Rub-a-Dub-Dub, A House in a Tub   Leave a comment

…or at least that’s what it feels like right now.

Right now it seems my world revolves around cleaning since I’m doing a very thorough cleaning of our new house from top to bottom while it is still empty. When I say “top to bottom” I mean it (although I’m not including the attic crawl space). We’ve vacuumed the textured ceilings, washed the smooth ceilings, and are working our way down the walls, kitchen cabinets, closets, etc. Every inch will have been cleaned by the time I’m done, or at least that’s the plan. The plan is being modified on the fly into categories of “must be done before we move in” and “can be done after we move in”. In my defense the house has been vacant for two years and it really is dirty.

I’m insisting on doing this because I have a weird tendency to not be comfortable in a new space until I have scrubbed it clean (slightly obsessive-compulsive, I know). It took me several years to be comfortable touching the cabinets in the kitchen of our rental, or eating food that had fallen on the counter. Since I don’t want to go through that in the house we now own, I’m cleaning it all immediately. If I can start with my brain thinking everything is clean, maybe that will shorten the period it takes me to get comfortable. It’s not like everything around me always has to be clean; it’s that I have to trick or lull my brain into thinking that it is.

Since I won’t use any toxic cleaners, for me a heavy duty cleaner is an orange oil cleaner that does not contain petroleum distillates (at least as far as I was able to determine). While d-limonene (from orange peals, the active ingredient in orange oil cleaners) is considered to have low toxicity, I am not comfortable using it as a regular cleaner because it is such a potent solvent (degreaser). It absolutely causes skin irritation; I have made the frequent mistake of not wearing gloves and ending up with very very dry hands. (This time around I am wearing gloves, but we’ll have to see if the lesson has stuck.) For me, d-limonene also exacerbates any allergies; after a cleaning session I am sneezing like mad. I pretty much only bring out the orange oil cleaner when I need a really big gun, and instead I usually rely on hot water, castile soap, and elbow grease.

So far, at least, I think all this cleaning is working. I’m already much more comfortable in the house. The only problem is, this is taking forever!

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Posted August 2, 2010 by mayakey in cleaning

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