Monday, December 4, 2017

In Clorox We Trust

If you are a woman who has reached a certain age in America, you have been
invited to a shopping party.  These are parties where women get together and someone gives a presentation to sell them things like jewelry, makeup, or
In Clorox We Trust.
Tupperware.  The hostess gets free gifts and the participants learn about new items and enjoy the quintessential female pastime of buying things they don't need. 

Well, Mom and I headed to one recently for a company called Norwex.  They sell cleaning products, and they are focused on natural.  Less artificial.  Less chemicals.  More clean.

Though it wasn't her intention, with the OCD between me and my mother, this party merely highlighted our blind faith in soap.

In the middle of her presentation, the presenter stepped into the kitchen to prove that Norwex's microfiber towels could clean raw chicken with just water.

My mom looked at me like the woman had just suggested the sky was green.

The presenter rubbed raw chicken on my friend's kitchen counter.  She wiped the area with the special towel and water.  She took a bacteria testing kit and proved to us that the bacteria was gone from the counter. 

My mom gave me a knowing look.  There was no way in hell she accepted this.

The presenter then proceeded to pull out Clorox wipes and ask how many people actually read the instructions and followed them.  

My mom alone raised her hand.  

The presenter had not anticipated that.  She then wanted to know if people realized how much Clorox actually needed to be used to be effective, and if they understood that the counter had to then be cleaned with water after.  

My mom again rose her hand, the sole religious follower of disinfectant wipes.

One of mom's OCD fears is death by raw chicken.  Her OCD germ fears have always outpaced mine.  That being said, we are both more afraid of germs than chemicals.  It's funny, because I don't even really know what the scientific definition of a germ is.  I certainly couldn't explain to you how soap works to get rid of them.  All I know is that the concept of washing without soap makes me extremely anxious.

This Norwex woman could have talked all day about how chemicals were going to make us sick and potentially harm our children.  She actually gave me new concerns I hadn't even considered (Impressive!).  But what she didn't do was convince me that her products had the solution and that water alone could battle raw chicken and other germ nemeses in the home.

She had the scientific test, but OCD germ fears are not about a scientific understanding of germs.  We need to feel safe from harm, and what makes us feel safe does not always make perfect sense.

I can think of a perfect example from years ago.  I used to be very worried when I washed my hands that I didn't wash high enough up my arms to get all the germs, but I found that washing up to my elbows was too messy and got water everywhere.  Solution: Febreze.  I would wash my hands and then spray my arms with Febreze. 

Febreze is not for people.  I knew that.  There was no scientific reason to believe this was an effective method for anything.  Didn't matter... I kept doing it.  All that mattered was that this compulsion took away the anxiety.  OCD is a funny thing that way.

The party got me thinking about how much OCD can focus more on the feeling of clean over what is really clean.  Trying to balance what feels good with what actually should be done is a constant battle.  

There is a healthy balance to seek.  At the end of this party, I ended up buying a dishtowel.  I'm still a big believer in soap, but maybe I'll strive for a pump or two less next time.  Small steps. 


  1. This cracks me up! I can also imagine your mom there -- and good for her, asking the question! (Nice of you to buy the towel, though.)