Sweeping and Mopping Without Magic (part 2)

Welcome back. Yesterday I started with explaining how one goes about sweeping debris and collected foodstuffs from a human abode’s kitchen floor.

Now, the dry dirt is swept away and disposed of, moping is most necessary in order to make sure the floor is indeed actually clean, and certain prying sisters (who are “merely concerned and trying to be helpful”, or so I hear) do not comment about the state of things every time they come over and drop hints that our parents never really had any high hopes for me anyway.

But of course, to mop, one needs a mop. Which requires obtaining one from one of those awfully confusing and varied stores the humans flock to for all kinds of things from clothing to who-knows-what-humans-want to of course, cleaning supplies. This is also where I obtained the other necessary ingredients for obtaining a cleaned and habitable, and many that are most certainly unnecessary.

Because I am still under, shall we call it, house arrest, or what is commonly referred to as “intensive study of non-magical procedures”, and as I have said before, the Great and Wondrous Council have graced me with their “sponsorship” while I do this research. Of course, if you would like to help me find, shall we say, other work to spend my time on, then please contact your representative*. But yes, because of my house, er research stipulations, my dear and nonjudgemental sister Flora took me to this lovely and large store to obtain supplies, as I am not allowed off of my property without an overbearing chaperone kind and generous escort.

And here, friends I want to tell you to please not panic. There is much too much here to even begin to describe in full enough detail, but as to mops alone, there was an amazing array of choices, many of which we obsessed with avoiding using a bucket. This, I cannot understand, and even Flora was helpful for once and agreed with me – water gets everything else clean, so why the human obsession with not having to use any?

In any case, before I get ahead of myself, here is a brief account of the choices available:

There were at least ten differnet kinds of wands with which to clean the floor, all of them with a different kind of material at the end. These are all much like the brooms and mops used for magical purposes (and I remind the Council that I only wish to use them to clean the messy house they have so graciously bestowed upon my humble self**), only at the end of each one is a different material. Some have spounges that fold in half to wring out water, others have loops or bundles of strings to dip in water, others have a cumbersome looking handle which folds down to squeeze out water, but I cannot quite figure out how this is different than the other ones. And all of these different mops claim to be better than the others. There are even mops which do not need water, but instead shoot out a jet of fluid on front of a mositened pad.

This all seems like a great deal effort and thinking in order to simply clean off a floor, particularly when they all ammount to a cloth on the end of a stick.

So after a little bit of arguing with my dear sister, I decided upon a simple blue plastic bucket and one of those terrifically simple model of a wooden pole with white loops of cotton thread on the end. It reminds me slightly of the wand my old Aunt used to use to baste troll thighs while she cooked them over a blue flame*** (and we all know only blue flame can cook a troll thigh, and my do they need basting. Not nearly enough fat on those things).

Another issue was the soap. There are hundreds of kinds of soap, and I promise to write about this more in the future, because it is simply unfathomable that beings who live so much of their lives manually fighting dirt should make it so difficult for themselves. Most of these chemicals are incredibly toxic, particularly to the Folk, so Flora suggested I try vinegar, which is basically what happens when wine is left out too long. To hear my sister tell it, it is a miracle at cleansing all things, and no one has a cleaner sensibility about things than she, so I agreed to her suggestion. Plus, I am afraid of toxic chemicals.

*For the love of the Goddesses Great and Small, get me out of here!

**You are all can go suck on withered bat wings for all I care.


So now, without further ado, To Mop A Floor:

Updated list of tools:

  • A mop
  • A bucket
  • Vinegar, white or apple cider kind
  • An old towel (my contribution)

Start with sufficient hot water in the bucket, then add a good amount of vinegar. Probably half water and half vinegar is ideal. Make sure the floor is clear of things you do not want to get wet. (Actually, clearing the floor of extra things like laundry baskets full of towels waiting to be folded is best done before sweeping. I shall try to remember to annotate the previous article.)

Then, dip the stuff-at-the-end part of the mop into the vinegar and water, but not too deeply or the entire thing will become drenched. Again, starting in one area and working back, press the wet mop end against the floor and move in a back-and forth motion to scrub away the dirt. If your floor is like mine, you will have to repeat this procedure. A lot. You will also want to discard the mop water a it becomes colorful enough to be hard to see through. This is probably just spreading the dirt back around.

Refill the bucket with vinegar (or soap if you prefer) and water as often as needed, and eventually the floor will be the original color, at least for the most part.

Discard the rest of the water this time and rinse the mop. I chose to throw out the old water in the back yard weeds, and rinsed the mop in hose water, because I haven’t figured out how to clean a sink very well yet, and that seemed disasterous. The water from my kitchen was very, well, let’s just say I shall mop more often from now on.

Lastly, because I did not think of a good way to wring the mop out between the water and the floor, there was a good deal of puddles left in my kitchen, so I went into the “rag box” Flora gave me and found an old towel, then placed it on the floor, stood on it with my feet wide, and slid about the room to absorb the puddles. It was also great fun.

Probably, the floor should be cleaned regularly. I’d guess at least once per month, which I gather is about thirty sunsets. Probably twice or more, though, if you have a love of ginger ale as I do.

There, Council, you have sponsored the knowledge of how to clean a floor with you benevolence and helpfulness in helping my “research”. A world of domesticated, imprisoned fae thank you, I am sure.

So very sure.

(1,214 words)


Sweeping and Mopping Without Magic Part One: Sweeping

This bit of cleaning is rather involved, so I have broken it into two steps, though unless both are done in succession, the floor can hardly be called clean.

What you will need:

  • A broom – A bundle of plastic straws or straw or grasses held together at the end of a long stick, usually long enough to reach┬áthe floor from holding it while standing. Be careful that you do not choose a broom meant
  • A dust pan – This is basically a small plastic shovel, like used for gathering ashes from sacrificial incense ceremonies – oh, how I do miss the midnight sacrifices – only this dust pan is much larger, and it should be at least as big as the end bit of the broom, so it is easier to fill the pan.
  • A garbage can – This should have one of those plastic bags inside, and is just basically a large urn made of plastic or metal used for catching refuse for later disposal. We have something similar back home, but it is polite enough to eat whatever it is fed, instead of making me haul bags of trash all the way from the house. If anyone thinks of it, it might be a good idea to enchant those Fae refuse collectors to not eat everything – there was once a tragedy with my sister flora’s pet gremelkin. Oh, but that is a story for another time.

Because apparently I am exceptionally skilled in spilling things on the floor (there is a lovely beverage called ginger ale, which, although disappointingly lacking in alcohol, is quite sugary and has little bubbles in it, which is a bit like actual ale. It comes in small metal casks or one largeish and easily dropped plastic bottle. It nearly reminds me of the spiced mead you can find at Merryweather’s Inn, oh how very much I miss going in there for morning daisy flower scramble with fresh spider eggs and a cup of hot spiced mead. She strains it with spiders’ silk, you know, from those lovely creatures she keeps in those underground passageways beneath the inn. Some fae folk think that she keeps them down there to guard some great secret, but we all know that is preposterous. If anyone sees Merryweather, let her know I think fondly of her and her cooking, and ask her to keep a pot of truffle soup on for me.*

But yes, this ginger ale – it is very poor planning to design it to be served from such easily dropped containers, as it then expands greatly and bursts and fizzles out in a sticky fountain when the container is opened too soon after it is dropped. I have made this error many times, and now my shoes stick to the kitchen floor when I walk across it, and this is tiresome as I often find myself wandering to the kitchen for some of that lovely frozen milk called ice cream (also sticky after being spilled on the floor, or anything else). Back where I grew up, all a fae needed was to conjure a stickywiggle troll, and they would lick up anything you spilled faster than you could step onto sunlight, but alas I must do things as humans do.

All of this stickiness, (along with dirt tracked along the floor and the occasional bit of spilled or dropped food or potted plant, or tea leaves) has stuck to the spills and created quite a fantastic mess.

I can only imagine that other domesticate fae have similar problems as this. As far as I can tell, all human dwellings have floors (no wings and all that, though personally when I have my wings I am partial to living in hollow tree trunks). These floors have many different coverings, but today I am focusing on cleaning the kitchen, which is covered in something called linoleum tile, and is very water proof, so mopping is the thing to do.

But because I sneezed** while pouring a bowl of frosted corn flake cereal earlier in the day and spilled nearly the entire box onto the floor, sweeping is quite necessary first, as mopping straightaway created a gooey mess that slightly resembled melted skeske young (always sad when they don’t mature before the rain comes, isn’t it).

So yes, sweeping seems to be necessary before mopping.

*This is, in no way, a secret message to help me get out of here. At all.

**I have been doing this sneezing thing a lot lately. Because it is spring, the Internet believes that this is most likely allergies, and while I am disinclined to want to believe it, reality seems to be that I have developed allergies and will need to find ways of treating them to prevent future spillage of cereal and other things.

To sweep:

Take the broom (non-magical variety, of course) and hold it so the bristles brush against the ground firmly. It is probably smartest to start in one corner of the room and work out instead of starting in the center and wandering about as I did. I still have not found any tricks or secrets to this procedure, other than to use small strokes along the floor when there is a great deal of mess, and to use longer strokes when the bits of stuff and dust on the floor are farther apart.

Now, after leaving a good number of small piles to clean as I did, I might advise beginning the sweeping procedure in one corner, then proceeding to the rest of the room. It is up to you, if you have been cursed by a spiraling curse, you will find it easiest to begin in the middle, I imagine, and then you can move in circles outward. This is a most serious affliction, however, and until the spiraling patterns cease I recommend that you really ought to find someone to sweep and mop for you.

Anyway, sweep everything into a good pile, which in my case was a very good pile. Remember to resist munching from the cereal in the pile – while foraging for things in The Realms is not frowned upon, there are “microbes that cling to all things human-related, and I am unsure if they are able to infect Folk or not. Besides, it will taste of dust and hair, although I may try pouring ginger ale on cereal next time I have some.

Anyway, after this step comes the dust pan. Kneel down and sweep the pile into your dust pan. Perhaps there is a good trick to avoid this part, but if you want to get all the dust up, you have to keep moving back and sweeping more into the dust pan.

Then, turn to your garbage can (another post entirely, the care and tossing of garbage), then pour your waste into the garbage.

This ends the end of part one of cleaning floors. I must go – it turns out this television thing is a most intriguing thing, and if I continue blogging now I will miss a “show” about people who live in houses they never clean, all the way to the point of piles up the ceiling of all kinds of things. I imagine many a skeske is hiding in these places, to be sure. I like watching for the odd feeling of needing to clean it gives me. Tomorrow, I will continue with how to mop a floor.

Without magic, of course.

(1233 words)