July 30, 2010 11:45 AM

Maybe it’s because I can’t bear to be anything like my mother, who still gets on her hands and knees every morning to sweep and scrub the floors of her house, but I can promise you that in my house, dust is collecting faster than it is being wiped away.

There they sit, my broom, my dust pan and my vacuum cleaner, in the corner there behind my refrigerator, not dancing together like in the commercials, but waiting forlornly for me to use them – which I do, I swear, just not as frequently as I would like. If only I could train my dog to do the cleaning for me …

So when a nifty cleaning robot called the Mint floor cleaner rolled into my office, I figured I had to give it a try.

The Mint is a little like the Roomba, iRobot’s vacuum cleaning device, in that it moves across a hard floor surface automatically when you turn it on. No pushing necessary. It knows when it hits walls, drop-offs and feet, and will keep adjusting to clean open spaces.

The Mint, which is slated to launch later this summer, is not like a vacuum cleaner, though, but more like a Swiffer Sweeper. It has a cleaning pad on which you can hook a microfiber cloth, disposable cleaning cloths, or wet cloths that pick up the dust and doggie debris from the floor. It comes with a blinking NorthStar cube that emits a blue light and sends a signal to the cleaning device, which beeps cheerily when it turns on, starts cleaning or switches modes.

On first use, it was hard to figure out when the Mint was ready to go, but once it started cleaning, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it. The dog found it curious, too. It was like having a little pet robot! Look at it, it just knows when to stop and when to turn, and it just keeps going! But then my neighbors started asking, “Well, isn’t it just easier to use the Swiffer?”

They might have a point. The Mint, at $249, isn’t exactly cheap, and unlike the similarly-priced Roomba, it won’t go back to home base to charge itself when it runs out of battery life. Still, the cloth at the bottom of the Mint’s pad had picked up quite a bit of stuff from the floor at the end of its short trip around the room, and all I had to do was stare at it.

I’m sure with more regular uses, I’ll stop marveling at the novelty of a little box that motors around my apartment all by itself, and I’ll just turn it on, let it go, and wait for it to do all the work I wish I could do more frequently.

Will it keep my house clean without me having to do any work? The jury – there they sit behind my fridge, watching – might still be out on that one.

See more product review on PEOPLEPets.com:
REVIEW: Put a Sock in It with BarkOff Anti-Barking Device
REVIEW: Eureka Pet Expert Sucks Up All the Dirt the Dog and Cat Drag In

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