Leigh Anne Tuohy for AARP: Spring Cleaning Tips for the House, and the Soul

April 10th, 2012

April 10, 2012
By Leigh Anne Tuohy

One of my kids, I won’t mention which one, recently saw a news report that stated there have been new studies revealing that household cleaning supplies have a greater possibility of a carcinogenic effect on individuals than originally thought! This news flash instilled immediate fear in this child and “SHE” said I’ve got to call the other two siblings; we’re going to die!

She knows I use this time of year to engage everyone in a ritual we have all heard of and I really live for which is “Spring Cleaning.” I wait until after Easter; I don’t want to seem too eager. Gotta play the cool card, even when cleaning is involved. I’m not going to lie,  her revelation startled me a little as I pretty much have a Windex bottle attached to my right hand at all times. It is like an accessory to me, my watch and my Windex bottle. My family members are familiar with that yummy Windex taste and have actually grown to like it. I tell them, just as my father told me, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!


Many nights, being the multi-tasker that I am, I would be Windexing one of their spots at the table as the other one was still eating and the latter would say, “Mom, you just sprayed Windex on my food.” I would respond with, “Oh, a little Windex never hurt anyone; this particular Windex even has a little vinegar in it so it can’t be that bad for you.” It hasn’t appeared to stunt any of their growths, especially the boys, and they really appear to be three very well rounded kids. The occasional twitch and loss of hair…just kidding.

I was raised by a grandmother and a mother who were obsessed with cleaning. My grandmother did spring cleaning year round. Every occasion  was a reason to spring clean. I remember when we would be taking the Christmas decorations down and Virgie, my maternal grandmother, who lived in the house with us would say, “Let’s spring clean before we put the furniture back and let’s straighten the attic before we put the decorations back up there.” Even at an early age, before I was required to help, I thought it was odd to do your spring cleaning in December. Oh, my mom would start taking the Christmas tree down at midnight on Christmas Day. Yes sir, at one minute after midnight, that tree was coming down. That holiday was over, donezo, finished and it was time for the tree to come down.

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