Even though there are all kinds of fancy mops out there on the market (and believe me, I’ve tried them all), nothing cleans like a determined person on their hands and knees. I do hate to be a party pooper, but that is the honest truth, even though I have tried to get along without scrubbing on my hands and knees for some time.
Trying to avoid scrubbing my floors, I have tried all the mops advertised. I’ve tried the ones that are washable, super-absorbent, have scrubbing pads, edge cleaners, self-squirting cleaning stuff, throw-away pads, and plain old rag mops. No matter what I use, it’s never the same as a good scrubbing with a scrub brush, a bucket of my favorite floor cleaner, a couple of clean, thirsty rags, and a final rinsing with vinegar and water. So, today, I’ve decided to give my kitchen floor a real good scrubbing for a change, just like my mother and grandmother used to do.
As I recall, there’s a little preparation that will make the job a bit nicer. I bring in my vacuum cleaner, switch it to the bare floor setting and give it a good once over. I prefer this to sweeping because I have a tile floor and the grout will usually harbor some small dirt particles if I just sweep it. If you don’t have or want to use a vacuum, just sweep once, then go over again with a rag covering your broom or with a dust mop to pick up anything your broom may have missed. This little step helps keep the scrub water a bit cleaner and makes it a little easier on the knees not going around on sandy floors.
Now, I pick out my favorite scrub bucket. It’s rather small, but I prefer it to something that won’t fit in the kitchen sink. Then, I choose a good scrub brush and rags. The scrub brush I like has natural bristle fibers. I prefer it because the bristles seem to hold more water, making the dipping in and out of the scrub water less tedious. The rags are old terrycloth towels that have been torn into smaller size rags to fit the size of my hands. If you use huge rags it will be harder to ring them out. I also throw an old toothbrush in just for good measure, in case I need to reach a small area.
My tools are ready… except for one trick. Find something you can kneel on as you scrub. Tile floors in particular are very hard on the knees, so whatever you can do to protect your poor little knees will help you finish the job without too much pain. In the past I’ve grabbed hot pads, which worked just fine. If you have a child in hockey or who roller-blades, dig those knee-pads out if they fit comfortably. I’ve also used some leftover quilt batting and pieces of foam from old craft projects. Whatever you can find that will work for you, keeping in mind they will get wet and dirty.
One more suggestion is to wear household chore gloves. Even if you don’t routinely wear them to do the dishes, it’s important to wear them when you scrub the kitchen floor. Not just to protect your hands from the hot, soapy water, but more importantly to protect them from injury. You’re going to be wiping along the bottom of the refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, and the cupboards. There can be sharp edges on the metal or wooden splinters on the base cabinets that you may not see before it’s too late. Better safe than sorry.
If you are able to, remove the oven drawer from the bottom of your oven to expose the floor underneath your oven. Also remove the front grate on the bottom of your refrigerator if possible. Now, you can clean as much floor as you can easily get at.
Now, choose whatever floor cleaner you like. Keep in mind that you are going to be scrubbing the floor and probably along the kick-plates under the lower cabinets, so use an appropriate cleaner for the two surfaces. Fill your bucket with nice, hot water and your cleaner, throw in your scrub brush and a couple rags and you’re ready to go. Turn on your overhead light so you get a good look at what you’re facing, then, starting at the most logical corner to back your way to an exit, dip and scrub. It’s that easy, well, shall we say, it’s that uncomplicated. You’ll notice right away how much harder it is than just mopping, but you’ll also notice right away how much more dirt you’re getting off your floor, especially along the edges.
Scrub in easily reachable sections, then ring out a rag, and wipe up the water, being sure to wipe down all the kick-plates under the lower cabinets. Keep moving in sections until your water gets dirty, then empty your dirty water down the sink or outside, and refill with clean hot water and floor cleaner. Along the way, as you come up to your oven, be sure to get underneath if you can. Then do the same with your refrigerator. Repeat this pattern until you’ve backed right out of your kitchen.
You can go ahead and walk back into your kitchen once the floor is scrubbed in order to dump the water down the sink. Just be careful not to slip. Rinse the bucket out, get a couple of your fresh rags, fill your bucket with warm water and white vinegar, and start back at the beginning, taking your rags and wiping the floor down with the vinegar and water mixture to remove any residual soap from the floor and kick-plates.
When you’ve backed yourself out of the kitchen again, take a look at your floor. Isn’t it amazing how just knowing that you’ve cleaned all the yuck from around the edges and underneath the stove makes the whole floor look cleaner?
You may have felt like poor Cinderella there for a while, but the results are worth it. I must place a disclaimer here though – if you have back problems, this is not a chore for you. Ask someone else to do it for you, maybe in exchange for a couple of your famous apple pies??? If you can get a real hands-and-knees scrubbed floor by bartering, then more power to you.
I think this is a worthy challenge for anyone who wants to get one area in their home really clean. Put on some fun music, get out your gloves, and dig in. If you haven’t scrubbed on your hands and knees lately, or ever, this could be a great “getting in touch with your hillbilly side” experience. Have fun!
When you find out just how good a really clean floor can make you feel, you’ll be searching for even more Spring Cleaning Tips! But, don’t wait for Spring… a clean house feels good all year long!