bedroom with table under lamps near bed and curtains
Life Day By Day

Cleanliness is next to godliness

The saying ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ echoed in my mind as I looked at my bedroom curtain. Not only looked but wondered what I should do. The curtain covered a sliding door to an outside terrace. This is where I was when I looked towards the door and saw mould on the bottom of the blockout curtain lining. I realised this was a health hazard and a problem I had to solve.

We moved into the house five years ago, only the second owners. Curtains covered the door, window each side and a long panel of windows on the other side of the room. Then there were the fabric pelmets. They looked in great condition, but what about the dust? Plantation shutters replaced the curtains apart from the one covering the sliding door. But where did the mould come from?

Toowoomba is 691 metres above sea level. While we might be safe from a tsunami, we find ourselves in the clouds. It is part of living on the side of the escarpment where mist and fog blow in with wind currents that surround our home. Condensation forms between the glass and the curtain when warm air from inside hits the cold surface of the glass. Yet, I never saw it happening and I never expected it.

In solving the problem, I realised that cleanliness is not next to godliness. It has nothing to do with it. So what was John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, thinking when he first used the phrase in the late 1700s?

Life was simple at the time and household tasks were labour intensive. There was not the cleaning products or information available that we have today. People lived in overcrowded small homes where lice and vermin were a problem. A great subject matter for a sermon on Sunday! And a reminder to the godly to clean up their act!

So how do I get the curtain with its separate lining cleaned? I considered my options. I then consulted with the person I live with. Also known as ‘husband who is not interested in curtain cleaning.’ The decision was to call in a professional. The company engaged sounded reasonable on the phone. They could not guarantee complete removal of the mould. Yet, they had the products and the ‘know-all’ for a successful job.

It was a rainy day when the curtain cleaner arrived in a sedan car. For the steam cleaning he bought in his machine and other gear in a bucket, not looking very professional. I had to ask him to take off his shoes (light coloured carpet) and he wheeled the machine down the hall. All the while my eyes followed the wheels to find out if they left a train track down the carpeted hall! I then discovered that he would only steam clean the front curtain. The back lining with the mould was not part of the job. Then I found out that he had driven from Brisbane to Toowoomba for this one job. After wards he was driving to the Sunshine Coast to do another job!

Not long after our conversation Mr Curtain Cleaner was on the road again. I asked him to leave with the offer to pay a service call. A few phone calls with his superiors and $120.00 later he was gone. Still the problem was not solved. How could I get rid of the mould? Did I have to throw out the mouldy curtain and replace the lining fabric?

I realised I had to tackle the job. Taking down a floor to ceiling curtain with a separate fabric lining, attached with hooks is no mean feat. Back to the computer for more in-depth internet research. I then found a curtain company in the United Kingdom that provided a solution.

With a ladder perched near the curtain I removed it, hook by hook. I hung the backing fabric over the clothesline and sprayed with a four-part water, one part bleach. After an overnight stay on the clothesline the fabric was then washed in the washing machine. The following day there was still evidence of mould. I once again sprayed the lining fabric, but with morel bleach in the mix. The fabric then aired on the clothesline for another 24 hours. After a further machine wash, the result was spectacular. A fresh, clean, and sanitised curtain lining.

The front curtain was dry cleaned and reunited with the lining and hooks. It was then time for me to climb the ladder. I had help from my ‘husband who is not interested in curtain cleaning.’

Finally, the curtain was back where it belonged. I then pondered whether there might be something in the saying – ‘cleanliness is next to godliness.’ After all I went through, I was feeling much closer to God and thankful the problem was finally solved.

No wonder plantation shutters are so popular today!

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych

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