Part 2 of my Sal Suds story
I have this theory that there are “tidy people” and “clean people.” Tidy people want their spaces to be picked-up and organized, but don’t really care about a little dust on the bookshelves or dishes in the sink. Conversely, clean people can ignore piles and clutter, as long as the space is vacuumed and clean. Alan is a clean person. I am a tidy person.
Cleaning–washing windows and doors, dusting, sweeping and mopping–has always seemed both kinda-unimportant and so, so overwhelming to me. Isn’t it hard to clean? I don’t want to tear up my nails using green scratch pads to scrub out stains and messes. I don’t want to spend all that time on my knees scrubbing the floor. It’s just so. much. work.
Then Sal Suds and this article came into my life. Now I can clean my whole house–hard surfaces–in about a half hour. I no longer dread cleaning, and I’m much more likely to actually do it. Here’s how!
a 2 gallon bucket full of hot water
2 microfiber cloths, these from Home Depot, specifically
an old toothbrush
a spray bottle of diluted Sal Suds, using the recipe in my other post
Spray all hard surfaces liberally with the diluted Sal Suds. Go through the whole house spraying the kitchen and bathroom sink and counters, light switches, painted railings, painted coffee and end tables, door knobs, etc.
Drop the microfiber cloths and toothbrush in the bucket of hot water. Starting at the first area you sprayed, take one of the cloths, wring it out, and wipe up the spray. It should wipe right up. You might have to scrub a little, but not much. Use the old toothbrush to get into any tiny crevices. I use two cloths so that one can soak in the hot water while I’m using the other one. Change out the water if it gets too dirty.
Important note: do not use this on wooden surfaces; it will take the finish off of them.
By working through the whole house you give the spray time to loosen dirt and crud. And I think the Sal Suds are really key to this working so well. After reading the BHG article linked above, I mixed up some water, vinegar, and cleaner (it was either Method or Simple Green–I can’t remember!), and it worked pretty well, but I still had to do a lot of scrubbing, which is the part of cleaning I hate.
Here are some quick before-and-afters I snapped while cleaning my apartment today:
I washed these things, as well as all doorknobs and light switches, the toilet, and any walls that seemed smudged. And it all took me less than 25 minutes, which includes the time I took taking the pictures.
Saving the best for last: cleaning my house regularly using this technique is nice and all, but where it really shines is on old or sticky messes: dirt that hasn’t been touched for years, sticky dust, oily residue above the stove, etc. In order to demonstrate this, I sprayed down part of the railing in my apartment building. [Side note: this was hilarious, because I was terrified someone would walk up the stairs and ask me what I was doing. So I sprayed a bit, and then sat down on the stairs next to the wet railing and edited photos on my camera to look busy. Fortunately no one came by!]
There is a cleaning woman for the building, and I see her diligently vacuuming and cleaning the halls and stairways, so I know that it’s not neglect that caused the build-up of brown on the railings. It’s really hard to get old dirt clean! Sure, you could scrub it with a green scratch pad, but that would take forever, and maybe wouldn’t do a very good job. I literally spritzed the railing generously, sat for 2 or 3 minutes, and then wiped it with a microfiber cloth. I maybe rubbed it back and forth two or three times, but I certainly didn’t scrub. And the years of dirt just came right off.
I was inspired to clean the rest of the railing, so I sprayed it down, waited, and wiped away. Here’s an in-between shot:
I’m telling you: this is good stuff!
All right, so that’s my method for cleaning.
Tomorrow Later this week I’ll wrap-up this mini-series with a brief description of my minimalist cleaning kit.
What is your cleaning secret?