Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's Flu Season! Time for a Search and Destroy Mission!

Have you ever watched Monk? Well, when my family watches the opening credits in every scene no matter what he is doing, somebody says, "There is nothing wrong with that." If he is sorting the kitchen cabinets, Super says, "There is nothing wrong with that." When he is vacuuming the top of his curtains, Phil says, "Well, yeah, you've got to do that." For me, I relate to the part when Monk pours boiling water over his toothbrush. Hey, come on! It kills germs. But fortunately, my BFF Lauren bought me a special toothbrush cleaner for Christmas. It works much better than boiling water!

During flu season, cleaning your house becomes even more important than usual. When I get sick, or feel it coming on, I start looking for germ hide outs. Want to do a fun science experiment? Swab your house for germs and look at them under the microscope, that will really make your kids start cleaning. But unfortunately, it will probably give you mysophobia.

So what can you do to fight against germs? Get a good defensive game plan. Sack germs before they can pass themselves on to your kids! Here are the offensive plays for germs and the defensive plays that you can use against them!

  • Kitchen sponges - Do NOT even get me started. But I am not the one who said this, honey. It's been proven by scientists. A kitchen sponge can carry up to 134,ooo bacteria per square inch! Why does this happen? People use sponges for more than one purpose. Using the same sponge to wash dishes and wipe counters? Not a good idea! Cross-contamination is common. You might not even realize that you wiped up raw meat with it. Nasty! Another problem? Keeping a sponge too long. Moist environments like sponges breed germs. Get in the Game: Change sponges every week. If it is not time to change sponges but you think it has been contaminated, then run it through the dishwasher.
  • Kitchen sink - Many people believe just rinsing the sink out at the end of the evening is sufficient. But sorry guys! Germs are living in your kitchen drain. It's a place that you pour the juice from raw meat, dirty water, and all kinds of other things that I don't want to think about! BOYS! Get in the Game: The FDA suggests a recipe of 1 tsp bleach to 1 quart of water allowed to sit in the sink for 10 minutes.
  • Faucet handles -Surprisingly, kitchen faucet handles have more germs per square inch (13,000) than bathroom (6,000). Either way, it's germ heaven. Get in the game: spray a disinfectant on your faucet handles. On the bathroom faucets, twice a week. On the kitchen faucet, every day.
  • Door handles -Your hands and your children's hands touch these constantly. They touch things like the dog and then they touch the door handle. It's been proven that most illnesses are passed by hand to hand contact. Your door handles are a place where this is happening indirectly. Get in the game: When my kids were preschoolers and not as good about washing their hands, and not as good about not putting their hands where they didn't belong, I used to cover my doorknobs with fabric squares and tie it around with a pretty ribbon. Then at the end of the week, I could take them all off and throw them in the washer. The best part was I could play this off like it was a seasonal decoration. I had different fabric for Christmas, Valentine's, St. Patrick' get the idea. The other less fun thing, but easier thing, you can do, is spray your door knobs with a disinfectant at least twice a week.
  • Toilet bowl - Ummm....duh? But here's the facts. 3.2 million (can you hear Mike Myers saying "million" here?) germs per square inch. Get in the game: Here is the thing that people forget about...clean the outside of the bowl as well as the inside. It takes longer but it's not just about the inside. Clean the lid! Clean the handle. That's what your hands are touching! Clean the floor around the toilet. Nasty! Enough said? And if you have boys, make them clean this. It will make them aim better!
  • Bathtub - Again, it's all about the drain. The drain of the bathtub has 120,000 germs per square inch. So it's not just about getting rid of the bathtub ring. Get in the game: Like the kitchen drain use the bleach recipe and let it stand for 10 minutes. Do this after you have cleaned the tub normally?
When Phil and I got married, we used to argue about (oh, I mean discuss) which room needed to be cleaner -- the kitchen or the bathroom. I said the bathroom, because you are naked in there and I have a thing about toothbrushes! He said the kitchen, because you prepare food there. Well, I know most people think I am more stubborn than he is and that may be true, but he is smarter. (Shh! Don't tell him I said that. He has a big enough head!) When you are right you are right, as my mother would say. The kitchen is a germ magnet, and you have to keep it clean! Besides, now I have kids and if you use them right, they can keep both places clean. ;)

I hope this blog article was helpful to you! Good luck!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Even with all of the rave reviews that the Fireproof movie has gotten, I still haven't seen it. It is coming out on DVD, and I will see it then. But I have to admit, even though it has a great message about marriage, I am generally not much of a drama movie watcher unless it is a mystery.

Now comedies, I love those. I must admit that I got hooked on watching some videos on youtube this week by comedian Tim Hawkins. I think he has great marriage advice too!

For instance this video on things you don't say to your wife...

Or this video on how spouses should respect one another.

We got a little distracted from cleaning this week by these great videos my friend Patty put on her page. You can see why! On Tutone's blog and Super's blog, they have picked their favorites.

Friday, January 9, 2009

...It's Deep Cleaning Time, Again!

If you haven't read my blog article with the Super Clean lists, you might want to start there. If you have, you may be wondering the same thing another friend asked me this week. "Coach, what do you mean by Deep Clean? If you've been using the Super Clean lists all this time, what's left to clean?"

Hmmm...exactly! That's the problem! Everybody has stopped following the charts closely. They sort of, took a holiday. Plus, all the Christmas decorations leave behind quite a mess. Ask my friend Amy about glitter. On top of ribbon that leaves behind glitter residue, there are all those tree and garland needles, even artificial trees leave them, although not as many.

So this week, I didn't just super clean, I deep cleaned or as I told my sister Robin, I "Mama Carol" cleaned. My Mom taught me the power of three. I'm not sure that's what she called it, but since I love the number three, somehow it always stuck in my head that way. When you deep clean, you need to remember it is a three step process.

1. Remove the loose dirt.
2. Remove the grime or spots.
3. Make it shine.

How do you play this out on the "cleaning field"? It's going to depend on what you are cleaning. Let's start with the rooms I've gotten finished this week - my main living areas and bedrooms. Then in a later blog, I will come back to the bathrooms and the kitchen.

Wood furniture - 1. dust rag; 2. wood soap; 3. wood polish. Just wood soap won't do it. And if you don't dust it first, then you are just wiping the crud around for it to dry on and stick to it.

Glass table tops, glass doors or windows - 1. dust rag; 2. glass cleaner; 3. go back over the area with a dry paper towel. Be sure to look for streaks and in the corners. Windows will need the insides vacuumed out as well, and either the wood or plastic cleaned.

Wrought iron or stainless steel - 1. dust rag; 2. surface cleaner; 3. stainless steel polish. The polish makes all the difference in the world. But you have to use the surface cleaner first. If you use just the polish, you will still have the grime spots. If you only use the surface cleaner, you will be left with streaks.

Laminate floors - 1. broom and dust pan; 2. Swiffer sweeper; 3. Swiffer Wood floor mop. Obviously, you can use your own favorite product but these are mine. But the point is that you first need the broom to get up the big pieces, the sweeper for the silt and in this case glitter, and then the mop for the shine.

Carpet and oriental rugs - 1. vacuum; 2. spot treat; 3. steam clean.

Couches and chairs - 1. vacuum; 2. spot treat; 3. steam clean.

There are plenty of other things you have that are a mixture of these materials, but I am sure you are getting the idea, right? So remember, if you are going to spend your valuable time cleaning, make sure that when you are finished it looks like you cleaned!

Stay tuned for more!

Monday, January 5, 2009

That was fun! Now, who is going to clean this mess up?

No, I'm serious. Who is going to clean this mess up? Sigh.

Happy New Year!

We had a great vacation. I hope your family had a fun Christmas holiday too! We played board games; we played Wii; and we even went to the beach. But now it's time to get back to work.

If your family is anything like my family, which it's probably not, I mean what are the odds that there could be another family quite that cool, then you haven't taken down your Christmas tree yet. Of course, you are waiting until tomorrow or Wednesday for the Epiphany! That means I've caught you just in time to talk about how to organize your ornaments for next year! (Since in the U.S., Epiphany was officially celebrated yesterday, I felt it was acceptable to start putting everything away today except my manger scene. I will wait to put away on Wednesday. Yes, we might be a little traditional.)

It was actually my kids that let me know that we needed to take the extra time to put the ornaments and other Christmas supplies away properly. They didn't want to rush the job because they knew that they would just be paying the price next year. It's a good point. It does make it harder to find things. With a little extra care your ornaments can last for many years.

This year I decided that wherever possibly I was eliminating cardboard boxes. I got some plastic bins and in one case, Phil spent the extra money and bought me an ornament organizer. I would like to add another one next year too. For this year, I put the kids ornaments in the one he bought for me.

When I packed away my ornaments, I wrapped them in in tissue paper and then tucked them inside a plastic sandwich bag. And before you start with me that all this plastic doesn't sound very green to you...if any of you environmentalists would like to come and save the mice that have been known to come and live in my attic from my broom, feel free! Otherwise, I'll be saving my ornaments from their teeth, thank you very much!

I have the bins separated by type. There are bins for ornaments, bins for my village, a bin for garlands, a bin for lights, and on and on. This way when I send the boys up into the attic they will be able to find exactly what I am looking for with ease.

And the best part was they thought of it all themselves, even though it meant that they spend all extra time!