Friday, June 12, 2009

It's coming up roses in my Laundry Room

The rose bush planted last year off our deck is in full bloom and a few moments to clip it have produced a fascinating bouquet of dark pink roses for my kitchen. But not everything in the house is coming up roses. My laundry room stinks!

I recently piled some sour smelling beach towels into the washer for a nice deep soak, but nothing could quite remove the sour smell from my laundry room. Even with the towels sunning outside and the litter box squeaky clean my nose told me something was amiss. I searched for the offending (and presumably wet) cloth everywhere, but opening the washer's lid was where I found the sad surprise. The offensive smell was actually lingering in the washing machine itself. As I grabbed a small tub and baking soda (all I really needed to clean the ring around the tub, thanks Granny!) I contemplated the way of these machines.

I rely on their labor saving help every day, but rarely do I stop to do any maintenance. I change the oil in my car and rotate the tires, but when was the last time I scheduled care for the machines inside my home? The washer, dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, and air conditioner are systems that perform better if they have a little attention, but growing up I didn't learn much about what kind of care they need - just that some crazy cousin always fixed them when broken. I grew up in the struggling suburbs of Atlanta and while some of my clothes came from Sears, I didn't know what a service agreement or warranty was until I was grown. I didn't have one until we bought our first washer/dryer. Now the washer is out of warranty, but not out of mind.

As I type my hands are drying from the wipe-down of the washer, a task that took less than 15 minutes. The baking soda cost me less than $.03 and the elbow grease was minimal to remove the ring of scary looking dirt inside my machine. A quick rinse in water removed the grime and then a spray with a light mix of clorox/water means that the smell is completely gone and my washer is cleaner than the clothes I'm putting in it! The rag I use for cleaning and then toss in with my towels, but now I'm determined to take whatever rag is handy and give the washer a brief swipe before tossing it in for a load. This should reduce the number of times I have to break out elbow grease.

I'm pretty sure that there are pieces within the washer that should be oiled or tightened after its 12 year life, but I'll leave that to another time when I've researched the online maintenance manual. I did have the manual for my vacuum and cleaned the collection tank with water per the instructions. Now two of my household machines are happier and will work better for me, hopefully leaving me time to enjoy those roses or my garden (the source of a great deal of my dirt!).

I'm not a neat freak, just ask my mom, but sometimes it's a lazy thing, really, to maintain the tools. The better these things function, the less work I have on an every day basis. Normally I scrub the floors, bathrooms, our clothes and the couches (windows are my bane), but today it was a clean of the cleaners. These cleaning machines share my work around the house and almost never complain, but they deserve my attention if I'm to have a home that works to support my life and allow me to smell those roses.


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