Jason Robie: Conscientious cleaning

I enjoy cleaning the house. OK, to be clear, I enjoy the feeling of HAVING a clean house, and the best way to get to that goal is to actually clean. I’m not fancy enough (yet) to have my own house cleaner, but that’s on my bucket list, for sure. Imagine combining my love of a clean house with simply coming home to a house that has been cleaned. I’m giddy at just the thought. But with all that said, there are some myths floating around about cleaning that I’d like to shed some light on. Some are simply helpful to avoid and others are downright harmful to your home. Let’s get scrubbing!
The first myth is about the value of bleach. I think we all fall in various places along the spectrum of bleach use, depending on how our parents and grandparents used it. The important thing to remember is that bleach does not “clean," it only disinfects. The example I like is trying to wash muddy hands with hand sanitizer. You first need to remove the dirt and grime, and then you can move on to sanitizing. Also, bleach needs around 10 minutes of contact with the offending germ-covered item to be effective. So using those combo cleaners that include bleach is likely a waste of time and is obviously not great for your lungs. Focus on the grime and soap scum in the bathroom and leave the bleach for the germs.
Moving on to your wood furniture, consider taking it easy with the polish. Many polishes are simple beeswax and are great for shining the wood and giving it that showroom new look and feel. The flip side of that is the fact that loads of polishes are filled with funky-named chemicals and can leave an unwanted buildup on your furniture. Don’t be afraid to use polish, but don’t feel like you have to use it every time you clean. Just make use of a high-quality microfiber cloth (damp with water) and you’ll have great looking pieces all over the house without the waxy buildup. This is a safer option, too, because if you are like me you inevitably get some polish over-spray on the floor, and that slippery spot is there for days just waiting for you!
Speaking of flooring, don’t be afraid of too much vacuuming. We had our carpets replaced when I was in high school. I will never forget the installer telling my mom that carpets tend to weigh 10 times what they did when they were new after as many years of use. I’m sure it didn’t help that the house contained two teen boys, either. Lots of vacuuming can help eliminate some allergens, loads of dust and can actually help the house stay smelling fresh longer. Obviously you need to be more careful with oriental and handmade rugs, but you get the idea.
Staying down there on the floor, let’s talk mopping. My honey always uses that nice smelling floor cleaner when she attacks the floors. Our entire first floor is hardwood so it looks amazing when she’s done. When it is my turn, I tend to just wet the floor-cleaning pad with water. It really doesn’t matter which you use as long as the fabric is damp. This doesn’t just “push the dirt around” and will do a great job of picking up (and holding onto) the dust and dirt on your floor. While the cleaner is not necessary it does leave a nicer shine and smell than just water. I think the switching off works just fine and saves us from having to buy the cleaner as often.
“Floor cleaners are great for leaving a nicer looking finish and scent throughout the home,” notes Badger Realty agent, Debi Davis. “Although any moist cloth will work well, the important note is to tackle the floors more often than not. Grit and dirt, especially as it is crushed under foot, is the best way to scratch and mar those floors which nobody wants to have to deal with,” she continued.
Last but not least are those dishes in the sink. I’m a fan of hand washing. Not because I think I can do a better job than the dishwasher, but because for most of my adult life I haven’t had enough dishes or silverware to last me long enough for when the dishwasher will be full again. Even now we haven’t unpacked all the silverware, so with only eight forks and two of us dirtying dishes, the math doesn’t work. All that said, it is still better to let the dishwasher handle its task if you are concerned about the cleanliness of your plates, glasses and flatware. All the scrubbing in the world (by you) can’t compete with the water temperature and constant soaping that that machine can provide. So give yourself a break (and go buy some more forks!).
Cleaning the house is not a chore that many of us love and get excited about. But if you are the one tackling this task, make note of a few of these suggestions. Perhaps it will make the cleaning faster and easier, and it could even save some wear and tear on your furniture and flooring. Now that we have that covered, get yourself outside and enjoy this lovely fall weather! You can always clean up your dirty boot droppings next weekend!