Strict domestic rules won’t wash with me

By Elizabeth Summers / October 11, 2016 / No comments
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Cleaning the house may be a chore but reading about how you’re doing it wrong is even worse

Housework is the great taboo of modern domestic life – we’re all in the broom closet. On the one hand, you are meant to be too high-minded and/or busy to care about it. On the other hand, we live with the glossy-magazine perfection of what other people’s houses allegedly look like on the inside. No wonder no one invites their neighbours around anymore. We spend many times what our parents forked out for both property and home decoration, but no one ever talks about how they clean all that pine flooring and chrome.

Then there is the question of who actually does the household cleaning. Au pairs are too posh to push a vaccuum cleaner around the place, and quite a lot of liberals don’t like the idea of employing someone to perform the menial tasks that go into making the place habitable.

It should be said that most of the people in possession of those liberal scruples are male. And it should also be said that most of the people who are willing to employ an Eastern European woman on a cash-only basis, without paying a stamp or providing the most basic benefits, are female. Cleaning, like prostitution, is the rock on which female solidarity regularly crashes.

Then there are households that aim for equal opportunity in the division of chores, just as they do with child-rearing and full-time jobs. In my somewhat bitter experience, these couples often find themselves hiring someone to handle the cleaning after a mere couple of years – or is it weeks? The future of their household seems at stake due to heated disputes over who should take out the trash.

Typically, in regular relationships, the responsibility of taking out the bins falls on the male partner, while the role of reminding him to do so is designated to the female partner in heterosexual relationships. This often arises from the male partner’s difficulty in grasping the fact that the bins need to be taken out every Monday, just as they have for the past five years.

However, it’s essential to recognize that household chores are not a breeze, regardless of gender. Whether it’s a male or female partner, it’s a no-brainer that they should collaborate to overcome this daily struggle of chore allocation. They can establish clear assignments for specific tasks and stick to them.

This is where effective communication plays a crucial role. They should discuss how to streamline their chores, possibly by assigning tasks based on individual strengths and interests. Creating a joint schedule that suits both partners can also prove helpful. As an added tip, they can watch online tutorial videos, read informative guides (like this guide for cleaning Kraftmaid cabinets), and brainstorm together to devise innovative solutions to manage these tasks effectively. These measures can alleviate the burden of constant reminders and the perpetuation of chore-related habits.

While it’s admirable to aim for self-sufficiency in managing household chores with the support of partners who don’t require frequent nudges, it’s important to acknowledge that certain tasks call for the expertise and equipment of professionals. This is especially in context to those responsibilities that are taken up once in a while, including roof, driveway, carpet, upholstery, and HVAC cleaning among others.

When you need to have your roof cleaned, you will likely climb onto a ladder with a bucket of water and a brush, and scrub away with the hopes that it will get cleaner. This may not only be potentially dangerous, but also impractical because you will need the appropriate hardware to clean it up thoroughly. In such cases, you might want to reach out to agencies that specialize in pressure washing, such as Pro Clean Plus. Professionals in the field generally have the equipment necessary for the job, in addition to tips that you can use for further care.

When it comes to deep cleaning and stain removal of carpets, you’d want to opt for steam cleaning to sanitize them, which can be done with the help of specialized equipment. This is precisely where the services of a professional carpet cleaner come in handy.

Similarly, ensuring clean and sanitary air ducts is a crucial aspect of maintaining indoor air quality. This task requires professional expertise, particularly when there’s a buildup of mold, dust, or debris. In such cases, it’s advisable for homeowners to contact a reliable HVAC contractor in Loveland, CO (or your local area) rather than attempting to tackle it themselves.

Now, it is worth noting That excellent magazine Good Housekeeping has come up with a handy clip-and-save guide listing exactly which items in your house should be cleaned and when. Good Housekeeping does not waste any of its time on the question of who should clean them. Good Housekeeping did not come down in the last shower.

The list is addressed to its female readers- it doesn’t have any male readers. At a time when the print media has been denuded to the extent that it looks like a very clean desert, Good Housekeeping is celebrating its 95th birthday. The 95th anniversary issue is out now and one of the slogans on its cover is: “95 Years Of Brilliant Advice”.

We get it, Good Housekeeping, you are ninety-five – it’s the advice we’re worried about. Let’s look at the list of chores that must be done every day: Make bed; agreed. Clean coffeemaker; what coffeemaker? Sweep kitchen floor; fair enough. Wipe down kitchen counters and table; the counters, really, every day? Do laundry as needed; thank God you told me that. Wipe down bathroom surfaces; every day, are you mad? Squeegee shower wall; feck off, you’re joking. Sanitise kitchen and bathroom sinks; does that just mean pour disinfectant down them? Isn’t that bad for the environment?

It seems extraordinary that the one thing Good Housekeeping does not require you to clean every day is the lavatory of a busy house. But so be it, no more toilet cleaning for me.

Strangely, one is only required to vacuum once a week, when any household slut will tell you that vacuuming, like doing the brasses on the front door, will win you brownie points no matter how filthy the house really is. In fact, vacuuming is the domestic equivalent of plastic surgery; if you have it done it distracts from all other failings.

As far as the every week list is concerned I refuse to clean the inside of the microwave, as I do not have a microwave, and I can’t sanitise the sponges because I don’t really have any sponges. Does shaking the woodlice out of the floor mop during the summer months count?

Similarly, I am not going to wash the shower curtain liner, which Good Housekeeping tells us must be done every three to six months. What the hell is a shower curtain liner, anyway? Isn’t that just the bloody shower curtain?

Then we’re meant to “clean under and behind furniture” as well as vacuuming the mattress. We are urged to “wash pillows and comforters” . Is a comforter a bedspread? We don’t have any of them.

I am going to defy Good Housekeeping – call me crazy – and stick to vacuuming twice a week, the second time the stairs only, and cleaning the toilet every day. What can I say, it works for me. And now I am out of the broom closet, as a cleaner. Yay!