Thursday, October 17, 2019

Sweep, Scrub, Steam...How Do You Clean?

by Karen Rose Smith

In my Daisy's Tea Garden mystery series, my sleuth, Daisy Swanson, and her Aunt Iris own a tea garden near Lancaster, PA.  Throughout each mystery, I mention baking, taking inventory and readying the cases for the next day's tea service.  Usually implied in the script is a clean environment that would easily pass food inspections.  That type of environment also requires daily cleaning of the food prep and dining areas.

My own home is sometimes not as spic and span!  While it would be much easier to hire a cleaning service, I believe I can clean the house myself in the amount of time it takes to straighten it for a cleaning service to easily complete their job and for me to figure out a way to separate the cats (most of whom are afraid of the vacuum cleaner) from the area being cleaned.  Therefore, I am constantly striving to find the easiest way to accomplish one of my least favorite tasks.

When purchasing cleaning equipment, I always ask myself...What would make the job easier?  It is hard to beat a good floor scrubbing on my hands and knees. body says a loud "NO" to that.

At first, I resorted to the good old squeegee mop, but it is difficult to clean corners and other tight spots and you have to stop often to rinse and squeeze.  The "as seen on TV" Hurricane Spin Mop caught my attention and does a good job if you don't mind pushing around a bucket of water and lifting it to empty when done mopping.

Before we installed a new vinyl floor in the kitchen and bathrooms, my husband steam-cleaned the linoleum floors.  But that required a thorough pre-sweeping to remove loose dirt.  Then last Christmas, our son gifted us with an iRobot wet mop floor cleaner.  Surprisingly, I love it!  I still do a quick swiffer mop first.  But then I just insert a pad, fill it with water, turn it on and move on to my next task.  The little machine goes to work and leaves a clean streakless floor before it returns to its starting point and stops.  It is amazing to watch and the cats are not spooked by its gentle humming.       

It seems the most popular sweepers are the upright variety.  They are great on open spaces, but I find them cumbersome to operate in areas with lots of furniture and under the beds.  I still prefer my good old canister sweeper which is easy to maneuver and reach under furniture.  I also have an iRobot sweeper which is very effective in some areas.  The cats are not as comfortable with the noise it makes and I have to pick up a lot of items prior to sweeping that might get in its way.  Like the wet iRobot, it does its job and returns to its port to recharge.  I often turn it on in my office, then retreat with the cats to another room to watch TV for the evening and my floor is swept by the time I am ready to retire for the night. 

No matter what method you choose to use to achieve a clean home, there are advantages and drawbacks to each.  The easiest method is to ignore the dust bunnies and put cleaning off until next week.  But at some point, you have to select the method that best suits your needs, dig in and look at it as good aerobic exercise--bending, squatting, pushing.  And of course, keep your eyes and ears open for the next "as seen on TV' special that will magically erase all of your housekeeping woes.


Coming in December!


In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Daisy Swanson has a tea shop to run, a daughter to marry off—and a murder to solve . . .

Daisy’s worried one of her employees at Daisy’s Tea Garden may be in a spot of trouble. Lately Karina’s been loading up on soup and second-day baked goods at the end of her shift—and while the shop’s scrumptious treats may be hard to resist, Daisy suspects there’s more going on, especially since Karina has been seen hanging out in a rundown part of Willow Creek.

Planning her own daughter’s wedding is enough to keep her busy, but Daisy can’t help feeling a protective maternal instinct—and an instinct to investigate. It turns out Karina has been helping a down-on-his luck single dad who’s been making ends meet—barely—by selling antiques at a place called Pirated Treasures.

But when an employee at the antiques store is bludgeoned to death with a marble rolling pin, Karina’s new friend is suspect number one. Though the motives are muddy and steeped in intrigue, Daisy is more than determined to flush the real killer out.

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