I have never been fond of housework.
It’s because my mother was a clean-a-holic. Every day she vacuumed, scrubbed the kitchen floor on hands and knees, and ran around the living room with a dustrag while she watched As the World Turns.
It is a lot of pressure.
Thus a bad housewife is born.
Go to my siblings’ houses and you’ll see clutter. Well, it’s really a mess. It’s as though we can’t figure out how to pick up, put away clothes, or dust the ceiling fans. (I recently gave a little advice on the latter.)
Over the years I have cleaned my house well only when I’m expecting company.
My father recently complimented me on my clean house.
Ha, ha, ha! That’s because we cleaned before he came over.
Once a friend came to stay for the weekend, and while I finished a PR project (“God, will I ever get this done?”), she cleaned house for me. I begged her not to clean. “Please, I’m too tired to help. It looks great now.”
She laughed, because her family doesn’t think she cleans well enough. (My God!) And she said it had only taken a few hours.
That’s a few hours she could have been reading,
I admit, if you don’t clean regularly or enough, it gets uncomfortable. An old toothbrush on the tiled walls in the bathroom has no effect on the mildew after weeks of neglect. The kitchen floor gets dingier and dingier if you don’t wax it. If you promiscuously accept free books from publishers, they pile up and you have no space for them.
I’ve glanced at a few books lately, hoping for answers on how to keep the damned house clean once it’s clean.
Recently I read Don Aslett’s Is There Life after Housework? A Revolutionary Approach to Cutting Your Cleaning Time by 75%. I learned that cleaning is not only about elbow grease, but products and equipment.
Vinegar and water won’t do the trick, says Aslett.
“Forget the witch potions and the glamorously packaged overpriced household cleaners you’ve been using. Almost every telephone business directory in the country lists janitorial supply stores…. You can buy professional cleaning products wholesale or retail, and the price of either is better than the price of comparable supplies at the supermarket.”
Aslett says we need only four cleansers:
1. neutral all-purpose cleaner
2. disinfectant cleaner
3. heavy-duty cleaner (for degreasing, etc.)
4. glass cleaner
He suggests we go to a janitorial supply store and impersonate a janitorial service to get a discount, but I’m not doing that.
I invested in a couple of Super Cleansers at the big box store, despite his advice against it, and I discovered one with bleach that cleans everything in 30 seconds.
No elbow grease. Spray and wipe.
The fumes are terrible. I wouldn’t dare to use it too often. Not all the ingredients are listed. Very weird.
I’ve temporarily cleaned things up, though, and we’ll just hope I’m going to use Aslett’s tips, like bring in a load of firewood every time you come into the house.