Ken’s cleaning tips

Ken writes:

In the spirit of this blog’s title, I thought I’d post about something completely different for a change. We had a dinner guest round last night. One of Dot’s colleagues brought his three and a half year old son round so the boys could play together while we had a chance to catch up. Anyway, I tidied the house and mopped the floor, as you do, and as I did it it occurred to me that the proper way to mop the floor is a topic on which I have views.

The most basic fact about mopping the floor, from which all else follows, is that mopping is a kind of washing; or more exactly, it is two things: washing and drying the floor. That means you have to get the floor good and wet, slopping a bunch of water and detergent on to it and then pushing that around a bit before drying it off. It follows that you can’t mop the floor with one of those poorly named ‘sponge mops’ any more than you can wash yourself by wiping yourself with a damp cloth. To be sure, sponge mops have a purpose if for some reason you mustn’t get the floor wet, but don’t be deceived.

Washing is the process of dissolving surface solids and soils and carrying them away; or at the very least, holding insoluble soils in suspension while the washing medium carries them away. Wetting the floor puts the soils in contact with the washing medium. A proper detergent has wetting agents in it to stop water beading on the surface. Soap works by bonding both to the soil and to the water to carry it away. Washing at higher temperatures cleans better because chemical reactions occur faster at higher temperatures.

I prefer to wash the floor with a mix of hot water from the tap, washing up liquid and bleach. This does a good job without leaving the floor feeling greasy afterwards. I splash the water on liberally and push it about with the mop to cover an area of about 2 sq meters. That’s about all I can easily reach. Then I rinse and wring out my mop and then dry the floor off with slow sweeps of the mop. I find the combination of speed getting it wet and slowness getting it dry works nicely. The speed makes for a kind of vigorous physical cleaning action to supplement the effect of the detergent while the slowness allows the fibers of the mop to wick the water up and away.

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6 thoughts on “Ken’s cleaning tips

  1. Katimum

    At least there is someone in the family who does housework! I gave it up years ago, as you have probably noticed. Or perhaps not.

  2. Dot

    I occasionally do housework, but I spend so long getting ready for jobs like floor mopping, with complicated tidying and rearranging of the stuff that has carpeted the room, that I run out of time before the main task is approached. Also, I am lazy. Hooray for Ken.

    P.S. I do a lot of tidying, but it seems not to make much difference.

  3. Helen Conrad-O'Briain

    Your method sound very like mine – except for this – I dry by skating around on an old bath towel. My cleaning lady doesn’t do this, although she uses the same mixture – she seems to get the amount of wet just right. Clear;y every art has its secrets.

  4. ken

    A bath towel can be the only way to dry it off quickly if you need to dry it off quickly. I don’t like to do that, if I can help it, because it’s making more work for myself. I usually leave the doors and windows open to maximise the air drying efficiency.

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