Friday, February 16, 2007

Tasyig: or how to clean your floor Libyan style !

Last summer, while talking about shebshebs and my zeleiz at home, we broached the subject of tasyig. Tasyig is the term used in Libya for washing the floor, whether it is the bathroom, kitchen, jnan ( courtyard) or other rooms in the house. Most Libyan houses are equipped with zeleiz floor tiles as seen in this photo here. , including the courtyard- or any variations thereof, and the kitchens and bathrooms have ceramic tiles. While those who can afford to have marble everywhere .

Libya is very dusty due to all that sand, our floor cannot be washed except with water and soap. But we do not like to mop it with these types of mops as we think they don't stay clean enough. No sir we have elaborated a whole procedure merely to clean our floors.

Leilouta in one of her earlier posts, brought to my attention how we have a similar attittude in Tunis and Libya about this topic. This post is dedicated to my friend Non-blogging or NBA.

Objective: Tasyig


(1) Water faucet + water source of course :P
(2) toubbou ( hosepipe)
(3) gomma (squeegee with a handle)
(4) neshaffa ( large square fabric mop with no handle)
(5) gardel ( or bucket when no toubbou is available)
(6) Tide => Libyan generic term for powder soap detergent
(7) warakina ( Clorox or any similar brand of bleach liquid)
(8) muknessa ( broom with handle)
(9) khurara ( floor drain)

Procedure :

Fill the gardel with water, pour it on the floor, add some Tide on the floor , then proceed to scrub the floor with the broom; especially the corners of the room . You make fine soap bubbles.
That's the time where you want to squid on the floor either barefoot or with your shebsheb.
Then you pour warakina either to the floor directly or in a bucket filled with water mix thoroughly then pour it on the floor(s) .
You need several buckets of water without warakina afterwards.

You then mop the floor with your gomma and pour some more water, till no drop of soap or warakina is left. The gomma is very good at removing all the water which goes directly into the floor drain.
You can then use your neshafa to mop any stray drops or pools of water off including the corners of the room/bathroom /kitchen/balcony or other surfaces hard to reach with the gomma.

Very efficient procedure. The place smells so clean and nice and you can literally eat off the floor :)
If it is summer you don't need tanshif or mopping as described above just leave the windows open and let the warmth and sun dry your floor after the tasyig. If it is the courtyard you are tsaygi then no need to mop either. If you have a toubbou it is useful and you don't need a gardel.

Tadaa !

Tasyig reminds me of my childhood when my aunts would clean the floors at the old family house and we the grandchildren would be seated on the interior window sill so that we don't fall or get in their way. I miss that part and can only recreate the memory in the summer with the smell of the original Tide soap, water and warakina.

Tasyig also always reminds me of wonderful yummy Libyan breakfasts which is what we would have after the house was sparkling clean at my grandpa's house. Khadijateri has made such a lovely post about our breakfast including the mismatched cups that I feel like wanting to go eat again.

Now admit it how many of you miss Libya after this :P ? want to tell me how you clean your floor ?


Ghazi Gheblawi said...

As much you made laugh as much you made me feel so lonely and missing all these intimit moments, thank you Highlander, hope that one day I come back to Libya forever... hope

NOMAD said...

I notice the "vache qui rie" :lol:

by the ways, do you do that each day ?

red said...

During the long period of Libyan summer, we have never left our windows open as our house is located at the main road which leads to town & villages to the West of Libya. So, that's one way of keeping the sand out of the house. Anyway, the house is nearly fully carpeted, so all we need then was a powerful vacuum cleaner. Plus, Libyan villas have the empty large empty spaces below or on the the ground floor which could be used for bbqing etc. That's the only place which we had to sweep every single day!

Highlander said...

You are welcome Ghazi, I hope to have all the people I love and care about here in Libya right now. So I do hope you come back forever, but wherever any of you are please remember I love you all and I'm proud of you very much !!!!!

Nomad :) yes we luuuuuuuuuuv that cheese my dear.
We wash the courtyard and bathrooms and kitchens everyday yes the rest of the rooms it depends like Red said they don't get dusty all the time :)

Red :) you carpeting ? ah yes of course you were here in the 80s that was the fashion. My house has only centerpieces and bare floor I love the floor why hide it :)

programmer craig said...

Highlandr, thanks for making this post! Somehow, I feel like I know you better now! I was picturing you cleaning the floor as I read it, and looked at the photos. Is that your actual floor and cleaning equipment? This should make NBA happy.... of course, he will ask for a picture of your bare feet while you were cleaning, but you can't have everything, eh? :)

AngloLibyan said...

you sure did make me miss Libya even more.
only you can make Tasyig so interesting, very funny :o)
it brought memories to me of a Dear old lady that used to come and wash the stairs when we lived in an apartment block in the centre of Tripoli before we moved to Hay Alandalus, her name was Mdalilah and she was Tunisian orginally, lovely lady that always had scary stories to tell like about the time she was bitten by a snake and another when she was bitten by a scorpion, fantastic.

Lebeeya said...

We call the 'gomma' a difafa! :)

I miss libya so much. I miss washing the never endless dishes, I miss washing those big sfur, I miss eating tuna and hareesa sandwiches. I miss waking up to the sound of a guy yelling at the top of his lungs "Warakeenaaaa, Saboooon Sa2il". I miss nashafying & sayiging and eating coususi and msayir!!

*insert crying face*

Curt from Houston said...

Here's one of the more likely solutions for us lazy Americans.

Doesn't sound like as much fun as your way though H. :-)C

Khadijateri said...

Waste, waste, waste... a waste of water, soap and energy... not to mention time! I can wash an entire house full of floors using the amount of water and soap that a Libyan woman uses for one small room.

My neighbour religiously tsayeged her balconies daily... the balcony ended up getting water damage that effected the structure of the building. Now her balcony is in danger of fall off completely... all because of her stupid insistence to tsayg daily....

In a country where water is in short supply people really need to think about the stupid ways they are wasting this precious commodity. It is not necessary to throw that much water around...daily! And who the hell wants to eat off the floors anyway? I've got better ways to spend my time....uuugh!

Highlander said...

Programmer_Craig, thanks I owed you all this post since last year - as I said once I always keep my promises, just give me a little time to work around my schedule. I hope NBA wherever he is reads this, if he is patient enough he may yet get a glimpse of my feet in one of those photos :P

AngloLibyan, oh :) Mdalilah sounds such a lovely lady, but she has the weirdest of adventures snakes and scorpions wow !

Lebeeya ah difafa eh ? that's the first time I hear this word :P good I'm learning new stuff everyday on the blogs.I never washed the big sfur that's my cousin's job I wash the other dishes though LOL . The wakarina and 7ut (fish) guy still comes by our house as for msayir I adoooooooooooooore it :)

Curt he he he I had a look at your contraption and it looks quite efficient but I'm not sure it would survive in Libya as our water is very hard here, I tried once that hoover washing with dry soap or whatever for the carpets and it only left a mess ( glad it was not the Persian rugs - I only tried it on the moquette). It was useless to me I gave it to my neighbour who was very happy :)

Khadijateri :) thanks for your comment, yes it is a waste of water. That is why the bucket is useful because you can use it to mop the floort with a neshafa, wash it in the water in the bucket and strain it etc... see you don't need to leave the water running and waste it...But the tasyig is still fun an can be done Libyan style without waste of water it is all about strategy .

red said...

Since it's warm & humid over here, the floor will be bare except for a few center pieces! So the parquet or marble / tiled floor will be left bare.
I would usually start by vacuuming the rooms / area before mopping the floor. I'd obviously need a mop & a bucket which is 1/2 filled with water & a squeeze of pledge wood floor cleaner or Dettol or Good Maid marble shine. And you're ready to mop. I'd mop the area twice or until I'm satisfied, once that's done, you're free to walk barefoot around the house!

Curt from Houston said...

"I'm not sure it would survive in Libya as our water is very hard here..."

Good point H. We tried to use a similar scrubber at my In-laws cabin in Michigan. The hard water made it a total disaster. The soap turned into lumpy gum and when the scrubber dried out, we had to use additional chemicals to get out the lime deposits. :-)

Safia speaks said...

You remind me of how I used to quarrel with my Mon-in-law almarhouma about the water for the tasyig; she hated when I used hot water to clean the floors.
Of course she is a Lebanese and she did not like me using words like tubu or gardel - she used the words nebrish and satal.
Once she laughed when I told her I had to get a glass of water from the shisma - in Lebanon the shishma is the toilet and the faucet is called hanafiya. And she thought I was crazy when I told her I liked to eat hout - which in Lebanon is a whale not a fish.
Amazing how Arabic can differ so much.

I live in a house with floors made out of pinewood and the only tasyig I do is on my veranda in the summer. But people live downstairs and they are angry when the dirty water is flooding down onto their veranda and messing up their laundry.

But I do miss the feeling of a completely clean marbloe floor where you can hear the cockroach tripping at night...lovely cool to sleep on in the summer, until the cockroach crawls over your outstreched arms.

Highlander said...

Safia LOl don't reming me of the cockroach :P

I guess no summer is fun without them eh ?

Chris in MB said...

LOL I just use a very large 5hp electric pressure washer in my shop! Easy & fun use of power tools!

btw, this reminds me of the ritual I seen in Rio. Every Sunday the men would with great pride hose down & scrub their little driveways or piece of sidewalk out front. Dust was not the problem but for some reason, perhaps plant sap or snail track slime, often they would become very sticky & smell otherwise.

In Canada we are more sensible. Wait for the thunder storms or high winds to remove the outside debris for us. Besides, snow covers the offending messes 5 months a year. :P

Inside we use a vacuum... at least I think so. Personally never done it before. :P

RL said...


I like to exchange blog link with you

If agreeable , pls add a link to my blog and let me know

I’ll reciprocate

My Lounge

Highlander said...

Curt :) a gummy lump ? must not have been a pretty site !

Chris 5hp ? how does it work on all the sensitive machinery is it safe?

RL welcome to my blog and yes you are free to add me to your links , I add your link as soon as I update my sidebar. How did you get on my blog ? Now I know who my reader from Singapore is !
By the way your blog is really entertaining - thank you for visiting :)

Chris in MB said...

"Chris 5hp ? how does it work on all the sensitive machinery is it safe?

well no, it's not very safe at all...
but it's great fun!!! :)
It can almost strip the paint off an old car!

What you need is a 1.5HP model. :P Actually uses very little water.

Curt from Houston said...

"Curt :) a gummy lump ? must not have been a pretty site !

Since then, we've found that there is special soap that you can buy to use with hard water, at a considerable premium of course.

Biby Cletus said...

the best way to keep thasand out dont open the door and window be in house itself .be in touch

regards Biby - Blog

Highlander said...

Curt check your spam filter I sent you an email in reply to your earlier one :)

Curt from Houston said...

"Curt check your spam filter I sent you an email in reply to your earlier one :)"

I have checked this H but I have notreceived your email. Please resend.