Monday, June 4, 2007

zen cleaning moments - rag stories

Do you want to clean green?
I've used horrible rags in my lifetime. Rags that were dirty. Rags that were frayed and bulky. Rags that were too big. Rags that were too small, and too thin. Non-absorbent rags made from old polyester clothes. Rags that had stiff spots of dried paint scattered all over them. Rags that were hard and wrinkled from being dried all balled-up. Rags that stank.

To some people, rag is a bad word.

~

When I was a little girl, my mother dusted her wooden furniture with a piece of old t-shirt impregnated with lemon oil. I hated the feel of that rag under my fingers - its greasiness gave me the shivers, and its sharp scent still brings back memories of hot Saturday mornings with my bangs damp and my bare feet dirty as I cleaned my bedroom before I could play.

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Two summers ago the clothes dryer I used to dry my rags in every night broke down. We had an umbrella-shaped hanging clothes dryer in the backyard, so I carted my wet rags outside and hung them (all 70 or so) to dry overnight.

The next evening after work I took them down off the line (replacing them with that day's wet rags), and folded them up to take inside. They were stiff from air-drying, but clean and warm from the sun.

The first day I used the line-dried rags in my cleaning business, I nearly died from happiness. The rags (which had always smelled nice - from the gentle fragrance of the Arm and Hammer Washing Soda I use) smelled AMAZING! The line-dried scent lingered all day long, renewed every time I picked up another rag.

I looked like a fool, sniffing my cleaning rags as I walked from room to room. I replaced the indoor clothes dryer within a few days; for the rest of the summer, however, I kept drying my rags outside on the line. It was the saddest day of the season when the days got too cold for me to hang up the wet rags comfortably, and we took the umbrella dryer down for the winter.

~

I'm picky about the way I like a rag to feel in my hands. If it's too big, I get cranky. If it's too small or too thin, I get cranky. I like the rag to be just a bit bigger than my hand when the fingers are all spread out. I fold my terrycloth rags in half, and they're exactly the right size.

I like to use hot water when I clean. It's less energy-efficient, but the feel of a warm rag in my hand makes me happy. I don't like a rag that's dripping wet. I don't like a wet rag that's too dry. I don't like a dry rag that's too wet. I'm happiest when I can change rags frequently.

When I had my cleaning business, I threw the dirty ones into a galvanized steel bucket lined with a small muslin laundry bag. I made the muslin bags myself, and washed them with the rags every night.

1 comment:

Purogenics said...

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