Ah March, you important month, you. Even though you’re named after Mars, the god of war, I see the true fun and harmonious you. I mean, you bring so many things to the seasonal table: In the early Roman calendar you were the first month of the year; the vernal equinox (first day of Spring) in the Northern Hemisphere resides in you on the 20th; the 8th day of you is International Women’s Day (Thanks for hosting us!); Daylight Saving Time begins on your 12th day at 2 a.m. But my absolute favorite day of yours, that I learned about a few minutes ago, is the 23rd: World Meteorological Day. Why is this my favorite day? Because, Margaret Orr. I know, I know, it’s not World Meteorologist Day. But when I think of anything weather related, I think of Margaret, the New Orleans Weather Or(r)acle. Such intelligence, such beauty, such grace under pressure… a veritable human barometer, anemometer, Doppler radar system and rain gauge all rolled into one. She’s a modern day Tempestas (Roman goddess of storms and sudden weather) and Athena (red-haired goddess of wisdom). Orr is a New Orleans native and graduate of LSU and the meteorology program at Mississippi State. According to The New Yorker, she became fascinated with the weather in 1965 when she stood in the eye of Hurricane Betsy outside of her childhood home. What a badass! In 1979 Margaret became a general assignment reporter for WDSU Channel 6. In 2009 New Orleans was given a huge gift when WDSU promoted her to chief meteorologist! Being that 3/23 is World Meteorological Day and because she is a precious meteorological resource for New Orleans, I propose that the 23rd of March be named World Margaret Orr Day. Right?! So anyway, I hope that March brings you the rejuvenation, joy, and contentment that Margaret brings to us with her soothing and sage weather forecasting. Now let’s talk about cleaning.

What is the best way to clean my baseboards?

I liken having dirty baseboards in a clean house to wearing dirty shoes with a nice outfit. I often find myself staring at baseboards in homes and establishments and if they’re not clean, my heart breaks a little. Dudes, cleaning baseboards is so easy—it’s just dusting and wiping, no big whoop! One thing to remember, which I’ve said many, many, many times before: Always do a dry dusting of things before using liquid. Dry dusting will remove the loose dirt, so you don’t go through 20-something wet rags trying to get rid of the muddy dust that you’ve created. After dry dusting the baseboards using a dry rag or an eco-friendly, Swiffer-like duster (These are similar to disposable Swiffers but are made of microfiber, fleece, flannel, or other dust-grabbing fabrics and are reusable; you can make your own or buy them on sites such as Etsy. Plus, they fit on Swiffer wands.), spray the baseboards with a mixture of half white vinegar and half water (Add the essential oil of your choice, if you want to jazz up the olfactory vibez), and use a wet rag to wipe off any sticky dirt that wasn’t removed during the dry dusting sesh. If there are any scuffs present, grab a scouring pad and lightly rub those areas—don’t aggressively stroke, as you might remove the baby paint with the bath dirt. Add a sprinkle of Bon Ami cleaner to this equation if the crud is still holding fast. Finally, spray the baseboards again and wipe with a wet rag to remove any residue and dry with a clean rag. Yay, all done!

What are some things that I can do that will make my house feel clean when I don’t have time to clean the whole thing?

I find that I must do some basic cleaning tasks in my house regularly, or my world starts to feel out of control. I also begin to feel jealous of the people whose houses I make so pretty. To remedy the ill will and stinky feelings, I perform three quick cleaning tasks weekly:

  1. I vacuum and mop my floors (I actually wipe all of my floors on my hands and knees with a solution of vinegar and water, because I am more than thorough. Diagnosed OCD, in fact. Fun. Kidding, not fun at all!)
  2. I do a quick cleaning of my bathroom once a week: sink, counter, bathtub, toilet, floors. Since I clean it once a week, it takes maybe 20 minutes. Between these cleanings, I rinse the sink out after I use it, rinse and wipe out the bathtub after I bathe, and I wipe the toilet seat and rim off after I go number one and number two.
  3. After I make food in the kitchen, I wash the dishes, wipe off the counters, and wipe out the sink. It takes like 10 minutes.

Cumulatively, these three tasks take an hour tops! I guarantee that if you do them, your house will feel clean all the time.

How do I get the dirt out of my shower grout?

First I’ll say that you should clean the grout in your shower regularly, or when you do finally clean it, it will be a real pain in the ass. If you let mold and body filth set into gravelly, cementitious grout, it is nearly impossible to get the yucky stains out, and you’ll scrub calluses into your pretty hands attempting to remove them. Epoxy grout (It is made from two-part epoxy resins, mixed with a filler powder) doesn’t stain as easily and is, in my opinion, easier to clean but gets really slimy and slippery if you don’t clean it regularly. To clean either of these grouts, I use a solution of 1/3 isopropyl alcohol (you can also use hydrogen peroxide) and 2/3 white vinegar. I always add about 20 drops of a citrus essential oil, because isopropyl alcohol has a really strong odor. I also like citrus essential oils because they smell fresh and add a little acidic cleaning power to the mix. First, rinse all of the surface dirt and pubes off of the grout. Next, spray your solution all over the grout and walk away for about an hour. After your hour break, wipe away the loosened grime from the grout. If you have cementitious grout, you probably won’t get all of the moldy funk off with just the spraying, wiping, and rinsing. You’ll need to employ the grime-busting power of baking soda. Sprinkle some baking soda over the grout, grab a scouring pad and scrub, then rinse, then scrub some more. It will probably take a while. I find that no matter how hard or long I scrub this type of grout, some black staining remains. Sorry, Charlie. Give the grout one more rinse, then dry it. I like to spray down the grout with an alcohol-vinegar mixture after each shower, as this keeps the invading dirt and mold from colonizing.

Got cleaning questions? Email

illustrations by Ben Claassen III | @dirtfarm

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