Part II: The Reluctant (Irish) Spring Cleaner

In my last post I confessed that I can live with a certain amount of domestic squalor right through the winter months.  But as Spring rattles the old double helix, my German hausfrau legacy surfaces, and berates me for my slovenly habits.

But given that there are plenty more interesting things to be getting on with – seed sowing, writing my blog, reading, cat grooming – I usually turn a deaf ear (that was inherited from the other side of the family) to that guilt-inducing siren call.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home Book

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Home Book

When I do respond to it, I like to be efficient and I like all my materials to double up and multi-task.

Of the twelve essentials I listed in my last post I’ve already told you about my love of the yard brush and the rubber gloves.  Both are essential in my ongoing battle with reducing the pet hair collecting everywhere in the house. You know it is spring when the pets shed.  (I’m not like those country people who turf the pets outdoors all the time.  I know that companion animals belong beside their humans – on the sofa, in the cozy chair, by the hearth, under the duvet on really cold nights. )

Those rubber gloves also come in handy for doing the really rough cleaning, especially in the oven.  Spread baking soda on the bottom of the oven.  Slowly sprinkle over with vinegar. Watch it fizz, while snapping on your rubber gloves. Squirt some liquid castile soap onto the soda/vinegar solution. Scrub hard. Rinse with hot water. Repeat until oven comes clean.

Hot soapy water and rags will clean a multitude of grimy situations. Use them to thoroughly wipe out the kitchen cupboards or drawers, for instance.  When the cupboards are dry rather than line them with expensive lining paper, just fold in some newspaper.  If you think that this is an economy too far or need the aesthetics of patterned paper go and visit the bargain bin for wallpaper.  There are usually wallpaper oddments – single rolls of out of discontinued lines – that can work as shelf lining paper. Less expensive than shelf liner, equally decorative and very tough–plus, vinyl wallpapers are easy to wipe clean!

The same goes for clothes drawers.  Upend the emptied drawer to remove any large bits of detritus.  Then run a damp cloth rag around the drawer.  Work it well into the corners.  When the drawer is dry you can reline it. If you want to scent your drawers, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil – pine, lavender, geranium, clary sage, orange, whatever – onto the lining paper prior to repacking the drawer. If you think it may transfer onto the clothes, put it on the back of the lining papers.

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

Vinegar and lemon juice cut grease so you will need a fair amount in cleaning the kitchen space.  Baking soda (or washing soda) sops up unpleasant odours. For those of you who are still attached to carpeting you can sprinkle some essential oil-scented baking soda on carpets. Leave for a half hour and then vacuum it up. The carpet is freshened, and the oil’s scent will linger.

Vinegar in hot water is a great glass cleaner.  Spritz the solution onto your windows, then rub the damp glass over with squished up newspaper and you won’t see any streaks! I promise.

The long handled fluffy duster is the friend of the less tall of the human species.  With this I can dust down walls, flap around picture frames. It’s so handy to reach tall or far corners and behind radiators.

With spring cleaning it’s all in the details. Take it drawer by drawer, wall by wall, corner to corner. Even reluctant Spring cleaners like me can get satisfaction for a thorough job.  That job just has to last for a whole year in our household!

About BeeSmith

I was born in Queens, N.Y, reared in Pennsylvania, did university in Washington, D.C. Then I moved to England for nineteen years. I lived first in London and then in Leeds. After my partner's sister died of cancer in 2000, we decided to take the leap of faith and move to Ireland to be nearer his family. Despite our friends thinking we were mad and feckless, it has worked out. The angels really do look after fools! We have a cottage on an acre and a quarter three miles from where the River Shannon rises. We have a polytunnel to grow vegetables and fruit organically, a small orchard of apple trees and plans to create a sacred space on the land over the rest of our lifetimes. We share our home with two tortoiseshell cats, Zelda and her daughter Zymina, and three dogs, Murphy, Pippin and Cara.