I am the youngest of five girls now strong-willed hard-headed women who were raised in a strict Italian house where my mothers' signature scent was bleach and ammonia – mixed – don't tell my mother it's toxic because she will prove you wrong. My father, my poor father not a single male in house unless you count our dog Dudley who whenever he went to the bathroom NEVER lifted his leg he always squatted – so yes, my dad was outnumbered.
My mother was probably the first germ-a-phobe to exist, she loathed anything that was dirty, despised when we had dirt on our faces or in our fingernails, this is the women that invented the “baby wipe” but never had the foresight to copyright it -think I'm joking? Really? Well let me ask you this: did your mom carry a wet washcloth in a plastic baggie to make sure your face was always clean?
Germs could never outlast my mother, EVER, our sheets were changed on a weekly basis, the floors were scrubbed daily, and dust bunnies the poor things they didn't survive to live an hour - in my house my dust bunnies are multiplying by the day and I think they might be organizing a union. Let's just say me and cleaning – well the apple flew off the tree and has never landed.
My father diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis drove my mothers germ and cleaning obsession (today, I am pretty sure it would be called OCD) into full tilt; she fought her damnedest to try and ward off every other disease that could possibly enter our abode in order to protect us and my father's already compromised immune system. She made sure we would be healthy (we ate soy pancakes, bran muffins and tofu crap way before these "health foods" were popular, late 70's-early 80's, another post for another time). I can honestly say I never missed school because I was sick...not counting the times I ditched and forged my parents signature (but that's yet another post for another time, damn I have to write more!)
Nevertheless, in my efforts to ward off the flu in my house (and general cold and ickiness of the winter) I have adopted my mothers tips to stay germ free and keep my family healthy, the good Lord knows that sick children + a sick husband = a very exhausted mom.
And because I am a giver and not a taker, I am sharing with you my moms tips for warding off germs, you can thank me later with a tall glass of sangria:
- *Open the windows in your home EVERY DAY even if its zero below. Let me back up a little... first, shut off the heat (so you are not throwing cash out the door) then open at least two windows in the house EVERY DAY for a good ten minutes. You will freeze your ass off as you kill the germs! After your nipples can cut glass close the windows and turn the heat back on (rookie mistake!) Viola! Your house is now germ free and smells … winter fresh!
*Use bleach whenever you can – if you question whether or not you should use bleach, use it.
*Rinse the families toothbrushes with peroxide EVER DAY, if you have a strong resolve gargle with it too, for me that's not happening.
*EVERY week put the toothbrushes and hairbrushes in the dishwasher, yes, you read that correctly. The dishwasher (works for grimy toys too!) And once a month run the dishwasher (empty) with bleach. Yes, my mom is bat-shit crazy, thats why I am not normal I was poisoned with bleach!
*Change your sheets WEEKLY. No exception to this rule, if there wasn't five of us I can guarantee this would have happened daily - even my mother knew that putting six sets of fitted sheets on a bed, on a daily basis, is a bitch.
*Wipe down every sink, counter-top, door knobs, faucets multiple times a day. Lysol wipes are great for this – if you can buy stock in Lysol (rather the parent company: Reckitt Benckise) - do it, trust me, you'll thank me later as you are retiring in Cabo.
And if you happen to get sick, well, I have a list of my mom's Italian cold home remedies that will get you up and cleaning your molding in no time! And yes, it involves bleach.