During my efforts to sweep up some scraper shavings I suddenly remembered we
used to use sweeping compound in shop class when I was in school. Many
times, it's not worth the effort to get a vacuum over to a site and I simply
want to use broom or brush and dustpan.
Did sweeping compound disappear for some good reason or did the Army use it
all up during the 60's. Are they storing it in some hidden location?
IIRC it is a ground up saw dust that is red colored and a bit of oil added
in the mix. The stuff is sprinkled on a floor and swept up with the rest of
the dust. I recall seeing it in small town grovery stores that had wooden
floors. The floore were red tinted from years of use of the compound. The
oil mixed in was to keep the dust down similar to dust mops having a bit of
oil added to keep the dust down.
No more so than a waxed floor. They used to use it in schools and other
institutions for those long, wide hallways. The janitors then always wore
green work clothes and used a broom or dustmop with a head about the size
of Rhode Island. You always knew where they used it, as there was a
distinct but not unpleasant odor.
Jeez...I remember when my dad brought half a tin drum (I'd guess about
40 gallon size) of dark green sweeping compoun home from work. That
lasted for years. He later used the drum for storing coiled electric
I though the purpose of the compound was to avoid the swish-swish. With the
compound we were taught to push the mop straight ahead. The repeat stroke
is to pick up dust left behind. Compound left nothing.
School always smelled like linoleum - the real stuff - waxed with
water-emulsion wax, and construction paper.
In the school district I work in they now use "oiled" dust mops. These
are about 3 ft wide or so with replaceable head covers. The covers are
impregnated with a substance that appears to accomplish the same as
the old compound - all the fine dust is picked up & easily shaken out
without leaving any oil or anything else on the floor surface. When
the effectiveness wears off simply replace the head cover and put the
used one in a bin for the company that supplies them to launder and
I spent a summer working in a warehouse right after graduating from high
school. The warehouse had been built around the first world war (OWW Lots of
beautiful beams!). I don't think it had been swept ever! We used almost four
drums of sweeping compound in two days. The foreman wasn't thrilled. He told
us that they used one every couple of month in the larger warehouse.
"patriarch <" wrote:
Josie.. I do that several times a day...
Not only lets you sweep without raising dust, but I think if the floor
is slightly damp, it sort of attracts dust from sanding and things,
which is better than letting them float around until you breath them..
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