Saturday, November 19, 2011

Musings on Cleanliness, Procrastination, and Italian Grandmothers

Today I need to clean my house. Relatives are coming in from out of town and eighteen people will be sitting down to dinner next week on Thanksgiving. So there is a lot to do and I must get right on it.

Or, I could delay all that and write about cleaning my house. I read this article once that Italian women are the best cleaners in the world. I think it was sponsored by the company that makes Swiffers or whatever they’re called. You know those mops with a cleaning cloth latched on for quick-dusting floors?

Apparently, Italian women weren’t buying that product at the same rate that other women were. The Swiffer people discovered that Italian women really get into cleaning, spending way more hours a week than anyone else. They have a different, cleaner, definition of clean. So the company began to market the Swiffer as a mop that would polish your already clean floors and their sales went up in Italy.

I don’t know if it’s true that Italian women are so much cleaner. I’m half-Italian, but that doesn’t seem to mean much, which you would see if you visited my house. My grandmother was extremely clean. The saying went that you could “eat off her floors.” And this was before Swiffer was around. 

I think my grandmother would’ve loved Swiffer (but only for post-cleaning, buffing purposes, of course). Once, I went to visit her and talk came around to her favorite hobby. She went through her weekly cleaning schedule with me. One day a week, for example, she emptied her kitchen cabinets and dusted them. Another day she washed out her washing machine. That was interesting to me.

I confess that I have never cleaned my washing machine. I guess I trust that it happens whenever I wash a load of clothes.

But I was feeling the pressure of my ethnicity several years ago when my Italian aunt came to visit. I went on a cleaning rampage through my house dusting corners that had never been dusted and scouring nooks that had never been scoured. It was then that I noticed that the mini blinds in all of the windows were filthy. (Possibly because I had never cleaned them.) This wasn’t the kind of dust you could simply Swiffer off.

I got online for mini-blind cleaning tips and the very first website I came to recommended throwing out your dirty mini blinds and buying new ones. Well, the half-Italian in me had a hearty laugh about that.

The next site was more helpful. Soak them outside in a baby pool was the advice. It happened to be like 100 degrees when I did this. I had sixteen mini blinds soaking and then drying out on my driveway. It took me all afternoon. It was a major sweaty production, to put it mildly, but I was committed. When they were all dry, I went to hang them and found that several of the mini blinds had broken during the process.

Long story short, my husband bought replacements that didn’t match the color exactly of the others, and in the end we bought ALL new ones.

They were only a few bucks apiece.

I don’t know what the moral of this story is. But I suspect my writing-a-blog-to-delay-cleaning tactic is drawing to a close. So with that I will sign off and begin the search for my dust cloth.


  1. I wonder if Auntie Lucille is reading this?

  2. Jody,
    Ha Ha, my reputation still follows me, I am to old to change, only now Uncle Ronnie pitches in.
    Happy Thanksgiving.
    Regards to all.
    Auntie Lucille