I didn’t actually talk to her, but I’ve gotten to know her really well. “She” is Linda Cobb, author of “Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean.”
I carry her little compendium in my back pocket and it’s gotten all dog-eared, and well, DIRTY, from constantly looking up tips.
Prior to discovering the Queen, my cleaning regimen typically focused on disposing of things rather than washing them – which reminds me of a sorority sister at Ole Miss- a true Delta Queen. She was apparently from a wealthy family of planters and she never washed her underwear. She just stepped out of it and tossed it in the trash can. Each month, she bought a whole new supply. Oh, how I envied her.
I’m not that bad, but I do replace my cookie sheet about once a month. When it becomes all corroded and encrusted with gunk, out it goes, and in comes a shiny new one. Since I depend on my smoke alarm to tell me when the toast is done, you can imagine how short a life span those pans have at my house.
Her book has changed my life. For example, make a breeze of cleaning toilets by pouring in left-over soft drinks or beer. If you see me buying beer, please note I never drink the stuff. It’s just “toilet cleaning” day (yeah, right). Anything carbonated will work. I also keep a box of Polident in the bathrooms – drop one in and it does your work for you. If you have rust stains, a dusting of Tang Breakfast Drink or Lemon Kool-Aid will take care of the problem – let it stand for at least an hour. (I bet you noticed most of my favorite cleaning tips involve food or drink.)
Here is a good tip for cleaning out tiny yucky spaces, like that place inside your electric toothbrush where nothing fits: Pour in a little hydrogen peroxide, which you should already have on hand for first aid purposes. The bubbling bleach cleans out any gook and can be rinsed out. While you’ve got the peroxide out you can comb some through your hair for that “sunkist” look (on second thought, make that “carrot-top” look.)
Clean your child’s baseball cap which has become stained by perspiration with shampoo. It is designed to break down body oils so they can be removed. Apply a small amount of shampoo to the stains and scrub the area with an old toothbrush.
When you boil eggs, save the water for your plants. Apparently it is full of minerals plants crave.
Did you know tea is the only wood cleaner I know of you can drink? Brew one quart of boiling water with 1-2 teabags. Apply it with a well wrung out cloth and buff. It cleans the floor or furniture and covers many imperfections. You can add sugar and guzzle what’s left.
Did you know you can make your own mildew treatment by combining chlorine bleach with powdered non-ammoniated laundry cleaner. But don’t repeat my big blunder – in my haste to clean some mildew from my front porch, I applied the solution with my bare hands. It took off the mildew and a couple layers of skin.
And my favorite – if your pet meets the wrong end of a skunk, apply Massengill douch, mixed as directed. Do not rinse.
I have a tip of my own I want to send Ms. Cobb. If all else fails, invite company over only after dark. Low lighting and candles will make your place look fabulous even if it’s not immaculate.