Cleaning with Elbow Grease

by Merissa on January 4, 2013

in Featured, Simple Living

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Usually I am a fan of quick cleaning. My Pinterest boards are full of pins about cleaning the house in 5 minutes a day, schedules to keep me on task, etc. (Are you with me?) Cleaning is definitely NOT my favorite thing. But living in a dirty mess is also NOT my favorite thing.

What is a girl to do?

For a few months I was doing an internship and lived in community with other interns. The house we lived in was paid for by the organization. The was in the hood of a big city. and it was a mess. Like, spagetti sauce on the walls, mildew on the ceiling, scum on the floor kind of mess. Yuck!

While my roommate worked on the walls, I took it upon myself to clean up the floors.

A broom did not clean it up.
A mop did not clean it up.
A Swiffer did not clean it up.

There was no quick fix that would make those floors clean. Agh!

So what did I use instead? --- elbow grease. Using an all-purpose cleaner, a brillo pad, and my muscles, I scrubbed those floors cleaner than the original tiles. Ain’t she a beaut?

(I would not suggest using a brillo pad on all floors, as it may cause damage, since these floors where old and ruin anyway, I went for it)

What did I learn through this process?

  • Sometimes cleaning takes time.
  • Elbow grease is one of the most important cleaning products you own.
  • Cleaning can equal exercise.

Find more Organizing Tips on Little House Living.

When was the last time you used elbow grease to clean the house? Share your stories.


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9:00 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenn January 6, 2013 at 6:18 pm

My last year of college, the kitchen of the house I shared with three other girls was a mess when we first moved in. Especially the floors. I didn’t use brillo pads but I was on my hands and knees with Simple Green for a good while cleaning that floor by hand. To this day, I prefer the look of a handwashed floor though I generally stick to a mop and bucket. :0)


2 Erin January 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

I definitely feel the same way! It is worth putting in the extra effort to get a cleaner look. Put when you don’t have much time, you go for what works. =)


3 Linda February 5, 2013 at 5:18 am

and if you no longer can get down on your hands and knees to do this, you can wet the brillo pad put under one foot and move you leg back and forth while holding onto the counter for balance, doing a small area at a time. Then you can wet and squeeze out an old towel and put it down and rinse it. This looks so pretty with the special shine it gives.


4 Lucie February 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm

It’s a great philosophy. One of our drains clogged over the weekend. Instead of buying expensive (and corrosive!) chemicals I just gave it a couple
of pushes with a plunger that I bought for $1.98- worked a treat!


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