Friday, May 01, 2009

Mop Flop

Sorry for the radio silence this week--I was sick. The good news is that it had nothing to do with pigs or the flu. But suffice to say that the few thoughts I had yesterday were not of the bloggable variety.

Feeling better today, and have an admission to make and a question for you all. First, the admission: on Tuesday, I mopped a floor (several, actually) for the first time in my life. I'd done the whole sponge-on-the-end-of-a-long-stick kind of mopping before, but never the swingy-strings-that-could-substitute-for-a-pretend-horse-when-you're-five kind of mopping. You know, REAL mopping. Given the grungy state of the linoleum floors in our apartment, I went into the endeavor with high hopes and big expectations.

HUGE letdown.

I mopped with all my might, but the floors look essentially the same. No scum was scrubbed off. The dirt barely even budged. The only solace I take from all that effort is that our floors are now VERY disinfected (I wasn't sure how much Pine-Sol to use, so I opted for the "if some is good, more is better" approach.) So now I have dirty floors you could eat off of, and the whole place smells like one of those scented cardboard trees you buy at the gas station to make the inside of your car smell better. A strange result, and probably not enough to inspire me to mop again.

So tell me, helpful, domestically-able readers: Why do you mop? Did I miss something?


tootie said...

I've never mopped in my life. (Sad but true.) I just use the swiffer.

But after hearing your story about the mop, I guess I'm not missing out!

Kristine said...

I don't think the swingy mop is going to do you any better than a sponge mop, but a different cleaner might help. My neighbor gave me a great "recipe" for heavy duty linoleum/vinyl/tile floor cleaner: 1 cup of ammonia, a gallon of hot water, and a squirt of Dawn. It cleaned places I didn't even know were dirty!

Mary T. said...

Hi Trish (coming out of my lurking state, as promised)!

My mother evidently swore by the fact that a floor would only get clean if you got down on your hands and knees with a scrub brush and WENT at it with a vengeance.

I've lived in a super-grungy apartment when I first moved to Cambridge (the previous owners evidently didn't clean their kitchen floor, and highly favored cooking greasy food over the 20 years they'd lived there), I can vouch for the "hands and knees" approach; it really works with that nasty, sticky food residue. I vouch by it now if I want to get a floor really clean, though most "touch ups" are the "sponge-on-a-stick" type. :)

As to cleaner, I've used Fantastik (or a similar type of toxic cleanser) with excellent results, but you'll use a LOT of it.

(Oh yeah - and if you find that you have to resort to doing this over a large area - invest in a little foam save-your-knees gardening pad unless you want to risk bruised kneecaps. :))

heidikins said...

I've never used a "hairy" mop, we always used a bucket and a rag...or a scrub-brush with bleach for the really bad bits.

Softscrub does wonders on linoleum.


LEstes65 said...

I'd say your predecessors never mopped. If you do a light mopping once a week, you don't get that buildup. I vacuum and light-mop - to be honest - about once a month. The ex used to do it faithfully once a week. But he did heavy duty cleaner mopping. I use a light eco friendly orange smelling cleaner - when I think it needs it. Usually it's hot water with a smidge of bleach (keep in mind, I have tile - it doesn't bleach).

Also, be careful mixing things. Keep ammonia and bleach SEPARATE always. That mixture can and has killed people. So use one or the other.

Kristine's mixture rocks. I've tried that one and it was good. Mary T's solution, I've done that, too. I still do periodically. You have to. But if you catch things as they happen, it's more rare.

After my divorce, I didn't mop for a LONG time. So once I did, I used a sponge mop that had a scrubby side. Also had to get on my hands & knees. On tile floors, those miracle erasers ROCK. Haven't tried them on linoleum - might scratch. But they work on my counter tops without scratching. So try them.

But I do mop. The why is because sweeping/vacuuming only gets so much. I vacuum and then mop. Consistency is the key.

Hire me as your live in housekeeper and you won't have to worry about it.

Stella said...

WOW! Lots of good tips here ... thanks gals! Anyone remember the old-style linoleum that you had to strip the wax from first, clean, then re-wax? Now THAT was fun--Giggle.


Julia said...

I have to agree that I thought the stringy mops were pretty useless, and I avoided mopping at all costs until we got a steam cleaner. It's just as easy as a Swiffer wet jet but disinfects the floor with steam instead of chemicals. It's awesome! It sounds like you might need the hands-and-knees approach to start with, but the steam might help loosen up that sticky, stubborn residue. If you're interested, I can let you know what kind we got.

Liza said...

I would suggest getting the swiffer with the steam thing. It will probably help more than the old-fashion type of mop. I use the regular swiffer now, but I use to get on my hands and knees to scrub the floor...still do it a couple of times a year.

Matěj Cepl said...

Unfortunately you don't have Savo (they have gorgeous ads, but not in English) in States, so when I moved in Cambridge to apartment where apparently concept of cleaning the floor was something which totally went around the previous owner's mind, I went on my knees and bought a big bottle of ammonium. Strong of ammonium with detergent smelled so horribly that our then-a-year-old daughter almost suffocated, but it went through.

Do it in the morning, open all windows and leave apartment for a day, but I believe the ammonium is the best.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I always get my husband to mop (he uses vinegar water), but I do Swiffer. And you can definitely see the dirt you pick up on those little disposable pads.

Speaking of which...I need to hint around to hubby...

Allie said...

Sad but true - mopping is the one household chore that I LOVE! Especially when there's lots of tiles to mop, because it SPARKLES afterwards.

A tip: invite lots of messy children over, and encourage them to mush food/etc into the floor. That way, when mopping, you can SEE results.

Ryan and Abby Green said...

I agree with another commenter that the only real way to get everything you want off the floor is to get down on your hands and knees to mop. HOWEVER, I realized that I therefore never mopped, because I hated how much time it took, let alone the achey the swiffer has been my answer...and I love it's fresh clean smell. You can buy the refills at Costco for some savings if you so choose.

Sarakastic said...

I don't have any cleaning advice cause it's me. I have to say that I've always used a sponge mop and have secretly longed for a "real" mop cause at least then I would look like cinderella.

Jaime Babstock said...

What I've noticed is, if you don't clean the floor regularly, like more than once a month (or in this case, if the people who lived there before you did not) then you actually have to go 'ultra-cinderella-style' and get on the floor with rags. I can bring myself to do neither. I'm lucky if my floor is swiffered once a month and I don't do knee-to-floor scrubbing. But going forward, I would think that a bi-monthly sweep/swiff would do the trick. But don't listen to me. I blew up a vacumm cleaner.