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Friday, June 25, 2010

The Neatnik's Cleaning Routine

I'm a neat freak. I readily admit it. I take great pride in having a clean, neat home. In my teenage youth, I went through a messy phase. My rebellion was keeping a messy room because it greatly distressed my poor mother (coincidentally, also obsessively clean crazy. Hi mom!). I should have sprung for the traditional leather clad bad boy, but instead I lived with self torture. In college, the cleaning craze came back with a vengeance. My roommates from college (bless their souls!) put up with my constant cleaning, organizing, and generally frenetic behavior. When I met Mr. Radar, I thought I met a kindred, neat freak spirit. I was so wrong. Kindred spirit, yes. Love of my life, yes. Neatnik, no. Mr. Radar is akin to a mini tornado, leaving a trail of discarded items in his wake. He keeps his work area meticulous, and he always looks polished. But deep inside, there is a messy, mad scientist waiting to ruin my entire organization schema. Mr. Radar returns today, and it is my last opportunity to scrub, scrub, scrub!

I have a very extensive cleaning routine. Much of my cleaning knowledge was learned from my mother (see above!) I also read Martha Stewart Living (please don't judge me!) and learned a lot of great cleaning tips from there. Martha has an entire, 800 page book detailing her cleaning and home-keeping habits.

Martha's Homekeeping Handbook has been on my Amazon wishlist for about five years. Are you reading, Mr. Radar? Is it wrong that I want this book? It makes me feel so reassured.

I perform some cleaning tasks daily. I wipe down the kitchen and bathroom sinks every day. I also clean the kitchen countertops after every time I cook. I try to wipe down door handles every day. When I'm performing my weekly clean, I like to start the laundry and clean the kitchen top-to-bottom. Then I move on to the bathroom, where I scrub and sanitize everything. Then, I vacuum the rest of the house (I use a vacuum attachment to clean all of the molding, the ceiling fans, sofa, piano, etc) and mop the hardwood floors. I do some more laundry while that is drying, and then I make the bed, put away clothes et voila! Very clean house.

I have an army of products and home-made cleaners that I rely upon week after week. My favorite all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant is Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Solution. It's Earth Friendly and smells fabulous!

I like the Lemon Verbena scent and the Geranium scent. I always have an extra spray bottle on hand to dilute the extra strength cleanser with 1/4 cup of water. I am also very fond of Mrs. Meyer's surface scrub to clean my stainless steel sink and my bathtub.

The other miracle cleaner that I use for just about everything is white vinegar.

It cleans glass and countertops when mixed with water. 2 parts vinegar, 2 parts water. I frequently add Lavender essence to make the mixture smell more appealing. Many recipes will recommend adding a castile soap. I hate this. It is streaky, and from the research I have done, is not necessary. If you are really concerned about killing germs, add a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and that will kill everything! White vinegar removes soap scum and lime build up. I soak rags in white vinegar and then wrap them around faucet heads. This gets rid of residue. I use 1 cup of vinegar and hot water to clean my hard wood floors and crown molding. I also use white vinegar to clean out my washing machine. I put about two cups of white vinegar in the washer and run it, empty.

What do you do to make your house spic and span? Any other home made cleaner recipes? I know Martha recommends a mixture of black tea, lemon juice, white vinegar and boiling water to clean floors. I haven't tried it yet, but I think I might this time around. I'll let you know how it goes. Martha has never steered me wrong.

Images from here and here and here


Caroline said...

My cleaning habits are also rather extreme, though I think yours top mine. (I really hate vaccuuming, though I scrub my kitchen sink with baking soda at least once a week.)

My college roommates also had to put up with my insanity -- especially if I was stressed, they would come home to me scrubbing the shower floor with a toothbrush, sometimes in tears. I also would reorganize their desks and do their laundry. They were so kind about my craziness.

Now I'm a stress baker AND cleaner -- whoever marries me is a lucky man. :) (Not that I get stressed often, but if I do, at least my reactions are neat and tasty!)

Hilary said...

I too am a stress cleaner. And it rarely ever seems clean it enough, especially when I am stressed. In college, even a few clothes on the ground would drive me batty to a point where I could not study.

My roommates were wise, very wise. I had my own room two out of the four years in college...for good reason. And the first year, I lived with a delightful education major who is now a nun. We got along great.

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