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It’s not complicated. Who knew?

It’s not complicated. Who knew?
By Carole Townsend

I believe that there are two kinds of people, those who are obsessed with deep-down sparkling clean, and those who are simply concerned with keeping the house uncluttered.

Carole Townsend

I fall into the latter category; my husband, the former. Over the years, we have reached a détente of sorts. Since I am the one of us who does most of the cleaning, he has resolved to be OK with the way I do it. 

He does, however, stay abreast of the latest and greatest products advertised on television: granite cleaners, carpet cleaners, kitchen and bathroom cleaners. You name it, and there is a product on the supermarket shelf to clean it, or at least one that promises to make it smell better. I have each and every one of those products stashed in the cabinets under my kitchen sink. One day last week, I decided to drag them out and put each of them to use. We were expecting guests, you see.

I noticed something right away, looking at all those plastic spray bottles lined up like lemon-scented soldiers on the countertop. The bottles are all shaped the same. They just have different labels slapped on them. I wondered, just briefly, if the liquid inside those bottles might not be all the same stuff, just packaged differently to encourage buyers to make their (countertops, sinks, toilets) sparkling clean.

And then I did something that only a writer or researcher, or maybe a procrastinator, would do. I sat down with my trusty laptop and Googled “household cleaners.” What I found surprised me.

It seems that if you have two commonplace products in your home, you can clean just about anything, from carpet to mirrors. Those products are baking soda and vinegar. In fact, a I read article after article, I learned that with those two products you can not only clean your entire house; you can also do your taxes and deliver a baby, all in the comfort of your sparkling clean home.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been at all surprised by my findings. Our grandparents didn’t have an entire supermarket aisle full of cleaning products from which to choose. But they did have baking powder and vinegar.

I think that, once I have used up all the plastic bottles of cleaning chemicals stashed under my sink, I will stock up on baking soda and vinegar. My life will be much simpler, I can tell you that. For someone like myself, having too many bottles of cleaning products can be overwhelming. I have been known to clean the shower with window cleaner and the toilet with dish soap. If I have to hunt down a specific cleaner or read directions on another, I am more likely to just forget about cleaning and move on to something else, like writing my next book or playing ball with the dogs. I have come to understand and accept that about myself. Simpler is always better.

Come to think of it, I have come up with my own simplified manner of housekeeping, and it’s even easier than the one-two punch of baking soda and vinegar. I just take off my glasses. It’s amazing how clean the house looks with that one, very simple, method.

Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. She writes about family, from both a humorous and poignant perspective. Her newest book, MAGNOLIAS, SWEET TEA AND EXHAUST (July 2014, Skyhorse Publishing) takes a look at NASCAR from a Southern suburban mom’s perspective. She is currently writing her fourth book. Carole has appeared on local and national news and talk shows, including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. When not writing, she travels throughout the region, speaking to various civic and literary groups, and advocating for the health and well-being of the family, particularly women and children. For more information, visit