Thursday, February 29, 2024

New Old Home Angst: It's not you Helga...


Yes, Cookie is mad at the dirt. 

For the past couple of days, Cookie has spent a couple hours a day on his knees, not that way, but in the kitchen of this house, deep cleaning the floor. 

As you know, when we moved in here, the previous owners left a hellish mess of dirt and filth, in more ways than one.  

We cleaned what we could, and sterilized everything else.  And while Cookie is no neatnick, some things had to be prioritized, and others set aside.  The bathroom had to be cleaned, the kitchen cupboards, etc and so on.  

The kitchen floor was something else, altogether.  While we had swept, mopped, and swept, and mopped some more, the floor brightened but it wasn't "Mother" clean.    

After the sewer repair, and with the plumbers coming in and out, Cookie finally decided to go all Mommie Dearest clean on the floor. 

Now the kitchen floor is getting removed with the forthcoming remodel. But until then, we have to live with what we have. 

Right now the floor is the same Congolium that was laid down in 1974, so it's about 30 years beyond its life expectancy. So the gloss finish has worn off and now its faux Italian villa tiles just attract dirt.   The problem is that the pattern has these small press lines meant to give it that worn, "Olde World" look when it's all simply worn.  So damp mopping isn't going to cut it. 

Armed with a spray bottle of neutral soap, a small Rubbermaid battery-powered scrub brush, and a floor brush, Cookie has spent hours going faux tile by faux tile scrubbing out the dirt, and then mopping that filthy, dirty water and cleaning up with paper towels. All of this effort has been around the baseboards, under the appliances, and under the cupboard's toe kicks. 

I will not show you what has come up, but I will tell you that the decades-old Mop and Shine had turned black with age, the black goo of built-up old mop water left to dry on its own, and old food and hair, is gone.  I have filled two contractor bags full of paper towels with black, brown, gray and plain old wet paper towels.  And that's only around the baseboards, two "tiles" out from the wall. 

Tomorrow, the GE Floor scrubber, circa 1965 comes out, and the main part of the floor gets it, and gets dried.  THEN a floor sealer gets applied. Its purpose is to keep the daily dirt of life from redepositing back onto the tiles, again. 

The new floor has been chosen. 

We are going back to the cork floors we loved in Columbus.  Lovely to look at and a dream to keep clean, they'll provide insulation, a cushion of softness, and a whole lot less wear and tear on Cookie's knees. 

Then I will attack that bathroom caulk. 

And we all know how Cookie loves to handle caulk.


  1. I am right there with you.

    Glad you made things look new again.

    If I may share.

    I am not a clean freak BUT I had a Japanese step-mother who knew how to clean. When we were younger "the boys" took turn rotating threw three main chores-washing dishes, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathrooms. My mother would not have you leaning over the bath tub to clean the farthest wall. No honey, you had to get IN the tub to clean the walls just right. By the time we flew the coup "the boys" knew how to run a household. We could wash clothes, sew on buttons, do laundry, iron and lots more.

    To me, if things are supposed to clean then they should be clean. I had renters for a few years and I knew I had to deep clean my tile floors when I moved back in. I accepted the challenge. Went to a local hardware store and an old timer who helped customers decide their best choices turned me on to the cleaning product "Lundmark" TSP Hard Surface Cleaner. It took up years of dirt with little effort. Yes, the floors looked clean but I wanted to get deeper and get other folks' dirt out of my home. I say do a deep clean and then keep it up so that you don't have to go all Joan Crawford.

    Continued success as you make your new home yours.

  2. Other people's filth is the worst kind of filth... Jx

  3. When I moved into my current apartment the kitchen was perhaps not too bad by some people's standards, but I cleaned it within an inch of its life. In addition to moving out the counter and sink cabinets (not built in), I'm sure I took a few layers of molecules off of the floor and wall tiles.

  4. There is absolutely no joy like the joy you get from taking a brush, and a bucke of Lysol and scrubbing out the dirty and grim left behind by other people too lazy to get rid of their own dirty. There are simply too many people who hire other people to do the work. But when you do it, it stays cleaner longer because, by God, you have pride in your workmanship, and you don't want to have to do this type of cleaning for a long while.