Housework in Turkey is a whole different kettle of fish. We can’t actually claim to be houseproud. We lived like a students for many, many years, finally getting our act together a few years back when we were sick of living in total chaos and wanted to be able to find things. We don’t think we got actually houseproud, but the flat in West London was tolerably clean and tidy.
Here in Selçuk it’s totally different. For a start, various parts of the place we are renting has been rented out to various people. Our landlady and the lady who helps run the place in her absence have done everything possible to keep it clean and shiny but parts have been closed up and parts have been rented out on short term holiday lets and, by all accounts, prior to that, to some rather strange people one of whom took a knife to the washing machine. So, predictably, there’s been a lot of initial cleaning, as there always is when you move into a new place.
The shops have a variety of cleaning products, many of which are familiar; others have pictures which indicate a rough idea of potential usage. Then there is Por Çöz which appears to be some sort of highly corrosive agent. The instructions (in Turkish) say don’t mix with bleach and have various other precautionary notes. Investigation revealed that one of the ingredients is sulphuric acid and/or nitric acid. It’s been banned in the States. Çamaşir suyu is invaluable. The name sounds like it should be laundry juice but it is bleach. Which, of course, must never be mixed with is Por Çöz. There is also Yağ çözüsü (literal translation is grease solvent) which is what is used to clean kitchens, bathrooms and ovens. There are many different brands of this and the one we used in the oven this morning was very effective.
The two main ongoing cleaning issues are dust and limescale. The water hardness is somewhere off the scale, we are used to hard water but the local water takes some beating.
The dust: You can get the place spotless and, turn your back on it for ten minutes, and it’s deep in dust again. The dust here is incredibly fine and it blows about. Then it settles in the places it is least welcome. Like every surface inside the home and the terraces and the stairs.
The limescale: Por Çöz is recommended for getting rid of limescale on metal, glass, ceramics and porcelain. We understand this, we have some basic knowledge of chemistry. It will also get rid of our skin so would need to be used with caution. Obviously not allowing anything, especially glassware, to drip dry will help a great deal. We do however dread to think of the state of the limescale in the pipes and washing machine.