The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Clean Break

by Melissa Bell

Happy Friday, folks. I’m heading up north to enjoy some cottage time with some pals. Maybe you’re going to be doing the same. Or maybe you’re going to be hanging around ye olde homesteade this weekend, getting some writing done or maybe staying indoors and avoiding the sun and doing some organizing and freshening up. Okay, that last part is a ridiculous suggestion. I just checked the forecast for the weekend and it’s supposed to be wonderful (again). Why on earth you’d want to be indoors doing some housecleaning is just crazy! In fact, the only reason you’d do such a nutty thing would be if you’d read this post and lost your mind to my All-powerful Inspirational Influence and told your friends, “Hey, friends! Forget the patio party/beach brunch – I am so getting my clean on this weekend!”

Don’t do it. If you’re from a cold climate and you’re reading this, you know that our summer season is far too short to be spending any part of a glorious sunny weekend on household chores. That’s what February is for. However, should you be at loose ends this evening and feel like you need some encouragement to de-scum the kitchen sink or rid the sofa of cat hair before inviting the Significant Other over for some quality time, I offer some cleaning advice. Please note these are not cleaning tips. I leave those to the pros. I love the products. For me, a trip down the cleanser aisle at Wal-Mart is like a trip to…well, most anyplace else for normal people. Whatever. Here ya go.

My Dream Team of Clean

I’m going to deal with the Big One right off the bat. Earlier this year, I managed to save up enough dough to buy myself a Dyson vacuum cleaner. I got the one known as The Animal because it’s supposed to be really effective on sucking up the pet hair. Now I only have the one cat, but I’m pretty sure the Dyson has been getting rid of the cat hair and dander from several other cats that have gone before him. It just never ends, the crap this stuff pulls out of the carpet. The machine is astounding. I knew I wanted one of these when I first saw one demonstrated at an interior design show. One wouldn’t think a vacuum would leave such an impression, but it did. Next time you’re in the market for a vacuum, I would not hesitate to tell you to make the investment in a Dyson. This thing has changed my life. And it’s purple. I love it.

Dysolv. Removes stains from carpets. Yes, it’s a Dyson product. But it’s gotta be the best thing ever for red wine stains on carpets. Or for anything else that I’ve encountered so far since Dysolv and I became acquainted. And it’s environmentally friendly. I got mine with the vacuum purchase and I’m still working my way through it, but you can purchase it at Best Buy.

Swiffer brand anything. This whole line of products is not the most cost-effective nor the most environmentally-friendly. But I have to admit that I’ve tried just about everything they make and I love what they do. My favourite of all are the Swiffer Dusters for nothing other than the fact that they are awesome in dusting off bookshelves, bookcases and books in record time. A feather duster just scatters the dust everywhere. A damp cloth is just way, way too much work. The Swiffer Duster is the perfect answer to keeping your library dust-free without having to remove every item on the shelves. The “system” is flexible and effective. A box of refills is almost as much as the initial purchase, but it’ll last you a long, long time. And that’s coming from a city dweller who leaves her windows open a lot. Hoo boy, do I know from dust!

Lysol Bathroom Cleaner. The foamy kind. I’ve tried everything under the hot August sun for sinks and bathtubs and this stuff just seems to do the job with no arguing ever. It just gets ‘er done. Highly recommended by moi.

Have you all seen those commercials for the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner? Here’s the deal on that thing. It works and I do not ever, ever, ever have to scrub or scour the walls of my bathtub and I have zero mildew. Big yay. However the refills for this baby are ridiculously priced considering that it’s probably nothing more than a solution of regular bleach and water. I’m irked that the container is not refillable, but must be replaced. So not environmentally friendly. Therefore while this product actually works and works well, I can’t recommend that anyone go buy it. The Scrubbing Bubbles people could have been so much more…considerate.

Mr Clean Magic Eraser. Love this thing to death. Awesome product. Today I found a mystery spatter behind the kitchen garbage can. I gave it the ol’ Windex treatment and that spatter didn’t even budge. So I brought out the Magic Eraser and it was history in seconds. I adore the Magic Eraser. However a word of caution: there are various versions of this on the market, and it might be a temptation to go for Magic Eraser Extra Power. Don’t do that unless you’re cleaning something heavy duty like your whitewalls or your garage door. You might be sorry. I’m just sayin’ be gentle if it’s your first time using these things. In fact the Mr. Clean people should spell it the olde tyme way of “Magick” because they’re that powerful.

And that’s pretty much my standard arsenal, everybody. No, it’s not nearly as charming and pure as the ladies on “How Clean is Your House?” with their lemon juice and their baking soda (and I do love that show to death!), but when it’s open season at Chez MelBell on dust bunnies and soap scum, I don’t spend a lot of time getting creative with old socks and broom handles. Unless we’re making puppets.

And maybe making some puppets is something I might just do next week seeing as the cleaning’s all done around here for a while. I’ll let you know.

Have a great safe summer weekend, everyone. There’s only a few left – make it count!


Blogger Anne C. said...

I'm a vinegar, soda, Dr. Bronner's kind of cleaner. Wal-Mart gives me heart palpitations. But that fur-sucking vacuum, that sounds intriguing! I might have to make some enquiries...

Fri Aug 17, 07:07:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I simply don't clean. I have a cleaning lady. I don't know what products she uses but it smells good when I get home. I pay a bit of money every two weeks and she comes for three hours. You can really notice the difference the day before she comes and the day after. But I do like to watch those cleaning shows, too. I like to curl up on the couch with a bag of potato chips and watch British people scrub things.

I'd also like to point out the string of characters I need to type for the word verification portion of this 'leave you comment' process today is 'fuqdn'. And in away I'm fuqdn with cleaning things myself. I tried for 43 years to be something different than a slob hating myself deeply. Now I've embraced it, hired myself a cleaner and am happy to be fuqdn with cleaning.

Fri Aug 17, 08:44:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Awesome insider info, Mel! Ahem, not that I's be in the least bit interested in cleaning products, meself, but for da wife.

When I do clean, I usually pick a little corner and clean it to death. Gimme a six pack and three hours, and I'll take the surface off of anything. Is my motto.

Fri Aug 17, 09:41:00 pm GMT-4  

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