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Today is kind of a pleasing-clean-living type of day.  While going about doing my various household “chores” I have glanced at the tv from time to time and seen shows highlighting subjects from cold and flu prevention to making your home decor elegant on a dime to cleaning toes properly.  Commercials show all the reasons you should use bleach on every surface and tell you which cleaners are the best (they all say they are).  And there’s nothing wrong with having this information.  I like avoiding germs and having a clean and nicely decorated house as well as the next person.  Which is why I thought I would add my two cents to the long list of tv tips and products and mention a forgotten tool for the housewife and/or mother — the common baby wet wipe. They aren’t just for dirty behinds any more.

Wet Wipes

Here in our household there are no children and our grandchildren live a distance away from us.  Yet, we keep wet wipes handy in our house, vehicle and (in just my case) purse and use them frequently.  We’re not incontinent or anything, but wet wipes have so many uses that we would really miss them if they weren’t around.  Here are some of the reasons we will reach for them on any given day:

  • Spot-cleaning carpet — Rubbing spots in our light-colored carpet with a wet wipe or two seems to work better for us than commercial carpet spray designed for cleaning carpets.  After all, when you consider the kind of mess that wet wipes were designed to clean up in the first place, it is only logical that they would remove some of the vilest stains from carpet.  All I do after the spot is removed is spritz it with a little fabric freshener and it’s good as new — no stain, no odor.
  • Spot-cleaning clothes — Countless times when I’ve been out somewhere, or at home with company, or even at home but just getting ready to go out the door, I happen to glance down and discover a spot on my shirt or pants that I hadn’t noticed.  No time to change, no time to throw the item of clothing in the wash.  I used to carry a stain stick in my purse with me, but I must have been using it wrong because I would always end up with a smeared stain in place of the original stain when I used those.  Grabbing a wet wipe and scrubbing the spot for a minute usually did the trick.  And when it didn’t work it was always because nothing would have.
  • Quick bathroom touch-up — The bleach wipes that are made especially for this kind of cleaning are wonderful, I’m not denying that.  But in a pinch when you don’t have them around and you need to do a quick clean-up, wet wipes and a paper towel are the quickest way to a presentable bathroom in a hurry.  Use the wet wipe to clean and the paper towel to wipe off the fixtures and other chrome things so they’ll be shiny.
  • Spot-cleaning Spot — Have a dog?  Dogs can get a bath and be all clean one minute, go outside to do their business the next, and come in with all four furry paws and their nose looking like they strolled and rooted through a wet barnyard.  People have actually asked me, “Isn’t that hard on a dog’s skin?”  Actually, giving a dog a bath multiple times a day is hard on their skin — keeping them clean between baths with the help of wet wipes that were designed to be used on a baby’s sensitive skin is better for them.  Of course, there are always exceptions — I  have heard of babies and dogs alike with skin so sensitive that even wet wipes irritate, so a person has to adapt whatever they do to the situation.
  • English: A regular Hershey bar, out of the pac...On-the-go — When we eat fast food we always seem to end up with a gazillion napkins.  And that’s okay because they have a lot of uses.  But there are some messes that napkins just don’t cut the mustard for.  An example of that would be from back in the day when my mother and I went on an all-day shopping trip and took my then three-year-old nephew with us.  I was young and single then, not wise to child-raising, so right after lunch I opened a Hershey bar and broke off a square for my nephew.  I naively figured that would be small enough for him to handle at one time.  Mom had just gotten back in the car and started to back out, when she stopped the car suddenly and let out an exclamation.  I turned around to see that my nephew had quietly managed to mix that little piece of chocolate with a lot of spit and was brown practically from head to toe.  There are just some messes that napkins won’t be enough for, and that was one of them.  We were sorely wishing we had wet wipes then.
  • Self-preservation — There are times when a person gets out somewhere and makes a mess on themselves.  Enough said.

So, while all the tips on tv are advising you on all of the array of products that will make your life cleaner, prettier and healthier, remember the lowly wet wipe — a  powerhouse of chore-shortening in one little container.

Speaking of keeping things clean and germ-free, here is one thing I still see being done that now repulses me since I’ve become aware of the “sneeze effect.”  We’ve all seen this, but it bears repeating, just because of the “ack!” factor and the fact that some people still don’t know this.  I was at someone else’s house recently for a visit and passed by her bathroom.  I only glanced in as I passed (seriously, I’m not a nosy troublemaker), and noticed a nicely decorated bathroom.  Her accessories were all matching and very elegant, all the way down to the toothbrush holder on the counter next to the sink, with matching toothbrushes in it, standing at attention.  Of course, this is my problem with that:

Three toothbrushes, photo taken in Sweden

This picture depicting what happens when a toilet is flushed is from a web article (link in the caption under the picture) that defines the “sneeze effect” and how every time there is a flush, everything around gets doused with toilet matter.  Anything sitting on the sink, on the back of the toilet, the floor.  If your comb or brush is left on the counter, it’s covered with this stuff.  Your toothbrush, cotton balls, cosmetics, everything — covered.  

It’s easy to say, “Just put everything up!”  I used to think that.  But I have known many people for whom space is just not accommodating to keeping everything out-of-sight and thus out of harm’s way.  Here are only a few suggestions:

  • First and foremost, keep the toilet lid shut, especially while the toilet is flushing — This seems pretty much like a given, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t think of this, especially when they’re getting ready for their day and they are hurried.
  • Keep things in containers with covers — Make a trip to the $1.00 store and pick up some decorative containers that have lids.  Even a thrift store might offer something that will work for things you must keep out in the open or on the back of the toilet.  Even a basket with a lid on the floor will be better than brushing your teeth with a fecal-coated toothbrush.
  • Consider keeping some of your bath accessories in another room in a carry-all basket and carry it back and forth to the bathroom — Believe me, I know how inconvenient this may be in some situations, but the alternative may be much less healthy.
  • Install an above-the-tank cabinet with doors — Decor shows on tv talk about utilizing vertical space when a room is small — in other wards, make your storage space go up rather than out.
  • If worse comes to worse, just cover it — Throw something over what you want out of harm’s way, even if it’s only a towel.  Pick up a decorative box, or be innovative.  One friend of mine said she has no counter in her bathroom (she has a pedestal sink) and she bought a few folding canvas cubes at the $1.00 store and placed decorative matching towels over the top of them to protect what she stores inside of them.  She has a few of them on the floor all matching in a row and a few on an over-the-tank shelf.

Toothbrush

When it comes to your family’s health, there is no wrong way to keep the things you use protected from what may get sprayed on them from a toilet flush.  I was so grossed-out when I saw the sneeze effect demonstrated in motion on a video that I just had to make some changes in my bathrooms.  For those who feel that I am being overdramatic or a little over-the-top, consider the things you use daily that are out in the open in your bathroom.  Things that you use on your body, on your face, in your hair, in your mouth.  You would never bathe in or drink water from a toilet, so why would you use items that have matter from a toilet all over them?

Okay, so, cleaning and health are not always the most popular subjects, especially when it involves gross stuff.  So now for a lighter and less intense subject: you can’t beat a combination of cute kids and Valentine’s Day!

Today’s Valentine reminder is a video that is too cute to miss!  Enjoy, and don’t forget there are only 5 more shopping/planning/shipping days before Valentine’s Day!