Monday, May 28, 2012

Cleaning for the Homestudy (And a Review)

I said I wasn't going to clean like a madwoman for the homestudy.  And I really, really wasn't.  I was actually worried to have the house too clean, because I thought she would think we're really filthy slobs and we had to scrub top to bottom for her to believe we aren't.

I keep the house fairly clean, and I used to vacuum and mop every. single. day, but I've gotten lax on that recently.  Something about having a toddler on the move makes you reprioritize!  So, I wanted our social worker to see how the house looks on a typical day.  And I just don't have time to scrub from top to bottom with three kids, homeschooling, doll making, paper chasing, and all the other things that fill up my day.

I wasn't gong to clean until... Erika Rogers (a.k.a. soon-to-be mom to Bernadette -now Jessa- and Mason) asked me to have a home party where she'll demo anti-bacterial cleaning products, and she gave me some things to test before the party. 

I received four items to try out, and I tried each one with an open mind, knowing I'd blog about my actual thoughts while cleaning, and the actual results.  I know too many people struggling with finances to say something works if it doesn't, and have them waste money.  So, here they are, my reviews!

Product 1: Body Cloth
Erika told me how well it worked for her daughter's skin and, since my face is having a high school reunion (ugh), I grabbed it when I got in the shower.  When I scrubbed my face (with no cleanser, just the cloth), it was a soft cloth, so I knew it wasn't going to make my face feel smooth like when I use a face scrub.

Well, I was WRONG!  When I got out of the shower, my face was so smooth and felt very clean.  Still, I didn't notice a big impact on the "guests" in my pores.  When I got up the next morning, my face was still very soft, with a moisturized sort of feel to it, and my chin had cleared up a little bit.  Typically by the afternoon, my face is out of control oily, but even on this 83-degree day, my face is only slightly oily.

Products 2&3: Enviro Cloth and Window Cloth
Oh my goodness, if there was a product I doubted it would be these two.  Especially for cleaning windows.  You see, my mom cleaned houses to make extra money, and she tested every product on the market to find the least streaky option: paper towels vs. newspaper, Windex vs. vinegar, any new product that promised a streak-free finish.  I knew if I was cleaning windows I'd better clean the inside horizontally and the outside vertically so I'd know which side was streaky and needed to be redone.

Erika promised that even my kids couldn't mess this up, and if we used these cloths, I wouldn't have to worry about the kids squirting Windex in their eyes.  So I put it to the test on my filthy sliding glass doors.  Yogurt fingerprints and kisses on the inside, doggy nose prints on the outside.  I got the Enviro Cloth damp (water only) and started with my horizontal on the inside technique.  I felt very "Karate kid" (wax on, wax off) with the pink Enviro Cloth in my right hand and the purple Window Cloth in my left hand.

Hmm, no streaks.  Really?  How about a zig-zag?  Surely I'll get some streaks if I try.  Nope.  Swirls?  Still streak-free.  Wow, I bet the kids really could do this!  Before I knew it, with only a damp Enviro Cloth and dry Window Cloth, I had cleaned my sliding glass doors, the windows in the living room, and our entry door (I even took apart the enclosed blinds and cleaned the inside). 

I moved right on to the bathroom mirror.  It didn't matter what I cleaned, there was no transfer of dirt, and the cloth just kept cleaning.  I'm sold!

Product 4: Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent
I have a confession: I have to wash my towels 2-3 times to keep them from stinking.  This makes for a lot of wasted water, electricity, and time.  It's a race against the clock to get the towels out of the wash before they sit for even a minute in the washing machine.  I've tried e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  Bleach cycles for the machine, vinegar in the wash, hot water, cold water.  Everything just seems to mask the smell, instead of actually killing it.

The sample package I received says it does 10 loads of laundry, but that's for a standard machine.  HE machines (like mine) take much less detergent, so I'll get 40 loads out of this resealable package the size of a Ziploc snack bag.  The actual product you purchase does 40 regular loads, or 160 HE loads.

First load, the big test.  Towels and washcloths, the two things that make me never want to tackle Mt. Washmore, because it seems pointless when I know I'm going to have to do it over again.  The washer was about 3/4 full, so pretty typical.  I opened my detergent drawer and added 1 tsp. of detergent.  I closed the drawer, then opened it again, tempted to pour the entire bag in to get the smell out of my new towels (yep, they're not even old towels, we've had them just a couple of months).  I closed the drawer again, set the machine to "Normal" soil and "Sanitize" temperature, which is how I run every load of towels. 

1 hour, 21 minutes (or so) later, I was standing by the machine, ready for the beep, which signals "GO, GO, GO... get the towels out NOW!"  It was time for the smell check, so I could separate the towels and washcloths that smelled clean and the ones that needed a second run through.  When I put my nose to the first towel, I didn't smell anything at all.  I almost put it in the pile to wash again, because I'm used to detergent with fragrance, when I realized that it wasn't that the towel was unclean, it was completely without scent.  No fragrance from the detergent, but no mildew-y smell either.

It was so nice to put my nose up to a towel that had only once been through the wash and smell nothing.  Elijah and Sadie have eczema, and Ayden has sensitive skin, so I'm going to do another load of their clothes to see if this detergent is less irritating than what I've been using.

My laundry not having any scent at all is going to take a little getting used to, but not having to deal with stinky towels will be so, so worth it.  Oh, and I tested it with the delayed cycle, and there was still some powder in the drawer when I went to start my next load.  Still, there was no smell, so I can't complain!

I'm on my fifth load of laundry, and you can't tell I've used any of the product.  It really takes a tsp. of detergent, so it will last quite some time. 

Overall Thoughts

The Body Cloth is still making my face feel soft and clean, and I like that I can just dampen the cloth and rub my face, especially since I've had really oily skin recently.  Typical face wipes range from $5-$20 for a pack of 100.  Assuming you use one wipe from a $10 pack every day, over two years, you'll spend around $70 on face wipes.  A set of 3 Body Cloths is $19.99, and they come with a 2-year warranty.

Savings: $50 over 2 years

The Enviro Cloth and Window Cloth have passed the test for me, and I know I'm buying them.  No more paper towels for cleaning the windows, the bathrooms, the kitchen counters.  At about $1 per roll of paper towels, and using half a roll a week, that's $52 over two years.  Using a bottle of Windex and orange cleaner a month (or less), at $4 total, that's $96 over two years.  The Enviro Cloth is $15.99 and the Window Cloth is $17.99, and both have a two-year warranty.

Savings: $114 over 2 years

The Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent may not have a scent, but as long as my towels are clean, having a fragrance is not at all important!  My current detergent is supposed to wash 64 loads, but I can't use the smallest amount, and I had to rewash several loads, so I was probably getting 30 loads for $8.  I do a load of laundry per day, typically, so I'm spending about $192 over two years.  The Norwex laundry detergent is $20.99, and will give me about 160 loads per bag (because I have an HE machine).  That puts my cost over two years at about $95.

Savings: $97 over 2 years

My total savings on just these four products over two years is over $250!   I know I'm getting these four listed, and there are a couple others that I'm excited about trying, too, like the mop with different mop pads and the toilet brush system. (I hate toilet brushes... they have to be one of the most disgusting things EVER.)

I'm having a demo in my home THIS FRIDAY!!!  If you're local, I'd love for you to come to my home, and if you're out-of-town, you can order through the party, as well!  Proceeds benefit our adoption!

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