Saturday, August 6, 2016



I’ve been watching old reruns of a show called, “How Clean is your House?” on the British TV channel lately, and all I can say is if the viewers’ stomachs are strong enough to make it through endless close-ups of grease, grime, cat hair, mold, maggots and dirt, they just might end up with some great cleaning tips.

Kim and Aggie, the stars of the show, who usually are dressed in high-heels, pearls and skirts, look as if they’re heading to a wedding rather than to one of the many trash-filled pits they transform into sparkling, fresh-smelling homes.

“Ooooh!  This place smells like feet!” Aggie will say as she enters the house.

“And what’s this stuck on the wall here?” Kim will add, poking her finger into whatever it is and then sniffing it. “Eeeeuuww!  It’s moldy bacon grease!”

Even if I were wearing a Hazmat suit, I wouldn’t set foot in any of those houses.

The good thing about Aggie and Kim is they believe in using only all-natural products for their cleaning projects.

For example, they use the inside of a banana peel to wipe down the dusty leaves on potted plants.  According to them, the banana oil in the peel gives a nice shine to the leaves and also provides the plant with nutrients.

In one house they visited on the show, the guy’s bathtub was so scummy, they had to guess what the tub’s original color was.

Again, Kim thrust her finger into the tub and ran it across the bottom, then sniffed her finger. “Dear Lord, it smells like someone’s buttocks!” she declared.

This definitely is not a show you’d want to watch while eating lunch.

“I have a solution for that!” Aggie immediately said. “I’ll cut a grapefruit in half and sprinkle some salt on it, then scrub the tub with it!  The salt will act as an abrasive and rub off the dirt and soap scum, while the grapefruit will give the tub a fresh, citrus smell and a nice shine.”

Within seconds, a sparkling white tub emerged.  The shine was so bright, the women nearly needed sunglasses.  I was impressed.  My tub hadn’t looked that good since it was still on the showroom floor back at the plumbing-supply store.

So I rushed to the grocery store and bought a grapefruit, then came home, sprinkled salt on it and tried it out on my tub.  I had to use a little more elbow grease than with my regular cleaner, but it worked.  Then I spent the next 20 minutes picking grapefruit seeds out of all the little air holes in the rubber bath-mat in the tub.

Unfortunately, the next time I took a bath, I sat on a couple of those seeds I’d missed. Not fun when you’re naked.

Kim and Aggie are also huge fans of white vinegar.  They use it to shine faucets and chrome. They use it on windows and mirrors and then wipe it off with newspaper.

“The ink in the newspaper adds to the shine on the glass,” they claimed.

On one show, they also used vinegar as a powerful drain cleaner. They first dumped half a glass of baking soda down the kitchen drain, followed by half a glass of vinegar. They then stood and watched it bubble up like a miniature geiser.  “Your drains will be fresh and clean after this!” they said.

Watching their show made me return to the store to buy a jug of vinegar. The one I ended up buying was the jumbo economy size, because I wanted to make sure I had enough for lots of projects. I nearly needed a forklift to get it into my shopping cart.  Being the sudden owner of so much vinegar made me wonder what else, other than making dressing for the world’s largest tossed salad or canning 150,000 pickles, I might be able to do with it.

So I did a computer search and found one particular use that really intrigued me.  The website said if you are concerned about using harsh chemical hair-dyes and want an all-natural alternative for brown and brunette shades, to mix one-half cup of vinegar with one-quarter cup of soy sauce, then pour the mixture over freshly washed hair, let it set for 20 minutes and wash it out. The result?  Shiny, chestnut-tinted hair with no more gray.

That sounded like a good (and cheap) alternative to expensive hair dyes, so I rushed back to the store to buy a bottle of soy sauce.

About a week ago, I decided to try the concoction.  I washed and towel-dried my hair, then poured  the soy sauce and vinegar mixture all over my head. It smelled pretty bad.  And it was drippy.  It dripped down my neck, into my ears and into my eyes. And when I walked out to the living room to sit down and wait the 20 minutes, it left a trail of drips across the floor.

The minute I sat on the sofa, my dogs came over to sniff me.  Then they stared hungrily at me as if I were a giant piece of beef teriyaki.  I was getting nervous.

When I finally washed out the stuff, I didn’t notice any chestnut color at all in my hair.  In fact, I looked as if I’d sprouted a few more gray hairs.  And my scalp felt as if someone had taken a blowtorch to it.  But the worst part was I still smelled like soy sauce and vinegar, even after shampooing my hair.

The next day, I was in the checkout line in the supermarket and a woman directly behind me sniffed the air and said to her friend, “Mmm!  I smell sweet-and-sour chicken! Are they selling Chinese takeout food here now?”

I definitely need to spend less time watching TV.

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