. Since I also have carpet I am going with a machine that does carpet and wood though the wood is my main reason for getting it.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:17 PM   #18
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We have been using Roomba's for about 5 or 6 years now. They are expensive but do a good job and are very quiet and automatic. Just touch one button and walk away while it cleans the room(s).
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:26 PM   #19
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We have been using Roomba's for about 5 or 6 years now. They are expensive but do a good job and are very quiet and automatic. Just touch one button and walk away while it cleans the room(s).
Ditto. I've had to refurbish them occasionally -- replace various parts and to a THOROUGH cleaning but once that is done, they work very well

The thing I like most is that they force me to reduce clutter and stay tidy because they will get trapped on socks, papers, rubber bands or anything laying on the floor.
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:52 PM   #20
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It should be noted that due to the drive belt for the wheels on a roomba, that oriental style rugs (ones with fringes) don't go with a roomba, the fringe tends to get caught up in between the drive belt and the wheels, and pieces of it get pulled off the rug. (More than an ordinary vaccuum does all be it some fringe gets pulled off by the beater bar).
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