Thursday, November 13, 2014

Household hints from Cookie

Who could live in such a bleak house? 

The one thing I can do following the surgery is light cleaning around the house.  Cookie's mother was a whizz at household cleaning, as am I.  Still, I do like that lived in look.  But when pushed, I can make a house shine and sparkle.

So read through this and find the items that would help you most:

1) According to the late Joan Crawford, the fastest and easiest way to clean your home if it is to never let it get dirty.  Tis true.  Everything should have a place and everything should be in that place, except when you are using it.  Simple. Vacuum every two days, then damp dust.  Use your dishes, wash your dishes, then put them away.  Stay away from fabrics and coverings that aren't washable.  Vinyl is your friend.  And remember: no wire hangers ever!

2) If you aren't JC, good for you, and actually live in your house, can't afford a maid and aren't wound as tight as a laCrawford, you are going to get some messy patches.  The following method works well if you house is under 2,500 square feet:
  • Walk through all the rooms and make a mental note of their condition, and start in the messiest room to get it out of the way. 
  • Declutter all of the non plumbed rooms, one right after the other.  Do not dust or sweep - that comes later.  Simply put everything away.  If you pick something up that belongs in another room, take that item to its correct room and place it where it belongs and then return to the room you are working on.  I know that people say you can save a lot of effect making piles to take to other rooms so you only have to make one trip, but it simply results in a pile of junk that you have to move to another room enmasse.  Remember, if you pick it up, put it back.  Its good to move about. 
  • Vacuum each room, one after another - you get it all done at once. 
  • Damp dust each room, one after another.  No matter what they say about swiffers, a good deal of fine dust simply goes airborn with those buggers.  The only way to trap dust is a slightly damp rag in one hand, and a dry rag in the other. 
  • If your mini blinds need cleaning, find a day when you can do all of them at once.  Again, its easier to do them when you are in the "groove" instead of being distracted by other chores. 
  • Do the windows inside with Windex or another glass cleaner, one after another.  Yes, your windows get dirty.  Just clean them. 
3) Never buy those gel pellets at Bed Bath and Beyond (or any other store for that matter) to clean your garbage disposal.  Instead, throw five or six ice cubes into the disposal and run it until its silent.  The ice cleans the blades and the sides as its being ground down.  The ice also keeps the blades nice and sharp.  If you're feeling sassy, throw some thin sliced citrus peel (not the white flesh, just the colored skin of an orange, lime, grapefruit or lemon) in with the ice. 

4) Buy a box of generic denture tablets.  You heard me right. Denture tablets are cheap and they do so many things.  
  • If you use a coffee pot, fill it up with HOT water and drop a couple tablets in and let it soak while you are work, then wash.  The tablets break down the coffee oils and lifts them from the glass. Also they work on ceramic coffee mugs.
  • Toss a couple in your toilet bowl before going to work.  When you get home, use the toilet brush or Johnny Mop.  The tablets will bubble out the fine particulate matter that usual brushing misses.  And its a whole lot cheaper than Vanish.  Leaves your toilet minty fresh. 
5) WD40 your stainless steel for a fingerprintless shine.  Spray some WD40 on soft cloth and then wipe down your stainless steel appliances.  Wait five minutes, and then wipe down with a clean, soft cloth.  They shine, and fingerprints simply wipe away. 

6) Stay away from convenience wipes. Commercially made convenience wipes just don't the job done.  They leave streaks and paper fibers behind.  And, if you don't follow the wiping with these buggers, the cleaning solution that gets up the dirt simply evaporates leaving the dirt behind that didn't get collected by the cloth. 

7) Damp dust and dry. The name of the game is cleaning once without leaving behind additional dust, or creating extra work.  Damp dust (with a barely wet cloth) in one hand and a dry cloth in the other. 

8) Get a good vacuum, use it and maintain it.  That means every now and then, clean the outside and the innereds.  Plastic will conduct a static charge from the motor housing, this collects dust and when you fire that baby back up, the dust simply goes airborne.  CLEAN the filters - they work it they are all clogged up.  Check the brushes.  If the brushes are wore, get them replaced.  If the brush are worn, then you missing the second step of a three step process. The beater bar on a sweeper roll loosens the dirt, the sweeper brushes comb the dirt out of the pile and the suction transfers the dirt to the collection point. 

9) For most household cleaning, you only need a mild detergent.  Harsh detergents, over time, can remove the factory gloss from an item.  The only time you need the heavy duty stuff is when you really have a dried, ground in mess.  And even then, use it according to the directions. 

and my favorite tip of all...

10) Learn how to properly use a dish scrubby made of net, and learn the proper way to use a brush, for Christ sakes.  Brushes are great labor savers - there's a reason why a Fuller Brush man could support his family selling brushes -  when you use the right brush for the right job. For 99% of the time, you'll use a nylon brush.  Brushes clean the best when you don't exert pressure down and crush the bristles - the TIPS of the bristles do the work, and when you press so hard that you crush the bristles you are creating more physical work for you.  This goes for toothbrush on your teeth to a floor scrubbing brush.  Let the brush do the work, and then wipe down or rinse what you are cleaning. 

As for nylon scrubbies, you can use them in the dish pan.  You can use them in the bathroom - they are excellent at getting soap scum up and off of ceramic and fiberglas surfaces like tubs, sinks, etc.  And because they are nylon, they don't scratch, and a quick rinse and air dry and no sour smell. 


A clean sweep in the bathroom. If you hate cleaning the bathtub and the shower stall, buy an old fashioned straw broom like your mother used to use on the floors, wet down the tub/shower, spray on some cleaner, wait a couple seconds and then use the broom to scrub the surfaces.  No stooping, no bending - save's your knees for other things that require specific attention. When you're done, rinse the broom down and let it air dry. 


  1. Lordy! Get a couple of feet of poop-pipe removed, and you turn into Kim Woodburn!

    1. That is the nicest thing that anyone could say to me today! XXOO

    2. there was a fine caramel swirl through
      all that courtesy of lucille lesueur.


    3. A little club soda will get that out....LIAR!

  2. Replies
    1. Only when airfare and a five star hotel room all expense paid are provided. A guy has to get by.

  3. These are great tips, and I totally agree about the Swiffers leaving dust to go airborne. One last tip-- after I clean the kitchen, I put the wet dishcloth, nylon scrubby thing and scrubbing sponge into the microwave on the high power setting for one minute to kill germs.

    This is a very energetic post and I hope this means you're feeling energetic, too.

  4. Is it wrong that I heard Joan Crawford's voice in my head as I read this post? She may have been from the Mildred Pierce era...