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Tips for cleaning filthy floorboards and other fixtures

(26 Posts)
pimmsy Thu 20-Oct-16 12:41:08


Just realized this is very very long... just reading everything in bold should be enough info!

I moving back into an old flat of mine that has been rented out for the last 7 years.

The tenant finally agreed to leave three weeks ago even though I gave proper notice in March. (I'm not in the uk.)

She hadn't been paying the rent since January and I needed the flat I separating from my partner in June.

So I'm already not in a great state, I went round this yesterday to do the paperwork with her and to add insult to injury the whole place is heart breakingly filthy.

I was expecting some damage and having to redo some of the paintwork because she'd been there for 3 years but it was fully redecorated + new mattress, washing machine, fridge etc just before she moved in after the last tenants.

But it is in an appalling state, the whole flat smells dirty, all the light switches are black from grime, the radiators are covered in greasy dust, the loo is unsalvageable, the glass shower panel is opaque from limescale, the sofa stinks of unwashed body, the fridge is full of mould, the waning machine is broken, the mattress was so bad that I took it straight down to the pavement etc etc

This morning I got in the builders to quote for redecorating and replastering some of the walls ( she appears to have gouged parts out of them....) fixing all the broken spot lights, redoing the some of the pluming, fixing a leak she never informed me of act etc .

There is no way I can recuperate any of the costs, as I didn't ask for a deposit ( very stupid, I know) and she owes my over 12 000 euros in unpaid rent and this has eaten up every last penny of my savings.

So I don't have any spare cash to get cleaners in...

The (very shocked) builders ( same company that has always done the work on the flat, who fully renovated it when I bought it and redecorated prior to Ms Piggy moving in) have said that they will do most of the big clean but that

- I need to degrease and clean and the old wood floor boards

They are covered in black grime, I got down on my hands and knees and had a look but the only way i could see of cleaning them without damaging the floor is painstakingly scratching off the patches of black grime bit by bit, this will take ages because there are 60m2 of old oak floorboards.

I need to clean the visible old vertical beams

These are old oak beams that go from floor to ceiling with 30 centimetre gaps between them and are coved in grease and dust as they separate the kitchen from the sitting room, they are not smooth though and have loads of nooks and crannies.

I would be very grateful for any tips you may have because I'm just devastated right now.


pimmsy Thu 20-Oct-16 12:49:16

This is what the beams look like after a first clean and you can see some of the floorboard!

Imnotaslimjim Thu 20-Oct-16 12:54:58

How sad for you that someone has let such beautiful wood get into such a state!!

For the floorboards, I would try sugar soap. Wear gloves and use it neat. Apply with a sponge then rub with the grain of the wood, wiping and rinsing as you go.

Good luck

pimmsy Thu 20-Oct-16 13:07:24

Thank you Imnotaslimjim,

I'll go and find some sugar soap!

fitzbilly Thu 20-Oct-16 14:15:24

Yes I second sugar soap, I used it to clean off years of grease and dust build up on the wooden beams a house I bought years ago. The previous owners didn't have an extractor fan of ever bother cleaning, it was grim.

It took a lot of elbow grease though. And a nail brush.

homeaway Thu 20-Oct-16 19:26:19

I wonder if a steam cleaner would help ??

pimmsy Thu 20-Oct-16 19:35:16

Yes fitzbilly the only clean thing in the appartement is the filter of the extractor fan ( the state of the hood makes up for that though!). I've got some sugar soap and have found a couple of good friends to come round this weekend and help with the elbow grease aspect in exchange for naughty day time beer and gossip and possible future babysitting from my part!

Homeaway I have a steam cleaner but I think the grimy bits of the floorboard are past just steam, on the really bad bits it looks quite like when very old treaden over chewing gum goes black... think horrible dirty bar floor !
However I will be steaming the life out of all the upholstered chairs and the sofa to see if they can be salvaged !

Mcchickenbb41 Fri 21-Oct-16 14:31:03

How awful for you ! Looks like it could be a beautiful home too which I'm sure it will be once you get sorted. Another one for sugar soap here. When I sanded back my bedroom floor it needed a lot of prep. I used a scrubbing brush and sugar soap. Now a scrubbing brush might be to coarse for your floors etc but someone suggested a nail brush ? Worth a try. You will need to buy loads of them. Go to a pound shop ( or equivalent ) also constantly change the buckets for clean water as the water will get dirty very very quickly. I had two buckets on the go at one time. I scrubbed the floor in small segments then whipped over with a cloth. You will need a lot of brushes and clothes. Also sugar soap comes in different forms. I used powder for this job. And yes wear gloves ! Wishing you luck I'm sure you'll have it beautiful again in no time xx 💐

pimmsy Sun 23-Oct-16 12:20:36

Thank you for your encouragement! I reckon I'm about half way through ( and 10 nail brushes down!) and it's really worth it, the floor is starting to look like the floor I fell in love with when I got the place.

I'll let you know when I've finished!

Imnotaslimjim Sun 23-Oct-16 12:57:57

Can you get a wire brush rather than nail brushes? It will be more hardwearing. It sounds like you're doing great though, would love to see it when it's finished.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Sun 23-Oct-16 13:02:23

Steam cleaner will be great - I use mine for the kitchen where the tops of the cupboards get greasy from cooking byproducts. It's amazing for that. Sugar soap will be good for scrubbing, but I'd start with steam, use the sugar soap next and maybe another steam to finish off.

Steam the sofa too, maybe?

Cassimin Sun 23-Oct-16 13:13:37

For greasy areas try swarfega. We used this on greasy oven hoods in rented flats. Rubbed it in then wiped off with a clean cloth.

Mcchickenbb41 Sun 23-Oct-16 18:23:00

Well done pimmsy was hoping you were getting on ok !! X

homeaway Sun 23-Oct-16 19:35:12

Keep going.. smile

mineofuselessinformation Sun 23-Oct-16 19:43:14

Get an old-fashioned scrubbing brush with wooden bristles. It won't hurt the wood, but will be quicker and easier than nailbrushes. Plus, it should last the course.

pimmsy Mon 24-Oct-16 18:00:41

Hello everyone,

Thank you for your encouragement! I'm nearly done with the beams and have made good progress on the floors! The appartement is already smelling less dirty/sweaty/musty! The builders are moving in tomorrow and will be there for about 10 days re plastering and repainting adding more ceiling lights etc. Once they've finished I'll be able to finish the floors and steam every inch of soft furniture left.

It's really cheered me up to read your recommandations, and I'll post some photos once I'm all done to show you my progress!

Mcchickenbb41 Tue 25-Oct-16 08:52:13

That's great pimmsy. Your sounding a lot more positive about it all X

radicaldude Tue 25-Oct-16 11:16:09

I use this floor cleaner for my wooden floors and it brings them out looking brand new and really shiny.

pimmsy Sat 12-Nov-16 05:24:10

The workmen should have finished all the repainting tomorrow !

Want2bSupermum Sat 12-Nov-16 05:35:04

I used hot water, vinegar and dish soap on everything when we moved in with a magic eraser. It was magic. The vinegar helps get rid of smells.

Go through small claims court for lost money and if not successful can you claim off your home insurance.

pimmsy Tue 15-Nov-16 17:05:13

The workmen have finished ! All I need now is a couple of hectolitres of bleach... bathroom is clean, tomorrow I start the kitchen cleaning... microwave is going straight in the bin though...

pimmsy Tue 15-Nov-16 17:07:40

Oh and I was so proud of how I managed to bag the shower head in vinegar ... it was so coved in black limescale that the water was just about dripping through but it's back to working order

Want2bSupermum Tue 15-Nov-16 21:34:22

That microwave needs to go out now. The spores that are probably coming from it.... blugh!

Great job on the shower head. Looks like new!

wooooofudge Wed 16-Nov-16 23:28:27

You can clean that microwave rather than throw it away! Water with lemon and get it boiling in there. Leave for the steam to loosen the muck and give it a good clean. Stick the turntable in the dishwasher.

pimmsy Fri 18-Nov-16 23:02:57

As much as I'd have liked to save the microwave, what was left on the photo was the color after I tried steaming it but the plastic actually seemed burnt and the inside of the roof a little melted, so it has gone.
I'm finishing moving in this weekend and will post a pic !

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