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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Passover Preparation for Improving Emotional Health!


20 Adar, 5775

One of my favorites months is fading fast, and so is the gunk in the kitchen. Meanwhile, I want to maximize emotional and mental health for you and me as Passover season approaches.

A reader wrote to me about yesterday's cleaning tips, "Shalom, Yocheved,

Thanks for all this information.  I do appreciate it and will do.  Please, teach me more..."

I hope you're ready for Part 2 of the Pesakh Prep, everybody. We're gonna hit the floors after a little FYI review:

Use only natural vinegar. Synthetic varieties do not clean anything.

Yellow natural vinegar is for household cleaning. 

WHITE natural vinegar is for laundry purposes. You can even add a 1/4 cup to the area where fabric softener goes in your laundry machine. A natural fabric softener that won't leave allergic people itching or sneezing, it removes soapy residue that causes white clothing to turn gray.

Now we're gonna hit the floors and make them SHINE. Let's start with a quickie vocabulary lesson:

Vocabulary lesson: 

1. "Sponja" is the Israeli term for floor-washing

2. "Smartut" is the name for the cloth that Israelis use to wash floors.  It is tightly woven fabric of 100% cotton - usually white but sometimes blue - and quite durable on the tiled or ceramic floors typical of Israeli buildings. 
Carpeting is rare, here, and linoleum almost unheard of. They don't survive the sand that pedestrians track in on their shoes.

Brace for Impact! 

You're about to learn my 6-smartut floor-cleaning method for the average 2-bedroom home:

Sweep your floors thoroughly, including the ridges atop tile trim.

Buy the type of sponja stick with a 2-pronged clamp. It holds the smartut cloths in place. 

I use 2 cloths, 1 draped on either side of the blade, then gripped by the clamp. 

I douse the cloths with soapy water mixed in a bottle I keep for that purpose. Then I wash the floors, sections at a time. No puddles, no endangered furniture (cultural comment for you outtatowners: Sponja is traditionally done by tossing buckets of soapy water across the floors to be cleaned. That method tends to damage furniture sitting directly on floors, not elevated upon legs, And wow can it leave puddles a person can slip on!).

I scrub difficult spots clear of debris with a bristle brush (already in my hands in case I'll need it), soak them in yellow vinegar for several minutes, then wipe the sticky area clean with the bristle brush as necessary plus the soapy, wet cloths.

After the floors are all wet, I toss the 2 cloths outside to dry off, and fasten 2 new, clean cloths on the sponja stick. I douse them with a mixture of cheapo vinegar (I buy it for 12 shek per 5 liters in a local grocery store) and water. I rub the wet floors clean of soapy residue and toss those 2 cloths outdoors to dry. I re-enter the house after stepping onto 1 clean cloth under each foot (I leave them at the doorway before starting the clean-up job). Then I slide my way across the floor to dry off any accidental puddles or to access the room I want to be in (the phone has a talent for ringing just as I end sponja time).

Floors remain shining clean despite my footsteps with dirty shoes. 6 cloths are later tossed in the wash and I'm not a bit tired nor do I worry that I looked awkward while prancing around on sponja day. I used to, and that did not make me happy...

Kids or grandkids around? Let them skate on clean smartut cloths to finish the job. It's a fun learning experience that teaches safety, too.

Wait'll I teach you how to make a non-toxic volcano in the kitchen sink, to clear the drain!

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Flip annoying housework into a fun adventure.

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