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What is an Auto Scrubber?

Crystal K. Wilford
Crystal K. Wilford

An auto scrubber is a motorized device used to clean floors in a variety of businesses, industrial environments, shops, and large buildings. Most of these machines are built with a tank to hold cleaning fluids, a motor to power one or more brushes beneath the device, and wheels that permit it to move around with ease. In establishments with large areas of open floor space such as showrooms, warehouses, schools, and stores — especially large-scale retail chains — these devices are used to efficiently clean areas that consumers, students, personnel, or faculty frequent.

Some types of scrubbers are small enough to be pushed ahead of a person, similar to a lawnmower or shopping cart, while others are large enough to ride on and steer. The smaller types of auto scrubber usually require power from an electrical socket, and can generally be used to clean under tables or counters where larger varieties cannot reach. Smaller scrubbers usually have only one brush, and rarely have a tank. These are best used for dry sweeping, though they can also be used with an external source of cleaning solution, which is placed on the floor prior to use.


Larger scrubbers sometimes offer the option of using either a power cord or a rechargeable battery; the latter can provide more freedom without the necessity of a nearby power outlet. The larger auto scrubber often offers a greater variety of accessories and additional performance options. Most models include a vacuum to remove excess cleaning fluid from the floor as they operate. Additionally, multiple brushes can be included for a wider cleaning area. Some larger scrubbers even offer the option of changing those brushes for more difficult jobs.

Usually, an auto scrubber can use a variety of cleaning solutions, including soaps, bleaches, chemical disinfectants, grease dissolving solutions, and more. Optimal performance can be achieved by thoroughly cleaning the liquid storage tanks and the vacuum tank after every use. Scrubber manufacturers often provide warranties along with instructions on proper use.

Accessories are available for various auto scrubbers. Some models may use squeegees to trap water and assist the vacuum in removing it, or special dispensers to cut down on the foam some cleansers create. Different types of brushes, pads, or cushions also allow the scrubber to go from one type of surface to another without the need for multiple scrubbers dedicated for use on different surfaces. Seated auto scrubber models, which allow users to drive the scrubber like a vehicle, might offer a choice of cushions for users with mobility issues.

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