Sep 1, 2012

Hardwood Floors - Part 3 - The Aftermath

Before your installers are finished laying your new floors, buy a mop specifically for hardwood floors. I chose the 3M Scotch-Brite Microfiber Hardwood Floor Mop and am so glad I did! Even when the hardwood floors were their dirtiest (during installation), I could run that mop around to the areas I could get to and mop up that day's dust and debris. It has a microfiber washable head, so you can toss it into the washing machine after each use. Honestly, I do wish I'd bought a mophead refill at the same time, so could use one mop head for dry, quick cleaning, and one mop head to actually wash the floors. I'll buy one in the next day or two, I'm sure. The head of this mop swivels, so it's easy to get under furniture and into corners. The mop is lightweight and shouldn't cause back strain. And ooooh, baby, does it work! It doesn't just pick up dust as a standard dustmop does, but it also picks up crumbs and small pieces of debris, and seems to "polish" the floor up while it's at it. I'm really happy with this mop.

The next thing you need to buy to protect your floors are self-stick felt pads for the bottom of every piece of furniture you own. If you move it to clean, it needs felt pads on the bottom. Otherwise, your floors are going to be scratched in no time. I bought these pads ahead of time and when it was time for the installers to return the biggest furniture (couch, tables, chairs) to its original positions, they'd flip the piece over and let me add these pads to the legs.  You need to buy several packages, as most pieces of furniture take four felt pads, but I put six on some of my larger bookcases.

As the installers were laying the last few boards, I started walking around with a pad and pencil looking over every square inch of my downstairs and its contents. If my walls had gotten scratched, I wanted to know. If a baseboard wasn't re-attached correctly, I wanted to know. If furniture or appliances had gotten scratched, I wanted to know BEFORE the installers left. You do NOT want them out the door and discover a gouge in your wall. You want everything fixed BEFORE they leave and you want it fixed properly. For example, when they returned my stove to it's home, the cord in back wasn't seated properly, so the stove didn't sit adjacent to the counter correctly. They fixed it. A baseboard in the hallway had gaps between it and the wall. They fixed it. They'd left a pile of old quarter round pieces in the guest bathroom. They removed it. They had actually lost one small corner cut of a baseboard, and they had to go buy matching baseboard and re-cut the piece. I can't tell you how important this inspection is! Get everything fixed before they leave. And if, for some reason, they cannot fix it, write down what the problem is and have them sign an acknowledgement that they are responsible to fix it - and then call the flooring company right there and then, in front of the installer, and tell them about it and get a time and date for the repairs or replacement.

 And then they're gone.... 
Enjoy the quiet for a few minutes...

Get into the Zen of the silence.
OK, that's enough... It's time to get busy!

Remember, I'm knee deep in sticky dust, and everything in my downstairs must now be cleaned. It sounds like a daunting task, but it really doesn't have to be if you stay organized and focused.

The first thing I did was vacuum all the new floors. During installation, little pieces of wood, tiny bits of plaster, and even tiny brads got left on the floor. I didn't want any of this to get on someone's shoe and scratch the floor. So vacuuming was the first order of the day. Obviously, use your large floor brush attachment.

Next, I grabbed a plastic cleaning bucket, my new mop, my new favorite cleaning product, Pledge Multi-Surface Cleaner with Glade Air Freshener, my OXO Good Grips MicroFiber Extendable Duster, several clean rags, a roll of paper towels, and a small trash bag. The Pledge, rags and paper towels went into the bucket, with the small trash bag tied onto the handle. I carried the mop and extendable duster. And off I went.

This is how dusty everything in the house is. No kidding. Ugh.

Years ago I watched a great "How to Clean" video by Don Aslett, who is also the author of many fine books on cleaning (and yes, I do read cleaning books!). What I learned by watching that video has stuck with me for literally decades. When you have serious housecleaning to do, these basics work like a charm to get it done quickly and efficiently.

  1. Have all your necessary tools and cleaners with you in a container to carry them easily.
  2. Start at the door entering the room.
  3. Clean from top to bottom.
  4. Clean from left to right.
  5. Do the floors last, from far corner back to door.
  6. Don't clean anything that isn't dirty.
I started at my front door. I sprayed the extendable duster with a light spray of the Pledge, and ran it along the crown molding, then moved to the top of the woodwork around the door, and worked my way down. I then replaced the duster with a paper towel, and washed the side windows of the door, along with the door knob and locks. I saw fingerprints on the door, so washed those off as well. Then I (and my bucket of cleaning items) move a few feet to the right. Duster again, and I dust down the crown molding, moved down to the wall coat rack, grabbed a rag and sprayed it with Pledge and dusted the bench underneath, then back to the extendable duster to get the floor baseboard. Another few steps to the right... crown molding, window, baseboard... few steps to the right... crown molding, coat closet door...

Do you see how this works? All you have to remember is top to bottom, left to right, and have all your tools you need with you. If there's any small bits of trash, drop them in your plastic trash bag. When you're done with a room or an area, grab your floor mop and do the floor as you back yourself out of that area.

And it's spotless. No kidding. Without a doubt cleaning this way is one of the most valuable cleaning tools I have in my repertoire. I wish Mr. Aslett would put that video out again!

I worked for about five hours and got my entryway, hallway, family room and half of the kitchen done. In addition, all the furniture (and anything that sits directly on the floor) now has felt pads. I also got all the sheets washed that were covering the furniture and electronics, and made myself the first good meal I've had in five days (a thick hamburger, tomato slices and steamed green beans from the garden. Nothing fancy, but I can't tell you how good homecooking tastes after five days!).

My daughter, bless her heart, will be over to help me finish the rest of the cleaning. I'll put her to good use, believe me. I'd like to have the entire downstairs back to snuff by tonight.

My husband will be back from his business trip on Monday. Hopefully, he'll come home to a clean, dust-free house with new floors he can oooo and ahhhhh over. And I have to break the news to him that now we need two three four area rugs to "warm up" these new hardwood floors!

Life is good - but it's even better when it's CLEAN.

1 comment:

Karen said...

You go girl!! I know how hard it is to go through home improvements and get to the end in one piece. But ohhhhh...the satisfaction!!!