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Summertime is the perfect season …for cleaning?

By Kara Schroeder | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-16 07:02
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Living in an older apartment building in Beijing for over three years, one downside is discovering how drafty the windows are. Each day, at sunset, as the dusky rays flood through the glass, I am a bit horrified at the layer of dust covering the floors and furniture. As a self-proclaimed "clean freak", I find myself vacuuming every surface twice daily.

Kara Schroeder

While I don't take for granted having a roof over my head — a shelter that millions around the world are lacking — I can't help but wonder what I might be breathing into my lungs. A year ago, I had a window repairman come to see if he could seal them better. Alas, the answer was no. They would need to be replaced completely. Having suffered through pneumonia, influenza and bronchitis the past three months prompted me to begin an even deeper inspection of what was traveling through the spaces from the outdoors into my home.

The beginning of summer is upon us and many see this particular part of the season as one of renewal. So, what better time to move the furniture and appliances from their nests? Imagine my shock when I moved the navy blue sofa away from the wall to see it resembling a chalkboard that had been the bearer of an artist who repeatedly scraped white chalk across it. Or the refrigerator that, once moved, looked like a crime scene that had been outlined around where it had been killed.

Being a clean freak, I possess a lot of high-end cleaning products and appliances — an upholstery steam cleaner, an expensive, imported vacuum, lavender-scented sprays, and a high-capacity clothes dryer. Like the spring season and summer when flowers bloom, I wanted my home to blossom with cleanliness and freshness.

Getting to work on such tasks is no easy feat. Just when you start working on scrubbing one thing, you notice another. At least that's how it is for me. I'm an easily distracted clean freak. After hours of vacuuming, dusting, mopping, steam-cleaning and spraying, every surface was like brand-new. However, given the window quality, the freshness disappeared within a couple of days.

All is not lost, though. The late spring/early summer breeze in the air with the sun shining through the windows motivates me to soldier on. Nothing compares to crawling into a clean bed whose clothes have been washed in lavender soap. Sitting on a sofa with newly scrubbed, cozy cushions is one of the best feelings to come home to after a long work day. And seeing the shine of the floors, free of dust and hair, makes you want to take a deep breath … even if you have to start all over in a few days.

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