Strange IndiaStrange India

The white tiles in the living area of my home are an abomination: I track in dirt from the garden constantly, my dog is forever bursting through the doggie door with muddy glee, and I seem to cook with the spirit of Ratatouille, absentmindedly splashing food all about. I find myself in constant pursuit of cleaning tools that will make my home seem like less of a disaster, and as a result, I’ve bought an embarrassing number of devices that promised to truly scrub my floor clean.

Among them, I’ve tried the Hoover SpinScrub (a precursor to this model), various steam cleaners, many tonics and potions, and even your plain old handheld scrub brush, because it finally seemed that every product that promised to really scrub away serious dirt on your tiles paled in comparison to just getting down and scrubbing the floor yourself. But one night while perusing a Home Depot ad, I saw it: It gleamed bright yellow, and it promised to answer all my problems. And it actually lived up to that promise.

This is the best floor scrubber

The best floor scrubber is the Ryobi Telescoping Power Scrubber. Just look at it. It is quite literally a cordless powerhouse. Although it comes with a medium hard brush, you can also buy soft and hard brush heads for it. Ostensibly, it’s for scrubbing your car or boat exterior, perhaps your roof or house siding.

But if you’re looking for clean tile, there is nothing on the market like this tool.

How a non-expert (me) uses a power scrubber on floors

I use the medium hardness brush, and I work the floor in sections, with a spray bottle of water in one hand, a container of Bar Keepers Friend, and a towel. (The only advantage that more traditional floor scrubbers have is their onboard water source. The Ryobi power scrubber has none of that, but to me, that’s a non-issue given the way it performs.)

The towel is on the floor, and I stand on it. You spray the floor in front of you, sprinkle it with Bar Keepers Friend, and then go to town with your scrubber. As you move forward, keep the towel under your feet, using it to mop up any water as you go. When you get to the end of the hall or room, you may need to give the wall trim a quick wipe for any splatter, but it’s pretty minimal.

The upside of this is incredibly satisfyingly clean tile. Every groove, every niche is clean. The downside is that you’ve likely taken off any sealer on the tile, so that might be worth refreshing with a sealer, which is easy enough. (You can even do so with the scrubber by swapping the head for one of the soft heads like the microfiber cloth.) In between serious cleanings, you can skip the Bar Keepers Friend and use water alone or a mopping solution, but really, the scrubber is doing the majority of the work.

Maintaining the Ryobi Power Scrubber

To wash the scrubber, you disconnect the head and throw it in the dishwasher. Disconnect the battery and recharge it. I can even use one of my smaller 1.5 volt batteries with the scrubber and get a full house clean at once.

People tend to be loyalists when they get into a line of tools. If they start with Makita, they’ll stick with it, and DeWalt folks are die-hards. Like a lot of people, I started with Ryobi because of the price point and its absurdly wide selection of tools in the cordless series. I’ve stuck with the line because I genuinely have a lot of success with it as I’ve grown my collection. I find the batteries stay well charged (and I haven’t had one die yet). I recommend buying bare tools (without battery packs) as soon as you’ve acquired a few chargers, and only getting the higher-end batteries. I have two 4-volt batteries and I almost never find myself needing another. Ryobi has really expanded the line into a lot of consumer-friendly pieces like fans and air compressors, and it has invested in their brushless cordless linea series of tools with less likelihood of burning out your motor, while also being more powerful. All this to say, I wasn’t surprised Ryobi had a great tool solution here.

For what its worth, they also have a handheld scrubber, and if I hadn’t previously picked up some brush heads that I can just throw on my Ryobi brushless hammer drill for scrubbing smaller surfaces like sinks and bathtubs, I’d have picked it up as well.

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