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Sadventure Completed #40: Organic domestic demon cleaning

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

"You know how some people have a cleaning agenda?" she said.

"No," I said.

"Yeah, a total monthly blitzing of every nook and cranny of their house."


I get an overwhelming sense of gratitude all of a sudden that I don't live in a mansion. I think I'm an average cleaner - my vacuum is used periodically, I wash my bed sheets once a week (ish) and I have a reasonably tidy home. At least, I think I do. I mean, I've seen hoarding programmes and been pretty certain I don't deserve fame on that count.

Nor has anyone ever wiped their feet on the way out to my knowledge. And I run out of cleaning materials every once in a while so that's a good sign, right? I might not be a domestic goddess, but that's because life is to be lived. Although, I confess I do own an iron and ironing board, they are in the loft. I think.


"Well, you should do that. Organically." she said.

"Eh?"

"Like with vinegar and lemon juice and bicarb of soda and stuff."

"Eh?"

"Once a day, you have to do some domestic work that you don't ordinarily do, without using any modern cleaning shit."

"Like oven cleaning?"

"Yes, and shower head defuzzing. Sink hole decontaminating. Window cleaning with newspaper."


Blimey.





Day 1.


Utensil drawers and holders.


I don't think I've done them since I moved in. Would be a good place to start. First to make some all purpose cleaner:


Combine: sprigs of rosemary, lemon juice, 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. Leave to steep. It's very important to do the steeping with one's feet up and a box-set.


1) Remove 4 keys for I know not what and place in bin.

2) Coax out tiny spider.

3) Tip crumbs into sink.

4) (Optional) Resist urge to comment on how gross one's cutlery drawer actually is

5) Spray Homemade Organic Mix Combo liberally and clean

6) Realise home now smells like a chippie

7) Dry off and put everything back as it was, minus spider, keys and crumbs

8) Repeat with utensil holders.


Finally: Bleach coffee cups and undo all organic virtue points.


Day 2


Dishwasher


If there's one appliance in the house that is self-cleaning, it surely has to be the dishwasher.


Apparently not. Apparently, it should be done once a bleedin' month. Like having a period, but more mucky it transpires. And smelly. And icky.


I don't think I have ever cleaned a dishwasher in my life. How I've survived the grease, the germs, and toxic food debris is testament to being a 70s child, I reckon.


Anyway, it was vile. It is now no longer vile. It now smells of vinegar, rosemary and citrus. Revolting, yes. But not vile.




Day 3


Oven cleaning


Organic oven cleaning. This required some research because, ahem, I have never actually done this before. I thought that basically blasting food at 200 degrees plus pretty much guarantees that the oven is a sterile environment. Sure, I've wiped around with a cloth here and there, but given it a thorough detox is not my kind of thing.


And it still isn't.


What a jeffing palaver. First to find an organic substances that would scrub clean the cauliflower cheese crematorium that is my oven, it is fair to say there is eons of fossilised gunk to go.


Thankfully someone kindly did a ton of proper research on the stuff, I mean Bren did, with a synopsis and a methodology and a solid conclusion and everything that makes academics proud. And then, unlike academia, she kindly published it on the interweb so idiots like me to learn the innermost workings of organic homemade oven cleaners for free.


Ingredients:

3/4 of a tube of Baking Soda,

1/3 of tub of boring water.


Method

Mix well.

Slap around oven.

Bugger off and find something else to do for twenty minutes (I hung up laundry and stripped a bed but each to their own).


Come back and clean.


To be fair, my expectations that my circa 1900 first edition of a cheap electric oven (it's probably 1970s like me but who cares) would come out shiny and new was, perhaps, just a little unrealistic. But impressed I am not.


Before



After



So I decided that perhaps I should have used Bicarb of Soda rather than Baking Soda. I've never really understood the difference, which is probably why my baking is very hit and miss. For good measure, I put in some potent vinegar, lemon and rosemary homemade stink bomb shite and hoped for the best. It's been a long time since I had a chemistry lesson, so if I die, I've given my last will and testament to my neighbours.


Later:


I lived. Although not a jot of difference was made.




Day 4


Ironing.


I have very few strict home policies, but always buying 'no iron' clothing is mandatory. There's a very good reason for this - life is not to be lived behind an ironing board. Not when there's a sofa, chocolate and Netflix to be endured.


However, as this is a Sadventure, it must be done. First to find the ironing board, which it turns out, was hiding in a shed. Second to remove all traces of cobwebs. The iron was in a downstairs cupboard. Then to set it up, which took some time. I am to iron, I am ordered, the bed linen.


Thankfully I have just washed the bed linen so this is helpful. The scrunched up stuff at the back of the airing cupboard, a warm dingy place at the best of times, less so.





And with that I got underway. And if I had balls, it would be adequately described as a ball ache. I even got myself an ironing blister, and not even from burning myself. I also got myself a foot cramp from standing up too long.


So the pros and cons of ironing:


One probably burns more calories ironing than sitting down. And secondly, one's airing cupboard does look substantially tidier.


That said, standing for long periods is rumoured to give one varicose veins. On balance, therefore, ironing is definitely a health risk.


One can go for a pleasant walk rather than hunched over an ironing board. Collapsing the damned thing also needs a health and safety protocol.


Shoving things in the airing cupboard is time efficient. Having bundles of laundry all over the place is a trip risk.


Ironed sheets or unironed sheets have no impact on the palaver of making a bed, with one notable exception: Putting on a duvet cover is infinitely easier if the duvet cover is inside out to begin with. When ironing, aesthetics demand the cover is the right side out. Thus, generating yet more work.


In conclusion: Put the iron and ironing board in the bin. It is the best place for it.




Day 5


Lamp shades.





On close inspection, I see that they are harbingers of terror looking at the cobwebs that are strung around the place.


I've been meaning to change the lightbulb in the futility room for about eighteen months. I changed it once but only had a very low wattage bulb and thus it creates gloom rather than light. Today, there shall be light. Although I need to go shopping first and I'm not sure I can afford it.


And, I've have also been meaning to swap my bedroom lightshade, which is the wrong kind of blue, for one in another room which is the right shade of plum since I moved in and put them up.


What I'm dreading most is the bathroom light cover, a plastic thing with a white rim, that houses the dead bodies of the dearly departed bathroom insect dwellers. I think they've been there since the house was built back in 1870 or something when insects were less evolved.


---

What is it about doing these kind of tasks which then morph into one hundred DIY jobs - I realise that my chairs need tightening up if I hope to stand on them and survive. Then I see that most of my ceilings need a good brushing, the top of my door frames are despicable, and in fact, the walls need a new lick of paint. Before you know it, the whole house needs razing to the ground and starting again.


And curiously, I found three pairs of knickers, one odd sock, one pair of tracksuit bottoms and a bra atop my wardrobe. Thankfully they are all mine, but still how the hell did they get up there?


Day 6


Ceiling brushing


It seems logical as my next chore to persecute every top corner of the house to erase the critters that made the lightshades so filthy to begin with.


There is absolutely nothing abut this chore that is remotely interesting. Except I did it to Kate Bush's Cloudbusting. Handmaid's Tale fans will understand.




I removed quite a few dead bodies, which weren't necessarily dead when I started.


And it is good for tackling one's bingo wings.


Day 7


Window cleaning


I checked out homemade window cleaning recipes and discovered that all contain two essential ingredients: washing up liquid and vinegar. I am so over the house smelling of vinegar. I opted for the water and Fairy.


There is absolutely nothing interesting about this task. Laborious, full of spiders, involves defying death (step ladders) and no less than 146 separate sodding panes if one includes the cat flap. I live in a small house, not a jeffing mansion.


I shall spend the next week being the window inspector - yours, my neighbours', and any house that I pass along the way. I shall be smug about it too.



Day 8


I bounded out of bed, hopped down the stairs, skipped to the kitchen and jumped with joy: today's chore:


skirting boards and door frames


Well, I would have if I was a domestic goddess. In reality I only got out of bed because the bladder could contain no more, shlepped down the stairs, and only really got a hurry on when the kettled was boiled, racing myself to the sofa. Whereupon I manifested getting the skirting boards cleaned. A second coffee had me capable of a chat with the cat. A third coffee had me capable of having a human conversation on the telephone. I could sit here and drink coffee all day, quite frankly but I've run out of conversation with myself.


It's another weekend spent on my knees.


The thing I'm learning with these chores is that they expand. Before you know it, I've to move every piece of furniture to get behind, which then means getting the vacuum cleaner out. Each door frame, then requires the whole door to be wiped down, and each light switch to be carefully scrubbed. Then, of course, since one is moving the furniture one ends up thinking 'I wonder if this would look better there?'. And before you know it, you might as well move house.


The worst part - the regular house work still needs doing. And the lawn is still overgrown, and it's already 1pm and I've not even started. This chore sucks.