Sometimes, we, as human beings, limit ourselves by a view that something we know is situational rather than adapting what we already know to a different set of circumstances.Â Even though we already know the principle we fail to apply it in other areas.Â The easiest cleaning secret ever is just that.Â In fact, it’s not a secret at all.Â You already know this secret and most likely apply it in at least one set of circumstances – but probably not in many more circumstances where it’s use would make cleaning far less work than we make it.
So, in the interest of helping us as humans develop our adaptive knowledge and ability to apply solutions across domains, I’m not going to just tell you what the secret is.Â I’m going to use a literary technique that will lead you to the discovery of the secret for yourself.Â I’d like to introduce you to a couple of women who will demonstrate for you the concept of the easiest cleaning secret ever – Lea Schure and Ima Zausted.
Lea and Ima are neighbors.Â They both have a son who is active in a scouting organization.Â In fact, both of their sons are in the same troup and Lea and Ima quite often volunteer to assist the scout leader with activities.Â On this particular Saturday morning both Lea and Ima had a dozen boys each at their homes for a pancake breakfast before a day of fund-raising.Â After getting everyone full of pancakes and loaded on the activity bus Lea and Ima both faced the task of putting their disheveled kitchens back in order.
Ima begins with the dishes.Â She scrapes any left overs into the trash, including as much syrup as she can, but it’s been a couple of hours and the syrup has already begun drying on the plates.Â So she stands at the sink scrubbing all the sticky syrup off each plate before putting it in the dishwasher.Â There are 12 plates, plus 3 more where she, her husband, and her daughter also ate, as well as 15 glasses, the batter bowl, griddle and utensils.Â It takes Ima 2 minutes to get the gunk off of each plate – so she spends a minimum of 30 minutes just getting enough syrup off that the dishwasher can get them clean.
Next Ima tackles the batter and syrup splattered counter.Â She wets a nylon scrubber and sprinkles a little scouring powder on it and begins scrubbing at the dried on splatters.Â After a few minutes she has successfully loosened the mess in a small area and walks back to the sink to rinse the scrubber and apply more scouring powder.Â Ima repeats this process until the counter is clean and follows the same procedure on the kitchen table and then the stove-top.Â Another 45 minutes has elapsed.
Finally, Ima sweeps the kitchen floor and disposes of the loose debris in the trash can.Â She gets out the bucket and mop and fills the bucket with hot soapy water.Â She proceeds to mop and scrub the kitchen floor with the scrubber strip on the mop as she finds mess stuck on the floor.Â After each 2 foot area Ima rinses the mop in the bucket.Â Halfway through the floor she empties the dirty and now “unsoapy” water in the bucket and gets fresh soapy water.Â Another 35 minutes gone.Â At last, Ima finishes the floor and empties the mop water, wipes down the other appliances and washes down the sink – then she collapses into the nearest kitchen chair after the nearly 2 hour ordeal to sort out her kitchen.
Lea begins with the dishes as well.Â She also scrapes any leftovers into the trash but Lea doesn’t try to scrape the sticky syrup off.Â Lea runs a sink full of hot soapy water and submerges the utensils and glasses and fills the batter bowl with hot soapy water as well.Â In the other side of her double sink she runs a half a sink full of hot water to which she adds 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.Â It takes Lea 5 minutes to scrape the dishes and run the water. Â For the next 3 minutes Lea sweeps any loose particles off the counter, table, stove, and finally the floor, disposing of the refuse in the trash.Â Lea washes each of the 15 glasses which takes about 30 seconds each after soaking in the hot soapy water for three minutes.Â She rinses each glass in the sink of plain water and vinegar before putting it in the drainer.Â Then Lea sets the stack of sticky plates in the sink of hot soapy water.Â So far, 20 minutes have elapsed.
Next, Lea takes her dish cloth and spreads hot soapy water from the sink onto the counter, table and stove-top – it takes her about 3 minutes.Â By now the hot soapy water has softened and loosened the gunked up syrup on the plates and it washes off easily.Â She washes each of the 15 plates and rinses (again about 30 seconds each) and then the utensils (another 2 minutes).Â The batter bowl, which has been sitting with hot soapy water in it,Â is clean and rinsed in 1 minute and Lea puts the griddle in the wash side of the sink.Â Another 13 and 1/2 minutes has elapsed.
Now Lea takes her wrung out dish cloth and wipes down the counter, table, and stove-top – all the dried-on, stuck-on batter and syrup has dissolved into mush and simply wipes away.Â She rinses her cloth in the soapy side of the sink as needed and it takes her 5 minutes to clean those three surfaces.Â Lea washes and rinses the griddle (1 minute).Â Then she takes her mop andÂ spreads water on the floor from the wash side of the sink, lightly, not huge puddles, but paying particular attention to splatters or spills (about 3 minutes).Â Lea lets the water out of the wash side of the sink and puts away the glasses, plates and utensils (another 3 minutes).Â Lastly, Lea mops up the water and any gunk on the floor – which wipes up as easily as it did on the counter, rinsing her mop in the rinse water from the dishes after each 4 foot square.Â This last process takes another 3 minutes for a total of 15 minutes since she finished the dishes.Â Lea pours her self a cup of tea and absconds to the patio to do some reading since it only took her 48 and 1/2 minutes to clean her kitchen.
So what is the secret?Â What was it that allowed Lea to clean her equally dirty kitchen in only 48 and 1/2 minutes when it took poor Ima 1 hour and 50 minutes?Â You see it, I know you do – but maybe you can’t find the words to describe the concept.Â So here is the secret – in a short, easy-to-remember phrase:Â Let your products do the work.Â Quit wearing yourself out scrubbing and scouring and let the solvents (water), surfactants (soap), grease-cutting and disinfecting (lemon juice) agents do what they do best – cleaning.Â And, you know, you’re not only wearing yourself out by scrubbing and scouring – you’re wearing out the surfaces of the items you are scrubbing and scouring as well.Â So relax. Let your cleaners clean.Â Less really is more.