Friday Favorites: Squeaky Clean

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cleaning is one of those adult chores that's easy to put off. But to be honest, I love cleaning. (Annoying, right?) Part of why I enjoy cleaning so much stems from the fact that I cleaned houses in college. It's true, I was a cleaning lady. The summer before my junior year one of my roommates needed a pinch hitter for her while she was off leading backwards walking tours of campus and I got the gig. When she graduated, later that winter, I acquired the 10 ladies she had worked for. Armed with a list of names and phone numbers I placed introductory calls and set up appointments with all of the women. Each week I would hop on my bike and cycle over to the ladies' homes, where I would be assigned various tasks. These jobs included anything from ironing to dusting to gardening to stripping wallpaper to scrubbing the master bathroom to cooking to polishing silver or changing bed linens. Sometimes I'd help them set up for a party or trim hedges. But no matter what I was doing I LOVED every minute of it. These women were warm and gracious. I became attached to their family pets and knew the names of their grandchildren. For nearly three years they invited me into their homes and treated me like family.

Since that time I have lived in four different states and dozens of apartments; I have changed jobs six times and learned a few life lessons along the way. But what remains, apart from such fond memories, is my affection for a clean living space; one that I can feel happy and comfortable in, and one that is presentable for that last-minute house guest. To that end, here are some of my favorite cleaning products.

Baking Soda: Yeah, it's not just for cookies anymore. Baking soda is great for scrubbing out stainless steel sinks or getting rust off just about anything. It is inexpensive and isn't toxic. Plus you can find it just about anywhere.

Lemons: Lemons are great for tossing down the garbage disposal or running through the dishwasher. Not only do they clean up the grime of those well used conveniences, they leave a fresh citrus scent throughout your home. Lemons also brighten copper cookware or when mixed with baking soda, can remove stains from plastic food storage containers.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day: Meyer's cleaning products didn't exist when I was in college, but they are such a brilliant solution to the harsh chemicals and toxins from most other all-purpose cleaners. Some people dislike the scent and are allergic to it, but it doesn't both me. I dilute the product a fair amount and use it for just about every surface in my home (i.e., counters, mirrors, floors, and even the bathtub).

Toothbrush: An absolute essential for scrubbing shower grout and other hard to reach places. I keep two or three in my cleaning basket at all times.

Goo Gone: Debbie, one of the ladies I worked for, introduced me to this product years ago. While it isn't something I use regularly it sure comes in handy when I do need it. It lasts forever and works like a charm for removing glue or stickers.

Microfiber Dust Cloths: I admit to using those convenient Swiffers more than I should, but I always dislike creating so much waste. The solution? Dust cloths that I can use over and over again. They are especially handy for baseboards. Which, yes, you should clean every now and again.

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