Pros and cons of mops

In one of the foster homes I lived I learned how to mop floors.

I was a kid of 11 and had never done it before and found my first foray into scrubbing the floor a challenge.

Pail and rag

Pail and rag

A liberal dose of Pine-Sol in a bucket or pail of water that was really  hot.  So  hot I could not stand to reach in for the rag.  My foster mother grabbed the rag out of the bucket and tossed it on the floor.  She showed me hot to pick up the rag and flip it around in the puddle of water to reduce the heat.

On hands and knees I flopped that rag around and soon had water puddling in an ever growing ring.  What to do now?  Keep pushing the water further and further out?  Wring the remaining water out of the rag and try to clean up the water?  The thought of going back into that hot bucket of water was not appealing to me.

With a little guidance I learned how to scrub the floor with the really wet rag one section at a time.  About three feet square.  Wring the cold water from the rag into the hot bucket of water then use the damp-ish rag to clean up the water on the floor in the area to be cleaned.

I found, after a while, the hot water in the bucket cooled itself down and would further cool down with the application of the cold dirty water sopped up from the floor.  I later learned how to clean well with the hot water.  Hot water works better to loosen stuck on dirt.

The way I learned to scrub the floor was in a session of threes.  First session was hot water application to the area to be scrubbed.  Push the water around and let it set on the floor surface.  Session two was to wring the water out into the bucket then begin the actual scrubbing with the rag in the standing water already on the floor.  Wring the rag out many times within the area until it was fairly dry.  The last session in the same area was to clean the rag out in the bucket of water, wring the rag out well, then go back over the work area to sop up any remaining water and then move on to the next three foot square area.

My knees and back would hurt quite a lot by the time I had the floors cleaned.  Satisfaction was in first, having done the chore thoroughly, and second to see the actual changes from a dirty floor to a clean floor.

As I got older, and in another foster home, I had a new tool to learn to use.  A mop.

A mop and a bucket

A mop and a bucket

Having learned how to properly clean a floor on my hands and knees, this was a piece of cake.  The mop, itself, was submerged in the really hot water and I didn’t have to touch it at all.  Same scrubbing principle of the three phase bit with the added bonus of not getting my hands in the water.

My shoulders ached and my back still hurt after mopping the floor but my hands were no longer chapped and rough.  Satisfaction was the same.  Seeing the dirty floor being transformed into a bright and shiny clean floor.

The mop and bucket were my tools for many years.  That is until the advent of the Swiffer Mop was made available.

Swiffer Mop

Swiffer Mop

For quick clean ups this is a good thing to have on hand.  As a serious tool, the Swiffer Mop leaves a lot to be desired.  In my opinion anyway.

  1. The handle is about 8 inches too short for me.
  2. The handle does not inspire confidence when a particularly sticky spot is on the floor and needs a good rubbing.  The pole bends and makes me wonder if it will collapse.
  3. The cleaning solutions in the disposable mop sheets don’t seem to “clean” as well as I would like them to.
  4. About four days after mopping with the Swiffer products my floor squeaks beneath my feet as I walk across the floor.  Not the squeak of a nail rubbing against a board.  The squeak similar to what some tennis shoes make on floors.  Only this squeak is while I’m barefooted.

A friend of mine, who lives in Tucson, Arizona, has a tool that I just had to run out and buy.  The Bissell Flip-It.  This thing is both a vacuum and a wet mop in one unit.  One side is the vacuum, flip it around and it is a wet mop.

Bissell Flip-It

Bissell Flip-It

Bissell Flip-It mopping side

Bissell Flip-It mopping side

This device comes with a scrub brush head and two microfiber pads.  On the wet mop side there is a trigger to pull to release the solution when you push the machine forward.  Let go of the trigger and pull the machine backwards to activate the squeegee and vacuum up the water solution.

I haven’t quite learned the finer points of this machine just yet.  It does take a bit of getting used to.  Unlike a rag, mop, or Swiffer, getting under the counters is a bit tricky with the Bissell Flip-It.

Getting under the counters

Getting under the counters

I find the same problem with the cleaning solution with the Bissell Flip-It and the Swiffer Mops.  Squeaky floors after a few days.  And since I have not really learned how this crazy machines works I have not really given it a fair chance.  Just like the Swiffer Mop I think this machine is only really good for wiping up between cleanings.

Why, you may wonder, do I still have all these archaic and ancient tools to clean my floor?  Because of all of these tools the ONLY ones that really work are the rag or the mop.  Hot water with a cleaner and a good dose of elbow grease are hands down much better than these “new fangled contraptions”.

My years in the foster homes, and later in my own homes, cured me of grabbing for the bottle of Pine-Sol off the store shelf.  I no longer like the smell of that cleaner.  Spic n’ Span was my cleaner of choice for many years.  It is no longer available.

Now my cleanser of choice is 20 Mule Team Borax.  It is a natural product in powdered form.  Doesn’t suds up, leaves a clean and fresh smell, and Clorox can be added to the Borax if heavy duty cleaning is needed.

Oh, before I forget.  The Bissell Flip-It is also too short for me to use for extended amounts of time.  If I’m going to end up with aching shoulders and back then for my money I’ll use a mop or a rag.  Plus, the solution you have to purchase for the Bissell is quite expensive.  The bottle is only about 4 ounces and costs $9.99.  Pour the contents into the reservoir then fill with water.  So this has turned out to be an expensive toy that sits in my hallway and gathers dust and spider webs.

Someday the “Man Cave” will be moved to a better location instead of being in the hallway.  I’ll show you that some other day.

The far corner of my kitchen is finished.  Done, ca-put, complete, marked off the list.

Kitchen finished

Kitchen finished

My final project in the kitchen is the pantry.



Pantry floor

Pantry floor

Heck with it.  It does have a door and I think I’ll just close it 😀


About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

2 responses to “Pros and cons of mops

  • gardenpinks

    Good idea to just close the door on chaos! Those darn long boxes housing aluminium foil, cling wrap, greaseproof paper. baking parchment are my ‘bete noir’. No matter where they are stored they just never look tidy! I have mine in a drawer and that drawer always looks untidy compared to the other drawers. Drives me nuts.

    Yep a bucket, mop and rag are my tools of choice too. I don’t use the rag very often but now and again it is the only item that will clean those funny angles that mops can’t get into. My poor knees suffer though so while I’m down there I look to see if there are any other low level jobs before struggling back up; my knees feel as though I’m kneeling on glass! Poor old sod that I am!

    You are becoming happier by the day Leslie as you knock that housework into submission 🙂

    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      I don’t know about you, but there is a whole lot of grunting, groaning, and gasping for air when I get up from the floor once I’ve been on hands and knees. What the heck has happened in the intervening years? I was fat as I was a young teen. I could hop up off the floor without the aid of chairs or solid objects for assistance.

      I guess, getting old is truly not for sissies 😀 I guess I should be more enthusiastic about it. Because I can get down on my hands and knees and eventually get back upright. Poor Joe with his bad back from it being broken many years ago, arthritis in his knees and right hip. He has a worse time of getting back up from a kneeling position that I do.

      You know, getting this house into shape is a boon to my spirit. Makes the other tasks go better as well and that is a major plus. No more cranky days 😀

      Off to my craft room now to work on more of the Holders. Quiet house and I have all the time in the world now 😀

      Love you – Leslie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: