Save the Newspaper, I’m washing the Floor

This is a really messy time of the year. It seems to snow every other day. Not always a lot but just enough that everyone’s shoes are wet and dirty. We all track in snow and salt and god-knows-what. I am a fairly good maintainer of this house but I don’t love washing or even wiping up floors. That ten second rule should be a two second rule here.

Anyway to counteract all the wet tracks I put a few throw rugs down to catch most of the drips and drops and clumps of snow. Everyone stomps their shoes before they come through the door then, if I’m lucky, they step on the rugs and remove their shoes.

Someone's shoes seem to have missed the rug

The other day while I was putting some of the rugs down I got a flashback to my grandmother’s house. The image in my mind was newspaper instead of rugs. Lots of newspaper. My grandmother was a Hausfrau. She kept her house as neat as a pin. She cooked, she baked. She dusted, vacuumed. Laundry was done with a wringer washer and her dryer was a line in the backyard, or if it was winter, hung in the basement. In spring, rugs went out on the washline for a beating and curtains were washed and stretched on those frames with the pins around the edges.

And she washed her floors regularly. I don’t remember being there when she actually washed them but I suspect she was on her hands and knees with a brush. She probably would frown at me and my Swiffer Wetjet. No one was allowed in the kitchen till the floor was dry and once it was dry she took the daily newspaper and opened up the sheets and spread them over the floor. The paper pretty much stayed there until the next time the floor was washed, a week?

Simulation of Gram's protective floor covering

I have no remembrance of what the linoleum actually looked like, it was a newsprint pattern as far as I am concerned. If you were lucky the funnies were right side up and you could kneel down and read them. But no color, just black and white dailies. For my simulation I laid out newspaper all over my floor and it was a pain to layout and even more of a pain to pick it all up. It also makes noise when you walk on it.

So in some mysterious way I am channeling my Gram when I toss down those rugs. I think I probably should get a few more, too much of my floor is showing. Once a month mopping is all I can take.

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7 thoughts on “Save the Newspaper, I’m washing the Floor

  1. I need an answer to”Will Newspaper Ink come off on shoes when walked on?
    When laying newspapers down for ‘Fido’ to do so.
    My dearest does not believe me when I say ” The Ink does come off on Shoes and we track it all through the house.
    HELP!

    • Hi. Well you can probably do a little experiment by just rubbing your fingers over the newsprint and look at your finger. It will be dirty and if you kept rubbing ( or walking ) on the paper the ink will accumulate and yes, you would be tracking it in the house. My husband does the crossword puzzle from the paper every morning and when I wipe the table on his side my cloth comes away pretty black.I also found this note at the Arizona Science Center’s site:

      “Newspaper ink consists of a mixture of black pigment and petroleum based resin in an oil carrier. During printing, oil seeps into the paper but never fully dries, allowing the ink to rub off on your hands and clothing.

      Starting in the mid-1980s, newspapers began to introduce low-rub inks that are much less likely to stain your fingers but rub-off cannot be eliminated completely, unless of course you choose to get your news from an electronic source.”
      Hope this helps.

  2. The newspaper thing is intriguing–I vaguely remember my grandmother doing that as well. I can’t help but wonder though, if the ink would rub off (especially when wet) and cause more mess.

    I can relate to messy, wet floors. I have a dog and as he runs in/out—my floors just never stay clean. I lay out a bunch of towels in the winter, but they still look horrid when it is rainy or snowy. If we have to walk into the kitchen with our shoes on to drop off groceries, we have learned to walk like a robot by keeping the towel underneath our boots and gliding along. Takes a little practice, but it works!

    • I think the floor was dry when she put down the newspapers but I still think ink would come off. And I recall the paper getting torn in a few days. That’s why I’m sticking to rag rugs.

  3. “Once a month mopping is all I can take.” Me too, Jeanne!

    Our back door comes into our laundry room, where all shoes/boots are to be removed…sometimes however, there are groceries to be brought in, so I’ve been known to leave my boots on to walk into the kitchen and drop the grocery bags on the floor to be unloaded. Hope always complains if she steps in a puddle left by my boots (which is why I always wear slippers in the house!).

    Wendy

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