Today, I clean the stairwell.

I live right downtown in an old hotel. I have a stairwell that is original to the 1890’s building. I have three inside dogs and an indoor cat, so I have both a dirt/dust/animal hair issue. I was at the old courthouse the other day and their floors looked GREAT (no dogs).

So today, I’m cleaning the staircase.
First things first.
Good floor mats. You’ve probably heard it before, but everything they say about “good” floor mats is true. They can prevent lots of dirt from making it to places where it can cause damage. Good floor mats are not the cute little ones made of hemp or rubber that say WELCOME. Good floor mats are the ones you see both outside and inside the doors of banks and other public buildings. They are big enough to take several steps on.

The one I have is the heavy rubber kind with the little fingers. I can easily shake them out outside into the gutter on street cleaning days. They can be easily vacuumed to remove accumulated dirt. They belong both outside and inside all entrances to the home. I’m going to expand my entry when I get the time and money….I’ll have a wrought iron gate with one of those security grills welded on the inside, so the dogs can’t get out into the street when I have the door open. I want a wooden door right behind the wrought iron gate. I have a glass commercial door right now, right at the bottom of the stairs, so I actually had to cut up my rubber mat to fit on the bottom three steps and the landing. (And the commercial glass door is both good and bad. Bad, because the dogs will go crazy when strangers knock on the door because they think we might possibly be a store (I have a sign stating that this door is for HOTEL GUESTS ONLY, so evidently, they can’t read). It’s good because I can either wait on the steps for friends or see them from the top of the stairs. that’s handy when you are two flights above the street level!! So the foyer will have the rubber mat, the first three stairs will be matted and the landing will have a mat.

I sweep the stairs once a day. That keeps the dirt and dog hair at bay. (Maybe a five minute little chore).

But for real cleaning?
Hot water
Spray bottle with a teeny tiny spray
I like to use Fabuloso! which is sort of an Hispanic Pinesol. Fresh and clean smelling

First, I vacuum, top to bottom. I use the little teeny attachment to get as much dirt out of the corners (first time) and then use the skinny wide attachment on the treads. (Seven minutes)
Then I sweep twice. I want as much dirt picked up as possible! The rubber mats are shaken and rolled up. (Five minutes)

Then I get a bucket of HOT WATER and my Water Pic, with a super long extension cord. I spray out the corners with the WaterPic and wipe up the resulting mud with a rag. I use another rag with plain hot water and spray Fabuloso!  to wash down the risers and treads. I can reach three treads at a time. so I do them in little batches from top to bottom. (Another 10 minutes) If I do this at night, I can get the entire staircase done during commercials….but you have to WORK FAST if you do this. Otherwise you have more stairs that you have night.

Then I go back upstairs, dump my water and use Murphy’s to wipe down the wainscoting and hand rails (both original to the building). Vertical surfaces don’t get as dirty as horizontal surfaces, FYI. (Another 10 minutes). By now, the stairs are dry and I can put down the mats.

I also brush my dogs while I watch my judge shows. I swear, I can brush out the equivalent of a small dog every single day! I just figure that any shedding hair I can brush out is that much less I don’t have to pick up!

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