Before I write anything else I want to make one thing clear: I am by no means a clean freak. Friends will testify to this – a few, those with tendencies towards OCD on the cleaning front, sometimes found visiting our old house challenging; well, there was always something more interesting to do than cleaning! So while I can cope with a certain amount of mess and also stomach a certain amount of built up grime, I always tidy up and give the place a good clean at some point.
When we came to look around this place we’d spent 6 months in what was effectively a single room. Our new house is so much bigger and feels really spacious, and that’s what we saw when we came to look around: the space. Wow, we said, look at all this space! What we failed to notice was the grime. Oh my, I have (almost) never seen anything like it. The only thing that I think compares was a student house I stayed in during my first year at uni where the floor in the kitchen was so filthy we mopped a path through to the bathroom, so we could walk to and fro with bare feet after a shower. Really, it was bad. But now, as a more grown up version of my old student self and with a small baby crawling around on all fours, I am like a dirt hound. I can just see it, everywhere.
It’s not all the owner’s fault: she’d lived here for many years, and we all get a tolerance to our own filth as it builds up day by day. Plus she has horses and dogs and does building work, mostly barn renovations. That’s a lot of muck coming into the house everyday. Also, we wanted to move quickly, so on the day we arrived she was still moving her things out meaning she didn’t get chance to clean so we can’t say how much she’d have done given the chance. But it’s been almost four weeks now and we’re still cleaning! The floors downstairs were more like a stable than a house. There was a rug that stank of dog. There are three leather chairs, all covered in grime, one of which I’ve cleaned twice (as per instructions from the Internet) although it’s impossible to tell from looking at them which one it is. The dining table chair cushions had to be thrown out because the foam was degrading and there were mites crawling around in them! Ugh. But perhaps the grimmest of all is the kitchen.
Here’s why. Teeny tiny little tiles. Who in their right mind would decorate their kitchen worktop with these ridiculous tiles! They are almost impossible to clean. When we arrived they were covered in an oily residue, now removed thanks to a fair amount of scrubbing and steaming. The question though was how to actually clean the grout. We used bleach and alcohol (not together) but still it looked pretty grim, so today I tried this mixture of peroxide (eau oxyegene) and baking soda. It’s looking pretty good so far and the grime seems to be lifting judging by the fact that the paste coming off is now a rather ugly shade of grey.
It also seems to be fizzing up where it’s contact with the grout, which is why peroxide is good for grout: apparently, it gets into the little holes and actually cleans through it, rather than just cleaning the surface.
I didn’t bother with any particular quantities and just aimed for a paste that was thick enough to spread over the tiles. Now I’m having a coffee, writing this post while it sits there for a while. I think about 30 minutes should do it. Okay, maybe an hour. If this stuff works the bathroom is up next. Like the kitchen we’ve bleached it from top to bottom but still it looks grubby. Oh what fun we’re having. One of the reasons I’m looking forward to my parents visiting is so they can look after both littlies while I give more parts of this house a good scrub down!
With all this though it’s still a great house in a great spot with the added bonus of lovely neighbours. We’re so much happier here than at the last place. It’ll be tidied up eventually but with the two smalls to accommodate and time needed to work we can only do so much at a time. Yesterday the floors got another going over. They’re still not quite so clean that I’d be happy to eat my dinner off them but clean enough to reinstate the three-second-rule.