I would never eat off my floors. There’s always that person you know, and friends declare, “Her house is so clean you could eat off her floors.” I am not that person.
I have a dog, a cat, and a five-year-old, all of whose sole mission in life appears to be trekking as much dirt and debris as possible across the wood floors of our little ranch-style house. Since moving there a year ago, there’s only one time that anyone’s ever bothered to wash the floors. Why? Because there’s so much of it. And honestly, at present being 8 months pregnant, the idea of wrestling with a nasty mop and a bucket throughout the house really isn’t something I relish, even if it does mean getting things clean.
So when I was asked to try out the iRobot Scooba 390, from the fine folks that brought us the Roomba (we have an old Roomba Red we named “Tony Blair”), I was pretty jazzed. See, it isn’t that I don’t want clean floors. It’s that I work full-time and have a certain distaste for doing work that will never be justified in the long run. Honestly, how long can those floors even stay clean in this house?
The iRobot Scooba 390 (whom we’ve nicknamed “David Cameron”) is sleek and simple, a look that’s defined these little automatic cleaners since they first appeared on the market. In fact, at first glance I wondered if it was even possible that such a simple-looking machine could do one of my most hated jobs — and not just on wood floors, but on linoleum as well. It doesn’t hurt that the gray blue stylings make it look like something out of Portal, I should add.
A feature I liked from the get-go was the whole “no sweeping required” angle. My husband Michael and I did a quick pass with the vacuum, however, since it had been some time since we’d done a thorough clean (and with a long-haired cat and a perpetually shedding dog, we didn’t want to start it off with an unfair disadvantage). We followed the rest of the directions, which are pretty straightforward: add the enzymatic cleaner and water to the tank, replace the tank, position the robot, and let it go (after removing chairs and things, as per usual, though it’s smart enough to go around them).
Both Michael and I stood and watched for ten minutes as the Scooba proceeded to make little circles and swirls, sweeping, cleaning, and washing our kitchen/living/dining room (it’s all one space of contiguous flooring). It was impressive, and I joked that it got into corners I never could with a mop. And it never uses dirty water: while the tank is small, which is nice to save water, it still removes up to 98% of household bacteria. It even squeegee-dries the floor once its done, a step I never bother to take when washing floors by myself.
With a little one on the way, I’ve got to say that the robot is a welcome addition to the household by taking away one of my least favorite chores in the world and doing it better than I ever would. While the price tag is a little hefty for some budgets — this model is $499 — there is a great benefit in having clean floors whenever you need them, without having to rearrange your day. Special bonus? The enzymatic cleaner isn’t full of harsh chemicals, and is safe around pets and kids. Peace of mind is certainly hard to quantify. The bottom line is that my floor will be more clean, far more often than otherwise, and done so with way less work on my part.
Overall, I was very impressed with the iRobot Scooba 390. It saves water, saves time, and is full of geeky advances. We’re one step closer to Rosie the Robot, even if she is a lot shorter than I imagined. (The only improvement I could think of is if it could play “Still Alive” after it was finished cleaning the floor…) Maybe I won’t be eating off my floors, exactly, but I’ll feel better about the kids running around on it and not worrying when they’ve inevitably made a mess.
Additional stats from the company:
- Intuitive design – Scooba 390 has updated design features that make the robot even easier to use; all parts that need to be cleaned or maintained are clearly marked with grey and orange call-outs
- Powerful four-stage cleaning system – Scooba 390 preps, washes, scrubs, then squeegee-vacuums the dirty water, a sequence that never reuses dirty water and removes up to 98% of common household bacteria
- iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology – Scooba 390’s advanced system of software and sensors allows it to clean more of your room, more thoroughly, making multiple passes over every section of floor. Scooba 390 selects from dozens of robotic behaviors more than 60 times per second to ensure optimized coverage.
- Extended Life Power Management – Scooba 390 features Extended Life Power Management to deliver longer battery life than previous Scooba models
- Cliff detection sensors – Scooba 390 automatically avoids stairs and other drop offs
- Virtual wall technology – iRobot’s room confinement system allows Scooba to stay in the rooms you want it to clean and out of the ones you don’t
Disclosure: GeekDad received a review unit of the iRobot Scooba 390.