If the S ever hits the fan, obviously cleaning house is not going to be your immediate concern, survival is. However, for continued comfort and health it is something that will need to be taken care of. How can you keep your house and family clean in a worst case scenario?
If your house has wall to wall carpeting and there’s no power, it’s mighty hard to vacuum with no electricity. Using a generator can be loud, it will call attention to yourself, and it can be a waste of resources. Instead, try sweeping the carpet with a broom. A rubber bristle broom such as the Bissell ARRGH Pet Hair Broom should work or use a carpet sweeper, such at the Bissell Swift Sweep Sweeper. Both will work well on carpet to clean up surface dirt and pet hair. To neutralize odors from pets, accidents, and spills, use baking soda. Sprinkle liberally over the carpet and let it set overnight or as long as possible, then sweep up with your sweeper. As a word of caution, damp baking soda may be hard to remove from carpet fibers so if you live in a humid climate, you may want to mist your carpets with vinegar instead of using baking soda.
For area rugs, bathroom rugs, or kitchen rugs take them outside and hang them over a sturdy clothes line or from a tree. Beat them with a tennis racket, baseball bat, or even a sturdy piece of wood. Be sure to have a cloth over your mouth and nose to avoid breathing in any of the dust and dirt you are trying to get out of the rugs. Again, to remove smells you can sprinkle on baking soda or spray with vinegar. Both are great at neutralizing acid based odors. By the way, this is also a great exercise and a great way to relieve some stress. If you let your kids do it, they get to burn some excess energy as well.
Bedding, and Curtains:
Sheets and curtains can be washed the same way but won’t go through a wringer very well. But this is a great way to get the kids to help. Let them twist the sheets to get as much water out as possible. Of course getting them to keep them out of the mud could prove to be an exercise in patience all of it’s own. If it’s warm and dry outside, hang your clothes to dry. If it’s cold and/or rainy, use drying racks or shower curtain rods.
Of course, keeping clothes clean in the first place helps cut down on laundry. There’s a reason why aprons and pinafores were so popular in days gone by! Use an apron to cover your clothes while cooking and cleaning. It’s easier to wash an apron that an entire outfit. Have a set of clothes for inside that can be worn a few times before being washed and a set of coveralls for outside work.
Washing dishes would be similar to washing your clothes. Fill one bucket or side of the sink about half full with very warm water and let the dishes soak a bit, wash, then rinse. A bit of vinegar in your rinse water will cut down on soap suds for both clothes and dishes.
These are just a few suggestions. Of course, trying to do them for the first time in an emergency could prove to be very frustrating. Practice these things before an emergency, and you will be more prepared to handle them when things aren’t going so well.
Guest post by Kimber.