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March 27, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 9:13 pm

Home-skills : Complete six clauses which provide a personal challenge to you. You should demonstrate safety awareness at all times.

1. Know how to clean windows. Try several different products till you find one that suits you. If possible try an “old fashioned” method e.g. newspaper and vinegar. Clean all the inside windows in your home, and the outside ones where possible. Completed


Using the paito doors as a “test bed” I tried soapy water with one of those shaggy things window cleaners use and a spray bottle with white vinegar and warm water both wiped off with cotton rag and then the same 2 again wiped off with newspaper. I also repeated the vinegar over an area where I had used soap. I hate teh smell of hemical window cleaning products so didn’t waste money on one as I knew it wouldn’t get used!

The soap did better on the outside of the glass and smelt better all round. the vinegar didn’t shift dirt so well, smelt a bit, but gave a really good finish to glass taht I’d got pretty much clean with the soap first. Newspaper was convenient (use, throw into a bag, throw bag away at end of job) but I wonder if modern inks are different as it didn’t seem to do anything magical. Cotton rags cleaned up the glass nicely but I did need a lot of them to get the glass really dry except on teh bit I soaped then vinegared which seemed to dry faster (maybe because there was no film left to absorb and hold water?) I would have used a squeegee to wipe off the worst of the wet first but I can’t find it and refuse to buy a new one when I know full well I have one!

edited – found the squeegee eventually and did all the windows inside and the ground floor outside with first soapy water, squeegeed off, sprayed with vinegar, squeegeed and polished with a rag. Took a bit more effort than perhaps a commercial product but did a great job and I can feel vaguely virtuous about not using unnecessary chemicals.

2. Thoroughly clean and disinfect a bathroom or shower room. Try several different products over a few weeks. Which work best? continue to keep bathroom clean for at least 1 month. Completed

Started 2 April 08

products tried (I have an upstairs bathroom and a downstairs loo so I can divide it up to try a few different things in a week)

Steamer – okay, so it’s not a lot of use for the loo but it shifted soap scum etc really well and I don’t know of many germs that can live after a thorough blast of steam. Downside was that (obviously) teh whole room got a bit hot and steamy and it needed filling up a few times as it’s only a little steamer.

Bleach – stank but shifted the spots of mildew that have sneaked in over winter when the window tends not to get opened. Not something I’d use often but handy for an occaisional blast when needed. Got the loo clean nicely, we don’t ahve hard water so don’t have to bother getting limescale off. Of course, if the loo was given a quick swish with the brush every now and then it wouldn’t need bleaching….

Flash multipurpose spray – fragrance chosen by Aprilia…. I’m not sure I like my bathroom smelling of lavender and chamomile but the bottle is a pretty purple colour 🙄 Quick and effective, bit hard on the hands (forgot to wear gloves) and, being multipurpose, will be used in other rooms if I can get used to teh smell. Aparantly it stops grot settling so easy again, will see how it does on the soap dish and windowledge then but I’m not convinced. – edited to add – I was right, grot settles just as well where I’d used that as anywhere else!

Soapy water – hard work and took a lot of time. Would be okay for surfaces etc but useless for shifting soapscum without a lot of rubbing. Should have done the soap scum with vinegar first.

SalSuds – ah, I love the smell of this stuff! Sad hey? Pretty good at cleaning and, being pine based, it’s a disinfectant too.Costwise, it looks expensive but you dilute it down a lot before use making it pennies cheap in the long run. Not as harsh as the multipurpose spray but not as tough on soap scum etc either. It’s a good compromise though for proper cleaning when a quick wipe isn’t going to do the job. Will confess this isn’t a new product to me, it’s an old favourite but it was interesting to compare it to the commercial products to see how it fared.

Barkeepers Friend – the ONLY thing that got the floor downstairs clean out of all of them. This is an “old friend” in my house, it comes out for any dirty job but I try not to use to much as it’s ££££ and very harsh. I need to find a way to seal the floor in the downsairs loo without making it all polished and slippery, it’s really old, porous tiles and they get filthy really quickly then take an awful lot of work to get clean.

Asda hard surface wipes – fab for a quick flash round the sink and loo once it was all cleaned properly, no good if the room isn’t basically okay and just needs a quick smarten up. Handy in the downstairs loo which tends to take the brunt of Aprilia’s “cleaning up” after art and craft extravaganzas! Much as I hate chemicals and disposable products I’ll confess to being rather sold on these and will carry on getting them. Surely 3 years of cloth nappy use and me using a mooncup or washable pads mean I am allowed a little disposable indulgance sometimes!

Edited 3rd May 08 – 1 month on and they are both still clean and smell faintly of lemons thanks to the hard surface wipes. I can’t believe taht all it takes for me to keep it clean is a little packet of wipes in both of them but it would appear that I have a deep seated need for lemony freshness and a quick swipe and throw cleaning methodology!

5. Thoroughly spring clean and de-junk the living room. Find a home for every thing, clean, dust, polish and sweep! combined with…6. Keep room clean and tidy for at least a month!

8. Clean a cooker hob and oven AND 19. Clean a fridge and defrost a freezer. Continue to keep it clean for at least 1 month.

15May08 – fridge cleaned inside and out – has been maintained clean and free of evolving life forms.

1 June 08 – freezer defrosted and cleaned inside and out – and indeed is still nice and clean and tidy, we even have a system now for what goes on which shelf

12 July 08 – yuck! how grotty was that oven! All clean now

10. Clean, dust and polish the entrance to your home to make it look inviting. This should include any curtains, windows, getting rid of cobwebs in corners etc

14 July 08 – half way there, need to pretty it up a bit but it’s clean now at least and no longer the home of all lost and lonely items.

24. Evaluate “hot spots” in your home where junk accumulates (e.g. the side of the stairs, the kitchen table). What sort of junk accumulates there? How can you reduce it? Is there an alternative (e.g. a designated filing tray) completed

My desk – paperwork! Household, OU, Rainbows and Red Cross paperwork everywhere! Plus stacks of text books on tapes, DVDs, CD-Roms…..

Plan of action – Empty the whole lot out onto the bed, sort it out, file what needs filing, shred old stuff etc. Make better use of magasine rack on desk “hutch” to store stuff. Consider a better household filing system as this one obviosuly isn’t working. Find a better place to store OU tapes when not in use – may involve emptying a drawer somewhere and decluttering to make space.

ETA – started this, got loads of paperwork sorted…. then Duke dumped CDs in the space I’d made. I assume he’s donating them to me as it’s MY desk but I don’t know!

ETA2 – cor, it’s all clean and clear! huge amounts of paper recycled, filed stuff going back nearly a year, re-homed the CDs and DVDs and the empty cases so they are all together now. OU stuff temporarly on 1 shelf of the hutch but going to go elsewhere once I find somewhere better. Ideally I want it in or by the night stand so I can study in comfort (which means in bed for me – I study much better if I’m really comfortable!) Can’t wait to be switched over to Daisy CDs instead of tapes, will take up so much less space!

unit by Front Door – harbour for all lost and lonely items in teh house. Will be sorted as part of clause 10 (I fancy a wall mounted phone and just 1 littel shelf for directories then we have no where to dump stuff…)

ETA – have compromised on the shelves by making them more useful for holding things like shoes, Aprilia’s bike helmet etc thanks to those hanging storage things from Ikea rather than long inviting planks for stuffing things onto. It’s much better now.

night stand – home to numerous small items, mostly which dont’ belong anywhere at the moment.

Plan of action – empty into a series of small boxs to work through one at a time and rehome the contents

Kitchen worksurface – home of random, usually kitchen-related items (but then again, you’d be surprised what sneaks in there!)

Plan of action – as part of a full deep clean of the whole room, make enough space in cupboards for it all. Evaluate if it’s actually useful or if it’s junk.

ETA – all clean and clear! Now I just need to train everyone that an empty space isn’t an invitation to fill it with something and we are winning.

Own extra challenge to clauses added in italics in order to address what I actually need to do to justify claiming to be any good at “home making”! Results/progress logged indented from main text.


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