First of all, I should explain a typical house. A drawing is called for.
Yes, they really are that narrow. And the whole lot is enclosed by a high-ish wall. The very front has a huge sliding metal gate. They are very into safety and protecting their houses.
But the part I wish to focus on today is the fact that this whole drawing - the front quintal, the back laundry room, and every room in the house, is tiled. Yup, tiled. Brazilians don't believe in grass. It's dirty and has bugs, both of which cause them to break into a cold sweat and possibly heart failure.
So here's how they clean all that tile - which gets dirty pretty dang quickly, what with dirt roads and pollution. Oh, and then there's ash to deal with too, since pretty much everyone burns their trash, even though it's supposedly illegal.
1) Spray all surfaces with a hose- preferably the sides of the house, door, and windows, too. (Inside the house they use a bucket.)
2) Fill bucket with water and laundry detergent.
3) Dip broom into bucket and scrub, scrub, scrub the floor.
4) Spray everything down again.
5) If particularly dirty, repeat the broom action, then rinse again.
6) Squeegee it off towards the street.
7) Hose off the sidewalk directly in front of your house.
This is generally a first-thing-in-the-morning routine, and yes, they do it every day.
Now, my house does NOT take up my whole lot - I have a front, back, and even two side yards, filled with grass, thank goodness. (They all think I'm crazy for walking on it barefoot - and even encouraging my CHILDREN to do so! Horrors!) But I do have a (tiled) back patio, and the area around my pool is laid with stone. Not to mention the fact that my entire house is tiled, as well. It does get cold sometimes, but that's the point. Brazilian houses are made to be cool.
So I clean like a Brazilian now, and I'm addicted. I LOVE my squeegee. I am taking several back with me when we return to the States permanently. Scrubbing with a broom is equally inspired - it'll to a better job than ANY mop, I guarantee. And washing floors with laundry detergent? Brilliant. Quite literally. It glows.
(Psssst. I don't do this every day!)