Scooba Robot

With the huge success of the Roomba, iRobot turned its mind to another task. How about washing kitchen and bathroom floors? Here's a chore that should be done weekly - but in many households it barely gets done once a month. What if a little Roomba like robot could handle floor washing chores?

Scooba Photo The Scooba came out with great fanfare in 2006. We bought one quickly, as we are so fond of our Roomba units. It was hard waiting overnight for it to fully charge before we gave it a run through. We carefully filled it up with the right amount of cleaning solution and water, and hit the clean button. It said 'check tank'. We did this a few times, then started hunting on Google for "check tank scooba". Voila - this happens with ALL Scoobas, because you have to prime the tank. It's simple to do - but surely they should have explained this in the manual! Once we primed the tank, it worked PERFECTLY.

Priming the Scooba Pump

Roomba owners will find that the Scooba seems to move "slowly" - but there's a reason for this. In a single pass it has to lay out the cleaner, scrub, suck it back up again, and dry it a little. It's not like it does one pass to put out the cleaner and then another pass to clean it up. It's all done at one time, on one pass.

The Scooba uses the same random-movement technique to eventually hit all areas of the floor. The floor isn't 100% perfectly dry when it does a pass - but neither is your floor dry if you use regular mops. You have to wait for it to air dry. We found that this dried more quickly than when we do it by hand - when it finished with one area and moved on to another, the first section was dry in about 5 minutes, so before the Scooba had even finished its full run.

We were very impressed with how clean it got. My boyfriend walks around barefoot and could notice the difference immediately. It's a round unit, so it can't get into corners, and for a super-baked-on stain it didn't get it all up until a second pass. But heck, the purpose of this thing is to take care of the general cleaning of your floors. You're still going to do certain things manually, like pick up a soup bowl when it spills :) It's just like with the Roomba vaccuum - the fact that my Roomba goes around the carpet every day, picking up all the general stuff, means my carpets look great on a daily basis when I wake up with no work at all on my part. I still do steam clean them once a month or so, to get up the more ground in stuff. But that cuts my chore load WAY down, to have the daily work done.

Not that we're running the Scooba daily! Once a week seems plenty for a kitchen floor for me. If you're a clean freak and want to do it daily, have at it. We all have different levels of cleanliness we like to maintain.

It's not silent - it's about 74db according to our sound meter. That's less than many vacuum cleaners, but you do need to be aware that like any machine that sucks in air, you're going to hear it.

The unit takes their cleaner or vinegar, so if you don't feel like buying their cleaner, you have an option. You can't dump just any cleaner into the unit, because most cleaners are meant to be rinsed out with water afterwards. This one is a one step process so it's different - the cleaner goes on and then is sucked up. There's no "rinse" stage. That seems reasonable to me, that you have to buy a cleaner meant to be used in that manner.

Downsides? Well, the not-get-into-square-corners issue, but to be honest I don't know how you could fix that. If you made a smaller Scooba it wouldn't be able to clean a large area. If you made a square Scooba it would get stuck in spots. I think they did the best they could, and humans still need to do a few detail items to help out. That seems like a fine situation to me, to have a Scooba do most of the work!

Highly recommended.

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