What Is That Smell?: Part Two

When I last left you, I was assembling an arsenal of dishwasher-nook-and-cranny scrub brushes. “What Is That Smell?”, had me on an adventure trying to figure out how to get the scum cleaned out of my dishwasher. I was madly working at getting it removed from every space and place it clung to.

It took a great deal of elbow grease and tenacity to stick to scrubbing best I could in the nooks and crannies of the dishwasher. The bottom of the door presented an interesting challenge. I was very afraid if I began to take out the screw and then remove the door, to get at the bottom where the clips were, I wouldn’t get it reassembled and that would make my husband nervous.

Take this handy baby bottle cleaner

Reaching for the skinny baby bottle cleaner I began running it and to the hole. As I pulled it back out, the bottle cleaner was full of a gelatinous rust color gunk. Gross! But, I kept at it. In and out of every hole till each hole stop producing gunk.

I then followed the same procedure with the floor drain filter. Scrubbed in and out of each little hole. Rinsing on and off with vinegar. Grabbing a circular scrubby I made another final attempt to clean it well. I had brought items to the bathroom for their soak and scrub in the tub and it felt like I got it all cleaned.

Reassembling everything back into the dishwasher I opted for the three-hour forty-five-minute super wash with sanitizing feature and heat drying. There. Good. And later, after the lengthy wash was completed, I opened it and gave it a sniff. SNIFF! Hmm. I think I can still smell it. Hmm. Well, maybe I smelled it so much while cleaning it just is stuck in my nose?

Nice try

I was proud of my exploration, cleaning workout, and reassembly. My complete narration of events to Brad seemed to bolster what I saw was a success… but not so fast. Two weeks later I began to smell sulfur again. AGAIN! Blast this dishwasher back to Maytag.

Hopping onto the computer I searched for articles, chat posts, and videos about this “problem”. I found a great article that talked about the rust color scum. As I kept reading they walked me through what a dishwasher does. I needed a reminder that a dishwasher RECIRCULATES the dirty water as it cleans, just like you do when you hand wash.

All that food gunk, grease, and particles get tossed around the dishwasher and find their way into nooks and crannies. Over time, if it’s not rinsed away or cleaned, it builds up and begins to rot. Hence the smell and colored mold appearance. GROSS! Here is a cool YouTube video on what goes on inside your dishwasher during a cleaning cycle. You can link to it here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI9dLMW4BWk.

And then there was light

The best help. The most comprehensive tutorial on taking apart your dishwasher to get at the real reason, the real cause of the smell, was this YouTube dishwasher video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ERyNzfn0SE. Absolutely watch it, especially if you have a Maytag from 2017.

I watch this video two times. Once at my desk and then I loaded it up on my phone and I began to take my dishwasher apart. My husband was eating lunch as I began my crusade. My gagging and words caught his attention and I gasped as I pulled apart and lifted off part after part. The scum was everywhere.

But the grossest, vile and disgusting gunk lay below. I was working madly to get at the drain basket and the filter and as I turned over the drain filter there it was.

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

IS THAT NOT THE GROSSEST GOB OF GUNK EVER?! It was so thick, I could sink my fingers into it and scoop it out with a cupped hand. You can see the “fingers” of gelatinous goo just handing there. GROSS! I face-timed my sister to show her and she recoiled in disgust. “Where is that from?” and “What is that?”, was all she could manage to say. With a wrinkled-up nose and a look of horror she shook her head and said she had to go.

I carefully cleaned out the gunk into the garbage can and then washed the drain basket in hot soapy water, scrubbing each and every hole as well as the filter box. I also wash every part I had pulled out and pulled apart. And then lastly I looked and found an additional strainer/drain and that had hair and gross gelatinous scum clinging to the strainer.

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

Slowly but surely everything was cleaned and reassembled back in its proper place. Once again I set the dishwasher for the three-hour-plus cleaning program, loaded it with Cascade™, and awaited the clean results. A few hours later I opened up the dishwasher to find a sparkling clean, great smelling, and happy dishwasher. I guess in the future I will have to do a monthly inspection and pull out some of the drains and strainers and give them a good cleaning. You might want to do that too!

Till next time friends! Here is to good food, clean dishwashers and a very good life!

Swedish Death Cleaning

Swedish death cleaning? WHAT is that?! That’s what I said to myself when I stumbled upon an article and several YouTube videos about this new way to declutter. It looked fascinating and a bit terrifying. I’ve moved from a 1400 sq. ft. home to 3820 sq. ft. – I’ve got some “stuff”. Then there are the barns… we won’t even go there.

Author Margareta Magnussen rocked the world of nearly everyone with “stuff”, collectors and hoarders, with her book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter. Döstädning, death cleaning in Swedish, is a new minimalism phenomenon sweeping the world.

This simple art of cleaning and decluttering your home BEFORE you die has some folks “on their ear”. I was so fascinated by it, I decided to try it myself. The concept is simple, you sort through your belongings and rid yourself of clutter and unwanted items. According to Margareta, we all have:

  1. Hoarding instinct- kitchens and kids means multiples of things
  2. Cluttering instinct- the habit of our abundance, we like choices
  3. We Fear Death- emotional about our items, want things to live on

We also have a tendency to place emotions on things, creating angst at the thought that an item may mean something to someone else when in reality it probably doesn’t. I am going to link you to a YouTube video here of Margareta Magnussen in an interview talking about her own personal Swedish death cleaning.

What are you going to do with all this crap?

Image by andreas N from Pixabay

I believe Margareta would be in total agreement with me when I say that Swedish death cleaning is ongoing. You never stop sorting through things. Not only should you begin with this new state of mind, but one would hope this would become a constant; challenging every purchase before you make it.

Some thoughts to query as you clean and go forward living:

  • Do I really NEED this item?
  • Will, what items I currently possess give someone else happiness?
  • Are there items that I have that have emotional ties for me? Death or trauma can make parting with the object hard, so give yourself time to think and revisit the item. Sometimes items have very unhealthy emotions attached to them and therefore you need to get rid of them.
  • What is this item currently doing for function in my life?

Traumatic events make parting with things hard

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

I believe my husband was well aware of my collecting capabilities when we moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota. I bawled while packing up our things in Wisconsin and was so torn by throwing anything away, or giving away items, that he gracefully told me to pack it all and I could think more about my stuff once we settled in Minnesota.

Packing and moving to Minnesota was certainly hard to do, but I was really challenged by sorting through and packing up my mom’s stuff after she had left for the nursing home- that was very hard. I discovered I had a great deal of emotion and memories tied up in the “stuff” of my childhood home.

You can do this!

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Once again, as I sorted and looked at “stuff”, it became overwhelming. I knew I couldn’t keep it all. What I felt a tie to I kept and loaded onto the U-Haul trailer. What I didn’t, got placed in the thrift store box or the “burn pile”. Once we got home, we unpacked everything into the garage to sort through when I was feeling better. It took about a month, but I finally came to peace with what I needed to do and I began to sort through, keep or give to the thrift store and even gave away some nice items to close friends.

I recently Swedish death cleaned my home and I was very happy with the results. The thought that I have streamlined my home and made the process, upon my death, of cleaning up a quick one, makes me very happy and content. I certainly don’t want to burden my husband and family with the arduous task of figuring out what to do with my “stuff”. By all means, if I have left something to my friends and family that they do not want they have my permission to get rid of it!

Here is hoping you do some Swedish death cleaning of your own. Till next time, here is to good food, good friends and a very neat, clean and uncluttered good life!