Archives for November 8, 2012

Why I Should Never Clean

There’s a whole host of reasons why I shouldn’t clean. None of which is that I’m a feminist. Someone once told me that feminists take issue with a clean house–and if that is, in fact, the case, I’m one of the best feminists I know. But not really: my house isn’t dirty because I’m busy fighting for women’s rights. It’s dirty because I’m sitting on the porch checking Twitter in my pajamas. Or something equally important.

But I digress.


One of the main reasons I shouldn’t clean is because somewhere in the middle of my cleaning I will inevitably get obsessed with the idea of cleaning whatever machine it is that I’m using (meta-cleaning, if you will). That’s actually how I kind of broke my dish washer, but it’s fixed now so I’m not gonna dwell on the gallon of water that ended up on the floor that time.

Where was I?

Oh yes. The cleaning of cleaning machines. It’s a thing that I have. I guess deep down I feel like something can’t possibly be cleaning very well if it isn’t clean.


This craze hit me the other day when I was trying to get the carpets clean in my house. It started with my vacuum cleaner. I have one of those fancy, water-filter vacuum cleaners that cost approximately one million dollars, but that I bought in pieces via Craig’s List for a fraction of the price. Because I’m a boss. A boss with a vacuum cleaner.

So you have to put water in the fancy vacuum cleaner and while I’m putting the water in I notice that the water holder thingy looks a little grimy. Flash forward to thirty minutes later–I’ve successfully vacuumed all the rooms that don’t have sleeping children in them (that’s like three rooms–I have a lot of children) and am now busy bleaching and heat spraying the water holder. I have a thing about bleach too. For some, it’s a dangerous chemical. For me, it’s a little slice of heaven–please don’t tell the environmentalists.

After the vacuuming, I get down to the steam cleaning. Three quarters of the way through doing Charlie’s room I had to empty the dirty water holder (probably has a proper name, but heck if I know what it is). I go to empty it when I see black grime in all the little cracks and crevices. So I take a minute to hit ’em with the spray gun next to the sink. Not half bad, but I can still see black stuff.


At this point I start wondering who hell designed this thing. I mean, people who make carpet cleaners are basically the Zen Masters of clean, right? At the very least I assume they have technical degrees that involved WAY more math than I could dream of completing. I’m amateur hour all the way and I know nasty stuff lives in tiny damp spaces.

I’m still spraying, and I can’t get it all out, so I get out my trusty bleach and douse the stuff–I told you I have a bleach problem. I don’t get it perfect, but it’s a lot better. Actually, I get it as good as I can without running the risk of breaking it. When you have a meta-cleaning issue, you know that breaking something when you’re trying to clean it is a definite possibility (it would totally sparkle, though).

Then I notice the top to the water holder, which is also home to some unnamed growths. Gotta go. I pry the thing apart and proceed to hit it with my bleach/hot water spray combo. I’m on fire. A cleaning machine. I start working on the filter and the joy I felt when I found out it detached? I’m pretty sure I gasped with delight. Nobody should be that happy about finding hidden mold and mildew. I might need to get out more.

I scrub the filter. I bleach it. I reattach it. I clean out the top of the water holder. That takes a while because it too has the random funk nooks that nothing, NOTHING can reach. At this point my hands are raw and I’m completely exhausted from all the cleaning I’ve been doing, so I take a break and sit on the couch.

Moral of the Story: I have no business cleaning anything. In two hours I managed to shampoo three fourths of a rug, but the inside of both my vacuum and mother-in-law’s steam cleaner are as close to immaculate as they can get.

Also, my fingers are wrinkled like prunes and I might have accidentally gotten bleach in my mouth.
boy sitting on the floor surrounded by toys

Random Louie picture–he’s into throwing things right now, Lord help me.

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