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House Cleaning

Posted on 18 July 2010

Cleaning Primer for Jewish Homes…The Basics, some Advice, and then some Fun!

Cleaning Basics

First you’ve got to know what even needs to be cleaned in the first place! Check out the following to get your cleaning schedule down pat.

Next, you’ve got to know how to clean. There are a couple of things that a high- traffic Jewish home needs to have! First of all, you must have good cleaning cloths. No not t-shirt rags, but professional cleaning cloths. I got mine from cleaning expert Don Aslett. When I got my cleaning cloths, I finally realized why it is so important to have real cleaning cloths.

When you convert to professional cleaning cloths, you will cringe when you see someone using a rag.

Find instructions for how to make your own cotton terry cleaning cloths in Don’s book: Is There Life After Housework? That’s where I leared about professional cleaning cloths.

I have noticed a difference in how much dirt and dust is picked up in these cloths, and the surfaces stay clean for longer amounts of time.

And last, when are you going to find time to keep up with all of the cleaning that needs to get done? If you have time and money, hire a cleaning service to assist you. If not, think about your family and who can help you. Is it in your belief system that the kids should be available to help you clean? Believe it or not, kids actually love to clean. When you start them young, they’ll beg you to wash the windows! It’s not a Cinderella thing, it’s about sharing the home and making it work for each member of the family.

When you yourself know what needs to be done and you know how it needs to get done, you can delegate properly to a cleaning service and/or to your kids.

Start young and work together with your children to figure out what job works best for them. Does one child over another like to throw all of the clothes into the washing machine? Does one child really love to mop the floor? Work with them to understand their natural preferences and then make it their job to complete several times a week. This is the secret to how large Jewish families run efficient homes.

Cleaning Supplies

I only use natural cleaning products from the local health food store- seventh generation, etc. And, I also use things like baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and borax. Here’s an example of how I use borax, for instance. I pour in borax each time I do a load of laundry. I also sprinkle borax or dishwasher detergent powder on the grease stains in the fridge, then take my professional cleaning cloth, wet it with water or vinegar, and then use a lot of elbow grease to clean off the spills. This beats using toxic cleaners.

If you are interested, I can give you a lot more information on how to use these kinds of natural cleaning products in your home or for specific spills, just email me through the contact form on my website.

Mats

Don Aslett talks about professional grade mats being the most important aspect to keeping the house clean. He talked about in one apartment complex, the cleaning crews kept quitting because there was too much to do. When he went in to put down mats, they were astounded at the difference in the amount of cleaning.

The mats have a raised fabric-covered pattern that attacks dirt from various angles, thoroughly removing moisture and dirt from shoes. The durable and absorbent polypropylene surface is backed with 100% reinforced rubber to hold the mats in place and prevent the pattern from crushing. The base won’t crack or curl either.

Brooms and Vacuums

Believe it or not, one of my decorating clients gave me a Roomba vacuum for Chanukah. I was so excited! I had never really understood how these worked, like how do they get around furniture?

Well boy oh boy they do! They’re like smart little machines, if they bump into something they turn around a go a different way. If they have to go up onto a carpet they do a little jump. And they go right up to the baseboards. I love them, they work a lot better than I thought they would.

If I had bought one for myself, though, I would have gotten Floor Washing Robot. Why not have it wash and vacuum your floor at the same time?

The Roomba is a real timesaver. I use it in conjunction with a weekly vacuum, but when I am home and on the computer, I turn it on and leave it running while I am working. What a Mechaye!

I also have a small broom and crumb sweeper that the kids fight over to use! After the Shabbos meal, my daughter wipes up all the crumbs. The chairs are pushed in, plates put in the trash, and we take turns sweeping.

Washer and Dryer

If you live in a home that has a washer and dryer, make sure it is a good one. I’m not talking about how to do the laundry, and if you are looking for that, click here.

I’m serious. An old washer and dryer with an agitator that works too hard can really ruin clothes, making you have to wash them again or throw them away. An old dryer can tear up clothing and shrink them.

Do your research. I recommend going to a site like epinions.com or consumerreports.com to read reviews on washer and dryers and look at prices.

I believe that modern and new washer and dryers that are agitator free and front-loading are more efficient in terms of energy saving and water usage. They are also MUCH more gentle on clothing.

Cleaning Advice

Do it. Delay it. Delegate it. Delete it.

And Get Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (I don’t know what in the world it is made of but there are no chemical fumes and it actually works for things like pen and marker on your walls. I’m taking stock in the company! I need to let you know though that you must keep the magic eraser away from kids. Unfortunately I’ve heard stories of kids rubbing their bodies with it and suffering severe burns. So there may not be chemical fumes in it but as you can see, there are dangerous chemicals. If you’d like, try rubbing a folded piece of bread against the wall to erase a drawing, a natural tip that I plan on trying!

Cleaning Fun

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