21 September 2017

How clean is your toilet?

Right now I think I might just have the cleanest toilet in Ireland! It’s not just a little bit clean – it’s so shiny you can see your reflection in the bowl clean!! Now you’re maybe thinking ‘who is this woman and why is she making such an outlandish claim?’ But I’m not boasting I am perfectly serious!

I decided to do the mother of all cleans – you know, not just a lick and a promise with a duster – a real down on your hands and knees scrubbing with a toothbrush sort of job! Step one was to make a list, a BIG list. I wrote down every area in the house that needed to be gutted, washed, hoovered, dusted, redesigned, re-modelled, re-built. When I reached the end of the third page I decided to begin in the utility room (after a mug of strong coffee and a chocolate biscuit of course.)

Now, before you get the wrong impression of me I am not ‘Houseproud Hattie’. I have four adolescents and a husband – better make that five adolescents, so keeping a pristine house is more of an ideal than a reality. But for that very reason I try to keep on top of things, try to keep things under control otherwise laundry would be meeting me at the front door and crossing the landing would be as perilous as a trek up the Amazon.

In good ‘shopaholic’ fashion my ‘clean’ was pre-empted by a trip to the supermarket to stock up on a range of cleaning materials – nothing worse than running out of cleaning mousse when you’re on a roll!

I think the woman at the till realised I was on a bit of a mission when I put through two mop heads, cleaning mousse, cleaning cream, oven cleaner, disinfectant, bleach, bleach with cream, glass cleaner, bin bags, polish, small sponges, large dishcloths and a galaxy! (Ok so the galaxy didn’t have a lot to do with the whole cleaning thing but a girl has to have some perks!)

The utility room was a bit of a ‘cop out’ room to start in really. Apart from the ‘medical box’ and one other unit there was nothing much to report back on. The contents of the medical box were duly categorised and sorted: cough medicine for chesty coughs, dry coughs, cold and coughs, night time coughs (you get the picture – I have a bit of a thing about coughs.) The kitchen however shocked me! Before I started it actually looked perfectly fine; the dishwasher was on, the food was in the cupboards and all the worktops were washed down, but when I started to look inside I found so much gunk it was just plain scary! The ‘tupperware’ cupboard was so haphazard it freaked me out. I tried to match the lids to the containers – well what a waste of time that was. It was like losing socks in the washing machine all over again. My ‘baking cupboard’, well, my very loosely named ‘baking cupboard’ was a monument to my inability to bake. The sprinkles were all still in date but as for the flour and cherries they definitely weren’t up to much! I did however find the candles for all my ‘home-made’ birthday cakes and the ‘poppers’ I couldn’t find on New Year ’s Eve.

I almost felt traumatised however when I stuck my head in the gap between the top of the units and the ceiling! Not only was there enough dust up there to make a man, you could have made a whole community, maybe even a nation!! I couldn’t believe it! While I’d been merrily bleaching and disinfecting all the units at eye level I’d missed out on what was going on just above my head. (Now before you say it, I know that you can line the top of the units with old sheets of newspaper but I hadn’t quite got round to that!) I made a mental note to only buy cupboards in the future that go right to the ceiling – who needs down lighters anyway?

When I moved to the bathroom I was a woman on a mission! I made it my goal to scrub everything within an inch of its life and tried a cocktail of cleaning fluids in order to get the job done. (Nothing illegal now, just whatever it took to remove the dirt and grime!) That brings me to the toilet seat. I took a look at it and thought, ‘You know what, I think I’ll just get a new one’. Now I have tried to buy new toilet seats before with limited success. Did you know that they don’t all measure the same size? I have bought at least two that now jiggle about as the fittings are slightly off kilter! Not willing to make the same mistake again I searched the brochure and found the seat that matched my suite. A quick phone call will sort this I thought. Well…you could have knocked me down with a feather when I found out the price of the seat. The very pleasant assistant on the end of the phone assured me the seat was in stock and was retailing at £170! (Let me say that again using all the letters – one hundred and seventy pounds!) I couldn’t even pretend I would call back later. I told her that at that price I would have to move into the bathroom myself to make sure that no-one missed!

I have a book called ‘How Clean is Your House?’ and I have to say that after my little cleaning fest I had another thought, ‘How Clean in Your Life?’ On the surface my house looked absolutely fine – fine until I started to look into the nooks and crannies, the areas just above eye sight or lower than my range of vision. It reminded me of our lives as we stand in front of God. Romans 3:23 tells us, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We try to put on a good show, try to look good even as Christians we try to ‘keep up appearances’ but as 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us, “Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.” Isaiah 64:6 tells us, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” No matter what we do to try to make ourselves look good there will still be things below the surface that are dirty and unacceptable to a holy God. What fantastic news for everyone that God has provided a way that we can be made clean, that our sins can be forgiven and we can be made pure enough to enjoy a relationship with God through His son Jesus and that He can cleanse us from within.

So the toilet seat is clean, and shiny. Such was my disgust at the cost of living that I scrubbed it so hard with a toothbrush I not only removed any dirt and grime but three quarters of the varnish and any remaining gold on the fittings. It’s gleaming beyond belief though!

Ruth Ravey