A cleaning robot controlled by the author

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

“Ring Out, Wild Bells,” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson is an elegy for a friend who died suddenly, the first step in leaving behind a year that caused him immense grief and an embrace of the hope that a new year brings. Let’s be real, y’all: Life is not always fun or easy. My 2022, similar to, I assume, Tennyson’s 1850, was a cornucopia of emotions, many of which were challenging (such as finally facing and beginning to process some things that I’d stowed away for far too long, and the great and sudden loss of my niece Kaley a.k.a. Spackle a.k.a. the strongest, kindest, and funniest human on planet Earth). Tennyson’s embrace of the new year, with all its possibility for change, is what most caught my attention. I’m definitely trying to be born again (in a non-Christian way) this year, and in order to expedite the labor and help myself focus on getting down the self-improvement birth canal, I’ve made some resolutions. I know some people consider resolutions lame, insisting that we should work on self-improvement year-round. But seriously, a to-do list can’t hurt! And so what if you don’t cross out everything (or anything) on your list—at least you have goals that you’re putting out into the universe (WOO WOO!). Plus, it’s TRADITION. One more way that I’m letting go of 2022 and settling into 2023 is by partaking in some cleansing rituals. One such ritual that I’m enjoying is burning incense whilst cleaning out my linen closet. Organizing is a great stress-reliever: It helps me to feel more in control of my space and, by extension, more in control of my life. Plus, it’s just nice to come home to an organized house. So, yeah, I’m giving 2023 a big bear hug, with the hopes of becoming the best Izzy T (me) that I can be. I hope 2023 is for you the best that it can be and that all (or at least some) of your worries are set free. Now let’s dive into some cleaning tips, shall we?

How do I get scratches out of glass?

I see a lot of scratched glass when I clean glass shower doors. If you don’t squeegee or wipe down glass shower doors regularly, the water spots can get out of control quickly. If you neglect cleaning the spots for long enough, they will become stains that are nearly impossible to remove. When this happens, one of the only ways to get that glass clear again is to use a light abrasive. While the abrasive does eradicate the spots, it can leave light scratches on the glass. Don’t worry, if the scratches aren’t too deep, there is an ingenious, scratch-elimination technique: baking soda toothpaste! I have to give a shout out to my friend—incredible performance artist, one of the nicest and most conscientious people ever to work with me—Sam Martin, a.k.a. The Three-Brained Robot, for sharing this game-changer with me. Thank you, Sam. First, clean and dry the scratched area. Next, squirt a small amount of toothpaste onto a damp rag. Applying light pressure, move the rag in a circular motion over the scratch. Keep circling for about 30 seconds. Grab a clean, damp rag and wipe away the toothpaste. Hopefully, the scratch has disappeared. If not, repeat as needed.

What is your favorite brand of mop?

Oh, good question! For my money (I use this phrase literally, as I buy a lot of these mops), the Libman Wonder Mop is the way to go. I love them because the mop heads are detachable and washable, which makes them reusable and sustainable, which, in turn, makes them eco-friendly. It also makes them easy on the wallet. The Wonder Mop also has a built-in “power wringer” on the mop stick, making it easy to squeeze the excess water from the mop head without having to use your hands. I really love this feature, because who wants to get dirty mop water all over their hands? Not this eco-cleaner, ya filthy animal. Lastly, this mop is light. As a pro cleaner, eliminating the amount of weight I have to lug around is crucial. Gotta protect ya neck (and lower back).

How do I clean and keep my copper sink looking new?

Oh, nice! I love a copper sink. Not only is copper beautiful, it’s antimicrobial. It’s also resistant to rust and corrosion. So if you made the choice to install this sink, ya done good. I personally enjoy the changing patina of the “living finish” of copper as it ages (turquoise anyone?), but I guess this unique beauty is not for everyone. Upkeep is an important part of keeping your copper sink looking its best. With that said, you should rinse and dry it after each use. As I mentioned above, copper is antimicrobial, so you can ostensibly get away with using only warm water and a soft sponge, not only to keep it shiny, but also to keep it clean and shiny (though I find the thought of even a particle of rotting food wretched, so I’m probably not using only water to clean a sink). Wet the soft sponge and wipe the sink in a circular motion. After this, dry the sink with a soft, lint-free rag to prevent water spots. If I were you, I’d introduce some mild dish soap (as always, I suggest Dawn) into this cleaning equation. Dip a soft sponge into a mixture of 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of Dawn and wipe down the sink. If you notice any stains, add some light pressure to your wiping game to remove them. Finally, dry the sink to prevent water spots. For the removal of more gunky dirt or stains, white vinegar works great (Be careful not to splash it all over the place, if—like me—you enjoy the colorful patina of an old copper sink, because the acidity of vinegar can erase it.). Mix 2 cups of vinegar with 1/2 cup of water and dip a soft sponge into the solution. Lightly rub the stains with the sponge until they disappear. Dry the sink with a soft, lint-free rag to prevent corrosion and water spots. So you have some calcium deposits around the drain of the sink, ay? Well, never fear—baking soda is here. Grab some good old, versatile sodium bicarbonate. Make a paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of vinegar. Dip a soft sponge into this concoction and lightly rub the annoying calcium spots. This mildly abrasive/acidic mixture should sand-melt them right off. As always, dry the sink afterwards to prevent spots and make it shine.

Author controls a robot interface

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illustrations by Ben Claassen III | @dirtfarm


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