Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Floor Duty

Nurses and others pull "floor duty" where they work long halls fulfilling their services. As a stay at home mom, floor duty requires my attention calling me to clean and care for the walking surfaces of our home. There are a few tricks I employ to make it an easier chore than it could be along with keeping within sound economics.

I use simple cleaning methods~Now depending upon the type of floor you have, you must consider what products to use. I have used stuff so strong it took the color off the vinyl~ack! Since then, I went back to the really cheap and good cleaning plain old distilled white vinegar. VINEGAR! Yep, this is my secret weapon to cleaning along with some well wielded bleach IF the job requires it and the surface will take it without damage. I don't use many many of the popular products~I remember one commercial that was selling some kind of cleaner~I forget the brand, but not the gorgeous sexy Aussie hunk selling it or rather demonstrating the merrits of the product~ha! ONLY if he had been in the bottle to clean the floors huh? Well, often those highly advertised products are just there to snag my money. My vinegar works just fine on many many surfaces. From wood, laminate, vinyl, tile and more. . .vinegar which sells for about 80cents to $1 a bottle will clean and sanitize just fine. Now in the bathroom when I shared those tips, I will use some bleach. It's the nature of the clean needed. You know, I have to address something here too about germs because that's what we are talking about when I defer to bleach over vinegar in the bathroom. Why would I not use bleach in the whole house if I were so germ concerned? I don't know if you've ever considered this, but killing off ALL germs really is not healthy for us. Our bodies must fight germs to build immunity so that we become immune to the diseases and organisms that germs can bring. Household bleach can kill most anything that needs to be killed, and it's these superbugs or germs such as the MRSA (methocillian resistant staph aureaus) that is so dangerous which are propagated in lacks of immunity. We must consider cleanliness, but in reasonable ways. Antibacterial soaps are not necessary for everyday uses when good handwashing done properly will do the trick. Now you don't have to believe me, you can research the CDC yourself, but when there are no superbugs (resistant germs) in your household with ill family, then vinegar and bleach will be fine. When colds and flu season comes, you can wipe door knobs and phones with light bleach solutions or with vinegar. These are two places germs spread. I don't have carpet in my home for several reasons, one being germs and allergies.

Carpet cleaning is tough at it's best, and I do not have good methods for this except to use a solution of 20MULETEAM Borax Laundry Booster to scrub out spots and as a non-odorous carpet powder. It will lighten, so be sure to test sample before use! But it's a creat cleanser and deodorizer. I use this one in the laundryroom~GOTTA get to that laundry, don't I??

When cleaning carpet, I am going to suggest that the best approach for when I did have it was not to soil it in the first place! Shoes off in my house! AND if you soil, clean right then! VACUM a bunch every week to keep the dirt from going below surface level~and if you have pets, be sure to vacuum extra. This is a good job for children, and learning to vacuum baseboards is a wonderful skill every child should know. . . Where does dirt accumulate but in the edges of a room?! So if you do get a stain or spill, immediately blot and get it up. Vinegar is good for this too. But use absorbant rags~a good use for those old towel rags we last discussed to blot and then to scrub. Keep working the spot until your water runs clear and the mess is up. Don't quit until you see it clean and KEEP changing the water! YOU CAN NEVER CLEAN with dirty water! So this will be a money saver if your preserve your carpet with requent spot care and cleaning.

We vacuum each week in our home with wood floors. We have a cat and a dog who are house trained, but who will shed. In the interest of my budget, I use rugs that I can wash. I don't use carpets that I cannot either hose off or throw in the washer. For pets and or small children, this is wise. If you have a young child, use an old quilt that is soft that will easily be laundered for softness when the child is on the floor. Remember that rugs are costly and if very large will be the same as carpeting and perhaps costly to maintain.

We vacuum with a shop vacuum because we don't have the need for a beater brush to fluff up the carpets. The shop vac will do the job, and it's my son's job (he does a fine job) to vacuum the corners and baseboards too. Removing the floor attachment will lend it to becoming a wand of suction that can easily be run into the edges where the baseboard meets the wall and the top of the baseboard. About twice a year, we will take hot soapy (dish soap with a splash of bleach) and an old rag to wipe each baseboard and window casing and sill. Also we will wash walls if there are stains, but I try to get them as they occur. This keeps the jobs manageable.

Floors really are not a bad job, but require dilligence to do them economically and inexpensively. Just remember that the vinegar odor will go away or you can even use less in the water you are cleaning with so that it's less strong.

Besure and move furnature often too. We try at least twice a month. If under our bed is not vacuumed I will have allergy. I can ALWAYS tell when it's time to vacuum.

You can also use other methods of cleaning noncarpeted floors with a dust mop which I use. These can be very nice to get big items up, but remember to sweep out from the walls if you are going to use this item. AND I don't swiffer, but the dust mop works similarly if you have the kind that you can throw the head of it into the washer. I think we are so "dirt conscious" because of advertising~don't succumb to such! AND you don't have to use the amounts of cleaners suggested either...often less WILL work~try it! You will see!!! AND see how long you can use an item before it's gone!!

Mopping with hot water with a splash of vinegar will deodorize and clean floors well. Be sure when the water gets dirty, to change it! I generally clean my mop out many many times as I go over my floors. Clean water tells me when my floor is clean. When I clean out my mop, I can see if I am cleaning or just smearing the dirt around! I wash my mop out in my kitchen sink. I know this may sound awful, but some will use the toilette~I have a whole seperate mop (dollar store mop) for there!! So those germs never get to my sink and then I clean and bleach the sink when done. I hang my mop out to dry in the sun and bring it in hanging it up in the basement stairwell area with the brooms and other items such as my duster and dust mop. Good tools are essential to a job well done too!

Tools such as an adequate vacuum, mop, bucket, dust mop~your chosen items must be well cared for and maintained. Like my inexpensive shower curtain, I don't spend a lot on these items, but I do chose them well. I don't like a heavy broom, but I do like a wide sweep action. I choose one that does this for me. I don't like a big heavy mop either, because I already know I am going to be rinsing and wringing it out frequently, so I go for the small inexpensive one. My dust mop has to have a head I can throw in the washer. I wash my broom too (read on for the broom article!) Care is so important to the jobs they will do, and this will save money in long use and service as well as good care of a VERY expensive part of our homes, the flooring.

I do want to say something since I am now in a high snowfall area. In the past, it was beach sand that was the danger to my floors, but now it is snow, water and salts. To combat this issue, I could use a rug which is expensive to wash and dry in a way, but I'd rather use an old towel that I can lay down for us to wipe our feet on first then remove our shoes onto a rug~I keep a shoe caddy by the door, AND we wipe the dog's feet after she is walked. It's a hoot for our 80lb lab mix to lay down for us to wipe her paws and belly. THAT towel is there for both and will lay right on down by the door like a rug for the next use. Ideally I'd prefer a mud room, and one day I will have one, but until that day, AND I will use this method there too, I will continue on to save my floors!

Well, I think my shift has ended of floor duty~what are you doing with your floors?

1 comment:

The Crazy Mom said...

You are so with it. I literally JUST had the kids pick up all the loads and loads of stuff off my bedroom floor and put it on my bed. I am more apt to pick it up and put it away if I don't have to bend over! I am happy if it just gets swept!!! :)