Cartoon of Mardi Gras revellers in a jacuzzi

Where will you be on Tuesday, February 21? If you live in or are visiting New Orleans, you’ll probably be traipsing through the streets, dressed like a feral, magical so-and-so, zooted on any number of party-pumping accouterments (candy-flipping, with a garnish of mushrooms anyone?), periodically stopping to dance sloppily, hug strangers, and maybe scream pleadingly at a large, people-filled decorated platform that’s being towed behind a tractor, for cheap plastic beads and trinkets. Yay, killing the planet (Watch the film Mardi Gras: Made in China, by David Redmon, if you haven’t already)! Anyway, happy Carnival/Mardi Gras, y’all! Carnival isn’t just a sparkly bacchanal; for many, it’s a party with a purpose. According to historians, the seed of the Gras was planted thousands of years ago in Rome by the pagans, who celebrated spring and prevented evil spirits and infertility with festivals such as Lupercalia, a bloody, violent, gluttonous, booze-soaked orgy and the twisted older cousin of Valentine’s Day. When the Christians arrived in Rome, rather than being Debbie Downers and causing a goddamned riot, they incorporated this glorious debauchery (minus the blood) into their pre-Lenten meat-gorge (Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to Easter, during which Christians abstain from meat and partying). And thus, Carnival (derived from the Latin word for flesh, carnem) was born.

The first official Mardi Gras celebration is said to have taken place on March 3, 1699, when French explorers/colonizers/slave traders Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville (usurper of  indigenous tribal land and founder of the French colony La Louisiane) and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville (Iberville’s younger bro, founder of La Nouvelle-Orléans) landed near present-day New Orleans. They held a small celebration and dubbed their landing spot Point du Mardi Gras. (The citizens of Mobile are adamant and very vocal about their belief that the first Mardi Gras actually took place there in 1703, since technically the city of New Orleans wasn’t founded until 1718. In my opinion, this is a clear case of who did it first, and who does it better. Dip.) The Mardi Gras that we celebrate today in all of its joyful, racially mixed yet waspishly exclusive, resplendent yet exquisitely grotesque glory is a mish-mash of customs from Carnival celebrations across the globe and the rituals of North American Native Peoples. Phew! With all of that said, please remember that Carnival/Mardi Gras is a marathon, not a sprint. So slow your roll if you want to make it to the finish line! I hope that Mardi Gras throws you more miracles than meltdowns, Mister! And now for the cleaning questions.

How do I clean my jacuzzi tub?

I love hot, fast-moving bubbles against my back as much as the next guy, but you HAVE to keep a jacuzzi tub clean! If you don’t, you’re basically soaking in a bog of mold, dead skin cells, poop (Because what what in the butt? Feces.), and possibly parasites that cause diarrhea (Cryptosporidium) or germs that cause skin rashes (Pseudomonas aeruginosa). So yeah, clean it, or you’re tainted. I’m not gonna lie, if you want to do it right, thoroughly cleaning a jetted tub takes a while. You’ll need the following tools and ingredients for the job: a measuring cup, a toothbrush, a sponge, clean rags, distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and automatic dishwasher detergent (liquid or powder). Start by cleaning the tub like you would a still-water bathtub (This is what I’m calling non-jetted tubs from now on). Spray the entire tub with a mixture of half white vinegar and half water, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the bottom of the tub and the sides, use a damp sponge to wipe away all of the existing grime, and rinse the tub with warm water. Now for the jets: Dirt really hides in and around them, so you’ll need to get all up in there. Dip a wet toothbrush into some dry baking soda and use it to clean the interior surfaces of each jet. I find this step in the jet-cleaning process to be crazy-making, as it’s hard to get the toothbrush into all of the jet’s crevices. Using a Q-Tip for the teensy spaces is very helpful. It’s also possible to remove the jets for cleaning, which is what I would do if I owned a jacuzzi tub. Look at your owner’s manual or watch a YouTube video to find out how to get ‘em off. Now it’s time to deal with the tub innards. Fill your tub with hot water, stopping about two inches above the jets. Add about two tablespoons of dishwasher detergent and two cups of white vinegar. Now turn the jets on high and turn off the air induction valve (the air induction valve is the circular, knob-shaped apparatus found inside of the tub) by turning it clockwise. This will force the hot water and cleaning solution concoction through the internal plumbing of the tub and help to flush all of the dirt out. Now turn the jets on high for 15 minutes, and watch as disgusting particles float into your tub. Satisfying. After 15 minutes of this double double toil and trouble, drain the mucky brew and use a rag to wipe away any remaining debris. Now fill the tub to the same level as before with hot water. Open the air induction valve by turning it back (counter-clockwise) to its starting position, adjust the jets to high, and let ‘er rip for 15 minutes. After this, turn the jets off and drain the tub. Clean the jets once more with the white vinegar, toothbrush, and Q-Tips. While you’re at it, clean the air-intake cover (the circular or square colander-looking thingy found inside of your tub). You can use the toothbrush to scrub it, or you can remove the cover to clean it more thoroughly (Look at your user’s manual or YouTube to find out how). Now rinse the tub and dry it. This process should fully flush and clean your jacuzzi tub. You should clean your tub this way once a month, to prevent yourself from being contaminated. Enjoy a post-Mardi Gras warm, bubbly dip for me!

I want to have my home professionally cleaned. What should I do to prepare the house for the cleaning?

Aw, how nice of you to ask. It’s music to my ears when a new client asks this question. As a pro cleaner, there are two major things that make a first-time cleaning more difficult: dishes in the sink and miscellaneous clutter on the floor. A first-time, deep cleaning of a home is hard work; if it’s done by an insanely meticulous cleaning team like mine, it will cover pretty much every inch of your house. Any items that you can clear from the cleaners’ path will make the job easier and faster for them. We want to make your sink shine! If we have to wash and put away a bunch of dishes first, we’ll have less time to really dig into your sink dirt. As far as stuff on the floor goes, it’s pretty self-explanatory: We need to clean your floors, so easy access is a plus. Also, I really hate putting people’s stuff in the wrong place. Where do you usually store your shoes or mail or cocaine (seen it) or guns (also seen it)? I don’t know and will inevitably, accidentally hide these things from you. So yeah, easy-peezy prep that’s extremely helpful and appreciated.

Got cleaning questions? Email

illustrations by Ben Claassen III | @dirtfarm

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