Detox Your Floors

The most simple and most profound way to bring toxins into your home is on your shoes. The results are grimy linoleum, stained carpets and damaged hardwood flooring. Cleaning up those well-traveled areas will not only change the look and feel of your home, but will give you confidence and motivation to continue your detox process.

Pictured here is our entryway floor. It's that textured laminate tile stuff that always seems like a bear to keep clean. It's right inside the front door so everything from outside gets tracked onto it. The girls use it as a thoroughfare to every room in the house, so it's a trap for dog hair. That's why it looks as though we have a family of 27 instead of just four.

We often think of floor cleaning as running a mop over the hard surfaces and chasing the vacuum around the carpets. That might do for a quick pick-me-up, but it's not doing much to detox your floors.

Especially with textured floors, like what we have everywhere, mopping just pushes the grime into the crevices. That's why this build up looks so bad - it's being ground in with feet and with cleaning products. The absolute best cleaning attack on these floors is hot water with plenty of liquid dish soap and a scrub brush.

Oh no, that sounds like work! I can't get down on the floor! I'd never get back up! I'd rather walk on dirt than put that much elbow grease into anything! There's no time for rolling up my sleeves like that!

OK...do you have all of the excuses out of your system? I cleared out the entryway, scrubbed and dried, did baseboards and replaced all the furniture in about half an hour. Just 30 minutes and I had a sparkling white floor again! No harsh chemicals or long hours pulling my back mopping.

The best part was this: just as I was wiping up the last water from the last row of tiles, the big dog came trotting up to the edge of the tile. She sniffed, looked at me and stepped one foot very gingerly onto that freshly cleaned tile. The background music stopped for an entire minute while we stared. I looked at her, then at her foot. She looked at me, then at her foot. Sensing the seriousness of the situation, she removed the foot from my shiny floor and stretched out on the dining room carpet. Smart dog.

We have three different styles of this laminate throughout the house, so my cleaning process in the bathrooms, kitchen and mudroom will all be the same. If you have hardwood floors, please use the cleaners and techniques recommended by the manufacturer. Treating them with some extra TLC will keep them looking fabulous for years to come, and good maintenance will prevent future headaches.

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil. Isaiah 1:16

Now to carpets. I hate carpets. I have two black labs and light-colored carpets. I could sweep every day and not get my carpets back to normal. So what are the options?

1. Clean your vacuum cleaner. It sounds like common sense, but when was the last time you wiped out your sweeper? Whether it has bags or not, there are tons of places for dirt and grime to land, so cleaning out filters, brushes and hoses are super important before you start sweeping. It's like pushing around a mop full of dirty water - it's really not helping the situation.

2. While your vacuum is drying out, move all of your furniture away from the walls to the center of the room. Use the crevice tools to get along the baseboards and the edge of the carpet. Use carpet powder or an appropriate cleaner to get up the stubborn bits. Sweep out past the part of carpet that your furniture covers. It's a breeding ground for dust bunnies! Move the furniture back and finish sweeping the carpet.

I have vivid memories of this being done in our house growing up. I'm severely allergic to dust, so I wasn't allowed in the room while it was being done. I could sort things or watch from the doorway, but I couldn't move mattresses or clear out the furniture. That wouldn't fly now, so a couple of times a year I get tremendous allergy attacks. The more often you do good, deep cleans, the less problem you'll have doing it.

3. Steam clean as necessary. Not every room needs steam cleaning. And it's not necessary to rent a big, cumbersome steamer anymore. Many companies make small, lightweight steam cleaners that you can purchase and have on hand. Compare prices and if you need heavy-duty cleaning fairly often, this might be the route to go.

Remember that anything that gets tracked in through your door will end up spread throughout the house. If you have the space, set up a show rack at the door and ask everyone to use it. As with sin, like Isaiah said, a little can spread a long way. Keep the grime contained at the door and it won't end up everywhere.

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