Sugar syrup cleanup?
March 30, 2010 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Domestically incompetent + pure sugar cane syrup all. over. kitchen. floor. Help!

A large bottle of pure sugar cane syrup broke on the kitchen floor. I am not sure exactly the type of flooring, but it is a ruddy red color like brick but smoother tiling. I don't think it's terribly delicate.

My first mistake was mopping with soap. That seems to have spread the disastrous mess to new levels. I have also hand scrubbed with a degreaser and mopped again with water. It is still incredibly sticky, like to the point where if you walk on it with flip flops you will not make it very far.

Google tells me vinegar, diet soda, flour, and ammonia. Other sticky clean up questions have mixed answers, one directs to which does not have this scenario.

Any ideas how to get our kitchen floor back would be greatly appreciated!

posted by goodnight moon to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would just use water. Lots and lots of warm water.
posted by jon1270 at 10:19 AM on March 30, 2010

Best answer: Usually with sugary spills, the best thing to use is a large amount of hot water and maybe a little soap. I don't think a degreaser or ammonia will be necessary--there isn't anything greasy in cane syrup. Is the kitchen set up so that you can pour a good amount of hot water down and then squeegee or mop it around? You may need to do this a few times (getting up all of the water and rinsing the mop in between rounds) but it should work.

Also, flour is just about the last thing I would put down on a syrupy floor. Maybe behind feathers, but that's it.
posted by Jemstar at 10:23 AM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

lots and lots of salt will absorb most of the moisture. piles of salt are easier to clean up than puddles of soapy syrup. good luck!
posted by killy willy at 10:25 AM on March 30, 2010


You should have started by scooping, blotting, or otherwise trying to get up as much of the syrup as possible. Then, it would have been fairly easy to wipe up the remaining stickiness with water-dampened sponges and/or rags.

The soap and degreaser shouldn't have done any additional damage, but they have complicated things considerably. Essentially you now have three things to clean up with water instead of one.

Keep at it with a damp mop, sponge, or rag. Rinse (with water only!) frequently. No worries. You should be fine.
posted by dinger at 10:25 AM on March 30, 2010

Best answer: Lots of warm water and a little soap.

This isn't going to come up right away. Each washing is going to dissolve another layer of the syrup, and it could take half a dozen washings or more before it's gone.

This sucks, but isn't that terrible, all things considered, as neither the syrup nor what you use to get it up are all that unpleasant. It's just going to take a while.
posted by valkyryn at 10:26 AM on March 30, 2010

Fwiw, 35 years ago, when plastic bottles first starting replacing glass for those sort of products, my older brother read the bottle of maple syrup and it said "unbreakable" on it. Sort of as opposed to glass I guess. He tested it by tossing it up in the air and letting it hit the kitchen floor. Well, it broke along the seam. Syrup all over the floor.

I just called my mother to ask if she remembered the incident and what she did to clean it. Oh boy, did she ever remember it. Still bitter about it. So, one, I guess you will look back on this years from now and smile. Two, she said it took weeks to get all the stickiness up. She used wet paper towels to get up the syrup she could. Then she mopped with spic and span and water a few times. Then she sort of gave in. We would walk on it for a day or two, be laughing about the stickiness and she would mop by night. After about two weeks of this (probably less but she remembers it as 2 weeks) it was no longer a factor. (It was a tile floor of some sort.)

My brother still blames the syrup manufacturer.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:29 AM on March 30, 2010

Best answer: HOT water.
posted by mmf at 10:30 AM on March 30, 2010

Response by poster: JohnnyGun- Ha! I think your mother is more patient than me...

I guess time and warm water it is.

Thanks Everyone!
posted by goodnight moon at 10:40 AM on March 30, 2010

Dissolving the syrup is easy. Hot water will do nicely, but the key is in the technique. Once your mop, sponge, rag, or whatever is saturated with it, it's not going to pick up any more. You either need to be rinsing it out rather frequently or going through a few trees worth of paper towels. I side with rinsing out something reusable.
posted by advicepig at 10:44 AM on March 30, 2010

Don't use a mop bucket (your water will become sugary and useless). Do you have a two-basin sink? If so, fill one side with hot soapy water, and use the other side to rinse out the mop between sweeps across the floor.
posted by Meg_Murry at 10:45 AM on March 30, 2010

Response by poster: AdvicePig and Meg_Murry- Ahh, this might account for why water and soap hasn't worked so far. Details...
We do have a two basin sink, will try that stat. Thanks Again!
posted by goodnight moon at 11:00 AM on March 30, 2010

Crazy overthinking engineer solution: Can you deploy a barrier of some kind around the spill (sandbags? clay?) that will allow you to pool water over the spill? You're biggest problem is dissolving that sugar into the cleaning solution so you need a volume of water. If you could pool the water over the spill that would be a big win. Mopping up the pool is then a job for a wet/dry vac.
posted by chairface at 11:08 AM on March 30, 2010

One more voice for lots and lots of water. But Don't smear it around! Keep it contained. If you just pour water down and mop the floor, you will have an entire kitchen floor that is sticky, instead of one very, very sticky spot.

(Sorry, if this seems self evident to you, but I've seen people do it)
posted by Some1 at 11:14 AM on March 30, 2010 advice, but added to favorites... this thread is why AskMe is great.
posted by Doohickie at 2:20 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Call or go to a grocery store (or Walmart, Target) and ask what they would use. It has to happen fairly regularly there. I don't know if the industrial All Spill stuff is your best shot or not, but they should be able to suggest the right supplies.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:02 PM on March 30, 2010

This is a crazy idea, and perhaps not a good one: Have you considered getting an ant farm?

Ants are really good at getting at sugar. Get an ant farm, let the ants get out and get all the sugar. Once the floor is no longer sticky, dispose of the ants. Done!
posted by JDHarper at 5:06 PM on April 3, 2010

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