Deep Clean Week
On Memorial Day, I decided my entire house needs a good, deep cleaning. We’ve been having several messiness issues, from Ferret, to the cats, to just being too busy to actually pick up after ourselves. Usually when I start cleaning the house, I get distracted by roaming around to put things away. I start clearing the coffee table, and bring dirty dishes into the kitchen, only to realize I should run the dishwasher. I start loading it, and notice that I need to take the compost out so I can wash the compost bowl also, and while I’m outside I notice the peach tree needs water, etc., etc. I decided to take a different approach this time, and go room by room.
I started with the laundry room for several reasons: It’s small, so hopefully I won’t get discouraged right away, and give up the whole idea; it’s where the cat boxes are, so it has a high dirt to room size ratio, and cleaning up in there should have a large impact on the whole house, smell-wise and less cat litter getting tracked through the house; I had never fully cleaned it when we moved in, so there’s no telling how long it’s been since the shelves have been wiped down.
When you’re cleaning any area, work your way from top to bottom, and from the far corner towards the door. That way when wiping off shelves or counters, you can just wipe the dirt off onto the floor without worrying about it, and you will also not clean yourself into a corner. I don’t know about you people, but I get filthy when I’m cleaning, and the last thing I want to do is track my dirty self right across the floor I just cleaned.
I started by taking all the bottles and things off the shelves. I brought them all into the kitchen and rinsed them off. They had collected this sticky, lint residue that seems to accumulate in laundry rooms. I set them all out on a towel to dry. I used paper towels and spray cleaner to clean off both shelves. A box of junk had magically appeared on a shelf (Clutter Gnomes, I’m certain of it), so I sorted through the box, emptied it, washed it, and now it’s holding all the little laundry things, like a measuring cup, spray n wash, Rit dye (for an upcoming project), and stain remover. I organized all the stuff in there into categories: laundry, pets, and stuff I don’t use often went on the top shelf.
After the shelves, I used paper towels and spray cleaner to clean off the washer and dryer. They get that same sticky, lint coating, and I hate it, so they got a bath. I also took the lint screen out of the dryer and washed it with Dawn and warm water. It’s important to do that periodically to prevent fires. I set it aside to dry.
This would be a good time to run a cleaning load in the washer. Put your washer on the hottest, or warm setting, on the Super or Large setting. Add one or two cups of vinegar, and let it fill. I leave the lid up so that the cycle doesn’t start, because you want the hot water and vinegar to have a chance to soak in and clean the washer. After 15 to 30 minutes, shut the lid, and let it run through the cycle. Your dishwasher needs a cleaning cycle periodically too, but we’ll get to that on kitchen day. You should probably run a cleaning cycle every 6 months or so, or if the thing looks gross, or if you notice the water looks dingy when it’s filling.
The floors were the hardest part, because they are covered it cat litter and other horrific nastiness. Also, some of the linoleum tiles have started to peel up, so dirt gets all under and between them. We plan on redoing the floors in the laundry room and kitchen at the same time, but I need to recuperate from getting our bath tub fixed first.
For the floors, I started by emptying all the cat boxes, taking them outside, and hosing them down. I left them outside to dry, which hardly took any time at all since it’s so hot out. I also hosed out the cat carrier and left it to dry. I took the rugs we have spread out to catch cat litter that flings everywhere outside, and beat the hell out of them. There was fur and leaves (yes, leaves. No idea how they got there), cat litter, etc, flying everywhere. I threw them all in the washer after that.
I cleaned the floors in several steps:
Phase 1: Sweep
Phase 2: Vacuum
Phase 3: Swiffer Wet (this got much of the dirt, and yucky stuff I didn’t want to touch)
Phase 4: Vacuum with the hose
Phase 5: Curse a lot, shake fist at cats (they were unimpressed)
Phase 6: On hands and knees, scrubbing with a sponge and a bucket of soapy water (baseboards first)
Phase 7: On hands and knees, scrubbing with a sponge and bucket of clean water (still periodically screeching at cats)
Phase 8: After thoroughly rinsing the sponge in the sink, wipe down the floor one last time, and for God’s sake don’t touch it!
I even pulled out the washer and dryer to vacuum and Swiffer Wet behind them. Am I insane, you ask? No, I just live with demon cats who think it’s funny to throw dirty cat litter UNDER the washer and dryer, where it can be smelled, but never retrieved. If I could, I would caulk the washer and dryer in place so nothing could go under them again, but there has to be a better way. I will cogitate on that.
I did a few other things, like wash out the tub labeled “Cat Food” that inexplicably held cat litter, so it can now be used to hold (wait for it!) cat food. Revolutionary, I know. I even cleaned out the laundry hamper we keep in there. I’m exhausted, and I discovered that if you drink enough coffee, you don’t go super fast like in Futurama, you loop back around and get sleepy again. Well, lesson learned. I am stinky, dirty, and worn out, but my laundry room is clean, for the time being. I almost don’t want to put the litter boxes back in there.
So, I need some solutions to prevent cat litter from being flung everywhere. First off, we have tried the litter box with a little house on top. They will not use it. They will poo directly next to it, but they are apparently afraid to potty in the dark. They also dig like moles no matter what I do. I’ve tried both Yesterday’s News (which is made of newspaper, so it’s super light and gets flung even further than regular litter), and Feline Pine (which is made of sawdust. It starts out in larger, heavy pieces, but as they use it, it disintegrates, so they fling stinky sawdust everywhere). We will not get rid of the cats, but we don’t plan on replacing them as they inevitably die out. One of them is only 3 though, so we definitely need a long term solution. I have tried an exorcism, but these cats are far too powerful and evil for me to have any impact. They usually just go back to napping once I’m out of holy water.
I’m sure you’re all completely captivated by my cleaning antics, and you’re wondering to yourselves, “What, no before and after pictures?” Um, no. What kind of fool do you take me for? The only reason I clean my house is so that people who come over cannot witness the squalor I allow to exist when there’s no one around. Why would I post pictures of the mess on the internet? I might as well just have friends over and say “WITNESS THE HORROR!!!”, but I doubt they would come back for the “after”. Posting an “after” picture without a before is just a picture of my laundry room, and I think this post is boring enough without that waste of pixels. So we’ll see if I ever get to the other rooms. I have a feeling I should have titled this post “Deep Clean Day”. I may have set the bar too high for myself. Maybe I can go watch “Hoarders” to inspire me.