Givin’ Martha a Run for Her Money

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Autumn at our pond

Today was an extremely productive day here on the homefront.  I recently bought Martha Stewart’s huge tome: Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook, and, inspired by the thought of gleaming vitreous china, floors, and faucets, I decided to make today the Super Cleaning Marathon.  So, I donned my new, super awesome apron (I will be posting about it SOON), and my bright yellow Playtex rubber gloves, I got down and dirty today.  I started at about 10am and did not finish until about 4:45pm.  I hand scrubbed the entire stairway, floors included, as well as my bathroom, kitchen, and hall floors.  Naturally, floor cleaning is reserved for last, so beforehand I had dusted and polished every surface, every facing, every knob, etc. 

But, what I discovered today, thanks to information gleaned from MS’s book, was how to create your own cleaning solutions.  I have been using a product called CitraSolv for the majority of my cleaning, but after reading about        d-limonene in the book, I thought I’d try some of the homemade cleaning recipes, which are supposed to be very safe and effective.  Anyway, I have been using baking soda and vinegar for several years now for various household chores, so I am not totally new to the DIY cleaning department.  BUT, today, I have to brag and tell you that I was MOST PLEASED with the outcome of my window washing solution!  To preface this, I have been getting more and more aggravated with using Windex as it seems like it smears terribly whenever I try to clean glass with it.  Isn’t that it’s sole purpose?  To clean glass???  Did I miss something here?  Anyhoo, today, I used this simple, extremely cheap recipe.  Mix 1 part water to 1 part white vinegar.  There.  That’s it.  No pretentious chemical lists, just pickle maker and water.  I am here to tell you that it left not one streak nor speck of dirt.  OK, I’m totally sold on this now.  Naturally, I used a microfiber cloth in conjuntion with the solution for a lint-free shine.  Also, I found that it literally only takes about a drop or two of this solution to clean an entire 12×15″ window.  So, for pennies, you can have your own super safe, effective glass cleaner, too! (Note: because vinegar is acidic, there are some surfaces you do not want to use this on, but it is definitely safe for glass)

Recipe number two was also super simple and effective.  To make an all-purpose cleaner, take 2 tablespoons of a mild liquid dishwashing detergent (I used a brand called Maison Belle that I snapped up @ Pier One on clearance), add to 2 cups of water, and there ya’ go!  See, how cheap and easy is that?  And, I used that on my painted walls, woodwork, and tile with no residue and it left it so clean.  I actually did not have a spare spray bottle for that, so I just threw it in a little plastic washtub and dragged it around the floor with me. 

So, there are a couple of ways to make yourself some nice, effective, safe, and very cheap cleaners.  Now, let me tell you something funny….

I am an avid window washer.  I can’t stand dirty windows!  If you have dirty windows, I want you to whip up some vinegar/water glass cleaner, throw on your rubber gloves, grab a microfiber cloth and get to work!  Don’t worry…I’ll be right here till you get back.  Done?  Ok, moving on.  So, being a rabid clean window freak, I cleaned most of the easy to reach exterior windows before tackling my window nemesis: the windows in my dining room.  The problem with these windows is that there is a 3 1/2′ wide growth of dwarf yaupons sitting right in front of them. Obviously, whomever planted these things was NOT a window washer.  Anyway, they were by far the dirtiest, so I decided to tackle the task.  Lacing up my apron tightly (yes, I so love my apron) and using a 3 step ladder, I figured the best plan of action was to balance myself on the 3 inch ledge in front of the eight foot length of the windows.  To do so was to ultimately face my fears of heights, falling, and being stung by a rogue gang of yellowjackets (hey, yaupons are thick and scary…you never know what lurks in there).  Somehow, by the grace of our dear Lord (cause I certainly am lacking in that department), I managed to precariously perch my bare toes on the very ledge, while simultaneously gripping the edge of the window.  Now came the hard part.  I had to spray the solution, plus manage to wipe it without killing myself.  Don’t ask me how I did it, but the windows are now nice and clean.  I was able to hook the spray bottle to my apron and buff the windows all while gripping like a deranged spider monkey on a ledge no wider than a credit card.  Probably not a safe thing to do….especially since the number one cause of death in the homeplace IS falling after all, now isn’t it?

Well, shine on, ladies and gents!  I’m hitting the sack!