How to Keep a Dark Tile Floor Looking Great Even With Pets

Even if you or your pets shed 24/7 — here’s how you can control the tumble-hairs from taking over every square inch of your floor.

Image for post
Photo by FWStudio from Pexels

“Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.” ~Unknown

Two-and-a-half years ago, my husband and I completed an extensive remodel. It was long past time to do something. The house was over 17 years old — practically a senior citizen among California homes.

At the time when we originally purchased our house, we kept the upgrades to a bare minimum. As it was, we were stretched a bit too far so we kept the upgrades to things like a ‘quieter’ dishwasher and ‘birch’ cabinets — nothing too crazy. We told ourselves, “We’ll make the changes we want in the future.”

Seventeen years flew by in a flash. During that time we added two more kids, a cat, a hamster, a couple of fish, and two dogs.

What we did not add was upgrades.

Initially, my husband and I didn’t want to walk down the path of remodeling. We didn’t want the hassle. Plus, truth be told, our tastes are completely different and we take forever to make a final decision on things you’d think would be easy to select like towels.

What I think is cool, he thinks is tacky.

What he thinks is acceptable, I think is boring.

I might be a bit more modern in my taste, and he might be a bit more conventional in his. Either way, we rarely see eye-to-eye on changing anything in the house, and I do mean anything.

Knowing what we know to be true about ourselves, we originally set out to find a new-to-us resale home, but after viewing ten or so homes it appeared there were a fair amount of people out there with terrible taste — do-it-yourselfer flunkies lacking basic home improvement skills, and HGTV-watchers gone rogue.

We also noticed too many houses in the exact same sorry state as ours — needing upgrading and desperately.


My husband and I finally made the decision to remodel. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but we knew we were never going to find the perfect resale home since our wish-list was ridiculously long and unrealistic in our price range.

We hired an interior designer and she went to work on our plans. Did I mention she had to come up with 16 layouts? And then we ended up sticking with the original footprint after all that work. That poor designer should have been paid double.

After a lot of false starts and ridiculous quotes, we got the final blueprint of our dreams.

I was ecstatic with all our choices and my husband was about 50% happy with everything but we both agreed we loved the floor we chose.

The new floor is a faux wood tile floor. It looks so much like wood that everyone who walks through our front door asks if they should remove their shoes.

But, nah, no shoe removal necessary.

After the remodel was complete, and my family moved back in, everything in the new-to-us-house was humming along beautifully until I realized that the lovely new floor showed every single human hair, skin flake, crumb, and worst of all, the never ending pet hair from the nonstop shedding Labradoodle, Tuxedo cat, and mini-poodle mix. If the fish could have survived outside of water, I’m sure their scales would have shown, too.

Every time we opened a door and a gust of wind came in, the human hairs and the dog hairs would bind together and become little balls of tumble-hairs scurrying to find a corner.

What I know for sure is our old tile floor must’ve been really, really dirty, and full of dog hair but we didn’t know it because it was a much lighter Tuscan tile that didn’t show anything. Ignorance is sometimes truly bliss!

I began my quest in search of the perfect daily (yes, daily) tile floor tool to use to control the tumble-hairs, dust, skin flakes, etc.

I decided that the top six things my new tool must be were:

  1. lightweight,
  2. easy to use,
  3. wouldn’t hurt my back,
  4. easy to store,
  5. relatively easy to find replacement pads, if necessary, and
  6. inexpensive.

After seeing a ton of commercials on TV promising all my above requirements would be met, I bought a Swiffer, but it truly fell short of expectations in my house.

My tile floor has small grout lines, and the Swiffer pad kept getting snagged on them and falling off. I had to constantly bend over and reattach the pad. I tried different ways to Swiffer but it always ended up the same — the pad on the floor and me bending over to put it back on.

And because we have over 1,200 square feet of tile, not only was I supremely frustrated but I was blowing through Swiffer refill pads at an alarming rate. Talk about expensive!

My Swiffer currently sits in a corner of the garage while I figure out what to do with it. Donate? Leave it outside with a cardboard sign on it?

My husband got in on the treasure hunt for the perfect tile floor cleaning tool, and brought home a microfiber broom for ‘us’ to try. The microfiber broom is kind of like the Swiffer but all the hair collects on a dry fabric pad that can be removed and washed. This purchase was a partial success. The only issue with the microfiber broom was finding a place to get rid of the pet hair.

Initially, the solution I came up with for the removal of hair from the pad was going out to my backyard and banging the broom on the metal fence. A plume of hair, dust, and crumbs filled the air. Oftentimes, the debris floated back to my face. It’s hard not to look like a person who belongs in a trailer park while one bangs a broom against the bars on a backyard fence. I was only missing a duster (a word my grandma used for the zippered dress she cleaned in) and my hair in pink curlers with a burning cigarette hanging from my lips.

My husband didn’t like this solution because I was sending our dogs’ hair into the neighbors’ yards AND making a lot of noise. What would the neighbors think??

The solution of heading to the fence every time the microfiber pad was full negated the number two item on my wish list of ‘tool must haves.’ The daily dusting of the floor sent me out to the fence at least five times per pet hair abatement session.

I finally admitted defeat and gave up on number six on my tool wish list. I bought the Dyson Animal after reading the online reviews and haven’t regretted the purchase for one second.

Every time I empty the chamber after vacuuming my floor, I’m astonished at the amount of dirt, dust, dog hair, cat hair, and whatever else is lying on the floor that this thing picks up. It truly makes me wonder how I’ve lived in a Dyson-free home this long.

The Dyson is very easy to use and it turns on a dime. Although I didn’t enjoy the initial cash outlay, I’ve certainly gotten a lot of use out of the vacuum cleaner and it is worth every penny, especially since it easily goes from area rug to tile floor without missing a beat. Plus, there is nothing else to buy since the Dyson Animal is bag-less— I empty the chamber after each use, and it’s ready to go the next time I need it.

Because it’s a vacuum cleaner, I still have all the annoyances associated with a plugged in machine but having the floor look nice for an hour (my dogs shed a lot) is worth it.

For the weekly floor washing, I (again) searched and searched for the perfect mop. I couldn’t use a roller mop nor a sponge mop — not only because of the grout lines but because of the sheer volume of area that is covered by tile. By the time my kitchen floor was washed, I was bored and sore and I still had the rest of the downstairs to do.

Once again I was searching for a rainbow unicorn in the form of a mop. It wasn’t as easy a task as you’d expect, but I finally found something after numerous false starts, and far too many purchases. I discovered the O-Cedar Easy Wring Microfiber Spin Mop. I never thought I would love to mop the floor but the O-Cedar makes it fast and fun!

When it is time to wash the floor, I first vacuum with the Dyson Animal — there’s no way around this step. After I’m done vacuuming, I turn on the faucet and let the very hot water fill nearly to the line in the O-Cedar bucket. When the water is where I want it to be, I turn off the spigot, and then add Bona Stone, Tile, and Laminate Cleaner.

Bona is the only cleaner I use on my floor — other cleaners have left marks, and I’m not certain of the reason. The floor I have is supposed to handle anything dumped on it, but it’s truly the fussiest tile I’ve ever met.

After the Bona has been added to the water, I simply drop the mop into the water, swish it around a couple times to get some cleaner on it, and then move the mop over to the drying chamber. I place my foot on the peddle located on the outside of the bucket, give it a few pumps to make the wheel spin, and it removes excess water from the mop head.

I get to decide how wet my floor gets!

Sometimes when I get bored (total ADD), I pump the pedal until the mop is practically dry. I know, I know, it’s stupid since I have to keep some water on the mop in order to clean the floor, but it’s kind of fun listening to the noise the drying chamber makes.

The O-Cedar Easy Wring Microfiber Spin mop is so easy to use, and like I said, FUN. Whoever says that mopping isn’t fun has never used this kind of mop before. I bet even kids would love to use this mop, although you might want to put some rules in place prior to them getting their hands on it. I can see the potential for very wet ceilings and walls.

One thing missing from my O-Cedar Easy Wring Mop is the bucket lacks wheels which would allow for easier movement from one dirty spot to the next.

If my O-Cedar bucket wears out (doubtful), I’m definitely buying another, but I hope it has wheels (dare to dream!).

The only problem I have with how things turned out is that although I originally wanted an easier daily solution, what I got instead was an effective solution for my purposes: making the floor appear as clean as possible as easily as possible while still allowing my pets to keep the hair on their bodies.

Well, there you have it — the solution to the problem of having pets while trying to maintain a dark floor from someone who has tried everything so you won’t have to!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and buy the product(s) I recommend, I will receive a small commission; however, I only recommend products I actually use, love, and believe in.

The commission I receive is paid by the company and not by you.

Far more interesting internally than externally. I write to quiet the voices. Deleted Facebook & Twitter thereby immediately quieting 1000’s of voices.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store