Do you like fertility and copulation? Do you enjoy honoring and making romantic devotions to trees and vegetation goddesses? Well, you’re in luck! May Day is a celebration of all of these things! In the olden days, on May Day women rose early and washed their faces with the beautifying May dew—the Oil of Olay of condensation. After the face washing, the village boys joined the girls, and together they gathered branches and flowers and used this greenery to decorate the town. After bedecking the town, the youngsters chopped down a tall tree, removed all the foliage, and stuck it into the ground in the center of town. Placing a floral wreath atop the stripped tree, wrapping it with garland, and hanging ribbons from the top, the teenagers created the phallic maypole. After the erection, the gaggle of minors grabbed the end of the ribbons, sassily circled the maypole, and became entangled in the ribbons, bound to each other. This circle ribbon dance was symbolic of making sweet, sweet love. This May, I hope that every literal and figurative seed that you plant produces bountiful returns. I hope that for every “Mother may I?” you put into the universe, you receive a resounding “Yes you may!” Alright, now let’s talk about cleaning.

There’s an oil spot in my garage. It looks and smells bad. How do I get rid of it?

Man, I really wish that I had a garage. Anyway, there are a few ways to get rid of the oily stain. If there is oil sitting above the surface of the driveway, you’ll have to soak it up. Cover the spot with cat litter. Cat litter ain’t just for your cat’s bodily waste; its absorption power makes it a perfect oil sucker. Let the litter sit for a day. After it’s completely dry, sweep it up. Now mix baking soda and water to make a paste, grab a hard-bristled brush and scrub the area; the baking soda will soak up any of the remaining oil. Rinse with water. Next, grab some powdered laundry detergent and sprinkle it all over the unctuous area and add enough water to form a paste. Scrub the spot with a hard-bristled brush for about three minutes, then let it sit for about 30 minutes more. After your scrub break, get back in there and work that brush for a few more minutes, then rinse the spot and dry it. Another cool hack for busting that oil’s ass is WD-40. Who knew?! First, sop up any surface oil. Next, saturate the area with WD and let it sit for 20 minutes. After the time is up, wipe the area with an old rag. To get rid of the petroleum smell, pour some dish soap and water on the area and scrub with your brush for a few minutes. Rinse the area with warm water and dry. I hope one of these remedies hits that spot!

The kicking and punching shields that we use in my karate school get smelly fast. Is there a way other than using cleaning sprays to get rid of the smell?

Practicing a martial art is physically challenging. I know, I’ve done it for 13 years (shout out to New Orleans Shaolin). All of the gaining of strength, balance, and coordination by memorizing and executing katas; the bag work, Yijin Jings, and stance practice (horse, bow, cat anyone?); becoming calmer and more focused through breathwork and meditation; and all of that sweet, sweet sparring (nothing makes me feel like more of a badass than landing or blocking a punch or kick during a sparring match) really heats up the muscles and sends the sweat glands into overdrive. The result is the production of an enormous amount of smelly liquid that is flung everywhere. This stinky moisture is made up mostly of water but also contains small amounts of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, a smattering of pheromones (ooh la la), bacteria (stinky), and toxins. During my school’s kung fu classes, we use sparring shields to practice kicking, punching, and other self-defense techniques. While one student holds the shield close to their shvitzing body, another student throws their sweaty body against the shield. After years of the bags being throttled by sweltering humans, even after being wiped down after every use, a footy stank with notes of swamp butt is nearly impossible to banish. But I’ve discovered a cure for this odiferous situation: steam!!! When water is heated past its boiling point and forced through an opening as pressurized steam, this groovy vapor’s teensy molecules penetrate the pores of a surface to loosen dirt and kill dust mites, mold, staph, and other allergens and harmful bacteria. Also, since it’s just ghostly air water, it’s eco-friendly! In order to utilize sweet, sweet steam, you’ll need a steam cleaner. There are plenty  to choose from, but for our kwoon’s (Chinese martial arts school) steaming adventure, we use the Bissell Steam Shot Handheld Steam Cleaner & Sanitizer. This baby is a lightweight, easy-to-use, handheld black belt steam cleaner. It also has lots of cool attachments that punch the steam into all the right places. After steaming the shields, lay them in the sun for about an hour to let the UV rays finish the battle.

In my restaurant there is deep fry oil in a few places that has dried and is almost impossible to get up. The only thing that works is paint thinner, but that stinks up the room. Is there anything else I can use?

Restaurants and grease are like peas and carrots, flim and flam, clogged arteries and heart attacks. I used to clean a restaurant, and grease removal was the hardest part of the job. I had to find ways to dissolve this slick and sticky situation so it didn’t take me forever to get the job done. One thing that worked for me was dish soap. As I’ve said many times before, Dawn dish detergent is a great degreaser. Their commercial-grade detergent works like a charm on tenacious grease spills and splatters. My favorite thing about this stuff is that it’s non-caustic, non-flammable, and non-corrosive. Before utilizing the soap, add a mixture of half vinegar and half water to a spray bottle, and soak the greasy areas. Let this sit for an hour. Next, squirt some of the detergent onto the oily blobs, sprinkle some baking soda over this, and use a wet scouring pad to scrub away the congealed gunk. I also find enzymatic cleaners really helpful in dissolving grease. Enzymes are eco-friendly and naturally occurring. Four enzymatic systems (lipase for greases and fats, protease for proteins, cellulase for cellulose, and amylase for carbohydrates and starches) live in the cells of plants, animals, and bacteria and are used to digest waste. The enzymes in our saliva get the whole digestive party started. For the grease sitch, a lipasic-based enzymatic cleaner is what you’ll need. Noble Eco Enzo-Kleen is a solid brand. Simply spray the spots, let the cleaner sit for about 20 minutes, and use a wet rag to wipe the area. But wait, there’s more! Remember a minute ago when you read about using steam to sanitize things? Welp, that same steam can get rid of congealed grease. Point that steamer at the grease and watch it disappear. Good luck!

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illustrations by Ben Claassen III | @dirtfarm

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