Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home by Thelma A. Meyer

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home: No-nonsense advice that will inspire you to clean like the Dickens
by Mrs. Thelma A. Meyer

Copyright 2009

Wellness Central - Nonfiction

239 pages, incl. index & glossary

I got my copy of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home from Anna Balasi at Hachette Books. Believe it or not, I love this kind of book because:

a.) I'm a pretty rotten housewife (I need a lot of reference books to guide me -- maybe that's a nicer way of describing myself), and
b.) I no longer have a mother to ask for advice about tough stains and/or such important things as how to clean the kind of floor that people used to have in their homes in the 50's and 60's, which were forsaken in the name of glorious linoleum and now have come back into vogue.

Yes, I know that was a disgusting run-on sentence. Nobody has ever accused me of being succinct.

When I began reading, I really did actually feel inspired by this book but I decided I needed to do what I do with most "how-to" books before putting things into action: read first, then reread whatever portion is urgently needed, as applicable. And, there came a point that I started to get a little disillusioned with the book. There is a Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products company, and it wasn't the real Mrs. Meyer who created that company, but one of her daughters. I didn't find that overly off-putting, just knowing there was a company out there with the name of the chick on the cover.

However, once I got into the book, I found that I was a little muddled by some of the suggestions. What, for example, is "all-purpose cleaning liquid"? To be honest, I need a little more guidance, like some brand names. The glossary doesn't suggest brands, either, so it's not particularly helpful if you're already baffled about a particular item -- meaning, I guess, that you could go look up Mrs. Meyer's products, but . . . big but. I'm not going to go out of my way to locate her cleaning products because I'm pretty sure I'd have to either order or drive 50 miles to my nearest Target to get them. Sigh. It really sucks not having a mother.

Point being, I'll have to determine whether or not I have some of those generic cleaning items (and, if not, what exactly they are and where I can acquire them) before I can put the book into use, but I do think the book is presented beautifully. There are lots of cute little boxes with lists of supplies, drawings and anecdotes that make the book a joy to look at. In spite of a few misgivings about some suggestions I'm concerned might be a little too weak to do the job, very few of the cleaning items are costly or difficult to obtain so it won't hurt to try. I'm going to put Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home in my utility room and refer to the book, as needed.

Mrs. Meyer recommends avoiding a lot of the typical chemical cleaners that one can find fighting for space in the cleaning-product aisles, opting for "natural" ingredients instead, in most cases -- lots of baking soda, vinegar, etc. There are a few items I'm pretty sure I can't acquire locally (eucalyptus oil, for example -- in general, if it's not at Walmart I'm out of luck), but I've been using baking soda instead of a bleach cleaner to scrub my kitchen counter-tops for years, so I can verify baking soda as a good choice for a lot of cleaning needs. Vinegar is new to me, apart from window cleaning. I'm looking forward to giving her methods a go.

Photo of the day . . .

It's possible my cat is a little spoiled. She has had her own water glass in our bedroom since she rejected her kitchen bowl and went after my bottled water, one day (she climbed right up on my chest and tried to drink from my bottle. I kid you not). She's a nut. And, I'm an enabler.


  1. I LOVE this book! There is another one that I like, called Newmans Own Guide to the Good life, or something similar. I use it all the time!

  2. I'd say she's talking about any all purpose cleaner and there are about a ton of them out there.

    Max has taken to drinking out of the glass of water I usually have by my bed at night. I was just drifting off the other night when I heard lap, lap, lap... and of course immediately after I shooed him away, I wanted a drink!


  3. She doesn't knock that glass over?!?! What a good kitty!

    Good luck with the housecleaning. I've started using vinegar for lots of chores. It cuts through grease better than anything else I've tried, so it's great to use on the stove top, kitchen cupboard doors, counters, etc. I also use it on the bathroom mirrors and it doesn't leave streaks like Windex!

    I'm on a roll. I'm cleaning a closet or drawer every day. Spring has sprung!

  4. Aw, she's so cute!

    This sounds like a book for me. I'm a clean freak.

  5. I'm sorry that all you have to shop at is Wal-Mart. Our dog is almost as spoiled as your cat. Her water bowl is downstairs, and when she's upstairs and wants water, we fill a bathroom cup for her to drink out of. I've tried putting a second water bowl in the bathroom, but she'll have none of that.

  6. I've tried several different "natural" cleaning recipes, but don't do enough. You can get eucalyptus oil at many health food stores, and I've also bought it on line from sources like Birch Hill. You can find great recipes for natural cleaning products on line by googling.

    I use a combination of eucalyptus, tea tree oil, lavender, and spearmint oils to clean my yoga mats and kitchen counters. I use vodka rather than water as the base - :). Also works as an air freshener.

  7. haha! I can see me having a lot of the same problems with this book as you... It's like when I read a cookbook... I always feel stupid, really, because they are written so everyone can understand them and I am always trying to figure out what they are talking about...

  8. I guess I shouldn't judge before I read, but I'm finding the title a bit hard to believe:"...inspire you to clean..." Unless we're talking cold hard cash, I don't see myself being too "inspired." Oh, I do it because I know I should, but...

  9. Jessica,

    Uh-oh, a suggestion. I'll look that one up, thanks! Seriously, I need all the help I can get, here.


    I have always had trouble with generic references like that. There's a makeup book I recently read that was the same way. I kept thinking, "I just need a brand name, here or there, to let me know exactly what you're referring to," but I guess you can't do that if there's competition and you don't want to mention them.

    Hmm, you may need to keep a bottle of water by the bedside. I always have an open bottle or cup on the nightstand, but I don't often have to defend my water from the cat.


    No, she never knocks it over. In fact, we have more trouble with the humans accidentally kicking cat bowls than anything else, around here.

    Oh, great! I'm so glad to know you've used vinegar successfully. It's worked well on windows, but I never thought to use it on the stove (duh -- glass stovetop). We've got a lot of spring cleaning to do, but it's going well. David took off work, today, to help. Isn't he swell?

  10. Chris,

    I used to be a clean freak and then I went through a, "What's the point?" phase. Now, I'm tired of cringing and ready to go back to being a neat freak.

    My kitty thanks you. :)


    I grew up in a town half this size and they still have more options than we do, here. Someday, I hope to live somewhere that Walmart visits aren't a requirement to survive! :)

    That's so funny about your dog! My cat is pretty picky, too. She wasn't drinking her water, so I had to encourage her and if a glass works, that's great. Old cats often die of kidney disease, so I want to make sure she gets plenty of liquid.


    I should have thought to ask you. :) I'll look up Birch Hill. We have the co-op store in Jackson, but we don't make it there, often enough to keep a membership, so it's kind of pricey.

    I was actually kind of surprised that she didn't mention tea tree oil for mold. It works really well to just spray mold with a water/tea tree oil blend and let it sit for a day or two. I need to get more. That's one thing I discovered we do have at Walmart. Wahoo for that.

  11. Kailana,

    Some cookbooks make me feel stupid, too. It's amazing I've survived as a housewife all these years. I always knew I wasn't cut out for the job.


    I used to actually go on these weird cleaning binges during which I got so wound up I'd clean till 3:00 in the morning. Weird. Yeah, I found it inspiring. I'm desperate, though. LOL

  12. Anonymous5:10 PM

    hi....nice blog..
    what had you written was kind of similar as mine.. it just that i wrote about what had happened daily in my life...
    have a look on my blog when free...

  13. Mr. Lonely,

    Yep, I do that, too -- chatter, chatter. Sometimes it's nice to have a place to just write about your life. :)

  14. I"ve got this one to review too, and it's so overwhelming in what she expects!

  15. Lisa,

    Yeah, you can't possibly do it all at once. That's one of the reasons I decided to read through and then refer back to what I need, when the time comes.

  16. I used vinegar on my floors once … but I did it the morning of a party, and the house still smelled odd when the guests arrived. :)

    And I love your suggestion for tea tree oil for mold – I’d never heard that before!

  17. Ah, my two cats are also spoiled! When they don't like the food in their bowl they'll come to one of us and meow until they get some food they like. If one of us eats some salami, the cats know they just have to meow and rub on our legs long enough to get a slice of salami for themselves... I could go on, of course, but I think I'll leave it up to your imagination! So don't worry too much about having a spoiled cat. It is indeed as they say: "Dogs have owners, cats have staff." LOL

  18. Anonymous7:10 PM

    Aw. She has a good mommy.

  19. Heather,

    That's the problem with vinegar. It's a little stinky. I don't know that I'd use it on the floor because I really like the smell of Pine Sol but it might be worth a try when I know nobody's going to be around!

    I found the tea tree oil recipe online and it is fantastic. We had some mold on our ceiling before we painted the bathroom and nothing else worked, so I looked up mold solutions and that's what I found. I think it's one part tea tree oil to 3 parts water, but I'm going to have to look. I need to mix some more. You just spray it on and leave it. It's really amazing.


    Hahaha! I love that quote! Salami, eh? We don't feed our cat processed meat but she's dairy crazed and we do give her little bites of cheese (or let her lick cream cheese off a spoon) as a treat, sometimes. Also, she likes broccoli, which is hilarious to watch her eat. And, we discovered by accident that if you drop a nacho cheese dorito on the floor the cat is on it in nothing flat. Anything cheesy makes her insane. Cats are such fun.


    Well, thank you. Although, "good slave" might be a better description. ;)

  20. First dejunking and now cleaning?? What are you trying to do to me! I hate hate hate mopping, but when I can't get hubby do it, I use vinegar. Never used baking soda except for in the cat litter. Other than that I'm helplessly clueless about cleaning naturally. Maybe I'll need to pick this one up.

  21. Trish,

    Don't fool yourself into thinking I've succeeded on either count.

    Baking soda is, I think, the greatest all-purpose product on the planet. At times, I've kept a cup of baking soda in the bathroom and I'll dip a wet toothbrush in the soda then brush my teeth with it and follow up with regular toothpaste. When I did that regularly, the dental hygienist was always bored. I had no plaque. And, yep, it's great for de-stinking litter boxes, drains and fridges.

    I think the book is worth grabbing. I was planning to put it into use, today, but got slammed by a monster migraine (which is down to a 3 on a pain scale of 1 - 10, thank goodness). Maybe tomorrow. :)

  22. Hmmm--baking soda for the drain! I'll have to remember that one. I usually use vinegar (I think the only time I ever ever use vinegar is on the floors and in the sink).


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