My thing with drains – or rather the lack of them – doesn’t start in the US.
It’s a battle I’ve been facing for years, ever since I first moved to Spain, over 6 years ago; I’ve been dealing with this nightmare that is cleaning a bathroom with no drains in it.
Before I go any further, quick disclaimer: in Brazil we’re used to using A LOT of water to clean the house, more specifically, the bathroom. Not environmentally-friendly, I know, but it’s a habit and it feels strange and unclean to just superficially mop things around and you kinda get used to that super fresh feeling of watering everything down the drain, it’s almost a spiritual, metaphysical cleaning ritual, really. I mean, for those like me who’re really into cleaning stuff. Anyway, let’s move on.
Throughout all these years living in Spain, I’ve faced every different psyco-neurotic-agressive LDA (lack-of-drain) symptoms. At first, the surprise, of course. That first time when you wash your bathroom as god would have it, as it has always been done, since ancient Greece: throwing buckets of water at the walls, at the ceiling, the floor, on yourself even, since you’re at it. All over. Only to realize that there was no drain in my bathroom, there was nowhere I can run all that water off. There was no solution but to spend the next 3 hours swiping everything remotely absorbent I can find in my flat, from towels to kitchen cloths to my roommate’s sheet. I used up 3 rolls of kitchen paper. And a few hours of my day that could have been used on something slightly more fruitful.
Then came denial. I thought “It is not possible that there is not a single drain in my bathroom, this must be the crappiest flat in Spain.” But then I started to realize that, even though my flat was actually pretty crappy, bathrooms in Spain do not have drains. Ever. Then came acceptance. I’d just have to deal with it.
But then in Spain, my dear reader, you have a tool to respond to the lack of drains. To make up for this grotesque engineering flaw that has been perpetuated for centuries in that old continent. It’s the fregona. The fregona is this amazing type of mop that allows you to fill up a bucket with water and the cleaning product of your choice but it also has this device, this clever structure that lets you remove the excess water before you clean the floor. It’s a process that takes longer than the good old drain method, but it’s satisfactory. You’re in peace with your -bathroom cleaning- self.
So I’ve adapted. It wasn’t ideal, but it kept the bathroom on a B- cleaning level and I could move on with my life.
And then I came to the US.
And you would think that this no-drain thing would be something European, outcome of the French revolution or imposed by the Bolcheviques or something of the sort. It isn’t. Actually, I’m beginning to think that only in Brazil we have drains in our bathrooms.
Cuz let me tell ya, you ain’t finding one around bathrooms in New England.
But you won’t find a fregona here either.
So how do you do it? I don’t know.
That’s the truth, and the reason why I’m here today, making this plea, this sincere request through this wonderful thing that is the Internet, this network that connects us all with the goal of passing around such useful information as “how to properly clean a bathroom without a drain”.
You could ask me: “have you tried Youtube”? I have.
There are actually some tutorials made by Brazilians on how to clean a bathroom here in the US (hurray! People with even more free time than me!) but I don’t like the idea of just lightly rubbing some cloth all over your bathroom and pretend that that’s done. I don’t think it’s clean. It’s not clean.
“Have you tried different, controversial, advanced techniques?”. Yes. And they kinda work. But it takes too many hours, too much water, to much standing on your knees drying up the flood you created yourself in your bathroom. It can’t be the solution. It just can’t.
So some Brazilians have asked me: “Have you tried asking an American how they do it”? No.
I haven’t, because I don’t have a close personal relationships with any American yet, at least not strong enough to go “hey, what up? So Pine Sun or Fabuloso? Cloth or sponge, bro?” I mean I almost don’t actually get to have deep conversations with Americans and I don’t want to risk this still fragile friendship by asking them if they also stand in all four while trying to dry water off their bathroom’s floor. I actually didn’t even know the word drain before writing this post, I had to look it up! And by the way, what’s the point of having the word when you don’t have drains!?
So here’s my request for a serial, straightforward tutorial on how to clean a bathroom. But really clean it, no having to dry it up for 3 hours, no fregona, no drain. No drama.