Fall Cleaning Challenge Week 3: Low Down & Dirty

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My floors, you ask?

I have to admit: right now, they’re pretty tragic.

Sure, I sweep and vacuum, but I admit I stick to certain high-trafficked areas and tend to forget about corners and edges. And many of my hard surface floors haven’t seen a mop in months.

So in our deep/fall cleaning challenge this week, I’m focusing on those low-down dirty so-and-sos I know: my floors. And that’s it, because it turns out I was overly optimistic about last week’s Zone 2 challenge and did NOT finish the windows. (Man, this house has a lot of windows!)

So this week I decided to keep it a little simpler and focus on all the spaces we walk upon, and then use my extra time to finish up the big rectangles we look out at the world through!

I’ll be breaking the floors down into different types, one day working on the bathroooms, one day the carpets, one day the hardwoods and finally the kitchen. That will leave me the weekend to finish up those windows already.

In addition to dish soap and vinegar (my staples for gentle homemade cleaners) I’ll be using a few special products and tools for this week’s cleaning session:

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For carpets:

Our Dyson DC-28 Animal vacuum cleaner. I feel compelled to tell you right off that we did NOT pay $899 for ours! We got ours in some kind of awesome closeout deal a few years ago for less than $400. That is still a lot to spend on a vacuum and a LOT more than we’d ever spent before, but up until that point we were replacing our cheap vacuum cleaners every year or so, and to be honest, they never worked well to begin with.

We finally did the math and realized that, over the years, we’d spent a lot more on substandard vacuums than we would have if we’d just invested in a good one to begin with. Our Dyson lives up to the hype. It’s solid, well-made, and most important, it gets the job done well. If you’re not quite in the market for a $900 vacuum, gulp!, consider a more entry-level model like the Dyson DC50 Animal.

We will also be renting a steam cleaner to hit up the higher-traffic carpet areas, which got pretty grungy with the kids constantly coming in and out this summer. 

For hardwood floors and bathrooms: 

Libman Freedom Spray MopI love Libman products! They work well, they feature simple designs without cords or batteries, they’re available almost everywhere, and best yet their mops heads are washable and re-usable, which I much prefer to the throwaway kind that have become so popular.

The Freedom Spray Mop is especially great because there’s a refillable chamber that you can fill with any kind of solution you want to use, rather than being stuck using a proprietary cleaner in a specifically-shaped bottle, like Some Companies I Won’t Name. That gives you a lot more control and also allows you to use the mop in any room of the house, even if you like to use different kinds of cleaners for different floors. Another thing I love about the Freedom Spray Mop: the solution sprays out with a simple pull of a trigger. No batteries. No cords. Simple, simple, simple. 

And while I do love using homemade cleaning solutions, I picked up some Method Squirt & Mop cleaner in Almond scent this week for the wood floors because it smells amaaazing and if I’m going to go through all this effort, I want my house to have that “just washed the floors” smell! In the bathrooms, I’ll just use a mix of vinegar and water with a few squirts of dish soap. 

For the kitchen: 

Bissell PowerFresh Steam Mop. I was thrilled to win this mop at a blogging conference a few years ago! Even though I love my cordless Libman, our kitchen tile sometimes needs a little more oomph. I keep this mop on the basement stairs right off of the kitchen, and whenever the floors are getting really grungy, I pull it out. It uses simple steam to clean, so all you have to do is make sure there’s water in the chamber, then plug it in and wait for it to heat up.

One note: the mop is marketed as being safe for sealed hardwood floors, but when I used it on ours it left white marks. I’m not sure if that’s because the seal is wearing thin or not, and the marks did eventually fade, but we don’t use it on wood anymore.

Are you taking part in the Fall Cleaning Challenge?

How’s it been going so far? Is your house feeling cleaner and more livable? Let us know in the comments!

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