Don’t you know what sponja is?  Or maybe it’s sponga with a soft g. Who knows how you spell it, or do it for that matter.  Yes it’s something you do.  Any guesses?  Well I had no idea what so ever all those years ago when we moved into our first apartment in Tel Aviv.  I was faced with a lot of dust and boxes from shipping all our crap belongings, from the UK and once everything was unpacked I had to clean up.  There was no mop, neither at home nor in the shops.  Instead I had a cloth and a window washer on a long stick.  This is sponja.

As in most hot countries there is no carpet so all the rooms need to have their floors washed and the way to do this – I have since learnt – is to throw a bucket of warm soapy water on the floor, swill it around with the squidgy on a stick and then push the dirty water out to the balcony or down the hole in the bathroom floor, shine the tiles with the cloth which is then wrapped around the squidgy thing and voila; shiny clean floors.  Or not.  In fact I just had pools of dirty water collected and never quite had the foresight to pick everything up off the floor – rugs, furniture, shoes etc. etc.  As the years went by and the homes changed (to the one we live in now where there is no hole in the floor and with a step to the garden and no balcony) sponja for me became pushing rag around with soapy water and hoping for the best.

For those of you not from the UK you may well be thinking I am somewhat of a dunce.  Who doesn’t know how to clean tile floors?  Ummm, people who live in the UK and have carpet and vacuum cleaners? This was before the fashion for laminate floors and cleaning wooden floorboards by throwing a bucket of water and swilling it around was not a good option.

IMG_1777Luckily yesterday my life changed with the arrival chez nous of a Shark steam cleaner.  You may have read a previous post and are already familiar with my love of my Shark floor sweeper.  Now I have the electric mop too.  Ah yes I can swivel the steam around and clean the floors in no time.  No grimy water, no toxic smelling floor cleaner, no slippy patches and forgotten grey puddles.  I feel like I am writing copy for an ad but believe me it has, just like it’s sister, changed my life. I have already washed my floors twice in 2 days – a first in my house. I am now wondering if I can somehow use it to clean the rug, sofas, cupboard doors and bless me I even considered using it to wash the outside patio.

Was I just an undomesticated anti-goddess (my husband could sponja the floor successfully in minutes) or is it another culture thing?  English – can’t sponja, Israeli – can.  I know a lot of my readers aren’t from the UK so tell me, was it just me?


NB: Israeli readers, the Shark steam lite is on special offer in Home Center until mid April!



3 responses »

  1. I came across the ‘throw a bucket of water on the floor and then push it about until you lose it’ style of cleaning in both Azerbaijan and Egypt and still think it’s a totally mad and inefficient way to clean a floor. Having said that, living with solid floors (tile and hardwood) after a lifetime of broadloom (wall-to-wall carpeting), was an eye-opener. They get dirty so quickly and require such a lot of work to keep clean! I always thought they’d be easier. Yes, I’m of British heritage 😉 So glad you found a solution – sounds like a tip worth sharing.

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