Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Monday, November 26, 2007

Frugal Cleaning

"He who wants to change the world should begin by cleaning the dishes."
-Paul Carvel

During September when we had seven people in our home, that crowd included a baby.
One evening we all were lounging in the living room; the child at one point needed to have his nappy changed and his mother did it without fuss. She stepped into the adjoining room to dispense of the item.
From where I was sitting on the floor I noticed her face metamorphose into a mask of slow-dawning horror. She was laughing but something was wrong: she looked as though she could happily get in her car and drive away forever.
She told us not to look, any of us. Of course we looked. In moving from the living room to the kitchen she had lost some of the 'material' along the way. She was mortified. In another person's home, at that!
I provided her with items so she could dispense of the 'material' that had fallen onto the tiles.
Then, from the living room, came her husband's gasp: something was on his leg and, worse, something was on the carpet by his leg.
They both looked like they might cry at any moment.
We were all struck dumb by the situation but, having learned a tip or two about cleaning over the last few frugal months, I happily leaped into action.
"Did you know that baking soda would make this carpet cleaner than it was before?" I said to her.
She was astonished and a trifle dubious.
"Really? I had no idea. Baking soda?"
"Baking soda."
I gave her the container, myself wanting to steer clear of the affected area.
She sprinkled some baking soda onto the spot and before long, that was the cleanest area of carpet in the apartment.
The bright patch is still there today, reminding us that the rest of the carpet could do with a jolly cheering up.
That is one of the most urgent cleaning tales I possess in my repertoire: thanks to the mercy of an inexpensive box of baking soda, all was well in no time at all.

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