Why can't I have clean wood floors?! - Mothering Forums
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The Mindful Home > Why can't I have clean wood floors?!
pixiewytch's Avatar pixiewytch 03:41 PM 05-06-2008
We are renting a 1920's home with wood floors. I've been here for six months and no matter how much I mop, sweep, swiffer, or whatnot, the floors are still filthy with ground in dirt. The kids and my feet look black within a matter of hours. It is really gross but I try to clean them regularly. I just don't know what else I could do? Any ideas that don't cost an arm and a leg?

gottaknit's Avatar gottaknit 05:17 PM 05-06-2008
Institute a "shoes off at the door" policy? It's the only thing that's worked for us, and I still have to sweep every day.
Jodie's Avatar Jodie 05:26 PM 05-06-2008
Same type of house over here.

We have a shoes off at the door policy.
Sweep and vacuum several times a week and mop when I can get to it.
pixiewytch's Avatar pixiewytch 06:54 PM 05-06-2008
Yes, we already do all of that and the floors are still filthy.
texaspeach's Avatar texaspeach 07:31 PM 05-06-2008
get some nice house shoes/slippers to wear
MamaLeslie's Avatar MamaLeslie 07:33 PM 05-06-2008
I wish I knew. I live in a '20s old house, and the finish is all gone from the floors. Makes it really hard to clean. Do your floors still have their finish on them? I really need to get the floors refinished, but it's just such a hassle, and I don't even own the place... which makes it seem like even more of a hassle.

Good luck. I have a slippers in the house rule to cut down on dirty-to-the-point -of-staining socks.
pixiewytch's Avatar pixiewytch 10:20 PM 05-06-2008
Well, glad to know I'm not alone. I can't tell how much finish the floors have left but the house definitely needs TLC so I'm sure it hasn't been done anytime recently.

I try to wear slippers all the time myself. Getting the kids to wear them though is another story.
4evermom's Avatar 4evermom 10:25 PM 05-06-2008
Waxing them may help.
ilikethedesert's Avatar ilikethedesert 10:27 PM 05-06-2008
We have the same problem with our 1850s floors. We can't have the no shoe policy because sh is a landscaper and goes in and out a million times when he is home and wears big work boots, plus we have a wood stove and he's bringing wood, (and leaves and bark scraps) in all winter.
I love our old floors though and just have given in to the fact that my barefoot kids will have dirty, country feet and we will never keep white socks white in this house. I personally wear shoes or slippers most of the time.

I sweep or vacuum regularly and mop once in a while, but like you it doesn't make too much of a difference.

Think of it as character!
onlyzombiecat's Avatar onlyzombiecat 10:45 PM 05-06-2008
I'm glad I'm not alone.
cristeen's Avatar cristeen 12:56 AM 05-07-2008
Institute a foot washing as part of the bedtime ritual (if you don't do night-time baths).

We have a Hoover FloorMate that I bring out a couple times a year, just using water as hot as I can get it to clean the hardwood (no soap). The water always comes out like mud.

Really the only thing that's going to get them clean and keep them clean is regular scrubbing. That's more work than i'm willing to put into it, so I wear slippers or have dirty feet.
LucyRev's Avatar LucyRev 06:34 PM 05-07-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaLeslie View Post
I wish I knew. I live in a '20s old house, and the finish is all gone from the floors. Makes it really hard to clean. Do your floors still have their finish on them? I really need to get the floors refinished, but it's just such a hassle, and I don't even own the place... which makes it seem like even more of a hassle.

Good luck. I have a slippers in the house rule to cut down on dirty-to-the-point -of-staining socks.
UGH! I feel your pain cause I could have written your post. We do own this place, and our wood floor isn't the original though. We have these wood tiles, like parquet only not strips...just big squares with the grain alternating direction so I don't even know how we would refinish them. I spot clean the floors by squirting on some orange cleaner or Simple Green and then using a paint scraper. I hate it! I want shiny floors that don't suck up spills.
mamadelbosque's Avatar mamadelbosque 11:57 PM 05-07-2008
Have you tried, mopping and then waxing the floor? You should be able to pick up some no-rub floor wax at your hardwood store. Just mop, let it dry and then apply the wax and let it dry. You may have to do this a couple of times, a few days apart, but it should help!
MamaLeslie's Avatar MamaLeslie 12:15 AM 05-08-2008
I should try this. At the very least, it might seal some of that impossible dirt below the wax LOL!
DreamsInDigital's Avatar DreamsInDigital 12:39 AM 05-08-2008
My hardwood floors are brand new and I have this problem. I love wood floors, but I hate them too.
Breathless Wonder's Avatar Breathless Wonder 12:48 AM 05-08-2008
cristeen's Avatar cristeen 01:12 AM 05-08-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post
Have you tried, mopping and then waxing the floor? You should be able to pick up some no-rub floor wax at your hardwood store. Just mop, let it dry and then apply the wax and let it dry. You may have to do this a couple of times, a few days apart, but it should help!
If your floors are not sealed though, you should never wax them. Wax will work into the open pores of the wood wherever the finish has worn off and permanently discolor the wood. If you go to refinish the wood, you will be able to see where the wax seeped through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Breathless Wonder View Post
My DH has been eyeing that little guy for a while now.
MamaLeslie's Avatar MamaLeslie 09:30 AM 05-08-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
If your floors are not sealed though, you should never wax them. Wax will work into the open pores of the wood wherever the finish has worn off and permanently discolor the wood. If you go to refinish the wood, you will be able to see where the wax seeped through.
Good to know. Okay, so maybe I won't wax them LOL. I just don't want to have to move out all my furniture and my kids and get the floors done. Ugh.
mamadelbosque's Avatar mamadelbosque 10:38 AM 05-08-2008
::: our floors are pine boards and have been waxed dozens of times over the years, never been sealed, and sure, they've darkned, but woods going to darken no matter WHAT you do, unless of course you seal it. Waxing will only make it happen slightly faster... and the wax definetly wears off after a time. Which is why you have to wax occasionally. The floors here hadn't been waxed in years and years and years when I waxed them last summer/fall and they just soaked it right up. Helps keep you from getting splinters too (which used to be a HUGE problem around here!!).
chel's Avatar chel 10:46 AM 05-08-2008
have you tried vacuuming the floors. I find it does a much better job than sweeping with a broom.
pixiewytch's Avatar pixiewytch 11:48 AM 05-08-2008
I'm so glad I'm not alone here. I was so embarrassed about the dirty floors, as if it is a reflection of my housekeeping.

I never thought about waxing but I will keep that in mind for the future.

Right now I sweep regularly and we do have a roomba vacuum. Believe it or not a friend of mine gave it to me because she didn't like it.

It's nice but as the PP suggested, I really, really want one of those scoobas. I feel like mopping takes a lot more time and energy than sweeping so I would really rather have that than the roomba.

Does anyone have a scooba?

I was also wondering about the hoover floormate. Someone else posted using it once or twice a year. Is it that much of a pain that you can only use it occasionally?
ctdoula's Avatar ctdoula 05:39 PM 05-08-2008
We have a house built in 1899 with all the original wood floors, so I know exactly what you're talking about! The only system I've ever found to help is to vacuum frequently and hand wash with hot water & vinegar with a rag. That's the only way mine get clean. Of course, keeping them clean is another story.
cristeen's Avatar cristeen 12:40 AM 05-09-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post
::: our floors are pine boards and have been waxed dozens of times over the years, never been sealed, and sure, they've darkned, but woods going to darken no matter WHAT you do, unless of course you seal it. Waxing will only make it happen slightly faster... and the wax definetly wears off after a time. Which is why you have to wax occasionally. The floors here hadn't been waxed in years and years and years when I waxed them last summer/fall and they just soaked it right up. Helps keep you from getting splinters too (which used to be a HUGE problem around here!!).
What I was saying is that if your seal has worn off in high traffic places but not in other places and you wax, the areas where the seal has worn through to wood will unnaturally darken in comparison to the other areas. And if down the road you strip the floors to reseal them, you will be able to see where the seal had worn off, because they will be discolored in relation to the rest of the floor.
EarthMamaToBe's Avatar EarthMamaToBe 12:43 AM 05-09-2008
It's not cheap but the IRobot Scooba is amazing. My wood floors are ALWAYS clean now. I do not use the scooba chemical solution I use vinegar and water.
pixiewytch's Avatar pixiewytch 10:55 AM 05-09-2008
That is exactly what we were talking about the other day, using a homemade solution instead of the chemical one it suggests. Hmmm....I just may have to get one of those with my tax rebate money. How much are they going for these days?
aprildawn's Avatar aprildawn 10:59 AM 05-09-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamsInDigital View Post
My hardwood floors are brand new and I have this problem. I love wood floors, but I hate them too.
Me too. Ours are about five years old, but more and more I'm noticing how dirty the floors are. We don't wear shoes inside, I mop 1x/week. I'm thinking of getting one of those Hoover floormates to steam clean them myself. The alternative is hands and knees scrubbing which would take hours.
mean_jeannie's Avatar mean_jeannie 11:48 PM 05-09-2008
I just wanted to chime in that my 1945 pine floors are the same way.

I actually mop the floor every afternoon when I come home from work and the floor is just as dirty all over the next morning as if I had never mopped at all, lol!

So really, it's not you, it's the floor.

If the scooba works for you, let us know! I'd love to have a solution.
sunnysandiegan's Avatar sunnysandiegan 01:44 AM 05-10-2008
I have a Scooba and I LOVE IT!!!!!

My dad has sealed hardwood floors and we stayed with him for two weeks last Fall. His floors were always filthy and I watched him vacuum. (Sweeping really isn't as effective as vacuuming.) His birthday is just after Christmas and he helped us A LOT last year on our house, so I wanted to give him a really nice gift. (We don't usually exchange extravagant gifts, but this was also a THANK YOU SO MUCH! gift. )

DH set up a "widget" (no, I have no idea what that is exactly) on his computer and eventually found a really good deal on a Scooba. Unbeknownst to me, he ordered two! He gave me one as a surprise and we gave my dad the one we had intended to give him.

My dad's floors have never been cleaner!

Our floors have never been cleaner!!! We have tile and linoleum and use hot water and sometimes a bit of vinegar. I don't use vinegar on the linoleum because the installers told us to only use water. They still look brand new and it has been nearly 8 years, so I'm sticking with plain water. The tile works either way. I used the vinegar the first few times to make sure it was getting extra clean, then I stopped. They get just as clean without the vinegar, but I think it is because I run the Scooba regularly more than anything else. To keep our kitchen (white tile) floor looking great, I run the Roomba once a week and the Scooba once a week. When DD was younger (she's 7 now), I would have run the Roomba more than the Scooba. The Roomba picks up stuff much better since it is a vacuum. The Scooba washes. (It picks up small, loose items, lays down clean water, has a brush for "scrubbing", and squeegees up the dirty water into a separate tank.) I LOVE THEM BOTH!!!

BTW, DH just told me he paid $99 for each Scooba plus $5 shipping (total = $203 for TWO Scoobas). They are refurbished and had a short warranty. They are out of warranty now and both work great still. I did have a problem with mine when I went without using it for a month awhile back, but it was an easy fix once I looked it up online. (I did it myself in like 2 minutes with no costs.) I haven't had any problems since.
EarthMamaToBe's Avatar EarthMamaToBe 07:59 PM 05-12-2008
WOW 99.00 is GREAT! We paid 189.00 for a refurb but I would not trade it for the world! We have sealed hardwood and the scooba is the beat thing EVER!
tresleo's Avatar tresleo 08:07 PM 05-12-2008
We have a Roomba and a Scooba and I love, love, love them!

Totally worth the money, and I paid regular retail price.
Not only does it clean, it is a great motivator to make sure I clean up every night. Then I come down to clean floors every morning!

It says you can use the Clorox solution, vinegar and water or just water. My dh tried the clorox stuff, but found vinegar and water works just as well on our wood and linoleum.
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