Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

April 11, 2014

Reader Q: How I Get Such Shiny Wood Floors (Ha Ha)

If I had an FAQ page, one of the most-asked questions would be how I got the wood floors to gleam in the townhouse.  I never really answered this question, because I wasn't really sure. 

My readers with kids and pets, prepare to laugh . . .

Because I was trying to provide an answer, I really paid attention to my cleaning habits.  At the time, I used a dry swiffer once a week to catch dust bunnies and then I mopped with a Vileda sponge mop and Murphy's soap once a month (sometimes every six weeks).  Was this why the floors were so gleamy?

Maybe a little (Murphy's soap is awesome), but nope, not really.

Now I know the answer: we were pet-free and child-free, plus we had radiant heat instead of forced air.  Of course it's easy to make floors gleam when nobody is smearing peanut butter all over them!!

Once Szuka arrived on the scene, her smudgey little paw prints and nose prints made our wood floors much less shiny and she necessitated a weekly, not monthly, mop.  Truthfully, we could benefit from a daily mop.  Moving to the lakehouse, which boasts darker wood floors and forced air, I found I was hauling out the swiffer or mop every couple of days, and sometimes multiple times a day, to maintain any semblance of cleanliness, never mind gleamy-ness.  My system had limitations, however, and I really yearned for an itty bitty vacuum just to pick up the larger detritus Szuka tracks in.  I started sweeping up Szuka-grit using a broom left with the house, but that seemed a little 1800s.  We casually shopped for a little dust buster, and almost bought one at Costco, but online reviews revealed that the battery life was disappointing: ten minutes - twenty at best for the models I was considering.

When I was given the chance to review the Rowenta Delta Force Extreme Lithium 18V Stick Vacuum (which is new to Canada, and available in stores like Sears) - with up to 45 minutes of use on one charge - I was eager to try it, but skeptical all the same.  It's similar to their Air Force model, but with an even longer battery life.

I was instantly smitten.  First of all, it's really cute.  I know that shouldn't matter, but in a house this small, with so little storage space, it matters because there's no where out of the way to charge it.  I store it in a closet but once a week I charge it in the office or laundry room.  It's designed in France and the French must know what I love because it's teal and sleek, plus it stands upright on its own.  It also has headlights (!) which seemed like a silly feature until I realized I can see under the furniture and catch little bunnies lurking in the shadows.  It's also great in the hallway and laundry room, which get so little natural light.

It takes 6 hours to charge, but that charge really does last 45 minutes.  Of course, it's new so the battery still holds it's charge well, but I cleaned intermittently for two weeks with nary a charge.  Just in case, it's got a battery level indicator so I'm not stopped mid-task by a dead battery.  It has three settings and I usually use it on the highest because I don't have any carpet.  I have little experience with full-size vacuums, but this one seems to be impressively powerful - it sucks up dust bunnies from a few inches away.

I am loving the fact that it's cordless, and super light, because it makes cleaning so much faster.  Because it's so easy to use, I find I'm using it often for a quick maintenance clean.  Instead of reaching for a swiffer cloth (and burning through dozens a week) and then following up with a stupid broom, I just whiz by with this and pick up all the dirt in one fell swoop - it's excellent at grabbing gravel, luckily.  When it's full, it's a snap to empty and the electro brush is easy to clean too.  Here's Hubby, in the rattiest pants ever, showing us how:

CONS: There's a bit of a learning curve to work with the way it tilts and swivels to move under furniture and around obstacles.  I'm getting the hang of it, but I have never owned a proper vacuum so I'm particularly stupid in this regard.  (Okay, technically we had a clunky vacuum that the former townhouse owners left but that was short lived because it caught on fire while I was using it).  I also find that this vacuum is not the quietest thing around.  The media kit contends that Rowenta products are exceptionally quiet, and maybe they are quieter than other brands - I don't know - but I find it a bit loud.  I used to swiffer the floors while anytime I talked on the phone (I have ants in my pants), so I miss that.  In the video below, you can get a sense of the loudest setting, and how the vacuum swivels and moves.  It has a MSRP of $269.99, which isn't the cheapest vacuum around, but the company has been designing and developing household products since 1884 and has devoted 40+ years to vacuum cleaners specifically, so there is a lot of research and development behind their products.  I'd never heard of them before, but they are an industry leader in Europe, which piqued my interest!  Only time will tell, but I think there's a lot of quality behind Rowenta vacuums, which hopefully makes these a good investment.

All in all, I think it's a fabulous little vacuum, high on style, power, and easy of use.

With this new tool in my dirt-busting arsenal, I think maybe, just maybe, I might be able to keep the floors townhouse-clean.  Now I need some kind of robotic mop that just swirls around the lakehouse, cleaning up peanut butter paw prints.

Disclosure: I was provided the Delta Force Extreme Stick Vacuum for review by Rowenta, but not compensated or otherwise motivated to provide a positive review.  We have been in the market for a small, cordless vacuum for months and hadn't found one with a long-lasting battery.  This suits our purposes perfectly and not only would I purchase one of these if they took mine away (please don't!), I would certainly recommend this to friends and family.  As someone who doesn't need a big clunky vacuum, but gets frustrated with cheap little dust-busters, this is the perfect combination of quality + small size.


  1. Does it have a HEPA filter? Seems like this could make a great 2nd vacuum for our house (the downstairs) but a HEPA filter is important to me.

    1. Excellent question!! It does not, but their compact, pull behind models do.

  2. As another large dog owner, I love my Roomba - the best thing about it is I can put it to work while I am out dog walking, so I come home to a clean house. I believe they also do a mop version, they are pricey, but they really do the job and certainly in North America I have heard the customer service is excellent.

    1. A mop version would be a dream come true. Szuka runs away when I use this stick vacuum, so I thought a roomba might terrorize her, but I love your idea about turning it on when you're out for a walk. How nice not to have to even think about cleaning the floors!!

    2. Funny... Only vacumn my dog doesn't bark at is the roomba because its quieter.

  3. I think they make a Roomba in a mop version now

  4. This looks promising- I hate shopping for a good stick vac. I used to have central vac in my first house and loved it to maintain hardwood flooring. I like that this is lightweight; lugging around a vacuum is a pain and negotiated around chair legs with a cord trailing behind is a nuisance.

    1. Lugging a vacuum is a pain. My Mom had this beast of a vacuum when I was a kid and it wouldn't (usually) come apart fully. I didn't know this, though, and the first time I used it (under duress) I was so angry that I just went ahead and disassembled the whole thing after I was done. I just couldn't put it away fast enough. My Mom was stunned and flabbergasted that a kid could take apart what she couldn't. I was just so frustrated with the whole vacuuming experience (over rugs with fringe, no less) I found some sort of inner strength. Now I call that "vacuum cleaner angry".

  5. I'll have to give this a try! We're in the middle of the rainy season right now, and all the dirt my dogs are tracking in is driving me nuts! I currently use a broom to sweep it up and then a hand vac to suck up the dirt piles, but this looks like it may be easier/faster. Thanks for posting!

    :) Anne
    Rays of Rossi

    1. I was using a broom and it was so frustrating! Szuka always walked through the piles, no matter how fast I was. This is definitely much quicker and easier.

  6. Alright! I'm gonna have to give that a try. I'm not a big fan of clunky vacuums either because they take up so much space. There are times when I like to use brooms, but that looks like a promising alternative. It's going to be a big help. Thank you! :)

    Lewis Simpson


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