One of the things I've learned is that every house has differences. Some things will be better (or easier); other things will be worse (or more difficult). When shopping for rental houses, I try to keep in mind the things that are truly important to me and for our family.
I did still find myself unsure about the kitchen here, though. As I mentioned, nearly everything in this kitchen is different from my previous kitchens.
Black counter tops? Joshua saw them and thought "Cool, these look fancy." I saw them and thought "How dark -- and how will I ever see the crumbs?" It's just plain WEIRD for me to actually be putting stuff out on my counters because in the past I have loved clear, clean counters but with black counters, having pretty stuff is better than a big black abyss. :) I find myself wiping them down over and over. Will I get used to the color and stop feeling for stickiness at every turn? (Maybe not, with kids in the house!)
My clean kitchen floor! Read on to find out what I used on it...
Another big difference was the kitchen floor. The floor is tile. I've never lived with tile floors. I wondered if we'd drop dishes on them and they'd break (so far, so good -- no drops yet). I wondered if my feet would freeze since I love to go barefoot (no frozen feet yet... in fact, it's been more like free a/c for my feet since it's summer). I wondered what I was supposed to use to clean the tile floors, too. And I told myself that there must be a reason tile is so popular; I'd probably like the floor just fine!
Move-in condition... dirty floor and grout! I'm guessing most renters don't scrub grout...
So far, I neither like nor dislike the tile kitchen floor. It's way better than having carpet, but I'm pretty sure a good linoleum is easier to clean. When we moved in, it was dirty.
Initially, I cleaned the floor with Simple Green and our giant push broom. I wasn't wasting any time on this task. Something that dirty and grimy needed some serious soaking and scrubbing!
When I finished mopping up the dirty water, Ruth (5) told me "Mommy! I like this floor after all!" :)
That was a few weeks ago. What initially looked like a big improvement started to annoy me as I noticed the black grout that remained despite my vigorous scrubbing with the push broom. Time to figure out what to do next.
Starting the task... by the time I finished, I understood why most renters don't clean grout.
From my research, it seems like the best way to clean grout is with a toothbrush. :P
A close-up of the BIG difference before and after!
There are mixed opinions about using vinegar on grout, so I opted to use 3% hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. (I used up my peroxide on this project and bought more at Costco -- $1.99 for two 32-ounce bottles.) Pour on some peroxide, sprinkle a little baking soda, and then scrub, scrub, scrub with an old toothbrush.
The finished floor: clean tile and clean grout!
It was labor-intensive, but it worked! A bonus was that Ruth (5) and Moshe (3) wanted to help and it really entertained them for quite some time. I let them apply "the cleaners" and I had enough old toothbrushes for them to each have one too.
The end result isn't perfect, but that's more due to the age and wear of the tile floor than lack of cleanliness.
Here you can see the finished floor. I had Yehoshua (9) and Eliyahu (7) help me move our big heavy dining room table into the living room so I could work on the floors.
As you can see, there is a tile "rug" in the dining room, which is a grout-hater's nightmare! There's a hundred little pieces and unfortunately the grout is old and chipped, as are the little tiles. (Maybe from chairs being pushed across them constantly?) I kept telling myself as I scrubbed, "This is still better than carpet in the dining room!" :)
We put the table back. This is a NEW TABLE, which I don't think I ever introduced here on this blog!
Last December, Joshua was shopping for ping pong tables on Craigslist and I said "Honey, I don't care if you get a ping pong table, but if you're going to get a ping pong table I want a bigger kitchen table!" ;)
That very same day Joshua went and picked up this solid maple table, driving over 2 hours in heavy rain to pick it up from a Craigslist ad. It's wonderful having a big table! You can see our old table in this post and this post. It was great when we had 0-3 kids. We had totally outgrown it last year though!
And just so you know, Joshua got his ping pong table in January -- a family gift to all of us from his generous parents. :D
Anyway, those of you with tile floors in your kitchens -- PLEASE give me some more tips for cleaning and maintaining and living with tile floors! I want to hear from you!! :)
To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:
Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link in a comment here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please! We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)
Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!