Getting Organized, Cleaning Up and Going Green
I was in the process of reorganizing my life. You might ask why I’d want to do that. I should just live for the here. Live for the now. After all, I do have PD, and by the time I actually do get organized, I may have wasted precious time that could have been spent doing something more creative — like eating chocolate or jumping in puddles with my grandson.
For me, though, I’m finding that the more organized I become, the better quality of life I am experiencing.
In my organizing endeavors, I have tried to make a resolution to go green in my cleaning as much as possible.
I was raised on bleach, Ajax and ammonia for cleaning around the house. Each year I have gotten a tad bit more aggressive with my cleaning solutions, believing they will ward of infectious and dangerous diseases, illnesses and cooties. Their potency, as the fumes suck up the remainder of my brain cells, seems to get stronger as well.
The other day, I was washing the shower. I had my trusty supplies: A sponge, my precious bottle of bleach, Pine Sol and an almost-empty bottle of Ajax. I was armed and ready. Now, my neurologist has repeatedly assured me, upon multiple inquiries, that I did not get Parkinson’s from cleaning the bathroom in this way. I don’t think he knows just what I actually use.
So, I sprayed the shower walls with a bleach-and-water mixture and then began scrubbing them. Every crevice, every crack, every corner. Clean, clean, clean. My eyes began to water. Then they began to sting. Then they burned and I was practically crying as they were weeping profusely.
Then it hit me.
I can’t smell this stuff.
If you have Parkinson’s disease, you know first hand or are aware that your sense of smell can be affected. Well, here I was cleaning the shower with some majorly high-powered cleaning solutions and practically dying and not knowing it.
Needless to say, it actually terrified me. In a good way.
That night, I Googled “bleach versus vinegar.” And you know what (maybe you do, but I drag my feet when it comes to new things in the cleaning department)? Bleach is highly overrated and vinegar is highly under-rated. There is, naturally, a debate about which is the better cleaner, but this is what I learned.
After reading up on vinegar, I decided to try a popular solution for cleaning showers that has been circulating as nothing less than a magnificent, miraculous substitute. You use one cup of boiling vinegar and add one cup of blue Dawn dish washing liquid, mixed in a spray bottle. Spray it on the surface to be cleaned (tiled surfaces, shower doors, etc.). This is where the directions differ. Some say leave it for a half hour and then rinse. Some say to rinse right away. I ran a sponge over the interior of the shower after covering the walls and then rinsed right away. My shower has never been so squeaky clean and I could breathe through the entire process without sticking my nose up to the window screen and gasping for air every 30 seconds and watching brain cells float away as I exhaled.
What’s this got to do with PD? As a person with Parkinson’s disease, you need all the brain power you’ve got. Switch to green cleaning. Also, it’s so much easier on the body and for those who have mobility issues, it’s pure genius to be able to use just a spray bottle and rinse.
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