World Arnold Chiari Malformation Association
Pam's Hints

Helpful Hints for easier house cleaning - Editor Pam H.  ( )

*put aluminum foil on the bottom of your stove or lower shelf, if you have something to spill, just take it out and throw it away, also, put foil on the broiler pans.  

*Good air cleaners help reduce dust. Good maid service or personal assistant does the rest.  

*a sponge mop (dept store) with a handle on it so you don't have to ring it out with your hands.

*Use a light-weight vacuum and use short pushes instead of long ones.

*self propelled vacuum cleaner, with dust extensions  

*those dusters with the long extensions.   

 *cordless telephone headset or a intercom telephone.  

 *a stool in the kitchen to sit or stand, a electrostatic duster  

*Placing everything you can, i.e. cleaning supplies, trash bags, anything up where you don't have to bend down under a sink or something to dig it out helps me a lot. Bending just kills me. I even bought my washer and dryer in a stack so as not to have to bend over so much.

 * I went to the doctor and got his approval to apply for In Home Support Services through the local Social Services in my area  

*I hire my granddaughter to do heavier chores like changing bed sheets, moping, vacuuming, etc.

*buy LG. bottles of detergent and have husband or someone put in smaller containers so you don't have to lift heavy ones.    

*first a big carving knife, with a saw handle my whole hand grips made by gustavsberg of Sweden ....this thing makes chopping , cutting bread etc. a true breeze ....much safer than others I've tried .

 *get a small wheeled tea cart for moving heavy baskets of laundry , taking many small things from room to room ( like setting the table , serving food etc. ) these are great balance assistants too , ( when your wheeling em you've got something to hang on too ) . which brings me to my last tip ask for referral to an O.T. its astounding the number of adaptive aides out there available these days ......a good O.T. , can recommend all sorts of simple changes in your house and work areas that really help !   

*Have the children and spouse do some of the chores,  

*get a long handled dustpan to sweep things into. 

*make sure you get a goods night sleep each night!  

 *simple thing to avoid having to almost stand on your head to really clean the microwave: put a tablespoon or so of baking soda in a cup of water. Let it boil in the microwave for a couple seconds. The steam loosens everything and just wipes out. Check your operating manual before trying this. 

*One of the things I find very helpful is using my dishwasher, since my hands hurt so bad at times I cannot wash dishes anymore. A friend of mine made a dust pan with a handle for me so that I don't have to try and bend over to hold it......this is also a big help. There are also gadgets (sorry I don't know what they are called) but they fit on the end of your ink pen so that the grasp you have to make on it is fatter and cushioned. I got a bread maker for what a wonderful invention. I have not made homemade bread for ever and ever as I couldn't stand the pain of mixing and kneading it. To clean the tub.....I use a mop. I can't stand the instant headache I get from bending over  

*I have a helpful hint for cleaning the bath tub and walls of the shower and it keeps your broom/sponge mop really clean, too. Put the plug in the tub, shake a generous amount of Ajax or Comet cleanser into the tub, add a LITTLE bit of water, spray the walls with a spray cleaner, and grab your broom/sponge mop and scrub real good. Dip your broom/sponge mop into the Ajax every once in a while for easier scrubbing. When every thing is cleaned simply remove cleaned plug and rinse good. Rinse tub, walls, and broom in the same fashion you cleaned them. Use the shower for this. The shower/hose combinations are great for this. Simply run clean water and swish the broom/mop over everything.   Your tub, shower walls, broom/sponge mop, and even the plug are nice and clean quickly with absolutely no stooping or bending.  Hint: I allow the broom/sponge mop to dry in the tub. 

 *Something I have found enormously helpful the last few years is my "Mr. Tubby" to clean the tubs and showers. It is a swiveling scrubbing-sponge on a telescoping stick. Using it, I can remain standing to clean the entire tub and shower. That's great for me, because I don't have to get on my knees and then tip my head back to see what I am scrubbing, as I would have to do if I used a hand-held sponge. (see the previous idea)   *The Gripper works great!!!(on anything). JC Penney's has it in their special needs catalog. 

 * clean the bathtub by climbing into it. This may not work for everyone, but I'm fairly small and can squat in it. I'm just hoping my knees hold out. Often I don't do all the cleaning on the same day either. That was especially true when I was first getting back on my feet a couple of months after surgery. I've also trimmed the bushes and just left all the clippings for my husband to pick up  

 *To easily remove burnt-on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stovetop - skillet will be much easier to clean. "PAM" type coatings are very difficult to remove so avoid them if you can.

*If you have a problem opening jars:
*Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy

*(for folks with vision and hand troubles) When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

* Look what you can do with Alka-Seltzer:  Clean a toilet - drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush, and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china. Don't use other cleaners in conjunction with Alka-Seltzer. - Clean a vase - to remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets. - Polish jewelry - drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.  

*Unclog a drain - clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water. Don't use Drano or similar products with this treatment.

*buy one of those inexpensive plastic utility buckets with the rope handles for carrying laundry

Some yard and gardening tips:

*I, too, have one of those blowers. Black and Decker makes them. They use chargeable batteries. They are great for blowing leaves and other garbage out of the garage, from the sidewalk, driveway, etc. They are so light you can do it with one hand. Also good for blowing light snow off driveways and walks 

*Gas powered blowers work even better, and start easily. Homelite and Sears make good ones.

*There is a new rake) have probably seen it advertised ..for sale at Sears. It is great & less stressful on neck & don't have to bend over to pick up the debris of yard clippings, leaves, etc. It folds in half, kinda like tongs holding the debris between the two sides then release & open over the container or lawn bags 

*Lightweight leaf blower, with a mulcher, electric or gas.

*use a soaker hose

*one of those 4 wheeled hand carts for carrying debris

* a riding lawn mower or hire a lawn service (no mowing, no maintenance, no storage and probably cost effective). Ditto for snow removal services.

*time released fertilizer

*use mulch and/or Preen to keep weeds out of the flowerbeds

*borrow a neighborhood kid to do your weeding (some work cheap)

*have trellises next to the house for growing different plants

*electric hedge trimmer

* use mostly perennials, and mix a few favorite annuals

*plant mums for fall color (remember to keep them pinched back until the 4th of July for all blooming)

*use a foam mat if you have to kneel

*buy a carrying storage stool for sitting/weeding etc. and use it to store your tools

*use raised beds to keep from getting on the ground

*have large container pots for growing plants, or veggies

*if you can't work outside, bring some large pot indoors and have house plants

* have a nice container of herbs indoors or out.

* remember when working outside- wear a hat, sunscreen, have a water bottle handy, and carry the phone, oh and bug spray.

* use shovels and rakes with the bent, ergonomic handles.

Thanks to all those who helped out with this list- (if I have forgotten anyone, my apologies) Sincerely Pam H. The contributors to the house and gardening sections were: Pam H, Kathleen G, Scott, Cindy's mom, Suzanne H., Lycia, Chip, Susan S, Judy Marie, Nancy A. Suzanne C, Cassie, Sarah in Paradise, Carol J., Steppenwolf, Lauri, Luella, Diane K, Barbara, Melinda D., Sue G., Dori, Bernie M.


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