I Had No Idea This Filth Was Hiding in Plain Sight in My Kitchen (Until Reddit Showed Me!)

published Jun 19, 2024
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When my family moved into our new house, we were lucky enough to renovate a few things — like adding quartz kitchen countertops and a skirted toilet — all of which I chose because, in part, they were easy to clean and maintain. Nowhere was this consideration more important than the flooring we chose for the first floor: luxury vinyl plank (LVP). 

We love real wood, but with five kids and two huge, rambunctious dogs, we knew wood floors were likely to get trashed and we really, really didn’t want to be constantly on edge about them. LVP is pretty durable, making it the perfect fit for our current season in life. Another selling point for me was that I could clean the LVP with relative impunity — I didn’t have to worry about ruining floors by wet mopping, for example. 

We’ve had the floors for two years now, and although we do have a nick or two and a few scratches, they’ve lived up to my expectations of durability, both from their daily beatings and from my vigorous cleaning. Lately, however, I’ve noticed one area of our flooring (right by the back door in the kitchen) where some of the shallow grooves that make up the “wood grain” look of the floors appear more … prominent, and not in a good way.

It dawned on me that maybe the grooves were more noticeable because they were filled with dirt. Although part of me didn’t want to know, I simply had to find out — I scraped the inside of a groove with my fingernail, and, to my horror, out came some black grime. Once I got over my shock, I began to mildly panic. How would I get this dirt out? Obviously, none of my regular cleaning methods touched this newfound dirt. In fact, I was pretty sure my wet mopping helped push the dirt into the grooves in the first place. In an effort to figure out the best way to deal with this unexpected and disgusting problem, I turned to the internet. 

I found others in my situation on none other than Reddit. I wasn’t the only one with this issue of LVP’s “wood grain” being filled with dirt. (I felt much better knowing that my dirty floor problem wasn’t mine alone.) Not only that, but in the Reddit post you can swipe to see how much dirt came off after a deep scrubbing, which gave me a semblance of hope.

I knew if I had to clean each groove out one by one, the task would be completely untenable. At the same time, I was weirdly afraid to try any method that might get the job done because I was afraid to discover it wouldn’t work. One day, I couldn’t handle the suspense (or the dirt) anymore and I grabbed my scrub brush to see if it would be able to scrub out the dirt, as others had found success with scrubbing.

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

I lightly misted the floor with some all-purpose cleaner and scrubbed with the scrub brush. I was so relieved when the grime easily lifted from the grooves! Knowing I have a reliable method for this nasty hidden grime is such a relief — you can see the centered circle where I scrubbed in the photo above.

Although my regular cleaning scrub brush worked, my plan for when I tackle the rest of the area is to use this (self-explanatory) Libman No Knees Floor Scrub Brush. I’m actually pretty excited to give it a try and get this especially dirty area of the floor actually clean again (without breaking my back). 

Buy: Libman No Knees Floor Scrub Brush, $12.97