In case you have the impression that I'm really hung up on cleaning, think again. The purpose of this column is to give everyone more time to spend at the beach.
Not only do I spend little time cleaning but I'm also too lazy to solicit payment from the persons and products I recommend. That much effort takes the fun out of pretending to be the Heloise of the Virgin Islands, so I'll just keep telling you the best I've found and hope I get rewarded in the next existence.
Simple Green, a liquid cleanser, degreaser and deodorizer, is designed for our island existence. The base of the product is citrus peel. It contains no ammonia or Clorox so it is far safer to our environment than most cleaning products. Because it is biodegradable, it won't hurt your plants when you dump your wastewater on them. Use a very small amount.
WAPA has recently switched to a chlorine-base water purifier. It is a good idea to limit your use of ammonia and ammonia-based products. The combination of ammonia and chlorine can cause fumes which make you dizzy and ill. Some persons are susceptible enough that even small amounts in combination can have an effect. I once had an employee pass out into the tub she was cleaning with this combination.
Because most of us use cistern water which is very soft we need less than half of the liquid soaps, detergents, and shampoos we would normally use. I find it easier to dilute them before I use them to avoid having to rinse and rinse to cut the bubbles.
For instance I use an old dish washing detergent bottle, fill it half full of water and then add a couple squirts of the dish liquid.
There is an excellent product called Clorox Clean-up which is quite helpful in cleaning bathrooms and cutting mildew. But it is rather expensive. You can make the equivalent yourself. Using an old bottle, fill it 1/3 full of Clorox, 1/3 of water and add a couple generous skirts of your dishwashing liquid. Now you have Carol's Clorox Cleanup.
I use it to clean the tub, the bathroom floor, the kitchen sink, snorkel equipment and the refrigerator. Just don't forget it's Clorox and will spot and shred sponges, rags, rugs and clothes. But it also kills mildew, athlete's foot, fungus, rust stains, etc.
I've found a trick for repairing those pesky crank shutters that many people have to eventually learn to like open or closed (wherever they got stuck last). They corrode easily and should get a shot of WD40 into the crank hole on a regular basis.
But if that advice it too late for you, try this: remove the crank and insert a Phillip's Head screwdriver that fits rather tight. With one hand slowly moving the shutter and the other turning the screwdriver, convince it to move. Then spray with WD40 and continue convincing until it will work with the crank again. Do not force the shutter or you will permanently lose your convincing power. Now spray the ones that still work!
Good handymen are so hard to find we'd like to pass on a recommendation that has never failed us.
Randy Berry of Berry Good Handyman has more repair skill and reliability than anyone we've found. He can be reached at 714-1239 and he specializes in small jobs — those pesky things you never can figure out how to do. He also has a great sense of humor and plenty of little survival tricks that he shares willingly.
If you would like to recommend others you've been pleased with, we'll gladly pass on the information. It doesn't count if you depend on the person for your income.
Editor's note: Carol Lotz, former owner of A Friend Inc., a housekeeping service in New York City, welcomes other housekeeping tricks and problem solutions you have found. She'll also do her best to answer questions. E-mail your ideas or questions to her at email@example.com.