Wednesday, December 20, 2006

If you give a gal a new cleaning agent...

Back in September, I read a Works-For-Me Wednesday post over at Fernnook Farmgirl in which the blogger said her grandmother kept her house spic and span using a bit of dishwashing detergent in water in a spray bottle. I decided I'd try it when I ran out of the spray cleaner I already had. I could see that if her suggestion worked well enough to suit me, I could save a fair amount of money.

So, I finally ran out of the other stuff, and instead of buying a refill I filled the spray bottle with water and added a small squirt of my off-brand, very inexpensive dishwashing detergent.

Tell me again, why have I been buying more expensive stuff all these years?

But here's the funny part. I tried it to see if I could save money, but once I tried it I realized that it didn't subject me to the smells I don't like about cleaning.

Once I realized that it didn't subject me to smells I don't like, it occurred to me that since it didn't fill the house up with nasty smells I could use it in the morning when my husband is still asleep. (I'm the early riser around here.) Theoretically, I could have cleaned with the other stuff, but it seems inconsiderate to jar a person out of slumber with assaults to his nose and lungs.

Once I started cleaning in the morning, I found it jumpstarted my day. I know I didn't acquire more time to do housework in, but things done before breakfast seem like bonus work, if you know what I mean? Besides, it got those chores out of the way, uncluttering the rest of the day. (Besides, if I get going before I turn my computer on, I don't get pulled off course so easily or so often. Ahem.)

Once I got cleaning in the morning, and seemed to have more time to do that sort of thing, I found I was getting my cleaning done with time to spare. So I found I was looking around for little jobs I'd been putting off...

Once I started tackling little jobs I'd been putting off, it occurred to me that I wasn't hesitating to clean surfaces with seriously diluted dish detergent that I didn't much like to clean with the other stuff. I'm still careful to rinse and dry surfaces involved in food prep, etc., but I don't have that 'gee, I wonder if I got the cleaner off enough to be safe' feeling I used to have.

Now that I wasn't worried about turning my home into a hazmat site, I got to thinking about the other tasks I put off because of the chemicals...

I hate cleaning my oven with the commercial oven cleaners, and I never do it except in good weather when I can throw open windows and doors. (I have an old kitchen. No exhaust fan.) Why soapy water wouldn't work was beyond me, so I washed the inside of the oven. This didn't get all the caked on stuff, but it got a lot even with my hit the high points and rinse twice for good measure approach - and when I made scalloped potatoes right afterward I didn't wonder what I was baking into the food. Before I baked, I preheated the oven and sniffed for good measure (and out of habit, since I always heat and smell check the oven after I've cleaned it) and for once I didn't have that sharp aftersmell that seems to go along with cleaning an oven.

I figure that I can clean my oven more often, now that it's not a major undertaking with rubber gloves and newspapers on the floor and rinse buckets and fans and open windows and locking the cats in another part of the house for their safety. I figure in the long run I'll have a cleaner oven on average than the old way. Such a deal.

Heh. Watch out. I am armed with a spray bottle, and I'm not afraid to use it.

Thank you, Laurie, for the tip. And thank your Grandma Opal for me, will you?

Update: Fixed editing error second graf.


Anonymous said...

What fun! I promised G'ma Opal a visit tomorrow and I'll pass the news on to her. She'll love it. Wow, I am really inspired now.

tonia said...

What a great story! And tip! I'm trying that out for sure. My little house cleaning secret is that I get up at 5:30 to do it...I used to try to pray at 5:30...ha! snoring in five minutes. Now I clean first, and then I'm ready to go when I sit down with my Bible and coffee. :)

Kathryn Judson said...

Laurie, It has been fun, thanks.

Tonia, I haven't tested this scientifically, but I have a theory that oxygen levels dip in the wee hours of the morning around here, and it's not quite safe to get up quite that early... ;)

Seriously, though, I do get more done overall when I get up and get the house taken care of first thing, plus, since I work at home, it gives me nice working conditions the rest of the day.

Anonymous said...

I told G'ma Opal yesterday that she was famous and how it happened. She shared with me again how much she loves that cleaner and how well it works. She was sparkling with excitement over it!

I have gotten better over the years about being able to stay awake for my 5:30 Quiet Time. Sometimes though I find it is 6:00 or 6:30 and I've just slept happily right through it.

Mother Auma said...

I read your post a couple of days ago, and as I went around the house tidying up for Christmas, I kept thinking of your new cleaner!

I like simple, because simple means there is no excuse, so just get up and do it. :o)