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sweeping-webRISMEDIA, March 11, 2009-(MCT)-You think nobody sees those dust bunnies under that bed? You think you can just huff and puff and blow the dust off those mini-blinds? Trust me, you’re not fooling anybody with those scented candles. Cinnamon spice, my Swiffer.

Procter & Gamble, makers of Bounty paper towels, has been studying the attitudes of mothers toward cleaning for nearly five years and the word is out: We’re not the quicker-picker-uppers we used to be.

Instead of half-crazed, panicked mothers grabbing sheets of paper towels and throwing ourselves on spills, we are now, happy, relaxed, easy-going women who take a more cavalier approach to household messes.

The makers of Bounty paper towels believe most moms want to be moms who smile and say, “Bring it” when it comes to a household mess. I prefer to believe most moms want to be moms who say “bring it on,” as it sounds so much better grammatically.

Bottom line? Women’s attitudes about cleaning aren’t as uptight as they once were. We have gone from being reactive to pro-active.

I may have gone before some of the rest of you.

I have never taken kindly to men telling women how to clean. Take the Ty-D-Bol man.

You want to help, little fella? Then get out of the boat, climb out of the toilet, lose the double-breasted navy blazer, and grab a sponge. Shouting quips from a rowboat is not helpful.

I also never warmed to the Brawny guy pushing paper towels. He wears a plaid shirt highlighting that big strapping chest, has massive forearms and yet, what does he do? He stands there and grins. The guy should be ashamed of himself. If there is work to be done, he should make himself useful: offer to move the piano, a billiards table, or lift the house off the foundation.

Then there’s Mr. Clean, who looks like a body builder in a white T-shirt, with white eyebrows and bald head. For decades the man has been lurking in women’s kitchens watching them struggle with dirt and grime. No normal man stands around watching a woman mop. Most men see a mop and go into hiding.

I will give Mr. Clean credit for the greatest cleaning innovation to hit the market in decades-the Magic Eraser. The magic sponges that take black marks off walls, doors, stairs, cars, ceilings, you name it. The first time I saw one I was like the natives in a National Geographic special seeing Polaroids for the first time. Truly, it was mesmerizing. Alexander Graham Bell could not have been more thrilled with the telephone.

One of my best cleaning short-cuts came from a military academy cadet who said polishing the woodwork at the level of people’s noses can give the illusion of having polished all the woodwork. Smart kid.

Pipi Longstockings tied sponges to her feet to scrub the floor. I wonder if Mr. Clean ever thought of that.

Then there is the old trick of throwing a lemon in the garbage disposal to freshen the kitchen. Nobody will notice the grease on the stove.

So maybe we have gotten a little cavalier.

Bring it. Bring it on.

© 2009 Lori Borgman.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.