by Debi Young

While growing up in my mother’s home, I often saw her perform household tasks in the same manner week after week. Some methods I noticed, but I never tried to figure out why she did some things the way she did them.

One such method of cleaning involved the bathroom tub, toilet and sink and the kitchen sink. Whenever my mother planned to clean these areas, she got the surfaces wet with hot water and then sprinkled cleanser over the entire area to be cleaned. (Note: I know I said the ENTIRE area, but surely you realize I don’t mean the outside of the toilet or the tub!) She then left the dampened cleanser to begin its work while she went on to some other task.

When I became a homemaker, I often found myself doing things her way, even if I did not understand why. However, it didn’t take long to figure out this one for myself.

  1. By letting the cleaning agents have time to break down the molecules of dirt on each surface, you get a cleaner surface and it is easier to clean. (You won’t need to use quite so much “elbow grease” on any one job.)
  2. If you use a cleanser with bleach or some other disinfectant, you will get the “deep-down” benefits of these products. You will see a cleaner, brighter difference! Don’t just spray and wipe and wipe and wipe.
  3. By sprinkling my cleanser and letting it sit, I find I can also force myself to fit these jobs into a busy day—no matter what comes up. When I go through the house in the morning and see these jobs need to be done today, but maybe I have to work that day, or something else is pressing in on my day, I often make myself go through this routine. I know I’ll have to clean it by evening so everyone can take a bath! (Is that something like blackmail?)

If you aren’t convinced, here’s a little test for you. The next time your bathroom counter has that rough, sticky feeling from hair spray buildup, take everything off your counter and liberally spray it with windex or whatever bathroom cleanser you use. Leave it for 15-20 minutes while you care for something else. You will be amazed at how all that buildup will just wipe away, and how clean and shiny your counter will be!

I’m glad I had enough sense to make my mother’s ways, my ways—even when I didn’t understand the “why’s.” She’s a pretty smart gal!