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Friday, August 26, 2011

Alternative cleaning solutions for the Scooba

I realize my blog is titled "ramblings on cast iron" and not "ramblings on floor cleaning", but I decided to deviate for a minute.

This is a Scooba, which is an automatic floor scrubber.

I have "almost whole house" ceramic tile, so I got one.

One of the main complaints is about the proprietary cleaning solution.

It's not only expensive; it doesn't clean.

There used to be a "clorox" solution, which did clean very well. That solution was discontinued and is now VERY expensive.

Now there's this "natural enzyme cleaner", which is environmentally friendly and useless.

But the problem is, you can't use just ANY cleaner in the Scooba!

Some contain oil that can clog it up.

Some leave a sticky residue inside, which will ruin it.

Some will cause it to not start at all.

Some contain bleach or ammonia, which will dissolve the internal rubber parts.

After some extensive online research, and after trying a few of the suggestions myself, here are my recommendations:

Each of these solutions must be diluted with water; the tank holds approximately 1 quart.

Some solutions are 1.5 oz per tank, and some are HALF oz per tank.

1. Armstrong tile and vinyl floor cleaner, which is blue, and available at Wal-mart. 1.5 oz per tank.

2. Mr. Clean multi-surface anti bacterial*, which is yellow, available at Lowe's. HALF oz per tank.

*IMPORTANT! Be sure you use the kind WITHOUT Febreeze or Gain. Just plain Mr. Clean.

3. Proforce no rinse floor cleaner, which is pink, and sold only at Sam's. HALF oz per tank.

4. Fabuloso*, in different colors, available at Wal-mart. 1.5 oz per tank.

*Be sure you use the kind WITHOUT bleach or OXY.

5. Simple green*, which is green of course, available at Wal-mart. HALF oz per tank.

*Lemon scented simple green also works.

6. Ajax fresh*, which is green, available at Wal-mart. 1.5 oz per tank.

*Not regular Ajax-- Ajax fresh, WITHOUT ammonia or bleach.

7. Spic and Span, which is orange, available at Wal-mart. HALF oz per tank.

You may also find those products (except the Proforce) in your local grocery store.

If I find any others, I'll let you know.

Apparently there's a special Mr. Clean Finished Floor cleaner, only available at Sam's, that is "safe for automatic floor scrubbers".

I have not tried that one, since it's not at my local Sam's, and I've found plenty of others to use.

Using alternative solutions does void your warranty, so please be cautious.

I'm just giving you the ones I've personally tested and know to work, and others have reported using for an extended time without damage.

Keep in mind, my scooba is regular sized; I don't have the smaller 230, and never will. So I cannot know, if these are OK for a 230 or not.

Personally, I don't recommend the smaller one. The regular sized one is more robust and does a better job cleaning.


  1. Great post.
    The "Mr. Clean Finished Floor cleaner" is aimed at janitorial applications with power cleaners. Not necessarily compatible with little pumps and flexible gaskets.
    Would also stay away from the "Mr. Clean multi-surface anti-bacterial" because often anti-bacterial means a bleach.

    Will try your "ProForce® No Rinse Floor Cleaner" suggestion. Like it because it is compatible with sealed wood floors like the Clorox formula(and that I have).

    A clue!
    Someone has determined that "Polysorbate 20 and tetrapotassium EDTA are the primary ingredients of the Clorox cleaning solution ." At least according to Wikipedia.

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    There isn't any bleach in regular Mr Clean anti bacterial, according to the back label, "contains no chlorine bleach or ammonia."

    It's one of the more common alternatives mentioned on the forums. The VERY IMPORTANT point they emphasize, is to use the kind WITHOUT febreze or gain!

    Use whichever alternative you're most comfortable with; there are several to choose from.

    I haven't tried the finished floor cleaner, and I do appreciate the heads up about it being aimed at large power cleaners.

  3. Pine sol is NOT recommended because it's thick and can clog up the tiny orifices.

  4. Thanks for the info. I was completely unaware the scooba clorox solution was discontinued bc i bought a big bottle then we moved and wound up living in a fema trailer for 4 years (uggg) and i just emptied my bottle and was looking for the product.