It’s been almost 4 weeks since we moved into the new house and it’s been fantastic. We’ve discussed so many ideas about how we want the house to look and we’ve really begun the whole planning process. We go to Canada in May so we’re only doing limited projects that don’t cost the earth up until we get back from Canada and the first was ‘get-rid-of-the-vile-carpet-in-the-bathroom’ project.
So I think It’s now safe for me to say that I am a pro at getting out urine smells from wooden floorboards – not sure if it’s one for the CV though. So, when we moved in the first thing we wanted to change was the flooring in the bathroom. It was this horrible faded red carpet that not only looked dirty but smelt reeeeally bad too. Firstly, why on earth would anyone ever want carpet in their bathroom? I mean, I understand that you might not slip over after getting out of a bubble bath, or that it keeps you a little bit warmer when you trudge on through to the bathroom on a cold January morning BUT the cons definitely out way the 1 or maybe 2 pros. The cons – Not only is it completely unhygienic, drinks any type of liquid (ew) and it’s such an eyesore too. Carpet in the bathroom is just simply a big NO NO… Especially when the underlay isn’t underlay but instead newspaper dated back to 2006 (that’s right, 12 year old carpet) which means 12 years of unhygienic-ness. Yuck.
So out came the bio-hazard suit and up came the carpet and low and behold, the smell was indescribable. You know when you find a bag of potatoes you forgot about in a cupboard you rarely go into, right at the back and it’s gone from being a potato to a bag of the worst smelling juice on the planet?
Well, it was worse than that. The floorboards around the toilet area were dark brown with old sticky back lino tiles stuck down which had welded into the floorboards causing awful discoloration and smell. To start with, I ripped out the carpet, bagged it and thew it away and then got down to the nitty gritty of bleaching, scrubbing, bleaching, scrubbing and more bleaching and more scrubbing. After a couple of days of letting the floorboards ‘dry out’ the smell was still really bad and I wanted to just bomb the room and start again.
I tried bleaching a little more and using savlon antiseptic spray but it was only when I read about using bicarbonate soda and white vinegar that I could see the light… I swear this stuff is a gift from above.
Firstly, I sprinkled half a tub of bicarbonate soda down on the floorboards and then sprinkled the vinegar over the soda – it reacts immediately causing a foam that fizzes and rises. Once it’s risen, I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed until a sand like texture formed which is basically all of the dirt rising to the surface. It’s utterly gross how much you realise is in those floorboards but it’s quite satisfying getting everything out and clean (well, as clean as it possibly could be).
Once the floor had dried, I then got to work with the vinyl flooring. GOD lino is ridiculously puzzling to get right, it’s fine up until you realise you need to cut around things like a toilet or a sink without it looking wonky and mismatched. Turns out, it’s only patience and holding your breath and just ‘going for it’ that helps.
It’s only a temporary measure but it’s FAR better than horrible old carpet and nasty old floorboards but for someone who has little to no experience in laying flooring – I am super proud of myself for managing to not completely screw it up. It’s not the nicest pattern in the world but all in all it cost £22 and no more urine smell – yay!