Clean Floors: Bliss to My Feet

I love it when my carpets are freshly vacuumed, and my hard floors are freshly mopped (as they are right now!). Bliss to my feet!

Clean floors are an important part of home health, especially if there are babies in the home who spend a good portion of their time on the floor. Those sweet little hands that crawl on the floor. . . they go right into the mouth, don’t they?

Shoe Removal

In addition to keeping floors much cleaner through the week, shoe removal contributes to a healthy home. Most parents are aware of the hazard of lead from paint, and its toxic effect to children. Since I’ve only lived in homes built after 1978 since becoming a parent, I did not pay much attention to these warnings. Then I learned that children can still be exposed to lead through roadside dirt that has been tracked into the home (roadside dirt generally has a high concentration of lead from exhaust residue which came before lead was banned from gasoline).

Of course, I don’t do a lot of walking along major roadsides. But it did get me thinking about what else might be coming in on my shoes. From the grocery store, and occasional public restroom, to the library and local farm for eggs and milk, my shoes go many places and must have an entire mini ecosystem of bacteria and filth living on them.

And so I began removing my shoes when I enter my home, and requiring my children to do the same. It did help that we moved to a home with new carpet around that time, and the No-Shoes-on-Carpet rule became so ingrained into my children that they are now self-appointed Shoe Police, ordering all to drop their dirty duds.

Large metal bins, placed both near the front and back doors, help contain the pile of little shoes and boots that now reside near the doors.

Cleaning Floors

  • Carpets: vacuum with a strong vacuum. For spots, first blot or scrub with plain water and a terry cloth rag (old wash cloth). If it doesn’t release, use a soap-based non-aerosol carpet/upholstery shampoo. I have had good results on both carpet and upholstery with Howard Naturals Upholstery Cleaner. Equal parts vinegar and water can neutralize urine odors.
  • Hard Floors: Sweep all loose debris from floors, then mop and wipe dry.

    • For vinyl, tile, and varnished wood floors, use 2 gallons warm water and 1 cup of vinegar.
    • For Linoleum floors, use 1/4 cup vegetable oil based liquid soap in 2 gallons warm water.

    I put the solution in a bucket, and wash the floor with a rag while on my hands and knees. I use an old bath towel to dry behind as I go. More difficult than a mop? Absolutely, but a mop is really just a filthy sponge that gets used and reused on floors without cleanings in between. If you have a mop where the cleaning rag can be removed and laundered between use, awesome! Since mine was the old sponge type, I chucked it in favor of a truly clean floor. I always have a laundry load of rags to launder together in hot water and oxygen bleach at the end of cleaning day.

Step 2: Preclean Vanity

  • Before actually cleaning the vanity area, it is necessary to remove all the stuff that can makes its way onto the countertop; put away personal care products, medication, toothbrushes, and jewelry. Move candles and/or any other decorative items to a different area so they are protected and you can clean under them.
  • Next, spray the mirror and vanity with the vinegar water, and buff with a dry rag. If you notice streaks on the mirror, this is from the previous glass cleaners you have used which leave a film. You can add a small amount (1/8 tsp) of liquid castile soap or liquid dishwashing soap to your vinegar spray and this should help wash away that old film. Next time you make up your vinegar spray it should be unnecessary to add this.
  • Once the mirror has been shined, wipe the counter clean of dust, cosmetic spills, and hair, thoroughly rinse rag in the sink.

Go to Step 3: Wash Vanity and Sink.

Step 4: Mop Floor

Note: this recipe is suitable for vinyl flooring. Check out cleaner recipes for tile, wood, and linoleum. If you have carpet in your bathroom, I highly recommend replacing it right away with a hard surface which will not harbor bacteria, biological waste, and dust mites. In the meantime, vacuum for dust and lightly spray with vinegar water to reduce urine odors.

Prepare a mop bucket with 4-6 quarts warm water and 1/2 cup vinegar.

  • Vacuum or sweep entire floor, removing the wastebasket and other items on floor.
  • Using a rag wet in the bucket solution and wrung out, wipe floor surface, starting at the bathroom door and working towards the toilet.
  • Continue to rinse the rag in the bucket as you clean, paying attention to the edges of the floor and baseboards as these are dusty areas. You may want to fold an old towel/rag for your knees to rest on, and to use to wipe up any water left behind.
  • The greatest amount of bacteria and grime will be in immediate area around the toilet, so it makes sense to finish with this area rather than spreading the grime around the bathroom.

Go to Step 5: Wash Toilet.

Step 6: Hydrogen Peroxide Spray

For those of you who are worried about vinegar not being a strong enough disinfectant, a final spray of hydrogen peroxide should assure you that your bathroom is really, really clean. Or use my favorite: Thieves household cleaner from Young Living. Once diluted, it’s even cheaper per bottle than peroxide.

  • look for 3% hydrogen peroxide (easy to find at drugstores) and pour this at full strength into a clean new spray bottle.
  • purchase Thieves household cleaner wholesale from Young Living and mix with water as instructed on the bottle, to medium dilution.
  • after your bathroom fixtures have dried completely of the cleaning solutions you used, spray them with the hydrogen peroxide.
  • allow to dry without wiping it.

Go to Step 7: Natural Fragrance.

Washing the Bathroom

I admit. I was a skeptic when I read that vinegar and soda could really clean my bathroom. But after the learning curve, I’m convinced my bathroom is cleaner now than it was with those toxic chemicals.

What you will need:

  • 1 bucket
  • 1-2 clean dry rags, old washcloths work well
  • 1 spray bottle (don’t reuse a spray bottle that has had chemicals in it; some can react to non-toxic ingredients like vinegar to make deadly gases)
  • vinegar
  • water
  • baking soda
  • 1-2 paper towels
  • vacuum or broom
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide (optional)
  • essential oils fragrance spray (optional)

In the spray bottle, prepare a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Vinegar is an excellent cleanser of grime, and a mild disinfectant as well. If the odor annoys you (or brings back childhood memories of Easter-Egg dying), rest assured the smell will dissipate when the vinegar dries.

Step 1: Preclean Toilet

Step 2: Preclean Vanity

Step 3: Wash Vanity and Sink

Step 4: Mop Floor

Step 5: Wash Toilet

Step 6: Hydrogen Peroxide Spray

Step 7: Natural Fragrance

Step 8: Launder Rags

Step 9: Tub and Shower