Cleaning cache: My dirty little secret

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I subscribe to a weekly online newsletter called “Housekeeping 101” or some such.

You’d think by this point in my life I’d have figured it out. But apparently not, because the only time I clean thoroughly is when company is coming which isn’t all that often. I’m partial to decluttering rather than actually bringing the house to a polished shine.


Decluttering is translated as “throwing everything into the wash room” which is a magnet for useless items. Once they are deposited there, they will remain until every nook and cranny is filled to overflowing.

I don’t actually read the didactic housekeeping newsletter every week but it shows up in my inbox like a toothache, reminding me that chores are overdue. This week the epistle of wisdom and cleanliness addressed cleaning supplies. I didn’t even read it because I own every cleaning aid known to man. It’s all stuffed onto the two stacked layers of six foot shelving above my washer and dryer.

Somewhere I read that there are more than 27,500 different cleaning supplies on the market – a testament to the effectiveness of advertising. I have about 200 of these products stuffed in that cramped 24 square feet of storage space. I need to add on to the house just to support my habit of buying every new product that Johnson and Johnson marches out to make life easier for harried (or lazy) housekeepers.

I dread washing clothes because it smarts to take a peak at the plethora of products I have amassed over the years. There are detergents (four different kinds), laundry stain removers, upholstery cleaners, air fresheners, glass cleaners, light bulbs, bleach, wet wipes, sponges, floor shiners, trash can liners, nylon scrubbers, old towels, and something I mixed up but don’t remember what it’s for. Frankly, I’m surprised some of the deadly chemicals haven’t interacted to cause a small explosion.

my closet

There’s something that tipped over about ten years ago and dripped out a grape jelly-like substance that grabbed onto four other bottles and glued them to the shelf for eternity.

There’s a bag of self-leveling concrete which showed up a couple of years ago. There are several packs of fabric softener with exotic scents like ginger, lychee and ylang-ylang. (I suspect I may be addicted to fabric softener drying sheets which I put in my handbags, my vehicle and on my desk. I should probably just stuff them up my nose.) There are denture tablets which I read you could toss into the toilet to clean it instantly without a moment of drudgery and “dust booties” for my puppies to wear so they can dust the floor as they play.

My cleaning supplies share space with about 12 extension cords and a hand sander that is still in the box it came in. Oh, and a label maker. I haven’t had any use for a label maker since my children were toddlers back during the Reagan administration.

better grand

When did we start needing all of this stuff to keep our houses clean ? I wonder what my grandmother would say if she could see my arsenal of cleaners and disinfectants. She swore by baking soda and used it for toothpaste, refreshing her rugs and cleaning the kitchen sink. Plain old white vinegar cleaned everything else. She would put pine branches, lemon, and cinnamon in a pan on the stove and let it simmer for a few minutes to freshen the air.

She also warned me to always leave my home in “dying condition” meaning, that if I died while I was out, we wouldn’t be embarrassed by people coming to my home. That memory is all I needed to clean out some of the bottles and jars, some of which only contained a mere skoche of product left in the bottom. I feel better already.

4 thoughts on “Cleaning cache: My dirty little secret

  1. “Skoche”? I think you’re dirty little secret is making up words as you write along. Maybe you meant “ort”.

  2. Ort? Must go to urban dictionary and look that one up! Wish you could join us for our 66th birthday party on coast on 19th. I’m a big Blood Sweat and Tears fan – cant wait to hear them!

  3. Emily, have you tried a cleaning product called Awesome? It lives up to it’s name. One of the ladies who help me in my home told me about it…almost every store that carries cleaning supplies has it. Don’t think I have found anything it will not clean. Tried it first on an Oriental trunk with soapstone figures on a white background. I actually thought the background was yellow, it had been that color so long. One little swipe with Awesome on a soft cloth and it was white again! I think the product is about a dollar a bottle.

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