Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Brushing away chores

It began with an idea, or maybe just a notion, that there had to be a better way to scrub my shower. That led to researching possibilities and trying one. The results were both good and less so, as they so often are. But I’m glad I tried it.

One of the things I dislike the most about my house is the en suite, and especially the shower, which is too small—much smaller than it should be. However, the fact I dislike that shower actually has nothing to do with this particular house, but, rather, the manufactured shower stalls that are used in (probably?) most houses in New Zealand. I hate such showers because of their terrible design.

Most of these showers are fitted into a corner and have two glass walls (one is the door) and two plastic walls, affixed to the walls of the house, with the corner itself a sort of right-angle fold on the plastic. There are some variations, like a curved front, or sometimes only one wall of the shower stall—the one against the wall of the house—is plastic, and the other three are glass, but those don’t seem nearly as common as ones fitted into corners.

The plastic walls and glass walls are usually fairly easy to keep clean, but every stall I’ve ever seen has nooks and crannies where the parts meet—the door to the other two sides, glass walls to the plastic walls, and all four walls where they meet the shower floor. Such little places are very difficult to keep clean, and dirt and—gasp!—even mildew can get trapped in them.

I’ve tried everything I could think of to clean them: Toothbrushes (bought specifically for the job…), ordinary scrubbing brushes, wooden skewers (like for kebabs), and even a grout brush, something that has extremely unyielding bristles (which needs extreme caution when using it to avoid scratching the plastic). Each of these helped a little bit, but none of them could really do the job.

Next I considered technological solutions. I considered using Nigels electric toothbrush (because I clearly don’t need two…), but wasn’t convinced it would do much better than the regular toothbrush I’d already tired. However, that led me to think about a “hack” I saw online at some point: The person took a sort of bottle brush, cut the handle down, then put it into their electric drill to scrub some nooks and crannies. Naturally in their telling, it was amazing, but I know the online world often fails to resemble the real one, so I was rather sceptical.

I thought more about it and realised that there had to be brush sets for electric drills because I’d seen one used as a car polisher. On the way, I found a scrubber made by the company that made my drill and other power tools, so it also uses the same batteries as my tools. It was touted as waterproof to an ISO standard (among other things, the battery was encased in a sealed plastic box). However, that machine was $78 and EACH brush for it was priced at $22. That wasn't a an option.

After more research, I found, and bought, the set in the photo up top: 30 different attachments for a drill—brushes, cleaning pads, and polishing pads, all with different levels of softness. It also had an extension attachment to put the brush around 15cm farther from the end of the drill.

On Friday, I used the brush set in the shower for the first time, trying various brushes and scouring pads. I also used the extender to keep any splashback away from the drill itself. Although I was using spray-on shower cleaner, not water, I thought this was a prudent precaution (since I didn’t even know if there would be any splashback).

I thought the results overall were at least as good as as using the multitude of hand-held brushes I normally use, but it was much faster to use the drill. Even so, I don’t think it was good or easy enough to use weekly—although, I don’t use the manual brushes weekly, either, so maybe this would be a good substitute when I do that deep cleaning?

I then tried it on my kitchen floor. There are two areas of the floor that get extra grimy: One is directly in front of where I make my coffees (apparently I’m messy…). The other area is in front of the oven and cooktop (have I mentioned that apparently I’m messy?). I tried the drill with a scouring pad on those areas, and that worked much faster than if I’d done the same thing sitting on the floor and using a scouring pad by hand. In this case, I used spray cleaner and was standing up when I used the drill. I think it may have been more effective if I’d been sitting on the floor because I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry—although, it would’ve also meant having to get back up off the floor, so there’s that.

There’s another area I want to use the dill/pad on: The area around Leo’s bowls and the tiles leading up to it. In this case, it’s not that Leo’s messy, it’s that he tracks in clay from the bank along the side of my property, the spot where he goes to gossip with the neighbours’ dogs. I’ve always marvelled at how dogs and cats can get mucky paws outside, walk across the carpet when they come back inside, and then STILL leave pawprints where they end up (on a bed or on kitchen floor tiles). The way I’d normally scrub that is by sitting on the floor and using a scouring pad and brute strength, but I think the drill will make it easier.

Overall, then, I think this will make intense cleaning easier, or, at least, faster. This is one of those cases where I’m trying to find a way to work smarter, not harder, because working harder is much harder than it used to be.

This story began because I got a notion in my head that there had to be a better way to scrub my shower and other problem areas. I’m glad I tried it, because even with mixed results, it’ll still save my some often intense physical labour scrubbing things. These days, that’s a very good result.

I bought the brush set online at normal retail prices. There has been no compensation of any kind whatsoever for me to try these brushes, and all opinions are my own sincerely held opinions. Just so we're clear.


Roger Owen Green said...

You're... messy? Say it ain't so!

Arthur Schenck said...

I should've said allegedly; there's no independent substantiation of the claim…