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    Cleaning (while under the influence of fibro)

    Daily tasks can feel next to impossible for Fibromyalgia and Fatigue sufferers, and the size of the living space seen through eyes attached to a tired and/or sore body, can look too huge to conquer.  This article provides a few tips to avoid some of the strain that comes along with keeping a home spic and span.  

    Breaking it Up
    First of all, not everything needs to be done in the same hour or day.  Dusting can be one day, vacuuming another, laundry the next.  Nothing wrong with breaking it up if it seems too overwhelming to even begin.  It’s important to take care of your home, however, because as much as you may not think so, a  a clean home can positively affect your sense of well being in many ways.  Additionally, it’s not going to help anything to breathe in a bunch of dust or to constantly expose yourself to growing bacteria.   

    My least favorite thing to do.  The tile in my house doesn’t have a nice smooth layer over it, so getting in all the crevices of the stone requires some elbow grease.  A regular mop with soap won’t cut it.  I have a Shark steam mop which is extremely efficient, but with the texture of the tile, it’s not easy.  If you have smooth tile, there’s no doubt that a steam mop will be the easiest solution for you.  No bucket/soap, just water.  A towel covers the “mop” head and can be thrown into the washing machine afterwards.  Otherwise, ammonia mixed with water does an incredible job.  The issue here is the chemical odor.  Most of those with Fibromyalgia are sensitive to smells and the chemicals aren’t going to make anything better.  I really only do it if my pets aren’t in the house and I can be outside for a while afterwards.  Another solution is mixing up a few drops of dishwashing liquid with water, alcohol, white vinegar in equal parts.  With this mixture, you can quickly swish your mop over the floor and let the mixture work it’s magic, rather than scrubbing.  

    Thanks to my extremely hairy 65lb child, my house needs to be vacuumed multiple times a week.  It’s a trade off that is well worth it, in my book.  I have a vacuum that makes this task at least 5 times easier than it should be.  What I use is a basic Simplicity upright (F3300 Freedom).  This model is on the lower end of the price spectrum for the brand, but is by no means a weakling.  This cleaning device is self propelled.   Upon powering up on a tile floor, the vacuum will take off on it’s own.  It’s so light, that cleaning a hard floor is comparable to pushing a feather duster around the floor.  You’re really only there to guide the machine.  Cleaning the carpet takes no time either, because the force required to cover ground is hardly anything.  The belt was broken on my vac for a while, and I was borrowing another high-end brand that was lightweight as well.  While it too is a nice vacuum, there’s no comparison.  After getting my Simplicity back, I remembered why it had always been so easy for me to vacuum the entire house every other day.  I have an area rug in my living room that has mid to high piling and it really requires some grunting to get a regular vac across it (no exaggeration, not that I’m the strongest person on the planet).  Using a vacuum cleaner of this quality really cuts down on the time and soreness that can go along with necessary cleaning tasks.  I’ve had mine for about 4 years, and there’s been no loss of suction.  To test one out, you can visit Simplicity’s website at simplicityvac.com and see if there’s a dealer anywhere near you.  They have locations in the US and Canada, but if you find yourself out of luck, there’s always eBay!  Don’t bother buying extra, brand name bags, as they are available for any model at various places online for a fraction of the cost (including shipping).  Simplicity also has a great warranty, and their entire line is great.   Should you decide to purchase a Simplicity (or any other vacuum only available at speciality shops), keep in mind that you can negotiate price.  I got a “Sport” (high powered portable cleaner) thrown into my deal.  

    Another decent choice for smaller tasks is the iRobot Roomba.  They range in price, based on what you’re looking for.  The up side is that you can set a timer and by the time you wake up, your floors will be sparkly clean thanks to the little robot that could.  Both my brother and uncle have them and use them frequently with surprisingly good results.  They have wood and tile floors, which is likely ideal for this type of system.  I know these guys are available all over the place (Bed Bath & Beyond, for one).  

    Vacuuming can be one of the most draining cleaning tasks for those with FM, since it requires an often high-resistance motion.  The $150 or so that you spend on a good, light, self-propelled vac is well worth it.  Some may say that it “gives them a good workout”, which is one way of looking at it.  However, there are less aggravating, low resistance exercises available to achieve a more effective workout (and really, vacuuming isn’t ever going to provide you with the benefits that real exercise will).  

    Yum, who doesn’t love to clean the bathroom?  :-/   Any bathtub/shower is going to acquire at least a little bit of soap scum with each use…and it’s gross.  An easy option is to buy a bottle of the daily non-scrub shower spray (It’s under $2) and give the area, as well as the curtain, a good spray down when you get out.  This pays off, as the tub will stay clean for a longer period of time, reducing the frequency at which you must get in there and scrub.  When it comes time for a more thorough cleaning, a handled  dish cleaning scrubbing  sponge can help things to move along a lot more quickly and effortlessly than a rag or paper towel.  There’s also always the option of an automatic shower cleaner (in the bathroom cleaning section of pretty much any store), and it can’t get any easier than that.  

    Keep toilets cleaner, longer, with cleaning/bleach tablets that can be set inside tank, or cleaning gel that sticks to the inside of the bowl.  A brush next to the toilet will decrease the effort required, once it’s time to get rid of the water stains.  

    Surfaces can be disinfected with the use of flushable cleaning cloths.  Keep them in the bathroom for quick use.  This will also create a smaller carbon footprint than using a cleaning liquid, along with paper towels.  

    Cleaning Services
    There’s no shame in hiring a cleaning service, should you find yourself with the funds to do so.  Whether it be once a week, or once a month, these people will provide your house with a deep clean that will relax your mind and provide you with a healthy environment.  Make sure to go with a reputable cleaner, by speaking with friends or skimming through online reviews.  You may find that individual “maids” will charge less than a service, however, you want to make sure they are reputable, trustworthy and give you your money’s worth.  Many of those who work in housekeeping in hotels, also clean houses on the side and tend to do a great job.  

    Remember to keep it as simple as possible.  Most importantly, as long as you stay organized, you’ll make things easier on yourself.  Letting a mess get out of control may be the most convenient option in the moment, but it’ll end up making life increasingly more difficult and certainly won’t help with the already difficult task of keeping a clear mind.  Don’t discount the “shortcuts”, they’re there for a reason.  




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