Buying Time with Smart Home Cleaners

Home & Garden

August 24, 2018 3 min read

Overhead photo of iBraava jet robot mopper and ILIFE robot vacuum
These two are such a huge help around the house...they let me spend more time on the important stuff 😍

Last year while we were still living in Albuquerque, we decided to hire my in-law's housekeepers to clean the apartment once a week. We both had full time jobs and commutes, and spending time on housework seemed like a waste of time. They were much more affordable than hiring a cleaning service, and every Wednesday after work we'd come home to those wonderful vacuum lines in the carpet and a clean and organized house. It was a luxury once enjoyed we didn't want to give up.

Early this year, we moved to Austin, Texas. We didn't know anyone in the area, so similar referrals weren't an option. If we wanted someone to come in and clean once a week, it would be prohibitively expensive.

So we started cleaning the house ourselves again. Our Saturdays were mainly spent doing laundry, cleaning the litter box, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, cleaning toilets and tubs, and wiping down surfaces, along with the usual dishes. We didn't have much of a weekend after all that and a nap. Maybe some of you are much faster cleaners than we are!

When our vacuum stopped working, we decided to try out a robotic vacuum. We went for the ILIFE A4S which we got on sale at $140, much less than an iRobot Roomba would have cost. It lacks WiFi/app features or a virtual wall, but otherwise works great without the high price tag.

It runs for about two hours before needing a charge, so it can't quite finish the entire apartment in one run. After it charges for a couple of hours, I get it going again.

It saved us so much time that within a couple of months I bought a mopper to complement it. I went for the iRobot Braava jet 240, a dedicated mopper (rather than a hybrid) that comes with a few disposable mopping pads that can be swapped out for some that are washable and reusable. I got it for about $170.

The mopper has a virtual wall and an app, that I don't use much. I frequently like to have it mop the floor twice, especially in the second bathroom that belongs to the cat. If not run twice, it can cover the two bathrooms and the kitchen on one charge; otherwise, I need to charge the battery before it can finish everything. Unlike the vacuum robot, it doesn't have a docking station but rather a removable rechargable battery.

Now, Friday is my favorite day of the workweek, and not just because it's the last work day. During my lunch hour, I get the robots to work, vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping, while I do the dishes and wipe down dusty surfaces.

By the time our work days are over and my husband comes home, the house is clean except for the bathrooms. Cleaning the toilets and tubs are still a Saturday job for us, along with laundry (yay for in-unit laundry machines!). But it is no longer a marathon job.

Starting the weekend off with a clean house is wonderful, and so much more relaxing. I can ease into the weekend with a restful Friday, maybe even grab a dry cider and some chicken wings without thinking about how much housework I will need to tackle over the weekend.

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