When it comes to cleaning habits I’ve noticed there are several types of people. It’s strictly a matter of opinion and perspective whether, let’s say, your bathroom is clean or not.
If you’re newly married and your ever-so-critical mother-in-law is inspecting your kitchen, she’s likely to feel you have lots of room for improvement. Yet if the boys are coming over to your bachelor pad for beers, no visible science experiments growing in the toilet is universally acceptable.
Maybe you fit somewhere in between the extremes. Let’s take a minute to see just who you are and how you feel about clean and cleaning. The variations reach far and wide but I think we can break it into four basic categories.
Who are you? (and be honest)
A Is For AnalThe “A” personality type absolutely loves to clean. They live to mop. They simply cannot let any dirt linger… if they see it, it’s history… this minute! They are so driven and fastidious they have your dishes, glasses and utensils washed dried and back in their sectioned, labeled cupboards before you’ve even finished your dinner.
They spend roughly 10-15 hours each day doggedly cleaning, organizing and fussing. They would actually rather crawl across broken glass than go to bed without sanitizing every inch of bathroom floor tile and grout. As a result, you could eat off that bathroom floor or perform surgery on their kitchen counters. You’ve got less chance of catching a bug in their home than if you showed up in a level four biohazard suit. Not even a crime scene investigator could find a single fingerprint.
“A” types wear out a new HEPA filter vacuum every six months and spend a couple of grand per year on cleaning tools and supplies. Disinfectant is consumed at an alarming rate. There are more cleaning supplies in their cupboards than food, pots, pans and dishes combined.
Their bed sheets are slept on once then laundered, starched, ironed with military precision and put back on the bed with perfect hospital corners … sometimes before their spouse has even gotten out of bed. Bath towels are used only once then washed with disinfectant, dried, folded and stored on color-coded shelves immediately. Every stitch of the whole family’s clothing gets starched and pressed – even underwear.
At their house, pizza is eaten on real plates at the dining room table with knives/forks and linen napkins – which are laundered, starched and ironed immediately following the meal. Every stick of furniture in their house is covered in plastic. NO PETS allowed! Not even people who own pets are allowed. Furnace filters are changed weekly and an ionic air purifier runs 24/7. They fear germs and believe the only safe way to eat chicken salad is with your head in the refrigerator.
Roughly half the square footage of their house is blocked off for “guests only.” Ironically, guests are actually discouraged from visiting. If they must come in, they are required to lose the shoes immediately, don paper booties kept in a hermetically sealed container just inside the front door and instructed to stay on the plastic carpet runner.
Guests often comment, “This is THE cleanest house I’ve ever seen!”
“A’s” are germ-o-phobic clean freaks who insist on sterile, hospital conditions and they clean things that are already spotlessly clean just to keep themselves busy. They’re so organized they actually fold and color-categorize their cleaning rags. They cannot rest unless all their surroundings are pristine. This person puts a whole new twist on the term “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.”
B Is For Better Than MostThe “B” personality type is a very good housekeeper, notices when something is dirty and plans to get rid of it today. They spend 10-15 hours a week doing housekeeping chores. Their motto is “Keeping up is easier than catching up.”
Friends can drop by unannounced any time to find no clutter strewn about and there’s never a question of finding the bathroom sparkling clean, kitchen countertops crumb-free and the carpets freshly vacuumed.
Laundry gets done weekly and they know how to sort. Their family’s cotton and linen clothing is pressed before wearing. Bed sheets and bath towels are changed every week. Pet hair and paw prints on floors are handled regularly and they keep up on the doggy nose art on the windows.
They know the sink is not a storage facility for dishes of either the clean or the dirty variety.
“B’s” allow pizza to be eaten on the couch in front of the TV but the plates go in the dishwasher and the boxes are taken out to the trash as soon as the movie ends. They seem to keep their living space clean automatically – effortlessly incorporating cleaning tasks into their everyday living.
For instance, one section of the kitchen (maybe the stove or the inside of the refrigerator) gets extra attention as they do daily dishes. Tomorrow, it may be a utensil drawer that gets organized and the crumbs cleaned out as they’re reaching for the vegetable peeler. Their lifestyles are full and busy – they just have an efficient system (and an attitude) that keeps them on top of the game.
They’ve stopped searching for the next latest, greatest, fad-type gadget that over-promises and under-delivers. They’ve already found the tools and supplies that really work – that make their efforts worthwhile. They know they get what they pay for so they don’t scrimp.
For great results they use great tools. They buy a high quality steam cleaner, (rather than a bunch of different chemicals that leave behind more than they take away) and know how to use it.
They choose their vacuum for amazing suction, easily accessible hand tools and a maneuverable weight. This way, dust bunnies and dead flies in window tracks are easily handled at the same time they vacuum the carpets. They use good microfiber cloths that actually pick up moisture and dust rather than linty terry cloth that leave moisture and dust in their wake.
They have a peaceful and tolerant attitude about housework. They know that when it comes to dirt, “it is what it is” so they just deal with it.
Friends coming to visit see an inviting, well cared-for, welcoming house and feel very comfortable dropping by again and again.
C Is For Couldn’t Care Less
“C” is kind of a clutterbug who spends maybe 10-15 hours per month (if that) cleaning. Their attitude is X amount of dirt is accepted and tolerated. They don’t even see the grime in the corners, it just doesn’t hit their radar. There are better ways to spend their time – they have a life, you know.
They hate crawling around the bathroom with those grocery store products – it’s painful and stinky. Once, they even had to run out of the room after accidentally mixing a bleach-based product with an ammonia-based product. That near-deadly experience left them less than confident.
They’ve typically got piles of six-month old newspapers and junk mail lying around because they aren’t sure what to do with it. They know they should recycle it but it’s such a hassle to collect it, bundle it and take it to the neighborhood receptacle.
When they finally do notice the six-month old dust built up on every horizontal surface they grab a paper towel and swish it around a bit. The dust is back again tomorrow so, in frustration, they ignore it for another six months.
They occasionally borrow a mop from the neighbors in an attempt to tackle the kitchen floor. When their finished swishing around the dirty mop water, the floor still looks dingy and dull so they vow not to waste any more time on it. They use the cheap vacuum (the one they got 30 years ago as a wedding gift) a couple of times a year haphazardly on the carpets but can’t remember when they last changed the dirt bag.
There are some bottles of unidentified cleaning chemical bottles with dirty rags draped over them under their kitchen sink. That stuff has been there a while but they forgot why they bought it. They couldn’t figure out how it was supposed to work so it didn’t help them. They’ve developed an attitude that all those chemicals and gadgets are a waste of time and money.
They know they’d like to be better housekeepers but cleaning does not come naturally to them. They struggle with finding the time or energy to keep up on the basic chores, let alone the deep cleaning. The whole topic of housework is just plain depressing.
The worst feeling for “C’s” is that they are deeply embarrassed when the door bell rings. The first thing they say to the visitor is, “Sorry about the mess, let me clear off a space for you. I’ve been meaning to clean up a bit but I’ve been so busy.”
D Is For Doesn’t See The Point
Clean is just not their thing. They spend maybe 10-15 hours per year cleaning or better yet, just move. They’re the type who wouldn’t notice a dead rat lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. Their worldview is, “It’s just going to get dirty again anyway so why bother?”
Their floor is a perfectly acceptable place to store a wet bath towel – maybe they find the scent of mildew pleasant. Clothes have various degrees of wear-ability… jeans stand up by themselves and just hang this shirt out the window for a few minutes, it’ll be fine for another couple days.
However, their windows barely slide open due to the buildup of debris and dead flies in the tracks. I believe Nixon was in office the last time their windows got washed.
Their kitchen is pretty much a level four bio hazard. The microwave won’t open any more because it’s glued shut. They let dishes wait until the sink is no longer visible and they do the washing up only because there aren’t any plates/glasses left in the cupboard. You can actually hear the Salmonella growing on their kitchen counter.
The wall behind their garbage is generally used as a basketball backboard. Carpets are works of art, a veritable collage of memories of meals eaten (and spilled). Their mirrors look like they are slightly tinted even though they’re not.
Their dust bunnies actually have eyes. Their dogs and cats have a few unsociable issues that go largely unheeded. They periodically rebuild a motorcycle in the living room.
They eat pizza in bed, wipe their hands on the sheets, then shove the box under the bed. Wouldn’t know how to get rid of that mold in the shower if their life depended on it.
There is a path from the bedroom to the bathroom lined by trash, junk mail, dishes, old clothes, empty shoeboxes, leftover motorcycle parts, and the odd chicken carcass.
It’s physically impossible to get close enough to their furnace to change the filter – that’s assuming “D’s” even know they’re supposed to change the filter.
You do not want to use their bathroom – no matter how bad you gotta go! (Not even truck stop gas station bathrooms are as filthy.) Their family only visits on holidays events they absolutely can’t get out of and no friends have ever come back to visit twice.
“A’s” are frenetic and neurotic
“B’s” are calm and confident
“C’s” are discouraged and embarrassed
“D’s” are just oblivious
How do these personality types develop?
How do people become an “A” or “B” or C” or “D”? I guess it’s either nature or nurture. And it changes with generations. Maybe you grew up in a “C” household and in adulthood you’re an “A”. “B” moms can give birth to offspring who become “D’s” through no fault of their own.
Maybe you started out in one category and switched to another after a particular experience. That experience could be that you moved into a new house and all the surfaces are so unique you just don’t know how to take care of them – like bamboo flooring when you’re used to Linoleum.
Maybe you bought a bunch of different cleaning products (on someone’s advice) you thought were going to be the answer and they just ended up being the problem – like that goo they sell specifically for stainless steel appliances.
Maybe you just took a very demanding new job that leaves you absolutely no time for anything fun, let alone scrubbing heating vents. Or you just gave birth to quintuplets and you have a few new demands on your time and energy levels.
No matter which personality type you are (or want to be) or where you are in your life, it is my quest to give you something you can use to change your system, your habits and most importantly, your feelings about cleaning.
By the way, I’m not judging. One personality type is not better or worse than the other. Whoever you are, you are perfect! You do not need to do or be anything different.
However, since you are reading this book, I’m guessing you’re looking for something. You may not even know exactly what you’re looking for…you just feel there has to be something else out there. Which is good because this book is all about something different. If you are searching, you are in the right place.
Just so you know that I’m being realistic, I can’t help the “D’s” – but it’s OK – I’m quite certain there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell one of them is actually reading this book anyway.
No, it doesn’t matter to me which type you are, but it does matter to your family/roommates. They need to know who they’re dealing with so there are no misunderstandings. It gets rather emotional when a “D” shares space with an “A” and they can’t understand what’s wrong with each other.
In baseball, you get to pick your team…in a family, you’re stuck with the whole lot, like or not. So, get your team into the dugout, choose up sides, and interview the players for positions on the field where their talents lie. Ready to start winning at the housework game?
First, ask yourself (and everyone who shares your home) what does clean mean? What kind of results do you all want? You probably have different ideas about what’s acceptable as “clean enough” because every household has members of different cleaning personalities. You and your family can discuss it and decide what’s realistic.
Your kids may think playing is more fun than working. You only have a few short years with them – what kind of influence do you want to have on what type of cleaning personality they develop? It can make a big difference in who they become when they’re offered a cool tool that shoots steam like a laser gun instead of a scrub brush, rubber gloves and a bucket of smelly suds.
If they currently think they’re being punished because they’ve been asked to clean the bathroom, you should see what happens when they start fighting over whose turn it is to get to use the steamer.
If you love to clean, if you hate to clean, if you let someone else clean for you, have I got a treat for you! A Sargent Steam cleaner really changes the game.
Who Taught You How to Clean?
If you’re like most, your mom taught you everything you know. If your mom used, say, ammonia as a multipurpose clean-all on everything, you probably do, too. You buy the same brand of cleaning chemicals she did. You buy the vacuum brand she used when you were a kid.
You probably adopted the housework system and frequency that was the industry standard at your house. You watched and learned and didn’t think much about whether it was right or wrong, efficient or effective. It was just normal.
Well sorry mom, but times – they are a changing. It’s what happens when new technology replaces old outdated tools with something better…way better! We no longer have to put up with just more of that old stuff our mothers and grandmothers used.
If your grandmother is still alive, ask her if she saw the dawn of a new day with any state-of-the-art inventions that made her life easier and helped her get things done in a whole new way. Maybe she remembers getting the first new automatic washing machine in her neighborhood.
Ask her how much faster and easier doing the laundry became when she ditched the wash board, ringer and harsh lye soap. Ask her if she liked hanging everything out on the clothesline to dry – in the winter. Ask her if she would give up her washing machine now and go back to doing it all by hand. I gonna take a guess and say, “NOT ON YOUR LIFE!”
However, not all that is new is actually better. Take some of those newfangled gadgets you see on TV. Watch a few TV commercials. Read a couple of magazine articles. The mass media has done a masterful job of parading the latest, greatest solution to all our cleaning problems across our line of vision daily.
This spiffy new product is sure to get your showers cleaner and that handy new floor cleaner contraption is the be-all end-all must-have. So say the advertisers.
Women of today are busy. You have a lot to juggle with kids, jobs, and community commitments. Most of you are struggling to stay ahead of the housework game. You want more time. You’re looking for anything that promises to help.
The advertisers know that. They know you’re busy and that you’re looking for help any way you can get it. To prove this, just count the commercials selling gadgets like Swiffers, rotating toilet brushes, disposable disinfecting wipes, and continual chemical sprays for the shower.
Day after day, week after week, year after year you can count on chemical companies coming up with the next fancy gadget or new and improved formula. The pretty actress shows you how you too, can have it all. They make it look easy and assure you that one swipe with a Clorox wipe will solve all your germy problems.
All of what they sell is consumable and disposable so you become (and hopefully stay) their repeat customer for life. They have a way of getting you to try their products whether you need them or not. The packaging is so pretty, the bottle is such a cute little shape and the colors so trendy you just can’t resist.
Have you ever bought the hype and been terribly disappointed with the product? Maybe it didn’t work like they showed on the commercial? They forgot to tell you that you had to follow complicated directions for it to actually work.
They also didn’t mention how expensive it really is. Over your lifetime, you’ll spend thousands of dollars on cleaning chemicals and gadgets. The average homeowner spends $600/year on cleaning chemicals. That’s $6,000.00 over ten years – $12,000.00 over 20 years…you get the picture.
I bet the poison warning label was probably a surprise, too. But they did finally admit (in very fine print) how dangerous the ingredients are – fatal if swallowed, call poison control if ingested, do not allow contact with eyes, skin, lungs etc. Holy cow, nuclear waste sounds safer than some of this household cleaning stuff!
Now the chemical companies are jumping on the “Green” movement with earth friendly green cleaning chemicals that are advertised to be mild and organic. They contain no bleach or ammonia and come in earthy packages.
But how green are they really? Even if the chemical in the bottle isn’t harsh or toxic it still has to be produced, packaged into paper or plastic containers, shipped far and wide, disposed of into our ground water, cycled through our sewer treatment plants.
Then the packaging has to be recycled or dumped into the landfill. Sounds like a bit of an oxymoron doesn’t it? Green and consumable/disposable just don’t jive.
The advertising you don’t see is for real disruptive technology, the kind of breakthrough that completely obliterates the old way of doing things. Like what cars did to horses and buggies – what computers did to typewriters – what automatic washing machines did to your grandmother’s washboard/ringer and clothesline.
What’s not being advertised is the invention that is faster, easier, healthier, better, actually does what it says it will do, and most importantly, makes the whole process enjoyable!
There is a new power tool that cleans more than you can imagine and most people don’t even know it exists if they haven’t read this book! Steam is what I’m talking about…steam to power clean 101 (just to get a good start) wild, wacky, wonderful things you’ll find all over your house. Even the “A’s” amp it up another notch with a Sargent Steamer!
Dump the “horse and buggy” and get a Sargent Steam today. Welcome to the 21st century! Get a Sargent Steam today