Cleaning: Here vs. There

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Sunday, September 2, 2012.

I took me a looonnng time to 'get' the cleaning apparatuses (apparatae?) of Brazil.  The rag on a stick mop, the dust rag (where you need to do a pre wet wash, followed by a dry wash with another rag) and actually, rags in general.  Brazil is a country where the tattered rag is King. 

But upon trying to clean my current space with my pre-Brazil 'tried and true' Swiffer Wet Jet, Swiffer Duster, and Swiffer Tile Cleaner,  I realized something.  Brazil has GOT IT FIGURED OUT when it comes to thorough, awesome, cleaning.

This is the cheapest and best 'mop' you'll ever find...
What the hell is a Swiffer anyway??? It's this crappy, breaks-in-my-hand-if-I-apply-any-force, surface cleaner. Where's my drain in the floor so I can pour a bucket of soapy water on the floor, scrub the dirt with a straw broom, and squeegee the shit out the place??? THAT is real cleaning.  Not this "wet wipe on a bendable stick" crap.

I've become just as bad as you Brazilians. You Brazilians and your impeccably clean homes, free of dust and streaks.  Free of animal hair, even though you house more than a couple of dogs. Am I complaining? No, I am not. It just seems that Canada is not ready for my eager-Beaver (haha Canada joke) approach to cleaning. While Brazil seemed so 18th century in their cleaning approach, I see now that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

In times like these, I summon my inner-Alda. (She was our housekeeper in Brazil and damn could that woman clean. DAMN)  Time for me to go out and get a bucket, a wooden pole, several old tattered rags, some spandex shorts, old Havaianas and long manicured toenails with wild designs on the big toe.  It's the only way I'll be able to do a good job and make Brazil proud.

7 Responses to Cleaning: Here vs. There

  1. American Heart Brazilian Soul


    This is too funny!
    We complained for years...who am I kidding.. we still complain, about the lack of "drains" in tiled areas around here.
    In Brazil, we were used to hard core top to bottom cleaning, with lot's of fresh clean water and clorox and a very good scrubbing.
    Here, we have to put up with the faux cleaning swiffer duster crap.
    We found that a steam mop with (partly)satisfy
    our native Brazilian need for real cleaned surfaces...
    With a steam mop, you can be sure your house is sanitized and you can cut down on the "most likely" cancer inducing chemicals... just use water, steam and vinegar nowadays... ;)



  2. Alex

    HA yes! This is so funny! I noticed the same thing in Mexico. When I came back here, I was like...ew, there is hair everywhere. Human hair, animal hair...everywhere!!! No drains in the ground, no! We should have them though, they really make a lot of sense.

    Nice post! Hope you're doing well!


  3. Lindsey

    They made no sense to me in the beginning - I was like what for? Just use a swiffer! haha Oh, how I was a dirty gringa in the past... heheheh

  4. Lindsey

    I almost forgot about bleach! how I love a good, freshly bleached kitchen floor...

    I'm very interested in alternatives that won't require the quantity of water necessary to do a good job! Steam mom sounds pretttty sweet!

  5. Meredith

    Haha, my husband actually told our cleaning lady yesterday that she can just throw water on the floor in the kitchen and bathroom and scrub away. I'm sure that's what she did. That's what he does.

  6. MissyCrissy

    Haha, this is sooo true! Whenever I'm back in the UK I hate using mops instead of the good old rodo + rag combo aaand I hate that I can't literally wash the bathroom and kitchen haha

  7. Anonymous

    Hi, I was just passing by, started reading your blog when I saw this post and I started laughing out loud at the drain bit because it was the first thing I said when I tried to clean my place when I first arrived in Australia (Oh - and I went full Brazilian on it with a bucked, a broom, a squeegee and some awesome rags). Just for emphasis purpose because it hit me right after I filled the bucket with water & detergent: "Where's my drain in the floor so I can pour a bucket of soapy water on the floor, scrub the dirt with a straw broom, and squeegee the shit out the place???" hahahah... nada! niente! Zero! Not in the bathroom (ew) not in the kitchen (ew) not in the balcony (ew)!!!

    My English flat-mates did not know what I was talking about, they still don't!

    One of the most frustrating thing for any Brazilian and I guess, former expats that lived in Brazil... still laughing (and complaining after 6 years here)


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