Navy dopers: How do you swab the deck?

Or, help me back up my trash talk to my wifey.

So the wifey nagged to mop the floor this weekend, so I did. We usually have a sponge type mop, but it was broken, so I went to the store and got the swabby type mob. Now, I was taught the particular technique to use this style o’ mop along time ago from I-don’t-know-who. It is as follows:

  1. Bucket of hot soapy water
  2. Dunk mop in bucket
  3. Slop hot soapy water gratuitously everywhere
  4. Let is sit for a minute or two
  5. soak up hot soapy water with mop in a back and forth swabby like fashion
  6. ring out mop
  7. If floor = still wet, goto 5 else dispose of water and put equipment away.
  8. EoM

Now as I was on step 3, she started screaming at me that I was making a huge mess and that the world was about to explode if i didn’t stop (or something along those lines, I was trying to not listen). Anyway, i told her to relax since that was the official navy technique going back hundreds of years. She immediately called me on my bullshit, because she can tell when i make shit up. However, neither of us really knew what the official Navy way is. Can anyone help fix my marriage by proving me right?

(BTW, the floor came out nice and clean, so that mostly shut her up)

Having swabbed my share of barracks floors in my junior enlisted years, I can tell you that your method is basically correct, although we usually wrung out the mop somewhat before soaping the floor. Makes for less cleanup, plus it doesn’t slop all over baseboards and furniture, which then also has to be cleaned.

In addition to your steps, actually scrub the floor with the soapy water. I usually put a scrubby in one side of the mop, so you just flip it if you find anything needing even more scrubbing.

Once you’ve mopped up all the soapy water and dumped it, go over everything again with clean non-soapy hot water and a new, clean mop head. (and again after that if needed until your water doesn’t look too bad after mopping).

Thanks guys! I like it when my bullshit trash talk turns out to be (mostly) correct! My wife…does not.

You should go whole hog. Buy an industrial floor buffer with scrubbing, stripping and polishing pads, a big steel mop bucket with a wringer, and a real Navy swab. Don’t bother to learn how to use the buffer: just wheel it into your kitchen or wherever, plug it in and grab the handle/trigger.

After you take some pain meds for the wrenched arm, wrist and fingers, clean up whatever you broke when the buffer torque shot the thing across the room, carrying you with it. Unwrap the approximately 300 wraps of power cord from around the buffer handle, plug it back in, and figure out how to operate it: tip back to go left, forward to go right, back and forth, easy does it.

Now tell your wife you’re going to strip off the old wax and reapply, using the aforementioned wheel and pads. Oh! What a fine mess you’ll create! Soapy water and emulsified wax to mop up and wring out with your manly bucket, new wax to spread with your now-dirty swab, and buff, buff, buff into a wonderfully slick shine that will be sure to cause your wife to land on her ass the first time she enters the room. The fun!

I got to the point where I could run two buffers at the same time, one with each hand and no train wrecks. A far cry from the first time I plugged one in, not realizing that the on/off switch no longer worked and that some genius had hot-wired it. When I plugged it in, the torque spun the handle, which hit me in the head hard enough to stun, then merrily ran amok, smashing into metal lockers and wrapping the cord up until it was forcibly jerked out of the wall. I looked up to find the Master at Arms staring down at me balefully. “Were you born stupid, or have you been practicing?”

This is probably better suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

I was never in the navy but I did use a string mop while working at a restaurant. At first, I just pushed the mop around aimlessly but then one of the experienced employers explained that the correct way to mop was to move the mop around in sideways figure eights, starting at the wall and moving towards the middle of the room so that any any dirt or debris that is dislocated can be collected.

You lost me here. I sure ain’t gonna buy no damn thing. However, yes, I do hope to convince her I shouldn’t be trusted to mop.

My wife was your Master at Arms? She says that often enough. I usually reply “Not practicing, researching and experimenting stupid.”

Civilian, not Navy, but it went something like this:

  1. Ask the Chief Engineer to turn on the pump.
  2. Get all the crew from the 4-8 watch and have them each grab a long-handled scrub brush.
  3. Starting from the fo’c’sle head and working aft, hose down the deck and have the crew follow behind and scrub.

Worked a treat on the clear oiled-pine decks, but is not necessarily approved for kitchens.

USMC here, not Navy. We swab decks too. Yes, sideways figure 8s was the method I used.

That’s how I did it in the restaurant where I worked.

Those buffers are tricky! After awhile I got the hang of it, but before that they had a mind of their own.

What is the floor covering, and what else gets water slopped onto it?

Navy ships were designed to get water everywhere. Not all houses share that design philosophy.

That’s how I did it in the Nav.

There was one additional bit: I would hold the mop in the air vertically and twirl it (spinning it on its long axis–not like a baton) so the strands would all splay outward, then I would plop it on the deck.

This is how I clean the cat pee up from the ceramic tile on my basement floor. Nobody complains about the sloppy mess.

Having to mop at a restaurant is probably one of the very fastest ways to learn how to do it effectively.

That sideways shallow figure-8 way is pretty much the best.

Right. Partial wring so there’s less water.

This was SOP when I reported to Army boot camp at Ft. Leonard Wood as well. Training cadre seemed to take great and genuine joy in watching boots damage government property and hurt themselves with the buffers. They wouldn’t offer any instruction in how to run one, either. We were lucky enough in my training platoon to have a guy who had learned how to run one while working as a janitor in civilian life. he showed the rest of us how, though we never gained his Gene Kelly-like grace in floor buffing.

Submariner here.

You need a foxtail, a greenie, a sponge, and a bucket of hot soapy water. And a deck. :smiley:

First, use the foxtail to sweep the deck. Then use the greenie and the bucket of water to scrub the deck. Use the sponge to wipe up excess water as necessary.
You should see the instructions for waxing the deck…

Call the watch up from below just before dawn.
Rig the chain pump hose the deck with salt water.
Liberally sprinkle sand.
On your hands and knees scour with your holystone.
Hose off the slush.
Flog dry with swabs and buckets.

This is why I am glad that in 23 years in the Navy, I never set foot on one of those floating nightmares.