Jen Begin’s debut novel, Pretend I’m Dead, has become one of our favorite books of 2018. It stars Mona, a 20-something housecleaner who’s bad at relationships however exact at taking furtive pictures of herself wearing her customer’s clothes.
Begin’s comply with-up, Vacuum in the Dark additionally follows Mona as she tries to scrub the dirt from her past and present. Mona is a lovingly crafted and truthful person; it needs to come as no marvel that she Begins once cleaned other humans’ homes. We asked the novelist to offer us her 10 fine tips to hold your region as sparkling as her prose.
Pumice stones do away with callouses from your ft, but I don’t use them on my feet, and I have to. I use them on my toilets. It’s the best thing that gets rid of tough water stains from porcelain without scratching it. So, that ring around your toilet bowl that in no way seems to head away? Hit it with the pumice. But ensure the pumice is white or grey—not black. You would possibly need gloves for this procedure, although I by no means use them, which is probably why I even have the arms of a 73-yr-antique.
Try olive oil.
Olive oil really does polish stainless steel, but a pal instructed me he used it on his appliances. His dogs spent the following numerous days licking his refrigerator and oven. Two birds. But olive oil might be suitable for puppies.
Stick to herbal elements.
For sparkling rust stains, use lemon and salt. Make a paste with it, smear a beneficiant amount on the stains, and allow it to take a seat for a minute. For hardcore rust stains, buy that fantastic toxic stuff on the lowest shelf at the grocery shop. It comes in a bottle that makes you want to drink it, a form of like Kombucha or Gatorade. However, do DON’T DRINK IT?
The vacuum within the Dark
To get your sheets and towels definitely white—and anyone must have white linens, for my part, as it’s stylish—use bluing liquid, no longer bleach. My favorite product is Mrs. Stewart’s Liquid Bluing: Whitening Whites Safely Since 1883. It’s to be had online, and it’s concentrated and non-toxic and could closing forever since you simplest want a quarter of a teaspoon for an entire load of linens. Read the commands carefully—you have to upload the bluing agent to water earlier than including your linens. I realize it seems bizarre to scrub your white objects in blue liquid, but I don’t apprehend that virtually white fabric is surely a little blue for scientific reasons.
Really, persist with natural ingredients.
The first-rate way to clean a microwave is to hose down a rag with water and a little lemon juice and zap it for fifteen seconds. Let the rag cool for 5 seconds. Wipe out the microwave. Smile. All that spaghetti sauce stuck to the pinnacle is now for your rag, and the microwave smells like lemons. (This is likewise the best way to clean your sponges when they are semi-new; however, by some means, already smelly.)
Vacuum in the Dark
To get your sheets and towels truly white—and each person must have white linens, in my view, because it’s elegant—use bluing liquid, now not bleach. My favorite product is Mrs. Stewart’s Liquid Bluing: Whitening Whites Safely Since 1883. It’s to be had online, and it’s concentrated and non-toxic and could last forever because you only need 1 / 4 of a teaspoon for a whole load of linens. Read the commands cautiously—you have to add the bluing agent to water before adding your linens. I realize it appears bizarre to wash your white items in blue liquid, however for clinical reasons, and I don’t understand, surely white cloth is actually a bit blue.
Really, stick with herbal elements.
The fine way to clean a microwave is to hose down a rag with water and a bit of lemon juice and zap it for fifteen seconds. Let the rag cool for five seconds. Wipe out the microwave. Smile. All that spaghetti sauce caught to the top is now on your rag, and the microwave smells like lemons. (This is likewise the simplest manner to smooth your sponges while they may be semi-new but by some means already pungent.)
Stay far from the solar.
Never easy a replicate or window in direct sunlight. It will streak instantly and seemingly irrevocably. When this takes place, wash the floor with water, anticipate the sun to move down, drink a few wines, begin once more in the morning.
Find the proper sponge.
If your bathroom tiles are blanketed in cleaning soap scum, try putting some of your shampoos at the scrubby part of your Scotch Brite sponge—the most effective sponge you want for your cleaning arsenal—and then lather the tiles with your shampoo. I’ve been doing this with mixed effects for years, however, while it really works, it certainly works, and it gained’t burns your nose hairs like Tilex.
Follow those precise rest room-cleaning steps.
Back to toilets. When you clean a restroom, first carry the seat. This seems apparent. However, I’m constantly surprised by the range of individuals who bypass this step. Next, sell off a gaggle of Comet into the bowl, sufficient to clean both your brush and the restroom. Now you’re prepared to wash. Don’t stir—it’s not a bowl of sangria. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Under the rim, down into the cave, anywhere in among. You’re imagined to brush your teeth for two mins—same is going for the toilet. When you’re done, don’t flush yet. Spray the lowest of the seat and the relaxation of the toilet with Windex and wipe it down with lavatory paper. Now flush. Use a rag for the pinnacle of the tank, which is usually very dusty.
Buy this vacuum.
On dates, I used to ask approximately the person’s vacuum. As in, do your personal one? What kind? I, in all likelihood, ruined a lot of first dates this way. Maybe wait until the 0.33 date; however, don’t wait too long. A man or woman’s vacuum speaks volumes. This brings me to the cleansing tip: if vacuuming makes you cranky or irrationally indignant, the probabilities are you’re using the incorrect one. Do your self a want and buy a Miele canister vacuum. Get the Miele that prices $600. It’s German engineering at its best, nearly like using a Mercedes. A Miele handles corners properly, isn’t as loud as American vacuums, and is so good-looking and compact you could use it as a purse. Personally, I don’t have a Miele because I can’t afford one proper now. However, I’m hoping Miele will ship me a loose one for citing their call—Miele—six instances in one paragraph.
Hire a cleaning girl. It’ll be one of the first-rate things you ever do for yourself. Interview her first to make sure she’s no longer like Mona, i.E. A pissed-off photographer with boundary troubles, and then deal with her in reality, genuinely nicely. Please don’t neglect to tip her, for example, and not simply on Christmas. Tip her as you will your hairdresser, because she’s coping with simply as a whole lot of hair, along with all your other dirty business, and because cleaning houses is not any shaggy dog story if it’s accomplished well. It’s clearly the hardest task I’ve ever had.