A clean slate

Sometimes I have to clean stuff.  I'm a messy person by nature.  And I like to drink.  So I tend to soil things, and then my neatness-freak mentality erupts.  I get the compulsion to clean whatever I messed.  Usually my computer desk, mouse and keyboard take most of the shrapnel when I'm eating and computing at the same time.  It's a bad habit, but I love it.  I could feed a family for a week on the crumbs in my keyboard.

Murphy's Law is everywhere you look, and the world of cleaning is no exception.  Whatever cleaning agent you need is the one you don't have.  So if you're like me, you fumble for a substitution or concoct your own formula using those chemicals on offer in your utility room.  I fancy myself a bit of an alchemist.  I can whip up a cleaning agent for just about any mess.

My go-to cleaning agent is glass cleaner.  Rationale:  If it cleans glass, it'll clean anything.  You'll find glass cleaner is a serviceable all-purpose cleaner.  Just keep spraying and rubbing until the gunk disappears.  It'll handle all but the most stubborn stains.  Glass cleaner is the booty-call of cleaning agents: it'll do when you can't find exactly what you're looking for.  So keep it handy.

Sometimes I'll mix two or more chemicals together in hopes of formulating a miracle cleaner.  The idea is to maximize the probability that your concoction will have the desired effect.  It's guesswork.  Sometimes I miss the mark.  I mixed an ammonia product with bleach and woke up in a puddle of my own drool 17 hours later.  For the next 4 days I soiled myself every 20 minutes and labored under the delusion that I was Mr. Clean.  I even shaved my head and hid out in my neighbor lady's cupboards until she needed to clean her tile floor.  Surprise, bitch!  But my toilet gleamed like it did on the showroom floor.

Every cleaning product has this vaguely threatening federal law on the label:  "Using this product for purposes other than those indicated may violate federal laws."  I ignore this warning.  It's my constitutional right to mix and match these substances as I please as long as I'm not making crank.  Most of us agree that we want the government out of our bedroom.  Stay out of our bathrooms, too.  Unless you're going to clean it, Uncle Sam.  

I've had other laboratory mishaps.  One time I mixed Draino, Simple Green and Pledge Furniture Polish and created a radioactive goo in my bathtub.  I had a China Syndrome situation going on.  Think fast, LBB!  I grabbed some baking soda from the pantry and neutralized the goo before it reached critical mass.  A few burns, some mild hair loss and a Silkwood shower later, everything was copesetic.   My tub was gleaming.  Plus I saved myself a trip to Target.

If you read the cleaning agent's ingredient list, you'll notice that the active ingredient -- the stuff that actually makes it work -- is some microscopically small percentage of the product, like .05%.  The rest of the bottle is just water and buffers and other useless stuff.  I'm getting fleeced!  Look, I'll pay extra, but I want the full-strength shit.  Whatever chemical is making the product work, just fill the bottle with that and sell it to me.  Let me worry about diluting it if I have to.  But I probably won't.  Whatever cleaning produce I use, I want to hear it sizzle.  I want to pack the firepower, yo.

Sometimes things are clean, but you need to kill a bug.  Again, Murphy's Law applies -- now you're out of Raid.  I swear those little bastard bugs know when I'm out of Raid.  Suddenly it's a regular Boston Bug-athon across my kitchen floors.  Double dumbass on you, bugs!  I may not have bug poison, but I can find something useful in the cupboard!  That's when I rifle through the shelves and search for the most poisonous cleaning agent I can spray.  Let's see.  What would make the most potent nerve agent?  Ah, Comet powder!  Or maybe 409.  The way I see it, even if the chemical doesn't induce an acute fatality, it'll give the bug cancer.  Bug won't be much of a problem on chemo and bed-ridden.

Here's a free alchemy tip from LBB: Don't use Pam on your toilet seat.  You may slip off and become "familiar with" the business end of a plunger.  Also, don't use household bug poisons to clean it, unless you want a red ring of irritated/gangrenous skin encircling your ass for a week.  In retrospect, I should have anticipated these risks.  But once I get to cleaning, I attack with the fervor and single-mindedness of other great scientists.

Happy cleaning and best of luck.


Heff said...


WINDEX, Baby !!!

It cleans AND kills bugs in ONE MIGHTY SPRAY !

Jeannie said...

Since ammonia is the active ingredient in Windex - you should just buy ammonia - and dilute it. I have some kicking around - great for degreasing stuff.

If I run out of cleaner, I just use vinegar or baking soda.

TSP is also available to deep clean stuff.

The sanitizer I used for tanning beds was great as a bug killer.

Mona said...

When I was in your country last year, this cleaning woman, who comes regularly to my sister's place asked us to get something called Bobo's Crud. We ransacked almost the entire Home Depot and never found whatever it was that she wanted. Couldn't ask her or any of her girls either as they were Mexicans, and I don't know Spanish.

Your Raid is useless, and the mousetraps are awful. The mouse that entered my sister's house last year still resides there despite having tried all the available traps and the pest control ppl. A Cunning mouse indeed!

I hate cleaning the house myself. We in India are spoilt to the core by the ever ready servants that come in hordes everywhere , dirt cheap. Our cleaning agents are therefore manual, and nothing can beat them! I don't know how they do it!

JUST ME said...

I have to clean my keyboard every week with the amount of crap I spill on it. Crumbs and tea ...sometimes butter...or chocolate sauce...or - sigh - peanut butter.

Now THAT'S hard to get off your keys.

SQT said...

Heff beat me to it-- the handy-dandy glass cleaner is good for bugs in a pinch.

The deadliest substance in my hands is bleach. If I can't get a stain out of the grout, I'm grabbing the bleach. The problem is that if there is carpet, or clothing, in close proximity, something ends up damaged. If I'm really determined, I suppose I could bleach naked-- but I'm thinking that would just result in chemical burns in really unfortunate places.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I love 409. It's my main go to cleaner! :-)

Jess said...

the booty-call of cleaning agents

I love that!

Gregor said...

A few burns, some mild hair loss and a Silkwood shower later [...] I saved myself a trip to Target.

Fuckin' brilliant! I forgot how much I enjoy reading your blog.

Does LBB have suggestions for how to kill spiders that have apparently developed an immunity over the past 4 years to me Raid-bombing the shit out of them?

Osbasso said...

For cleaner, I use what MacGyver would...spit. Of course, if I know what sort of cleaning I'll be doing, I'll eat an appropriate meal beforehand.

Paige said...

um why am i just fucking finding this blog now>?!?!

vodka and ground beef said...

1. I like the way you think.

2. "My go-to cleaning agent is glass cleaner." I love this. My go-to is Clorox wipes. I'm too lazy to actually spray the cleaner on a paper towel, so I have to buy the wipes.

3. "Every cleaning product has this vaguely threatening federal law on the label: "Using this product for purposes other than those indicated may violate federal laws." HI-LARIOUS. It's like how they tell us not to rip off the tag on the mattress.

I hope we both go to the same prison. It'll be good to finally meet.

tornwordo said...

I mixed ammonia and bleach once. Wont make that mistake again.

Birdie said...

Gregor, from one arachnophobe to another: use the bottom of your shoe. Or for the really big ones, use a BBQ spatula with a very long handle.

To those who find the circle of life a beautiful thing, I propose that I am simply maintaining survival of the fittest. Any spider dumb enough to get close to me will not survive to have offspring equally ignorant. Only the smart ones live to have more, and nowhere near me.

LBB: so glad to see you back!

Dawn said...

You are too funny.

Hey, we have an elementary school here in my town named after a local lady who died after cleaning in her bathroom with amonia and bleach. Yikes! Be careful.

My favorite three products are:

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
Clorox Clean-up (I use this for the kitchen and bathroom.)
Clorox Wipes

Anonymous said...

Agree! Give me the full strength shit too. I will control the dilution ratio, thank you very much.


Memphis Steve said...

When I was a kid I was a master of alchemy. I could mix up every cleaning agent in the house and make one hell of a super cleaner capable of clearing out the entire house with its fumes. These days I just use one thing for both cleaning and bug-killing: carburetor cleaner. It'll do anything, kill anything, clean anything, strip anything, and even repel homeless bums trying to hit you up for cash on the streets of downtown Memphis. One squirt of that in the eye and they're off and running, screaming like banshees.

heartinhand said...

My new favorite cleaner is Kirkland Wipes that you get at Costco. I wipe EVERYTHING with these things. I still need the Windex for the glass though. I wish they made cleaners that smelled like Cinnamon.

Bennet said...

I don't know what it is about my keyboard but somehow despite my efforts to cover it in radiation protective gear it attracts Doritos crumbs from alternate parallel dimensions.

I don't know. Some kind of weird sci-fi shit going on with my keyboard.