Home Improvement | My Current Lake House

Cleaning Up After DIY’ing

Today I am sharing something that I haven’t done in years.  This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Green Works for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I enjoy DIY’ing for two reasons.

The first is that I get to design and do things my way.  :-) Secondly, to save money.

These are both huge pluses to transform my home to one that I will love and live in happily ever after.  The downside of DIY’ing is that it does takes TIME and EFFORT from start to finish.

How to paint kitchen cabinets the right way

The time and effort requires more than actually doing the project… the prep and clean up can sometimes take longer than the project itself. I always try to remember that anything worth achieving requires preparation.

I get so excited to get into a DIY project, but for it to go smoothly I first have to calm down and make a plan. I need to buy the supplies, set them all up, prepare surfaces, tape, mask, and then I can start.

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During the transformation process I am in my element and focus on the task at hand.

White Diamond Giani Countertop painting tutorial

When the project is done, I step back and know it was worth all the time and effort to see my visions come to life and then….

I really step back and see the mess all around the project I have completed, from wood scraps, drop cloths, tools, paint cans, paint drips, sanding and Spackle dust and more that all has to be cleaned up and put away.

How to clean up after sanding spackle

I try to be neat and not make too big of a mess, but after using the foyer to paint the kitchen cabinets when it got too cold to paint them outside and then add the closet under the foyer staircase, the brick floor in the foyer, even though we protected it with heavy duty drop cloths was a mess.  Plus the fact that while all this was taking place, we tracked in the dirt from daily life and I had not cleaned the floor literally in 6 months!

It was time to see the floor again.

I like the brick floor and think I will place a seagrass rug in the center of the floor eventually, but first I needed to get the space back in order. I started by sweeping the floor to get as much dust, sanding grit and dirt up as I could.  I had to use a stiff broom where the bristles would get down into the grooves between the bricks.

How to clean up after a DIY home improvement project

And then I did something I have not done in years…

…I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the entire floor with a scrub brush, Green Works® Multi-Surface cleaner, and hot water.  ( Yes, mom I protected my knees first :-)

My handled mops with pads just didn’t get into the grooves between the bricks. I needed to spray cleaner into all the grooves and scrub to flush out the accumulated dirt.

It was a big job, but one that didn’t make my eyes water, break me out with hives or give me a headache since I used non-toxic Green Works® that has 95% to 99% naturally derived ingredients.

I had never used this before moving to South Carolina, but the previous owner of the house left a mostly full bottle of it in the garage along with other cleaners and items she could not take with her. I have since used it all around my house. I like it since all the active cleaning ingredients in it are derived from mother nature, such as filtered water, plant-based cleaning agents, essential oils, corn-based ethanol and wood-based fibers.

For me this means I can breathe while I clean and not have to worry about it leaving a harsh chemical residue.  I have horrible allergies and the smell of most cleaning agents makes my throat swell and I can’t breathe.  While I scrubbed away and watched the dirt disappear I could breathe easily…not a hive appeared on my body and my eyes didn’t water.  “I Love Green Works” and have Marie, the previous owner of the house to thank. :-)

Once I scrubbed the entire floor and watched it dry, the most exciting part of DIY’ing came… putting the area back into order to see what my time and effort had rewarded me with.

Not only a clean floor, but a new closet under the staircase and the clean-lined decorating style I like for my home.

I posted about how we created a hidden closet under the staircase, here.

Many of you have asked if I was going to leave the brick floor as it is. For now I am, but I may eventually whitewash it or do some sort of painted treatment on it once we get new entry doors. Getting new doors may be a long way off though since I can’t DIY putting them in…. a little over my skill set.  We will have to hire someone to do that job and with a wedding next year to pay for, it may have to wait.  :-)


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  1. I hope you can get this message. I viewed your greenworks post on how you scrubbed your brick entry way floor. Just a little note. I have slate floors in my living room and my kitchen. Both of which are impossible to clean the conventional way. I put a sealer on top on them which made cleaning them a breeze! Once that sealer is on there, they sweep up like you are sweeping on glass. So much easier to keep up with. I thought I’d share that with you because before the sealer, it was like cleaning bricks! Very difficult.

  2. Oh I know the feeling. I work full time and the spouse was pretty bored, so, he started a project. Subway tile in the kitchen. Which led to new trim, paint (first choice really bad) so had to do it twice. I had a lot of clean up (my job) when I got home daily. Well, that went too fast evidently. Open stairwell is now being painted (after much prep work due to very old house), which led to the dining room getting a fresh new color on the walls. That made the ceiling look drab so a new coat going on that. In between plenty of clean up. Also led to new lighting. I’m kinda scared to go home tonight. It sure looks great though. You have given me so many ideas and I have shared them with my husband and I think it finally sunk in to lighten things up. He was always choosing dark colors for rooms with little natural light.

    1. Hi Patty – WOW! You have done quite a lot. I am sure it looks fabulous seeing all the changes even though you have to deal with the process of transforming and cleaning up everything. When making over a room, it does lead to new projects since every room connects and like you mentioned, once you do one thing, anything next to it looks drab. :-( When Ed and I were first married we tried painting walls in many different colors, but we both found we felt best in light and white rooms. I hope you found everything just the way you envisioned when you got home today. :-)

  3. I scrubbed the hardwood floor in the master bedroom this weekend, so I feel your pain. (Removed the wall-to-wall carpet and had to pull up 7 million staples, scrape up sludge from the foam carpet pad, and then clean the floor and repair scratches. 8 hours on my knees, ugh.) This is the third room I’ve done, and I have a brick patio that needs weeding every now and then despite polysand, so i bought knee pads at the hardware store. Old slip-on volleyball kneepads just weren’t cutting it anymore. Love the new closet and all you’ve done with the house. I’m tackling my stairs next and am debating painting the risers white. Will be referencing your posts on that for sure!

    1. Hi Jan – Wow you have been busy. It sounds like you have been putting your new knee pads to a lot of use. Pulling up carpet is hard work and that doesn’t even include the staple removal..that is the worst job ever!!! Kudos to you for taking it on. You made me laugh when I read…scrape up the sludge from the foam carpet pad. That sums it up perfectly. You really had your work cut out for you, but I know you will be rewarded for all your efforts.

  4. I actually go so far as to pull up the youtube versions of the song from the disney movie.
    Makes me laugh every time.

    Because I hate washing floors.
    With Georgia Clay and a sizable dog- 10 secs after it is cleaned- I can already see the dirt coming back in.

    1. Hi Kat – That is funny listening to the song from the Disney movie, but whatever it takes, right? When Ed and I were first married, he had a white lab named Woody. He was a sweet dog, but shed like crazy. I literally had to vacuum twice a day or his hair would turn to tumbleweed moving all around the house every evening. Clay soil is the worst, so hard to remove.

  5. Wow! New to your blog( Love it) and just moved into a Old Farm house (renting) and the wooden floors are so worn, I myself got hands an knees for a old fashion cleaning! I used a gardening foam pad to kneel on, Try it! the use of mops and swifter just don’t cut it for a thoroughly great cleaning.
    Love your diy’s and glad I signed in on your blog. I’m starting from scratch here and hopefully can get my place as beautiful as yours on my very low budget. Thanks for such inspiration Diane
    Hope E.

    1. Hi Hope – Thanks for the nice note. Living in a farm house with wooden floors sounds dreamy. My mom used to use the garden pad to kneel on, I will have to get one as it will help me outside when I am weeding the garden, too. DIY decorating takes time, but step by step you will see how everything you do adds up to create the decor you love. Thanks for reading. XO

  6. Getting an area completely clean, floor to ceiling, is the best feeling! I often have the same struggle when cleaning my floors, I always find myself coughing from the chemicals. I use the Meyer’s brand cleaner really works for me. Also how thoughtful of the previous home owner to leave you with cleaning supplies, especially if you have tricky surfaces to clean, such as brick! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Charlotte – I remember when I was a little kid, my mom had to be careful what she used to clean the house since I would get sick from the smell. Same with laundry detergent. :-( It is a nice feeling to get the house squeaky clean. :-)

  7. Hi, Diane: another brave deed done! I looked up the Green Works and was surprised to see it’s made by the Clorox Company! and they have a multitude of products available at Target!
    I’m shopping more at Target lately, so I’m going to look for Green Works! Your place just looks wonderful!

    1. Thanks Linda – I can never seem to leave Target empty handed. It is a fun store to shop at. Yes Green Works is made by Clorox, but does not smell at all like bleach. It has very little scent. It does however do a great job at cleaning up the dirt and dust. :-)

  8. Hands and knees? On brick no less! No thank you! I would have rented one of those rounds commercial type scrubbers and used the shop vac to get the water up. Makes my knees hurt just thinking about it.

  9. Cleaning up after the project is finished is a lot of work but so worth it to get the house/room clean and back in working order.

    I love the board and batten treatment under your stairway. I am inspired to do something similar in my stairway but going up the stairs. Waiting for spring to begin the stairway project or until our kitchen remodel is done.

    1. Hi Patti – Thanks.. :-) With Spring only a month away the home improvement stores will soon be hopping. Board and batten is a really easy project if you have a miter saw. It can be done fairly quickly and makes a big impact.

  10. I love your brick floors! Thank you for sharing your great tips on cleaning and especially that “Green Works is made from natural ingredience.

    1. Hi Joanie – I really like having the brick floor, it adds so much texture and interest to the space. Now that it is clean I like it even more. :-)

  11. Diane, I work the same way you do: Make a plan, get all the necessary products then work on it till it’s done and cleaned up…with the help of my hubby oftentimes. :-)

    I giggled when I saw you washing/scrubbing your floor because I do that too from time to time the same way. I call it “Cinderella cleaning”…. she seemed to get the worst floors and had to do them on hands and knees. LOL!

    Looking fabulous! Always happy to see your posts arrive in my inbox.

    1. Oh my gosh Connie… I love your name for down on your knees cleaning … “Cinderella cleaning” :-) I will be using that term from now on. As always… Thanks for reading. XO

  12. You are doing an amazing job on this beautiful home, as you did before, I always love to see what your up to next, all looks stunning…thanks for sharing..x