Y’all, time flies when you’re having fun! HAPPY SECOND ANNIVERSARY TO THIS COLUMN! The traditional theme of the second anniversary is the exchange of gifts made of cotton. It just so happens that cotton is used in the making of the finest and most expensive paper. And while ANTIGRAVITY isn’t printed on expensive cotton paper, it is—in my opinion—one of the finest quality papers content-wise. So yeah, I am giving you a sorta cotton-ish gift! But in all seriousness, writing this column makes me so happy. I hope that reading it makes you happy too. Since it’s our second anniversary, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips from the last couple of years. Here’s to many more!
What should I do first when cleaning my house? (June 2020, first column)
Always, always, ALWAYS start by dusting from “top to bottom” (from the highest places in a room to the lowest), and then sweep up or vacuum this dust. For example, dust the light fixture or fan in a room, then the picture frames, then the window sills, and so on and so forth. If you start by cleaning the floor and move up, you’ll undo all the work you just did when dust from the ceiling area snows down all over the room.
My wooden kitchen cabinets are coated with grease. How do I get it off? (June 2021)
When I moved into my new pad, cleaning the kitchen cabinets was one of the most annoying tasks. There is no vented range hood above my stove and, apparently, the people that lived in the house before me LOVED to fry food. So yeah, grease-o-rama. As a cleaner of homes by profession, I’ve encountered this sticky situation many times. My all-time favorite tool for tackling this problem is dish soap! I am a green cleaner, but I have to say, I really like Dawn dish soap for this job; I find its grease-cutting powers to reign supreme. It cuts grease so well, in fact, that it is used almost exclusively by the International Bird Rescue Research Center to remove oil from birds after oil spills! Warms my heart. For this job, grab a bucket, warm water, a sponge, and two microfiber rags. Squirt some Dawn into a half-filled bucket of warm water. Dip your sponge into the bubbly water, squeeze the excess water from the sponge, and lightly wipe the cabinet. Periodically wipe away the bubbles with a wet rag and rub the cabinet with your finger. Is the cabinet still greasy? If so, keep rubbing with the soapy sponge. When all of the grease is gone, wipe away the dish soap with your wet rag and, finally, dry the cabinet thoroughly with a microfiber rag. Cheers!
I smoke a lot of weed, and I have resin stains on a fabric chair. How can I get them off? (March 2021)
So you like to puff the ganja, and you use a pipe to do it. If so, you’ve probably accidentally wiped resin onto your clothing or furniture. Resin was recently rubbed onto my couch, and I did the following (it worked like a charm!). Pull out that isopropyl alcohol that you used to get the adhesive off of your windows [from the answer in the same column to “Before Hurricane Zeta, I put tape on my windows to prevent them from shattering. Now I can’t get the sticky residue off…”]. Pour a tiny bit of the alcohol onto a rag, and lightly rub the resin spot. I want to emphasize that YOU MUST RUB THE SPOT LIGHTLY. If you press too hard, you’ll just spread the resin around and make the spot bigger. Now smoke a joint to celebrate your resin-free chair!
I love my husband, but I don’t love that he gets pee on the floor of the bathroom, causing it to reek. What can I do to get rid of this smell? (February 2021)
The sulphury smell of bacteria-laden, dried human pee in a bathroom makes me want to barf. Because men almost always sprinkle pee all over the floor when urinating—and also because many people let the yellow mellow in the toilet—home bathrooms can begin to smell like the men’s room at Saturn Bar (RIP) before you know it. If you don’t take care of the wee-wee floor immediately, the smell will become unbearable pretty quickly. To tackle this stinky dilemma, you’ll need the following ingredients: two gallons of hot water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of Borax, and a small squirt of your favorite dish soap. Now you’ll mix the baking soda, Borax, and water together to create a paste. Use a sponge to scrub this onto the floor and the base of the toilet. Be sure to scrub the caulk and tile grout too—the funk hides there. Let the paste sit for about 30 minutes. Now you’ll spray the area with a mixture of half water and half vinegar. Let the paste and vinegar simmer for about 20 minutes, then rinse with water. If your husband has been spraying urine onto the floor for a while, you may have to repeat this process a few times to completely eradicate the pee smell. Also, from time to time, I recommend removing the toilet seat (which is very easy to do) and cleaning the top of the toilet bowl, around where the toilet seat is attached to the toilet. You’d be surprised at how much disgustingness you’ll find there. While you’re at it, take the toilet seat outside, spray it with a hose, and scrub it with dish soap and white vinegar. Good luck! (P.S. I made a sign for my bathroom that says, “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, please be neat and wipe the seat.” I find that a note can be helpful… or passive aggressive. Anyway, it’s worth a shot.)
Period blood? (October 2020)
Ah, yes… menstruating. It’s fun for so many reasons, not the least of which is dealing with blood stains on your clothes. It’s especially annoying when this blood gets on your beautiful costume. It’s time to stand up and fight against these stains! First off, treat the stain as soon as possible. Rinse under cold water while gently rubbing the fabric together. Cold water can get a lot of the stain out. Don’t use hot water, though, as it will “cook” the stain into the fabric. As you know, these blood “events” often happen at the worst times. With that said, you can use any soap that you have on hand at the time, depending on the fabric, to wash the garment. I often wash my stuff while I’m in the bathtub with bath soap. If the blood is dried into light fabric, try soaking it in hydrogen peroxide first. For darker fabrics, you can crush up aspirin and mix it with water to make a paste. Smooth the paste over the stain and let it sit overnight before rinsing the garment with water in the morning.
How do I clear a clogged drain naturally? (September 2020)
As a professional cleaner, I see lots of clogged sinks and bathtubs. A slow-draining tub or sink is one of the most annoying things that I encounter when cleaning; it’s exceedingly hard to clean a sink or bathtub properly if you can’t rinse the dirty water out of it. A lot of the time, the cause of a clogged drain is hair that is trapped in the drain strainer (those little, metal bars that criss-cross on the inside of the drain). I’ve found the perfect tool for removing this dirt-covered, congealed hair to be tweezers; that’s right, they’re not just for painfully yanking hair from your face! This process is tedious, but tweezers are perfect for getting in between the strainer bars and picking out the hair. (FYI: Dental kits include tweezers and other pointy implements that are great for this hair removal adventure.) Removing a big, gross glob of hair from the drain strainer with a pair of tweezers and watching the water swoosh down the drain afterwards is one of the most satisfying things ever! If the clog is further down the pipe, baking soda, white vinegar, and boiling water is an option. Pour a half cup of baking soda and a half cup of vinegar into the drain. Let this mixture sit in the drain for an hour, and then pour boiling water down the drain until the water flows freely. Whoopee, free-flowing water!
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illustrations by Ben Claassen III | @dirtfarm