Middle class rant coming on
January 15, 2013
I am not a natural housekeeper. It’s a strength I would love to have but don’t. I love to come home to a tidy, sparkling house that smells of polish and fresh flowers. And luckily we earn enough to employ a cleaner. Our current one is great – a whirlwind who does whatever she wants no matter what I say. She is trustworthy, reliable and does a much better job than me. And I am fine with empl;oying someone to do my dirty work – it’s what makes the world go round.
But we have had a variable quality of cleaners over the years, but sometimes I wonder if there is a conspiracy going on. Do they actually all have shares in paper towel factories? What is it with insisting I buy paper towels for them to use and going through them at about the rate of two a week?? What the fuck is that about? I’ve come to the position now where I refuse. I never use them for cleaning – happy with dusters, cloths, old towels, old pillowcases that get washed in the machine and re-used. No need for endless paper towels.
Then there’s the Pledge or Mr Sheen. Used for everything. Where I would use Cif or Astonish and a damp cloth, they use Pledge and a light wipe. I have had to demonstrate the effectiveness of a bit of elbow grease and a pot of Astonish cleaner to show them that the mantelpiece, the shutters, the painted woodwork all comes up much cleaner if they’d use it. Even after they have allegedly polished it with Pledge. They nod in their Eastern European way and simply ignore me. Admittedly Pledge leaves the smell of polish whereas Astonish is unscented, so perhaps it is a way of making sure I know they’ve been. But to be honest, some of them were as effective at cleaning as if they’d squirted the Pledge in the air.
And of course there’s Viakal. The limescale remover. Used by the gallon. God knows what for, but even our local Waitrose has huge shelf space devoted to it compared to ten years ago. Apparently Viakal is the only decent one so my current cleaner tells me. I’d probably used one bottle in the ten years running up to 2004 , then about one a month since then.
Then of course there is the Polish inability to look up. Becuase the majority of our cleaners have been Polish and none of them have yet managed to understand I would like the picture rails cleaned and the cobwebs removed from high places. I just don’t think they see them.
I have written notes and explanations, requests and tried demonstrating. But I get nowhere. I don’t have the time to spend the day cleaning as I would like it done every week, but have spent time writing it down so they can take it home and have it translated if need be. All I want is a proper, deep clean of one room each week (that means picture rails and skirting boards and moving the sofa and every picture and ornament cleaned not just knocked out of place), and the rest of the house kept on top of. So over the period of a few months, every room would have been properly cleaned. All the cupboards would be emptied and cleaned and restocked. The wardrobes would be cleaned inside and out. Under the beds would be hoovered and cleared. But have I ever managed to get a cleaner to do this? No.
Then there have been the ones who would happily do the ironing. It was meant to be an extra if they had time after they’d finished the cleaning. But one of them much preferred it to cleaning so would opt to iron instead. Unfortunately she was so slow that hardly much of anything would be done. I had to send the ironing out to be done as I couldn’t leave it in the house or she would opt to do it and not bother cleaning. No matter what I said. She had to go.
What all our cleaners have been great at is tidying. Although the kids have torn their hair out of the years as they can’t find things or receipts have been thrown away. For me, it is a price worth paying that I sometimes can’t find stuff. I have never been part of the brigade that you have to tidy up before the cleaner comes so they can clean. I only employ those that are prepared to tidy up too. The current one has suddenly got in to tidying the airing cupboard and the towels and sheets are in regimented rows. It looks great. Better that than tackle the picture rails I suppose….