Sunday, March 31, 2013

Advice from the prepping Housekeeper

     As a housekeeper, I run into many situations that have built up a library of dos and don’ts.  I learned from cleaning up the messes!  Allow me to share some of them with you.

     At one house the owner came in to ask if I could help identify a stain in the garage.  We went out to the garage as he told me how he noticed a little puddle of oil on the floor on Sunday and he thought he got it all but now it was back.  I looked up.  On the rafters above his puddle of oil was a box marked OIL.  He stored his turkey frying oil where most people store the artificial Christmas tree and lights.
how to clean oil on garage floor
     He forgot, or didn’t know, that hot air rises.  He had placed the box in the hottest spot in the garage.  The box was soaked with oil from the exploded plastic container inside.  We put down a tarp before moving the box.  That was a good thing because the minute he touched it, the thing broke into a river of peanut oil.  After we got the box and jug of what was left of the oil in a trash bag, it was time to scrub a capful of laundry detergent across the tarp to break down the oil and hose it into the lawn.  I mentioned he might want to check the top of his wife’s car for any more “puddles” of oil!

     I gotta tell you he wasn't the only turkey oil disaster I've cleaned up!  You also cannot store two or more boxes of turkey oil on top of each other in a garage in Florida in a position that catches the setting sun through a window for more than two years!  

     The plastic jugs the oil comes in are meant to last from the plant to the store and then to your home.  The seams are the cheapest possible to allow for a profit.  They are not meant to stand up to extreme heat or cold.  They actually come with instructions printed in them, such as do not freeze, do not store near heat, etc.  They are not meant to last beyond the urge to fry your first turkey and they don’t. 

      Shampoo bottles and bottles of moisturizing body wash that are designed to be stored upside down are another kind of threat.  I had a homeowner who had me in while she was pregnant because she couldn't bend in the middle.  She specifically asked me to look for any mold or mildew because she was suffering allergic symptoms. She told me she had actually moved to this house because of mold in the home they had lived in for only a few months.  I found the mold and mildew.  

     It was in her husband’s body wash bottle.  Stored upside down as the printing was upright and the cap is on the bottom for easy pouring, the bottle was set on a shelf in the shower.  Most of these moisturizing washes have oils or animal fats in them; the caps catch the water in the shower and provide food and the perfect damp conditions for mold and mildew to grow.  This particular bottle cap was dark.  The husband came home, took his shower and never opened the bottle at eye level to see the dark strings of yuck growing.  He just squeezed and rinsed and hugged his wife till she was sick.  I showed it to her and she cried.  They had sold her dream house and moved while she was pregnant.  It was both a relief and a jab in the heart because she realized all the angry calls to the mold specialist and the insurance companies were unjust.

   The next place to look for hazardous mold and mildew is in the shower head itself.  If you don't clean it regularly, you are swimming in it!

   Then there was the clean house.  I had a homeowner that cleaned before I got there and cleaned along with me as I worked.  The house was spotless when we finished.  She was a minimalist.  There was no clutter for dust to rest upon.  Even the cans of food in the pantry were neat, straight and one of each.  

     The danger here?  There were no stores of emergency supplies.  She could not tolerate more than one of anything.  The home was a magazine photo shoot waiting to happen.  Like storing oil in extreme heat, any extreme habit or quaint personality character can spell danger or even disaster.  She is very nice and very neat with no room in her life for storing or gathering or prepping.  I will miss her after the crunch!



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