Organic Housekeepers, cleaning with a conscience, saving the earth one tub at a time.Tim Szurgot comes clean about green cleaning

Coming clean — really clean
Captain Vacuum takes a comedic look at scouring and scrubbing

By Tim Szurgot/Mountain Homes and Properties — June 11, 2004

Some may drop out of a fraternity because of hazing, others because of conflicting ideologies. I quit because of cleanliness — or lack thereof.

Had my pledge pin come with a bleach-filled power washer, I might have made it through the first week of living in slumitory-like conditions with 100 meatheads packing into a four-story fart factory with an empty bottle of Windex and a roll of budget paper towel.

It is a known fact that I am a germaphobe. The sight of someone sneezing sends me to the bathroom to lather, scrub and rinse. Along with germaphobe comes the title “Captain Vacuum.” My motto is: In life, you can sell yourself short, have low or no standards, but do it with a fresh pair of undies on.”

The purpose of this article is to inform the ignorant public of Captain Vacuum’s code of cleaning ethics.

Ready? Set? Go scrubbing.

Get nude
If you’re shredding the kitchen with cleanser, take off the clothes. There are few rewards in this life like buffing in the buff.

Rags, Rags, Rags
Being on the rag is tough, having a rag bag is quintessential to cleanliness. I am talking about different sizes, cloth type, even color. Paper towels are for cleaning glass and for those who know how not to clean. The ragbag is a very powerful force in the world of wash.

A potent vacuum cleaner
In the Middle Ages people thought disease was spread by demons. In modern days we know disease is spread by roommates. For my first-born child, I'm buying a vacuum with enough suck to create a tear in the fabric of time. Some parents look forward to their child's first words or steps. Me, I can’t wait to see that little freeloader utilizing the seven attachments that will come with his or her first Miele.

Cleaning agents that work
DO NOT get caught with some anti-bacterial, orange peel, trendy, yuppie cleaning solvent crap. Just don’t do it because they don't do it. Another no-no is intense fragrance, unless, of course, you like allergic migraines.

Elbow grease
If you think for a second that life is at the end of a mop, you are either rich or cleaning some county building. Get down on your hands and knees if you want it clean. My grandmother is older then dirt, but when she cleans, she is like a French maid acrobat flipping her way through the big top.

When I was growing up some people in my neighborhood claim the milkmen was Mr. Clean, and that while my father was away at work my mother took interest in the African God of Cleanliness. I am most certainly a byproduct of my father — The Polish Duke of Disinfections — He vacuums the vacuum.

The last slice of wisdom I will pass on: When you run your dishwasher, toss in the sponge (you must have a somewhat fresh sponge?) and the trap at the bottom of your sink (if you don’t have a garbage disposal, this trap is a must for the plumbing and keeping the sink clean). The dishwasher really cleanses that sponge and shines that trap.

Tim "Captain Vacuum" Szurgot can be reached at


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