July 19, 2024
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July 19, 2024
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Pesach Cleaning! (You’re Welcome)

This week’s article is about cleaning for Pesach, in response to the people who keep saying that I always run that article too close to Pesach.

It’s never too early to start cleaning. People are always saying, “I wish I’d started cleaning earlier.” No one says, “I wish I’d started cleaning later.” Sure, at this point you don’t even know if you’ll be home for Pesach. What if Moshiach comes before then, and we’ll all fly to Eretz Yisroel, and you’ll feel like an idiot because you just spent seven months cleaning your house in the States? This is one of the main reasons people keep making aliyah.

The good news is that if you start right now, you can do one room a day, and before you know it you’ll have to start again from the first room because your kids believe that the only way to eat cookies is while running, and the best way to sneak food at night is by dropping their wrappers behind their beds for you to find all at once before Pesach.

Maybe you have too many rooms. That’s the problem. And too much stuff. The less you have, the easier it is to clean up. Remember: You just lived for an entire week in a single-room dwelling that had nothing but a table and chairs and maybe a cot and a serious amount of extension cords and some posters on the floor, tape-side up. And how long does it take to clean that entire “house”? You generally have the whole thing gone, top to bottom, by Purim. So why do you need so much stuff in your life? What else do you need?

So one idea, if you’re starting to clean now, is to get rid of stuff. Even stuff that isn’t chometz. This will make it easier to clean your house the other 95 times you have to cycle through it.

Sure, it seems silly to live half your life in anticipation of Pesach, but no one says you can’t live the other half of your life in anticipation of Sukkot. Who says you can’t put up a sukkah the day after Pesach? You can also buy your arbah minim then, although you’d have to keep replacing the aravos every two days. And by the time Sukkot starts, your esrog will be considerably smaller.

“But how do we start cleaning?” you ask. The best way to start is to get some cleaning supplies. One of the biggest annoyances in cleaning for Pesach is starting to clean and remembering halfway though that you don’t have any cleaning supplies:

Sponges: You want a sponge that has a soft side and an abrasive side. I never use the soft side. Using the soft side would be like getting a fork and sometimes picking things up by poking them with the handle.

Microfiber cloths: Like the ones that came with your glasses, that you lost the day after you went to the optometrist. Do some Pesach cleaning, find the cloths, and then use them to clean surfaces that are like two inches by two inches. Or you can buy bigger cloths. They make microfiber of all sizes, actually. We have microfiber couches. And I’ll vouch for them. They’re great at picking up dirt. All the dirt in our house is stuck to those couches.

Alcohol: Rubbing alcohol, I mean. It turns out that the way to clean a microfiber couch, I read somewhere, is to spend all day rubbing them with rubbing alcohol, or maybe some good schnapps, until the fumes start making you woozy and you collapse on the couches and your wife comes home from work and asks why your entire house smells like a Beis Chabad.

Toothbrush: You can also clean certain things with a toothbrush, in case your surfaces are covered by some kind of plaque or gingivitis. But not the toothbrush you use, obviously. The one your spouse uses.

Toothpicks: Toothpicks are great for getting into those hard-to-reach cracks and then snapping off in those cracks, and then using another toothpick to try to get the sliver of the first toothpick out of those cracks, which is why they come in packs of 500. I have a handy toothpick holder in my house, and it has a hole on top the size of one toothpick. You just turn it over and shake it, and nothing comes out. Then you shake it again, and nothing comes out. Then you shake it one more time, and you get eight toothpicks.

Cleansers: You probably already have 85 different spray bottles, each one marketed for a different room of the house, even though the ingredients look pretty much the same and the only difference is the smell. And some of them smell worse than the rooms you need them to clean. There are a lot of cleaning products out there, the idea being that you’ll say, “Hey maybe that’s why our house isn’t clean. We don’t have the right bottle of cleanser!” when the reason your house isn’t clean is that when you clean it, you use a dirty mop that you would never actually touch with your hands.

Vacuum cleaners—plural: Because things get stuck. This is because we vacuum up everything that will fit in the hose, and everything that won’t fit we attempt to lift off the ground through suction and then remove it from the front of the hose by hand so we can crumple it up and feed it in at the right angle.

So get cleaning. Maybe start with your sukkah. That’s a pretty easy room to clean. You just take it apart, and then you don’t even have to vacuum. The animals will do the rest. Then you can just vacuum the animals. And you have several months to buy a new vacuum cleaner.

By Mordechai Schmutter

 Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and Aish.com, among others. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].


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