Steam it

4:06 PM

We tried to give our maid the clearest explanation as to how to mop, gave her demo, tutorials in hope one day we would get clean floors. None availed, she just refuse to do it right.
She refuse to understand that the scotch bride microfiber mop isn't an easy way to just glide water around. That moping the floor properly actually requires one to exert some pressure to create friction. She also flat out refuse to understand that one doesn't need a 10 litre bucket full of water to rinse one mop, leave alone that once the water is dirty you actually need to change it and not continue mopping with it.

We reached that point at which we just gave up, we have been mopping after her for years. All the while talking about getting a steam mop for ourselves to just get these floors clean.
While I was sick with Dengue, DH realised how sloppy the maids mopping had become. I was out of bed barely an hour or two a day, and just walking to the kitchen to refil my water bottle was enough to make my feet black. But DH had too much on his plate to think of lecturing her. Beside like me he resigned himself to the fact she is deaf to tips and tutorial that could make her a better more reliable worker.

So this weekend, we gave in. We brought this bad boy in :

Steam mop

We've been thinking about it for a while, the price wasn't even an issue, we knew it would pay itself back in no time. We just kept thinking about the necessity of it. Because we are like that only. We debate purchases on no end. It after all took us 10 years to find a dinner set we really liked. And don't get me started about the furniture. Yes, we take time debating household purchases, and we also wait until microwaves threaten to become fire hazard before replacing them.

So that steam mop was yet another of these infamous debate. Do we need it? Will we really get the whole benefit? Can we postpone it? Aren't we crazy? Are we? Really will we really get any benefit of owning a steam mop over re-moping with a normal one? I think we should? Don't you? Maybe we can wait, it's not that bad...

Except it did get that bad. A couple of month ago I spent an entire afternoon gliding on a soapy with Cif kitchen floor getting all the dirt and grime that comes from cooking with oil off a super old, non vitrified super porous marble floor. I got it all clean, but my body was also all sore and The grease and crap came back a few weeks later. Despite my best attempt at trying to keep it clean. The idea have another "Cif-capade" in my kitchen and threatening to injure myself wasn't appealing.
Attempting to teach my maid once more that a 1200 square foot flat cannot be squeaky clean in 10 minutes of sweeping and mopping combined was equally stupid. We gave her that talk already. She doesn't see a problem hearing that when she is on leave I work 45 minutes on the floor alone to get it clean...daily.

With the sale going on, and the fact we still had credit card points we could redeem in Croma, we decided that now was as much a good time as any. While we are at it, we are also the crazy (yet smart) people who redeem credit card points on store coupons rather than miles (miles never got as as much value for our point as store vouchers did...just saying).

As of this weekend, we are equipped with the coolest cleaning toy around. Not only does it gets all the crap and oil and grime and soot off the floor (buy-bye black feet). We shelled the extra money to get the model that comes with the detachable tank and special nozzles that would allow us to work it like a steam gun of sort and tackle bathroom walls, toilets and kitchen counters. Just this morning I was giving DH a demo on how the brush nozzle was going to solve our black tile grout problem once and for all. He was super impressed and we already decided to tackle the tile grouts in our entire flat over the weekend. We are comitting ourselves to the idea of a super clean flat.

This mop, on top of steaming all the gunk away, also does it on just two cups of water. And that is because our floor needed the TLC. If used regularly I am sure I can bring that down to just one cup.
This left DH and I pondering the fact that while we don't plan on firing the maid because we aren't cold hearted people (we know she needs the money) she is becoming less and less a necessity. And we aren't the only one debating the maid issue. I know many that are debating the possibility to do without one. DH and I estimated that we were one steam mop and one dishwasher away from that reality. We already had the vacuum cleaner, though a heavier duty one would not hurt. We now have the steam mop. And if our kitchen was big enough, or at the most most intelligently planned, a dishwasher would be an expense we would be willing to make.

India gets dirty much faster than Switzerland. Blame it on the insane level of pollution. For years I kept saying that in the absence of proper cleaning tools, maids were a necessity to lighten my household load of chores. But, with India developing, and the approriate appliances and tools getting more affordable and easily available. It is not going to take long before one realise that if they hire a maid they might want to get a better service out of the deal too.
DH and I both can't believe how long we did without giving in to the power of steam. We love our new mop and the promises of cleaner floors.

And this was my Monday rave. I am still trying to get out of the Dengue exhaustion mode and catch up on all the things I didn't do the week I spent in bed. This is also the last week of Ishita going to school only half time. From next weeken onward she is going the whole 7 hours a day long. This will leave me more time to get all my blogging organised.

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  1. Ooh! This bad boy definitely looks useful, and also looks like the perfect gift for my mum. :D (She has also been cleaning everything by herself, once maid leaves, since forever)

    Hope you are recovering well.

    1. Recovering well, thanks for asking :-)

      This is definitely a good gift for your mom. It makes the cleaning much easier to do. I am really planning to do an in depth cleaning this weekend and then using it to do the daily mopping. It should help us keep the floor clean longer.

  2. So I guess there's absolutely no hope in training the maid to use the steam mop?
    And may I ask what brand is the steam mop?

    1. The brand is Black & Decker, model 1621 which is the one with the removable tank part so you can use the steamer to clean other surfaces than just floors.

      There is no chance my maid will ever get to use this one. She can't be trusted with a scotch bride mop. And once she decided to use our old vacuum cleaner. The first thing she did was remove the bag and use it without the bag! All the dirt flew into the fan and straight back into the room through the air vent. When we told her, she looked totally puzzled, and used it a couple of time without the bag again. The vacuum ended up breaking. When we bought the new one, we hid it away.

      So yup trying to explain to her how to use a 10k steam mop/cleaner that she will in all like hood use incorrectly despite careful explanations is not something I want to give a try. She could even end up burning herself badly using it wrong, and then what? Having her risk to loose other home jobs because she needs a sick leave to recover from burns.

      Just this morning, she showed me that the fact we told her about a million time not to throw garbage out of the window hasn't sunk in. Caught her red handed throwing the trash out of my balcony. When I acted appropriately upset and shocked. She didn't even seem to understand why I was making such a fuss about her not using the dust bin for a stray cookie wrapper that she already threw on the ground from where it was in a bowl on my coffee table.


    2. Hmmmm.......does that B&D steam mop dismantle small enough to fit in a 27 inch suitcase? I'm thinking of sticking one in our suitcase the next time we go to Delhi (I've stuck an iMac & a KitchenAid stand mixer successfully in suitcases to bring to Nepal before.)
      I'm surprised you can get Scotch Brite products in India, is that new?
      I've learned the hard way trying to teach maids something new also. The latest fiasco was one of those 'spin mops' that she managed to destroy in a week by pushing down on it too hard. At least this maid is better than our last one whom I used to catch ironing with the iron unplugged.

    3. I'll have to check the size of each elements once disassembled. I got the display model so I have no idea in what kind of box it came in.
      Scotch bride has been there for a while, the first time I found that microfiber flat mop thing was 4 years ago, and they already had an array of other products like sponge, mops, towels and scrubbing brushes on the market for a couple of years back then. You find them in bigger supermarkets usually.

      My maid once told us that the scotch brite mop was not good enough when we gave her the umpteenth lecture on how you actually need to put a little pressure to actually rub the floor. And tried to get us to buy her one of these spinning mop thingy that comes with its little squeezing bucket compartment. We told her it was not going to happen because it cost as much as the scotch brite mop but is of way inferior quality and no replacement head can be bought. She acted miffed and decided to boycott the scotch brite mop for a while, using an old rag to mop instead. Yeah because squatting on the floor, giving yourself joint pains to protest our refusal to buy a crappy spinning mop instead of just listening to us and using the scotch brite mop right is very mature and logical!

    4. Anonymous3:18 PM

      i think your house has shiny tiles which rarely get dirty and the balconies, kitchen and bathroom have marble. such surfaces are easy to clean except if the marbel is very old. our water is hard and it leaves ugly strains on the floor of bathroom and kitchen. here, this kind of steamed mop is very useful as well as for removing oil strains in kitchen. if the water is hard everything from floor, walls, taps, pipes, utensils get strained. our pipes have corroded due to hard water.

      this mop remind me that on days the maid does no come, we wrap the mopping cloth around th wiper and wipe the floor with it. this way u don't need to get down.

      i hope u are recovering well. don't tire yourseld.


    5. The bedrooms have white ceramic tiles. The bathrooms, living room and kitchen all have these very old mismatched grey marble tiles that aren't vitrified and absorb all the dirt. It's hard to get them clean putting effort into it. My Maid doesn't even try, she just glide dirty water over them making it worse.

      The steam mop has removed all that accumulated oily dirt from the tiles. This has been a life changer.

      Hard water can kill anything. Even with our quite mild water here in Mumbai I prefer using water from the purifier to fill the steam mop, just to be safe.

      I am feeling better. My energy levels are going up, though I still need a good nap in the afternoon. I decided to take it easy this week again. I'll probably be back to normal by next week.

    6. To get hard water stains & soap scum off of tile- mix 1/2 Pril liquid dish soap + 1/2 white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on stains & leave overnight. Your hard water & soap scum will easily rinse off the next day.

  3. Interesting ... Thanks for idea ... For us, for now the maid is doing a fairly ok job. Don't know when the need will arise ... And now we know where to turn to.

    By the way, hope you have regained your health, after the bout of dengue.

    1. The level of dirt on the floor is also due to pollution levels in the air. And how often you keep all the windows opened. In my case pollution is relatively high due to too many constructions projects in the area, and I feel very claustrophobic living behind closed windows. So that doesn't help the dirt situation. But yes my maid is very sloppy. Because even with the regular scotch brite mop I get the floor far far cleaner than she ever does.

      The steam mop has come as a huge blessing. No more black foot soles! That's how bad it was leaving the job to the maid alone. And why I tried to mop behind her as much as I could.

      I am doing fine, my energy levels are getting back to normal. I still feel the need for a nap midday which is quite unlike me. But I have been able to do more stuff around the house this week, which feels good.

  4. Anonymous11:55 AM

    Great purchase! My husband and I, we also discuss every purchase thoroughly and then look for the best price. Mopping the floors is one of my least favorite chores, so I envy you! Glad you're feeling better.

    1. My absolute least favourite chore is ironing. I hate ironing clothes with a real passion. This was the task I would put off until there really wasn't much left to wear in my wardrobe back in Switzerland. Not that I had a lot of thing to iron to begin with because I was really careful to buy stuff that needed no ironing or very little.
      India has been great all along for that, I outsource the job happily and get my clothes back all neatly pressed and folded perfectly.

      My second lest favourite chore is doing the dishes, but I still don't mind doing it as much as I mind ironing. Everything else I have no problem doing :-)


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