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Floor cleaner buying guide: How to find the best floor cleaner for you

With the right floor cleaner, you can get sparkling results on just about any surface.

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Key facts about floor cleaner:

  • Whether you're giving your kitchen floor a quick mopping or planning to clean the whole house from top to bottom, a quality floor cleaner can make your life easier.
  • There are several types available depending on the material your floor is made out of.

Whether you're giving your kitchen floor a quick mopping or planning to clean the whole house from top to bottom, a quality floor cleaner can make your life easier.

A clean floor looks great and is a crucial part of a healthy home, but choosing a floor cleaner can be a challenging task. Whether you're looking for a tile, hardwood, laminate or multi-surface cleaner, this guide will take you through the key features you need to consider.

Keep reading to find out how to buy the best floor cleaner for your home.

Compare some of the best floor cleaners

Data obtained December 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Average Price (AUD) Size/s Solubility Physical description & colour Odour Purchase today
Glitz Sugar Soap
Glitz Sugar Soap
$21
750mL
Completely soluble in water
Clear blue liquid
Citrus
The Glitz Sugar Soap is designed for tough stains.
Clorox Handy Andy General Purpose And Floor Cleaner Pink 5L
Clorox Handy Andy General Purpose And Floor Cleaner Pink 5L
$23.95
5L
Completely soluble in water
Pink, slightly viscous opaque liquid.
Mild citrus
The Clorox Handy Andy General Purpose And Floor Cleaner comes in a large 5L size and is suitable for hard surfaces including floors and benchtops.
Long Life Mop & Glo
Long Life Mop & Glo
$24.30
1L, 5L
Completely soluble in water.
Opaque pink liquid
Lavender
The Long Life Mop & Glo is an all-in-one cleaner and polisher.
Natures Organic Earth Choice Floor & Surface Cleaner
Natures Organic Earth Choice Floor & Surface Cleaner
$26.99
1L
Readily soluble
Clear pale blue-green slightly viscous liquid
Eucalyptus
The Natures Organic Earth Choice Floor & Surface Cleaner is made from plant-based materials and 100% recycled plastic.
Selleys Tile Floor Cleaner
Selleys Tile Floor Cleaner
$27.95
750mL
Miscible with water
Colourless liquid
Pine
The Selleys Tile Floor Cleaner cleans dirt and grime on tile without leaving behind streak marks.
Long Life Timber Floor Cleaner
Long Life Timber Floor Cleaner
$29.99
500ml, 1L, 5L
Completely soluble in water
Clear colourless liquid
Lavender ice
The Long Life Timber Floor Cleaner leaves behind a protective film to protect timber from future damage and decay.
Selleys Multi Surface Floor Cleaner
Selleys Multi Surface Floor Cleaner
$29.99
750ml
Miscible with water
Colourless liquid
Pine
The Selleys Multi Surface Floor Cleaner is antibacterial for more hygienic cleaning.
Simple Green Floor Cleaner
Simple Green Floor Cleaner
$32.95
946mL
100% in water
Hazy Colorless Liquid
Citrus
The Simple Green Floor Cleaner is a non-toxic and biodegradable product.
Long Life Tile Cleaner
Long Life Tile Cleaner
$39.99
500ml, 1L, 5L
Completely soluble in water.
Clear colourless liquid
Lavender ice
The Long Life Tile Cleaner is designed to clean and extend the lifespan of a wide range of tiles.
Glitz Hardwood Floor Cleaner
Glitz Hardwood Floor Cleaner
$41.95
750mL
Completely soluble in water
Clear, colourless liquid
Lemon
The Glitz Hardwood Floor Cleaner works on hardwood and laminate floors and can be used with a dry mop.
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What is a floor cleaner?

Before going any further, we should point out that the floor cleaners compared in this guide are for use on hard floor surfaces. These are products you use to remove dirt, grease and grime from surfaces like tile and timber floors, and you usually need to apply them with a mop or a spray bottle.

If you're looking for ways to clean carpet flooring, check out our guide to the best carpet stain removers.

What types are available?

floor cleaner types
The main way to distinguish between the different types of floor cleaners is to look at the surfaces they clean. For example, some products are for use on timber or hardwood floors, offering safe and effective cleaning for these materials.

Hardwood floors in particular can be quite difficult to clean, as harsh chemicals can potentially strip the finish from the surface. As a result, a good hardwood floor cleaner needs to be gentle enough to use without damaging the look of your floorboards, but still powerful enough to remove dirt and other gunk.

Other products suit tile floors and laminate floors. For example, tile cleaners cut through dirt and grime (including in the grout) without leaving behind streaks or a greasy finish.

Then there are multi-surface floor cleaners, which you can use across a wide range of hard floor surfaces. Many products are liquids that you will need to dilute with water and then use a mop to distribute it one the floor, but there are other products that you can spray directly onto the floor and then wipe or rinse them away.

Whichever floor cleaning product you choose, read the label closely to make sure it's safe to use on your chosen surface and for the type of cleaning you have planned.

How to compare floor cleaners

Rather than just buying the first floor cleaner you find on the supermarket shelf, it's worth comparing your options to find a product that's right for you. Along with the type of surface you want to clean, you'll also need to consider the following:

Type of cleaning

Check the label to find out exactly what sort of cleaning a product does – for example, while you can use some for routine everyday cleaning, others are for specific tasks, such as removing mould and mildew stains, getting rid of scuff marks or polishing stone and tile flooring.

Ease of use

Check the instructions on the label to find out how quick and easy it is to apply the cleaner. Does it come in a spray bottle or will you need to mix it with water and apply it with a mop? Will you need to rinse the surface after application or wipe it clean with a damp cloth? Are the instructions simple and straightforward to ensure that you don't make any mistakes when diluting a cleaner with water?

Smell

A freshly disinfected floor can have an overpowering odour, and products with chemicals tend to have a harsher scent than chemical-free cleaners.

If possible, give any product a sniff before you buy. You may also want to check out some reviews from other users to see if the pleasant citrus scent promised on a label is actually what the product smells like in real life.

Performance

Take a look at some independent customer reviews online to find out what sort of experience other users have had with the product. What were the cleaner's pros and cons? Would they recommend it to others?

Safe to use

If you've got children or pets at home, you won't want to expose them to any harmful chemicals when cleaning. There are several products that are non-toxic and safe to use around children and pets as well as hypoallergenic options for those with allergies. If strong chemicals are present in a product, the manufacturer may recommend using gloves and a mask during application.

To find out the exact composition of a cleaning product, take a look at the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which you can usually find on the manufacturer's or seller's website. This includes information about any hazardous substances included in a product and any health hazards they may pose.

Biodegradable

If you're an environmentally conscious person, look for a product that claims to be chemical-free and biodegradable. Once again, the Material Safety Data Sheet will inform you exactly what substances are present in a cleaning solution.

Antibacterial

There are plenty of cleaners that take care of the dirt and mess you can see, but what about the germs you can't? A floor cleaner with antibacterial properties can help rid your home of these nasties.

Size

Most floor cleaners come in 500mL, 750mL or 1L sizes, but some brands are available in 5L tubs for those who prefer to buy in bulk. However, make sure you're aware whether a product is a concentrate (which means you will need to dilute it with water) or is ready to use, as this will affect how much use you'll get out of one bottle. Check the label for any guide to the amount of surface area you can expect to clean with the bottle's contents.

Price

Comparing floor cleaner prices can be a little difficult due to the variety of capacities available, so make sure you consider the size of the bottle so you can compare the cost per litre across different brands. As a rough guide, most floor cleaners cost somewhere between $2 and $10 per litre.

Which floor cleaner is best for me?

The best floor cleaner for you really depends on the type of cleaning you're doing – what surfaces are you working on, is it a general clean or are you targeting specific stains, and how much are you willing to spend?

Once you know what you need, you can compare the prices and features of suitable products. To help make the comparison process a little easier, we've weighed up the pros and cons of five popular floor cleaners in the table below:

The goodThe bad
Clorox Handy Andy General Purpose And Floor Cleaner Pink 5L
  • Comes in 5L size
  • Can also be used on benchtops
  • Some users want more cleaning power
  • May not be completely effective on stubborn stains
Selleys Multi Surface Floor Cleaner
  • Solid all-rounder
  • Antibacterial
  • Not biodegradable
  • Can't be used on stone or on scratched/worn wooden surfaces
Glitz Hardwood Floor Cleaner
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for hardwood and laminate floors
  • Pricey
  • Must wipe surface clean with damp mop after application
Earth Choice Floor & Surface Cleaner
  • Affordable
  • Plant-based ingredients
  • Not as effective as some other products
  • Some users complain of sticky residue
Long Life Tile Cleaner
  • Antibacterial
  • No rinsing required
  • Not biodegradable
  • Not as effective as some other products

Hard floor cleaners and steam mops

If you want to wave goodbye to your old-fashioned mop and bucket for good, a specialist hard floor cleaner might be the answer. Available in corded or cordless form, these appliances look much like a regular upright vacuum but allow you to wash, scrub, dry and vacuum hard floors. Prices range from around $100 to $500.

Another option you may want to consider to bring the shine back to your floors is a steam mop. These increasingly popular appliances allow you to use steam cleaning power on a wide range of surfaces, so check out our steam mop buying guide for more information.

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