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Spring Forward, Clean Backward

Spring cleaning is a ritual I have never embraced.

At any given time, I own maybe four cleaning products. Ajax, Fantastick, Windex and Pine-Sol. Periodically I relent and buy Scrubbing Bubbles. I have found that these work for virtually everything. Ajax has grit in it to scrape stuff off, and Pine-Sol reeks of clean, earthy pine scent and thus covers any unidentifiable odors that may linger long after I have avoided (oops, I mean overlooked) a good scrubbing of something. Windex is for the glass stuff, and Fantastick wipes off grease. What else do I need?

Cleaning floors, for me, ranks right up there with plunging a toilet. No matter how much time I spend mopping, I just end up moving the dirt around. I have utilized a rag mop dipped in hot, soapy, water, wrung out and swab-ready. I have danced with a sponge mop featuring a cute little lever that allowed me to discard excess moisture by squeezing the handle, thereby avoiding any contact with water or mop head. My most recent exercise in futility is defined as “Swiffer” whereby one spends many excess and unnecessary dollars on a disposable mop concept that is amazingly reminiscent of baby wipes on a stick, only drippier. I have little respect for the Swiffer, but a lot of respect for the guys making tons of money off the concept.

I have come to the conclusion that a damp towel and a dry towel are the answer to everything. First, I dampen slightly one end of the towel. Then I carefully spy out areas in the room that are dusty, stained or well-trodden. I rub offending area vigorously, and quickly switch to dry end of towel for maximum cleanliness. I repeat activity if first application does not achieve desired result. Floors, walls, countertops, pianos…all have responded well to this treatment. Even cats, although mine got downright irritable when I tried to wash his face with a damp towel and he ran away before I could use the dry end.

Unfortunately, my one-towel-fits-all approach to housecleaning does not work on windows.

I actually believe windows have little demons in them that cackle every time I approach with a paper towel. It is my very own endless hell. I start out with a perfectly clean and innocent roll of paper towels and spray the obscured surface with glass cleaner. Wipe. On to next section. Wipe. On to next section. Repeat. Whereupon the nightmare begins. I reluctantly glance sideways at my initial efforts, and IT LOOKS WORSE THAN IT DID BEFORE I STARTED.

I am not one of these.

I have given this task to my husband, who actually appears to enjoy cleaning windows, and he does not mind if they look worse than when he started.

Some women are gifted to create sparkling, pristine home environments, and I have accepted the fact that I am not one of them. I have other talents, skills and abilities, and as I reluctantly scour a bathtub or shower, I console myself with the fact that not every woman is a domestic goddess.

However, I need to seriously consider replenishing my towel supply. They are looking pretty ragged.


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