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Saturday, July 30, 2011


If I had to make a list of my priorities, my horse would beat out house work. Thus, after 5 years of horses, you can imagine what my apartment looked like. Fifteen cat toys under the oven and a layer of grime, horse dirt, and dust in quantities that would NOT be conducive to a deposit return.

With $700 on the line, it was time to enter the world of modern cleaning chemicals. The bleach, all purpose 409 degreaser, and vinegar that had occupied my cupboard for 5 years needed an upgrade.

I started my assault armed with the following weapons:

Mr clean magic eraser
Scotch bright pads
All purpose 409
Arm and hammer scrub free with bleach.
Walmart brand oven cleaner

The mission was a clean bathroom, and a clean kitchen. I started with a pot stain in the counter - my cast iron bean pot had sat for a week damp a few years ago and left a rust colored stain on the light colored Formica counter. I scrubbed it with the eraser which lightened it (impressive!) and then let arm and hammer scrub free set on it for 30 minutes. After attacking with a scotch bright pad, the stain disappeared. Now I'm significantly less impressed with the eraser - although it did a nice job of wiping down flat surfaces and removing miscellaneous debris.

As I prepped my apartment I wondered - how many other horse people could use a helping hand in the housework department? Do any of my horse buddies pass by the cleaning product section in the grocery section and wonder if any of the new fancy products work better than their childhood staples?

I chose the products based on the following premise - I had a nasty dirty apartment, very little time, and a newly healing broken arm. I had approximately 4-6 hours I could devote to cleaning. So how did the products stack up?

Mr clean magic eraser - I actually liked this, even though it didn't stand out particularly well during any specific challenge. It wiped up nicely, took off a moderate amount of debris and residues, and held up reasonably well as long as it wasn't used on rough surfaces. Because it has a built in cleaner, I was a little worried about using it in conjunction with any other cleaning product. Although I did enjoy using the product, I felt it was too expensive for me and wasn't so wonderful that I would purchase again for general every day use.

Scotch brite pads -the trusty 'ole scotch brites...they did a fabulous job on everything I used them on - from scrubbing appliances to removing stains, to wiping up gunk. I think in the past I've only used pads that were old and used - a brand new scotch pad is a wonderful thing. Somethings to keep in mind: the pads will leave a green grainy substance behind that will need to be wiped up. The pads can scratch some surfaces, so use with caution on softer surfaces. Also, remember these are not sponges - these are scrubbers and will work best if you go behind them with a cloth or other absorbent material and wipe up excess liquid. The price is right and i would use these for general use. I can think of several horsey uses - including cleaning bits and other hardware.

All purpose 409 - I've used this since my childhood. Good overall cleaner, however I'm not found of the highly chemical smell. I usually limit it's use in the bathroom and kitchen, where I'm most likely to appreciate it's antimicrobial properties. Not a standout in anything, but safe for most surfaces, it probably works better if you clean your stuff more often than every 5 years, but for now until I find something that works better with less smell, it remains.

Arm and hammer scrub free with bleach - ugh the chemical smell is BAD. But....for the toughest of 5 year grimes it works. With minimal scrubbing. I consider this my "emergency" cleaner, when vinegar, bleach, and the scotch brite has failed me. Spray it, leave it, and when you can enter the room and breathe again, wipe it off. Don't buy it until you need it. I cant think of using this anywhere near my horse. Possibly if I had a disease outbreak and needed to sterilize a stall and didn't have access to something commercial? Or a nasty stain somewhere that HAD to be removed? I have a feeling it would fade mildew spots, but haven't tried it yet.

Walmart brand oven cleaner - cleaning the oven - what a chore. Talk about another caustic chemical that kills brain cells upon impact. The night I used it, it seemed to work fabulously. Sparkling, clean oven...but the next morning, I could see residue from the cleaner and it wouldn't wipe off easily. Overall not impressed. And really - the oven is closed most of the time and thus it doesn't matter - and i don't like the idea of aerosolized chemical in a cabinet that I'll be heating my food anyways. I haven't actually caught the inside of my oven on fire, so I'm thinking a bit of food residue never hurt anyone?

So what was the conclusion of all my hardwork, cleaning, and scrubbing? - during the pre walk through I was told that they apartment was absolutely dirty and needed to be cleaned......considering I had spent my allotted time cleaning I had available, I asked what the cleaning rate would be. I eventually drug out of the manager is was about $13 an hour and the place would require around 4 hours.....I think she was a little shocked when I said "that sounds reasonable - I'll let you clean it.".

I'll consider it my "sanity money". So while it was fun to try out some of the new products, I'd still rather be cleaning stalls or the barn. The solution is of course to live in a barn.


  1. Funny you should mention this now - I just, this morning, met with someone who is going to drop by a few times a week for an hour or so to help me keep up with the house. I'm having fantasies about clean bathrooms and a lack of dust bunnies! My horses get their "bathroom" area mucked twice a day, but for the life of me I can't recall the last time I cleaned my OWN bathrooms. Must be common to horse people! :)

  2. Housework is not an easy job. Sometimes even professionals need help with it.
    No matter what, though, it has to be done regularly.


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