Like That Time With The Onions

remember when i happened to mention that i spilled pink candle wax all over my kitchen because i didn't know how to otherwise fend off offensive onion fumes? and remember how you all were able to tell me how to fix my problem?

i'm thinking maybe you could do that again.

i don't know what i'm missing, but it's something. because wow. my kitchen floors are a nightmare.

my kitchen floor is black and white "tile." i might go so far as to say it's a "linoleum" floor, but to tell you the truth, i wouldn't know "real" linoleum from fake. (do they make fake linoleum?)

what i DO know is that my floor is cheap. and the tiles, whatever they are, appear mostly to be stuck on. also, as my rent is cheap* and i'm not planning on moving and also there are renter's rules and things, i am not about to do anything drastic like change or uproot or re-tile my floor.

so my question is, what am i missing? what is the magic cleaning tip that will keep my floors clean for more than 25 minutes? is there some sort of waxing involved? should i just resort to throw rugs? certainly there is a method that won't involve me washing the kitchen floor every day?


*by san francisco standards, which is to say exorbitant anywhere else in the country. except manhattan.


  1. I'm floor-challenged myself. I have professionals come and clean my carpet once a year, and would do the same for my linoleum if I didn't think it would be too embarrassing.
    But the ladies from How Clean Is Your House say to mop it daily with hot water and dishwashing liquid. -- fibermom

  2. No. There is no secret that allows you to keep floors clean for more than 25 minutes. They do not and will not. The perfect floors in magazines, like the perfect bodies on models, are airbrushed and Photoshopped.

    Even not cooking or keeping food in your kitchen doesn't help.

    I have white ceramic tile in my kitchen, and I've pretty much given up - if I know people are coming over and will be in my kitchen, I will try to time it so I finish scrubbing 5 minutes before they arrive, but other than that, I sweep daily, wash the floors down every week or so, and figure that if anyone comes and sees the stains and dust that accumulate within moments of my cleaning, it's THEIR problem if they judge me for it.

    (And "mop it daily with dishwashing liquid?" I work full time and sometimes have meetings in the evening. When, pray tell, do I do this EVERY DAY? At 11 pm just before I go to bed? Set my alarm clock a half hour earlier so I can get up and do it first thing?

    As my grandma always said: you have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.)

  3. There's something wonderfully old fashioned about owning a nice broom and using it every day. There is a fun pride in keeping things tidy and i think guys really like it.

  4. i'm with fillyjonk. it's not possible.

    and i'm certain my kitchen floor is far scarier than yours. i think mine's prehistoric.

  5. I have that same exact stick-on-tile floor. Black and white, too! My answer is a toothbrush and throw rugs.

    And that's all I have to say about that.

  6. Ugh..So glad to learn that others are in my boat. I also have white tiles in the kitchen and drive myself crazy cleaning them. I have just accepted the fact that they won't stay that way. Throw rugs do help ...a little bit.

  7. I have tile floors everywhere but the kitchen and bathrooms and those are "linoleum" or cheap vinyl something or other. Interestingly (or not), the "linoleum" catches a lot more pet fur and dust than the tile floor in the rest of the house. I think the linoleum is like a dust magnet. Really. But here's what I do. My kitchen is pretty small so I try to sweep it every day (only takes 1 minute) and then I mop weekly with vinegar and water. The vinegar is cheap and generally recommended for most floors (wood, fake wood, tile, vinyl, etc.). Vinegar is also great because it really picks up any greasiness or residue, and that helps the floor stay clean longer. Here is more info on cleaning with vinegar:

  8. Hi Kristy... just having fun here thinking of magic cleaning tips for you... maybe it was the word grumpy that made me think of it... but given your Disney love, why not just get a costume or two and pretend youre one of the princesses. Probably not Ariel (for a number of reasons - she probably didn't have to do chores growing up), but the others all kind of got into the cleaning/organizing thing too... cinderella by default, belle, tho wanting more than provincial still knew the value, and of course snow white... pretending to be cinderella scrubbing on all fours romanticizes the task, or you could whistle. all you can do is keep it clean, right?

  9. Live in maid, keep him/her in the shed and feed them triscuts. It is the only way.


  10. One word. Finazzle. Buy it. Use it. Love it. It's at home depot and is basically a peroxide mixture (better than just peroxide because I had tried that too) and it will whiten ANYTHING!

  11. Um, for about the last six years I have had someone come in and clean my house for me every two weeks. So I never really dealt with floor issues (I didn't cook either, ask my son, he's bitter).

    Well, this past year I couldn't afford to hire someone, and I started cooking again (new house, happier child). But, WOW, cleaning technology has totally changed in the last six years.

    There are these packages of wipes with every kind of cleaning solution imaginable on them, windex works on the floor. And, I can't believe I am saying this, no one's paying me, have you tried the Swiffer? It sprays the cleaning stuff ahead of it's little grime picker upper (it's like a panty shield, you change it every time). It's AWESOME! And I can do it every couple of days in like 5 minutes.

    Yes, my life has become this boring...

  12. this isn't helpful to you in your current renting situation, but for the time when you get to choose your own kitchen flooring, mexican tile hides all dirt and food spills. i had it in my previous kitchen and when i would finally get around to mopping, on a monthly basis at best, the mop would turn black from grime. but you would never have known how dirty it was just from looking at it.

  13. Wax on! Then buff, buff, buff.

    Those black and white tile floors remind me of The Avengers, though I can't remember which of the two main characters had a black and white checked floor.

    Here's a tip: Wax the floor, put on a pair of thick white socks, turn up the radio and then dance your way to a more radiant, Avengeresque kitchen floor.

  14. bleach. it's probably not recommended by, well, anyone, but really hot water and a little clorox is what i do. i'm the laziest cleaner ever, too- i mop every once in awhile, and in between, i do use swiffer pretty often. the spray thing rules, and gets up a lot of the crap. i also bought this mop that has a scrubby pad on the far end (everyone else prolly knows about this already). that thing is cool for anything that dries onto the floor. not that i would know.

  15. I'm a family child care provider, so I have to mop my nasty vinyl kitchen floor every morning before the kids arrive. To keep it lickably clean, here's what I do:
    --sweep with a regular broom
    --dustbust the corners
    --make up a solution in the sink of v. hot water, ammonia, and Armstrong floor cleaner
    --mop the hell out of the floor, using a clean, dry cloth to dry as I go. (I actually use my feet for this, kind of skating the cloth on the floor, but kneeling and using your hands works fine, too.)
    The dry cloth is the key--trust me on this.

  16. Darling, if your tiles are the 1-square-foot kind with tiny cracks between them, you have to go easy on the mopping, at least with water and detergents. Eventually it will seep down through the cracks, and after a few years you'll get mildew/mold growing under the flooring, which will then creep back up through the cracks.
    You don't want this to happen to you!
    Dry Swiffers, then windex & a mop. (Or another cleaner that evaporates quickly.) Trust me--they had to pull up the tiles in my apartment. It was affecting my health, too. My question is, why didn't they teach me this in school?

  17. darn it! all this floor talk has made me look at my own floors. yes, they're a little dirty. but mainly just in the corners, or along the edges underneath the cabinets. since i otherwise would not have likely noticed, i'm holding you personally responsible. you can swing by to mop any time. i'll be flexible.

    -el snarkster


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