I hate mopping the floor

Of all the regular household chores, I think I hate mopping the kitchen floor most. Well, realistically, more than anything that doesn’t involve other people’s body fluids, let’s just say.

I procrastinate fiercely against mopping the floor. Some of my best housework is done in this mode, as in folding laundry or cleaning my desk is usually much more interesting/important/urgent than mopping the floor.

But today I broke down and did it. I learned several lessons, none for the first time.
  1. It works much better to scrub the floor in the morning or afternoon than to wait until the end of the day and then think I’m going to do it. ‘Cause most days, I won’t. Much better to start when I’m not already worn out.

  2. Those fancy floor cleaners don’t really work. Or at least they don’t work any better than straight ammonia and water. I think I’ve bought my last bottle of stuff that smells good but doesn’t really clean anything. I don’t know if ammonia is better or worse for the environment, but at least it’s functional in the first place.

  3. If you really want the floor to get clean, you have to get down on your hands and knees with the scrub brush. The sponge mop is just an in-between tool. As one of my college roommates quoted her mother, while on her knees in our kitchen in preparation for her mother’s visit, “the sponge mop just moves the dirt around.” I was not convinced then, but I am now.
The worst part of mopping our current floor is that it doesn’t actually look any better when I’m done. I don’t mean it doesn’t look different – it does, but it’s not any prettier clean. The vinyl flooring is so old, so chipped and stained, and ugly to begin with, that I don’t get the sense of satisfaction out of seeing my nice, clean floor.

I suppose I should remember to be grateful that I have a floor to take care of, and that I’m not required to mop anyone else’s floor for my living. Dear God, help me to not be resentful of the blessings in my life.

The good news is that, at my current frequency of mopping, I probably only have to mop this one once more. Yes, we’re moving next month, to a slightly smaller, but brand new and owned by us, home in the nearby town where Chris works. I’m starting to be excited about the little things – like having two bathrooms and new paint and carpeting. I never really pictured us buying a brand new condo (aren't we more the funky old house types?), but the various first time home buyer’s assistance programs that we’ve been advocating for all these years are finally coming back to help us, and this is what we can afford. Small, but enough. Dear God, help me to know when I have enough.

Actually, the kitchen floor will be much smaller in our new home. So small that I’m thinking I might not even buy a new mop. Since I already know that to really clean it, I have to use the scrub brush, I’m thinking maybe I’ll just use a regular sponge to wipe up spills and then scrub it when it needs all over cleaning. If you have any experience with these newfangled floor cleaning devices, I’m open for other suggestions. Maybe if it was a fun tool to use, I’d use it more often. Because the Lord knows I don’t need any more excuses for not mopping the floor.


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Blogger Martin Kelley said...

Our floor stays crumby and sticky way too long I'm afraid. As I'm sure you know with really little kids it can go from spotless to a hopeless mess in a blink of an eye. I know it's important to let developing hands try to feed themselves but boy oh boy!

For what it's worth, I've never found a satisfactory high-tech system. Whenever we get something with a replaceable part we always scan the shelves to make sure the replacement is there. Still, by the time we come back to replace it, the model's gone and been discontinued. All that's left is the chance to buy yet another fancy mop with a replacement system that will be impossible-to-find in two month's time. After awhile you realize that nothing but soaking and hand-scrubbing on hands and knees with a sponge will really get out that infant oatmeal that somehow turned to cement in the time it took to scrub the kid, put him in pajamas and tuck him in for bed.

You had a post awhile back about the relative independence you now felt as the boys started growing and becoming more self-sufficient. Oh please tell me that that kitchen floor messes are part of this reduced workload!

6/17/2007 8:02 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Yes, Martin this too will get better. My kids may still drip a little milk or scatter cornbread crumbs, but they are much less likely to drop a whole bowl of applesauce on the floor just because they don't want to eat it. And of course, we are eating fewer pureed foods these days.

At the same time, another thing I realized is that I've gotten really lazy about mopping the floor since I no longer have anyone crawling on it on a regular basis. And no one in our family is licking the floor or the chairs anymore. The whole motivation factor is lower.

6/17/2007 6:15 PM  
Blogger Bethany said...

I read the other day that before you have kids "You could eat off my floor" means that it's really clean. Now it just means there's a whole meal down there. I've resorted to the general rule that I mop whenever someone spills a cup of water and backed that up by my theory of the ministry of messy housekeeping (it's a pretty good theory...I'll explain it sometime). But with as much as I bake, we might as well do a paper mache project as mop, so yes, I am on my knees cleaning as well. Good luck with the new house...and with giving yourself even more grace.

6/17/2007 11:58 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Hi Bethany - I'm all ears for the ministry of messy housekeeping - I may already have that spiritual gift!

My Friend Elizabeth sent me this comment by email:

Oooo, it was fun to see this!

I look at it this way: it is good for us non-Catholics to get down on our knees from time to time.

But truth to tell, in between the serious floor-cleaning episodes with old-fashioned ammonia (or a bit of 409 All-purpose spray to cut the grease), I often just wring out an old wash cloth in the last of the dish water and push it around over the spills with one foot.

House work is a service to the Lord, too.


6/18/2007 1:21 AM  
Blogger Bethany said...

Ok, It's like this.

If someone stops by when my house is messy (almost guaranteed with 2 young kids and a mom who loves to bake...but not to clean up) one of two things will happen:

1. They will see that other people really live like they do, and leave feeling better about themselves.

OR (on the off chance that they are one of those spotless-house-keeping people I hear about but which may in fact be as rare as Sasquatch)

2. They will see my obviously inferior cleanliness and...leave feeling better about themselves.

Either way, I will have made somebody's day, and with hardly any effort. How much better can ministry get? It's my way of being authentically present in the lives of those around me, and I'd like to think I do a pretty good job:)

6/18/2007 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Robin,
I only had time to skim your post but I had to laugh because I hate mopping the floor too...mostly for the reason Martin gave. That it'll become very messy again in like 30 seconds or less. Feels so useless! Yes it will pass EVENtually, but if you want to have more kids (as we pray God will send us sometime), then you keep having a sticky floor. Can't say I am thrilled with that aspect of those darn little blessings.

6/18/2007 11:27 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Bethany - thank you. Now I can think of my natural inclination as a ministry. I wonder if my husband could be convinced to see it that way?

Hi Julie! Someone once said that cleaning your house while your children are small is like shoveling your driveway during a snowstorm. One the one hand, futile. On the other hand, sometimes you have to do it anyway if you don't want to be completely snowed in.

Maybe I am learning that every blessing has a price.

6/20/2007 4:58 PM  
Blogger anj said...

You know, I (and the boys) and certainly Len my husband are paying for dropping the ball on cleaning when my sons were small. They do what they see - and now it is a struggle to teach them the necessity of cleanliness. Although I do have a video of the then 14 year old, now 16 year old, on his hands and knees, Rasta cap on his head, scrubbing the floor in contemplation with Bob Marley singing in the background! Hands and knees - I have found no new fangled way that works better.

6/21/2007 10:00 AM  
Blogger Janie said...

Can I just say I was dreading mopping my sticky, yucky floor so much that I just sat down and googled "I hate mopping" Just to put it off one more minute and I read your post and it summed up my feelings on the subject perfectly!!!

8/27/2008 2:31 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Janie - I just re-read my post too, and it still sums up my feelings too. But now we have these newfangled laminate floors, so I hardly ever mop, because they're supposed to be allergic to water. I more go with Elizabeth's suggestion to just rub the dishcloth around (or the towel, when I'm done drying the dishes, if it's wet enough) on the spots I can see, and I just sweep in between. Since we don't eat in the kitchen anymore, it doesn't get nearly as dirty.

8/27/2008 2:42 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again

Cleaning Mop

6/08/2013 7:00 AM  

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