Best Cleaning Products of 2015

by WCE

My favorite spray stain remover, Tide Boost, has been discontinued so I’m looking for a replacement. Thankfully, my wonderful mother-in-law found and bought me 8 bottles on close-out so I have a little time to experiment. When I read this article on cleaning supplies, I decided to try Shout Triple Action. (I’m underwhelmed by the old Shout gel and Resolve/Spray ‘n’ Wash is just OK.) I already use Cascade dishwasher detergent. I may try the Great Value disinfectant wipes for cleaning the camper kitchen on our next trip but I’ll probably stick with my favorite dish soap, Palmolive, instead of seeking a particular variety of Method. Bar Keeper’s Friend is already under my sink. Weiman carpet cleaner doesn’t seem to be available locally and last year my current carpet cleaner, Resolve, won the contest so I may wait for potty training before my next round of carpet cleaner experimentation. I use the original Murphy’s Oil soap occasionally and use a rag and a bucket, rather than a mop, for heavy cleaning. I use Clorox toilet bowl cleaner and Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner already. Fels Naptha soap and Kids n Pets (good on mattresses) are missing from the list, but otherwise I thought it was thorough.

I became interested in cleaning supply performance when some friends took jobs with Procter and Gamble. On the rare occasions I care about germs, my biologist friend convinced me that Lysol, Pine-Sol and bleach are the most effective, and which is most effective depends on the germ. I will study this more if anyone in my house ever has a weak immune system.

Where I live, lots of people limit their cleaning supplies to water and vinegar, in order to avoid toxic household chemicals, so I can’t have this discussion with local friends. The regulars know I don’t worry much about chemicals.

Do you think about cleaning or cleaning supplies? What recommendations do you have? Or are you thankful you don’t have to deal with cleaning because someone else does it for you?


179 thoughts on “Best Cleaning Products of 2015

  1. Anti-Icky Poo, which is sold as a pet accident cleaner/deodorizer but is also perfect for vomit. I’ve bought it through Amazon, but when I got to the end of the bottle recently (after no use for over a year), I picked up “Nature’s Miracle” from Petco thinking I would need more sooner, but I fortunately haven’t had any reason to try it out.

  2. Great topic! I love the smell of cleaning products, so no water and vinegar in my house! I swear by Spot Shot for carpet stains. I prefer Arm & Hammer laundry detergent–it’s cheap, smells good, and cleans very well. I bought some Tide just to mix things up and cannot wait until it runs out and I can return to Arm & Hammer.

  3. WCE,

    Have you tried Oxyclean for stains?

    For cleaning the shower, I can’t recommend Kaboom highly enough.

  4. I actually do use a non toxic yuppie cleaning brand but it works. It’s called Branch Basics, you just buy the concentrate and make up your own spray bottles and you can use it for everything (hand soap, bath soap, laundry soap, stain removal, and cleaning). The only thing I haven’t really liked it for is use in the dishwasher.

  5. I second Anti-Icky Poo. Milo recommended it last year and it really does a great job of deodorizing pet stains. I just recently found it available at the local independent pet store. Incredible is great at removing stains. I can only find it at Bed Bath & Beyond. It works on carpet, furniture, and also clothes. Its the only thing I use on carpet.

  6. I don’t do much of the cleaning in our house (yay!) but I do like Bon Ami for dish/pots and pans gunk, and SOS pads for metal pans. I have a big thing of Mrs. Meyers as an all-purpose cleanser under the sink, and I keep Shout wipes at the office for emergencies. We use All free and clear (available at Costco) for laundry – I don’t like laundry detergents that smell at all.

    For rug stains (eg vomit), we usually just take them to the dry cleaner, but that is expensive! Will the carpet cleaners above work on thinner wool-blend rugs?

  7. Fels Naptha is the best! Truly, nothing compares.

    Like L, we prefer unscented laundry detergent. We use the All free & clear “mighty pacs”–I realize they aren’t the most economical but they make laundry so easy–chuck it all in and go.

  8. I love swiffer dry cloths for hardwood floors. They are a two edged sword however. Every time I go over the floors with the dry cloths, I find some dirt stuck to the cloths, so my house never appears to be 100% clean.
    After, the swiffer, it is mopping with plain water or with vinegar mixed in.
    I use Murphy’s oil soap sometimes.
    Bathrooms – Clorox with bleach.
    Furniture – is the all in one cleaner that cleans wood and glass.

  9. The smell of some cleaning products is like crack to me. No one is allowed to cook/microwave anything on the day the cleaners come so that I can just bask in the smell of my clean house. (And that is today, so no cooking for me tonight). I have switched to Gain for laundry soap, at the suggestion of Consumer Reports. I like Cascade for the dishwasher, windex with something or other for all the glass, and some counter cleaner specifically for Granite. I admit to being obsessive with Lysol when someone is sick – I hate when the whole house comes down with something. (And I believe it works, because I was the last person who was sick, and since I was sick was not going around spraying everything with Lysol. Everyone else in the house got it over the next 10 days. When I’m not the one who is sick, I spray everything, and it doesn’t spread.)

  10. Sorry, I’m mostly with your neighbors on this one, except add baking soda to the list. I use Method dish soap & laundry detergent and, @ Meme’s suggestion, have added Oxyclean to the laundry. My kid requested Shout wipes to use at school, so we have some of those too. I’ve heard elbow grease helps.

  11. I hate the smell of cleaning product added scents, and never know which one my son or I will be allergic to. I use unscented stuff whenever possible (except for fancy hand soap). If I want the house to smell citrusy, I put some lemon or orange peels down the garbage disposal (when it’s working). I sometimes use a lavender essential oil spray at bedtime, but I don’t just randomly coat the house in manufactured odors.

  12. Mr. Clean magic erasers. Whenever I’m at home on a conference call, I just wander around the house, using them to clean up smudges on walls, cabinets, baseboards, even stair treads.

  13. I also put scenty sachets in my closets. I love the faint scent of roses, lavender etc.
    I have grown lavender in my garden and love that scent.

  14. I am not an efficient cook. DH is also not an efficient cook nor efficient at tidying up at home. So when we cook it takes a lot of time and energy, leaving very little.time for cleaning after. Between work, cooking at home atleast 4 days a week and playing with kiddo, we have lowered our cleanliness standard dramatically. I mean really dramatically. I mean, it never even occurs to DH to sweep the kitchen floor. So I use a ton of clorox wipes to do some.on the run cleaning. Also for vomit stains, the pet cleaner works very very well. Better than anything else.

  15. I buy whatever laundry detergent is on sale, and I think my new washing machine made more of a difference than anything else. However, soaking with Oxyclean does get out stains that I thought were hopeless.

    The older the get, the less I like to do housework. I’m thinking of having my housecleaner come for a special spring cleaning visit. I’m thinking a good serious scrubbing of baseboards, but I’m not sure what else. My windows need cleaning, so maybe some of that. Actually, the blinds look dusty.

    I’ve tried spot carpet cleaners with no success, but regular visits (every other year or so) from Stanley Steemer does wonders for the one wall-to-wall carpeted room that picks up various stains. It’s our guest bedroom, and the kids and their friends sometimes hang out and watch TV there. Also use SS for area rugs, including the dark colored ones that don’t show dirt but that I know are full of yucky stuff.

  16. WCE – the Oxyclean spray stain remover works best for me for all the grass stains & various mystery stains that seem to appear on active young boy clothes. I used to be very loyal to Tide, but I recently switched to Kirkland (Costco) brand laundry detergent and see no difference.

    As for household cleaners, I tend use Method spray bottle products for day-to-day cleaning of the counters/bathrooms because I like the smell. I also have a giant jug of Kirkland Environmentally Friendly cleaner that I use when a bucket is needed. I have no idea what the cleaning service uses. I’m not picky if I’m not cleaning myself.

  17. Shout advanced and dreft stain spray
    Only Tide for the laundry
    Murphy’s oil soap – my mom always used it and it smells clean to me

  18. Clearly I have no idea what a parent’s life is like because to me 8 bottles of stain remover sounds like a lifetime supply.

  19. The OxyClean stain remover spray sometimes stains clothes blue.

    I’ve been successfully convinced to throw some of the Oxy powder in with most loads, but I’m wondering if that contributes to premature breakdown of the fibers. Any thoughts?

  20. Ha, Rio, for me that’s more like a few months’ worth! l I have toddler twins and a serious bread-and-olive-oil habit. Had to learn the hard way to stop buying light-colored T-shirts for the kids (“washable” finger paint isn’t always that washable). I recently found a stain pen in a checkout line that works amazingly well (and isn’t tested on animals, which is rare for many cleaners). It’s rather oddly named: it’s called “Whip-It.” Just ordered a bunch from Amazon in the hopes it will solve my laundry problems.

  21. I agree with Domokun on not buying light T shirts. If you can’t see the stain, it is not there.

  22. I agree that if someone else is cleaning, I really don’t care what they use. My husband has been shouldering all the cleaning duties right now, but we are trying to line up a service for after I deliver because we’re assuming neither of us will have the time or energy.

  23. My favorite cleaning supply is anything used by someone who is not me.

    When I do clean, I want as much petrochemical goodness as I can get. I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend time and effort scrub-scrub-scrubbing (my version of “cleaning up after cooking” is “wipe the counters with a paper towel — if I feel like going all-out, I will dampen it first). So I don’t “clean” often, but when I do, I want it to be as clean as possible, as quickly as possible, with as little effort on my end as possible.

    For the shower, that means Tilex for mildew and CLR for water spots on the glass. Turn on fan/open windows, spray the Tilex on, close shower door, let it ruminate for about ten minutes, turn on shower and rinse (preferably while wearing a full-face respirator), and you’re good for another few months.

    Laundry: I use Era for regular detergent, although I have moved to Method for DS given his allergies and Woolite for my nice stuff. I also use Clorox for almost all the kids’ stuff, and I don’t worry about shortening the fabric life because my kids are still growing out of things and ripping giant holes in the knee before anything comes close to dying of old age. The Oxy spray does do wonders for stains that other stuff didn’t get out — I just had to read the fine print to realize you actually need to let it sit for several days. But it got a bad chocolate stain out of DD’s white dress, holy cow, I thought that one was a goner. Tide pen has also been useful, if not a cure-all.

    Dishes: We have had to upgrade from regular Cascade to Cascade Complete to Cascade Platinum. Our current dishwasher is very meh, and DH tells me that he can actually notice the difference with the more expensive stuff, so whatever. I have also caved and gone over to the pods.

    The one area I do spend time/effort on is our real wood furniture, which just gets lemon oil when it starts to look dry. Rub it in by hand, sometimes in a couple of applications if it’s really thirsty, and come back a day later and wipe down any excess.

  24. We used a lot of Nature’s Miracle with a new puppy in the house. And I’m a big fan of Penny Brite for cleaning my copper teakettle.

  25. My favorite cleaning supply is anything used by someone who is not me.

    This. Like my Mom always says “food tastes better when someone else cooks it.” There’s nothing quite like going home to a house that someone else just cleaned.

  26. “My favorite cleaning supply is anything used by someone who is not me.”


    Our cleaners use pet/kid friendly stuff (not sure it’s organic but it’s allegedly not toxic). Ditto for the lawn care and garden folks. I know they use Murphy’s Oil Soap b/c they’re always leaving notes that we need more of it. They must use it on everything. We have used a lot of pet-related cleaner in this house, especially in the last months of our old fellow, but I think DH gets whatever’s on sale and isn’t tied to a single brand. We used Resolve for kid stains but it looks like we should’ve used pet cleaner, based on posts here. You all got me to buy Oxy clean, which we use along with Tide HE and also Tide Sport or whatever it’s called.

    I adore kitchen counter spray. I buy whatever allegedly organic thing I come across at Whole Foods, and I use more of that stuff in a day than the other 5 ppl in my house use in a month. I love having the sinks, counters, dish drying rack, etc, really clean and fresh smelling. I do the cupboards and appliances with it often, too. DH is all about dusting with the Swiffer sheets and, like Lark, wanders around doing that while he’s on conference calls.

    On the other thread, thanks so much for all of the helpful comments on Greek life and PTM, I’m expecting your email.

  27. I also forgot to mention 409. DH used to walk around our first house with 409 and paper towels, wiping off smudges on door handles, light switches, adjacent walls, etc. I never really got it — but then again, we had just gone into way more debt than either of us had ever imagined, so I assumed he just wanted to maintain that “brand new” look. And, you know, he wasn’t asking me to do anything, so whatever.

    Then one of my SILs caught him at it one day and burst out laughing — apparently her dad had done the same thing their whole childhood, just walking around the house every night with the bottle of 409, making sure that every doorknob in that house was sparkly shiny clean.

    So it’s a little nuts, but at least he comes by it honestly.

  28. I use the Magic Eraser now and then on the walls. The sides of doorway to the house from the garage is the worst, the brown won’t go away – just needs a coat of paint instead of more cleaning.

  29. “I tend use Method spray bottle products for day-to-day cleaning of the counters/bathrooms because I like the smell”


  30. I don’t clean that often.

    Not mentioned yet here is Folex, which I also get at Bed, Bath & Beyond. That gets just about *everything* off of wool carpets, upholstery, or anything else you cannot fully rinse. It’s a hero. We use a lot of vinegar, some bleach in the shower/toilets, barkeeper’s friend and murphy’s oil soap, and I buy lavender-smelling dish soap from TJ’s that I love. Otherwise I just let the cleaners use what they like. We use a lot of powdered oxyclean in kid loads, usually with a soak cycle. That took care of many a mishap during the messy diaper / potty training stages. We use enough to buy it regularly at Costco.

  31. My kids get severe eczema from detergent exposure, so we use Biokleen products – laundry detergent, spot cleaners, enzyme pet cleaners. Would recommend if you have a child with eczema (I have a whole menu of products if anyone ever needs the list). Whole Foods carries some products and the rest are on Amazon.

    If you never use any scented toiletries, laundry or cleaning products in your house, you start to really notice them in other people’s homes. I’m turning into one of those irritatingly sensitive people who wants to unplug your glade :)

  32. Cleaning products not used by me +1 – Our service uses about 50% their products and 50% our products.

    However, I am allergic to many clothes washing soaps. I break out in a rash first in sensitive areas and then all over and it itches like crazy. So, I stick to a couple of brands that I tolerate – Dreft, Cheer (no color/scent) and All (no color/no scent). This means I have to go easy on spot treatment too. I like Fels Naptha, but having a hard time finding locally. Use clorine bleach on some things, but alway use the extra rinse cycle when I do.

    Our house came with a WHITE tile floor in the ktichen. A magic eraser used on the bottom of a swiffer after cleaning the floor makes it look wonderful – well for about 30 min. This only gets done when company is coming. I like magic eraser for many things – door jams, light switches, walls with odd (usually child created spots), etc.

    We use Dawn liquid and Cascade in the dishwasher. Murphy’s Oil Soap when I need to mop the hardwoods. Not brand loyal on the glass cleaner or multipurpose sprays or bleach wipes. Don’t “polish” my wood too often, used an oil the last time and it still looks good after 6 mo.

    Use the swiffer duster a fair amount between when the cleaning service comes.

  33. Rio, I’m with you on the case of stain remover. Now I’m wondering if my son & I look like slobs & I just don’t notice, lol! (Actually, I don’t think so–our spills tend to hit the carpet, & we clean them up before they stain. I’ve managed not to stain the bedsheets I bought last fall. Not yet, anyway.)

  34. My favorite cleaning supply is anything used by someone who is not me.

    When I sprang for the cleaning service, I really wish they would have used the silver polish or the wipes for silver that I had sitting on the counter next to the few pieces of silver that I own. I’m not in love with owning things that you have to take out of their homes just to clean them. I’m pretty sure rinsing off the pie server & leaving it to drip dry is not recommended care for that item.

  35. A question re oil for wood: what’s the best kind to revive my cutting boards, which is very dried out?

  36. @ WCE – yes. The vaccum will pick up bigger particles but for hair and dirt that tends to stick to the hardwood and dust bunnies under furniture the swiffer is great.

  37. Sky — If there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s plug-in air fresheners. I hate scented candles, too.

    We clean the house once a week (DH, the kids, and I all pitch in — we don’t have a cleaning service). It’s not a full, deep clean — we just sort of look around to see what is particularly grungy that week, and attack those spots. The other spots get ignored until another week. If the hygiene hypothesis is true, then our kids are going to be really healthy — lord knows they are continually exposed to plenty of grime in our house.

    Like many of you, we use unscented cleaning products. Scented ones make my skin and throat itch and my eyes water.

  38. Laundry – Tide HE Original Scent (sometimes hard to find but I love that old smell), Method Free + Clear for delicates, Oxi-Clean spray for stains (seems to work best on the greasy smears from DD wiping her hands on clothes while eating), and Oxi-Clean powder packs in with sheets & towels.

    Bathrooms – Kaboom (has the added effect of getting DD to clean because it’s fun), Clorox toilet wand, and Clorox wipes between major cleanings

    Floors – Going through a lot of Bissell Enzyme Action spray with this puppy but will try Nature’s Miracle based on these recommendations. Swiffer (both dry & wet) on the wood floors, with occasional thorough cleaning with Murphy’s. (Really miss the house cleaner who used it every 2 weeks!) Spot Shot for spills on carpet & rugs.

    Magic Eraser

    Pet Peeve – Husband & kid who don’t wipe counters after the prepare or eat food that leaves drips, crumbs, condensation, etc. I just use a wet rag every day and clean periodically with a granite cleaner/conditioner.

  39. Swiffers are the greatest thing ever. (At least the dry cloths–never used the wet jet). I use vinegar and water for the floors, but we have all hard woods.
    Another vote for Kaboom, Cascade and Tide. I use Dawn dish soap because it’s also good for cleaning the countertops.

  40. NOB – I’m with you on the scented things. Can’t stand. DD bought a plug-in thing for her room and I made her unplug it within an hour — it was stinking up the entire second floor. I’d rather stick with the smell of dogs.

  41. Risley and NOB, ditto. Until my SIL switched to the free and clear detergent, I had to wash all the hand-me-downs at least 3x before I would let the kids wear them. :)

  42. @Saac — Depends on the use. If it’s a pretty countertop like Milo’s link, mineral oil is fine. If you’re going to cut on it on a routine basis, though, make doubly sure it’s a food-grade oil — you don’t want to be imbibing industrial mineral oil on a recurring basis. Note also mineral oil is one of those pesky petrochemical products, so you could also use something like beeswax.

  43. Those three products are:

    Krud Kutter, a biodegradable, non-toxic cleaner/degreaser
    Undiluted white vinegar
    Old English Lemon Oil

    Two of which we use… I’ve never heard of Krud Kutter.

  44. Laura, it’s a cutting board, beyond the need for regular oiling. It needs some kind of “deep conditioning”.

  45. I also cannot stand plug in air fresheners. Or scented candles. But I do like the smell of citrusy or minty cleaners. The mint-eucalyptus smelling Method bathroom cleaner is a favorite of mine. I also like my clean laundry to smell like clean laundry, which to me is the smell of Tide and Bounce. We do not have sensitive skin in our house.

    I don’t quite understand the Magic Eraser. Do you get it wet before using? It is for spot cleaning? Do you use it like a regular sponge but it has soap built in? It is superior to spray products and paper towels or a bucket & rag or is it just that you don’t have to drag out a bucket? I am not trying to be cute – I really don’t understand what I am missing with this product, but over the years I have heard lots of people say that they love it. I bought one once and never really used it, but I am curious if it would be helpful in some way.

  46. Last weekend I finally tried the internet favorite, blue Dawn and white vinegar 1:1, on the shower and sink. I would say it worked about the same as Scrubbing Bubbles, and the smell was better. So not as magical as the internet would have you believe, but worth knowing about.

    We don’t have any form of paid cleaning but the kids are getting somewhat better about pitching in when cleaning is happening.

  47. Ivy, the magic eraser has tiny micro particles that sand off the grime. It should be damp when you use it, and it imperceptibly erodes as you go along. I started out using it in our stairwell and now I need to repaint the stairwell, because I scrubbed off the paint as well as the spots.

    S&M, you’re looking for salad bowl oil. Tung oil will also work. Neither is considered completely safe for people with tree nut allergies, so if you regularly cook for such people stick to the mineral oil or buy a new board.

  48. Okay, this is way off topic and for that I apologize.

    I have gotten nowhere on my taxes. I am not going to get anywhere on my taxes. I simply have no time and many things that are time sensitive that I need to do. In my defense, I have had this stomach thingee that seems to be going around and I have been dividing my time fairly equally to my (dirty) bathroom and bed. I feel worse than awful.

    It used to be that the IRS had a no harm/no foul rule. They didn’t really care when you filed your taxes as long as they owed you money. (Makes sense if you think about it.) After three years, you couldn’t get your money back, but other than that, they didn’t put you in Sing-Sing or anything.

    Is this still the case?

  49. HM, how do you encourage them to join in? Is it just spontaneous?

    I tell them to. If it’s something like asking a kid to run a load of laundry, I answer any questions about operation of the washer. When I say they’ve gotten better, what I mean is that the whining has decreased.

  50. I would file the extension though. I ended up owing quite a bit this year, much to my surprise. Some complicated investment gains I’d forgotten about, prior year refunds, things like that all added up.

  51. Risley, I don’t have college students but my undergrad had a strong Greek system. Some houses valued academics and had members who would likely be valuable future contacts, and some houses didn’t value academics and had members who likely wouldn’t graduate from college. So I concur with everyone else- it all depends on the house and the local culture.

  52. I use a lot of Shout because the people that run our Little League order white(!!!) pants for all of the kids.

    I think it’s a stupid color choice, but they like the way it looks. It is a cash cow for the makers of laundry products.

    I use a lot less of the pre treatments except for sports because DD doesn’t have the usual stains that used to accompany clothes in preschool from art projects or outside playgrounds.

    I like Tide He unscented for 90 percent of my laundry. I like Woolite for hand wash of certain items that are supposed to be dry clean only.

    Tomorrow is the last day for the person that cleans our house. She comes every other week, and I haven’t found someone new. I don’t love how she cleans because she bangs furniture and walls, but I trust her. I really like her, but she’s moving on to a different schedule due to her kids.

    My DH really wants us to try to do it on our own because we’re doing most of it already. I don’t know if I agree, but I might try some of these ideas.

  53. PTM – The answer is yes – if you owe them money they don’t care if it is late. File the extension and say you owe equal to what you paid in already.

    S&M – I oil my wooden spoons, cutting boards, salad bowl with a food grade oil you can get from Amazon – John Boos. I usually wipe the item with a wet cloth to open up the grain, and then slather the oil on. Let it sit. then wipe it off hard with a rag or cloth towel. You can rinse it in water and then wipe hard again to prevent gumminess. You should also sand any rough spots (mostly on spoons) with fine sandpaper and treat again with oil. I tend to do everything a couple of times a year, maybe more often for frequently used items. I also use that oil to shine up wood surfaces that sometimes have food items rest on them, and it helps with rings from glasses, but that takes a number of applications.

    As for products, the cleaner gives me a list of her required brands. Not enough build up or moisture to need Tilex these days. She asked me to buy a different vacuum a couple of weeks ago, I drove right out and got it. She is worth it. I leave my watches and jewelry out, my cash stash in the sock drawer, without worry and she deals well with the cats.

    I use Tide for clothes washing, Woolite for delicates, Oxyclean all the time for whites. (WCE – I think old style regular Tide is on sale this week at Costco, if you have one nearby). Joy for by hand dishes – not sold in stores any more, so I ordered a case – that may be a lifetime supply. Cascade works and it has been the family brand for 50 years, but it now seems to make glasses cloudy (scratched) after a while and is harsh on some plates, so I am going to try Finish next time around. I’ll report back.

  54. I forgot about Woolite for delicate items- I wash my wool coat in it.

    I think what works well for your bathroom depends on your water source and whether you have a water softener. Our water is river water, so it’s softer than well water.

  55. Meme,

    I oil my wooden spoons…with a food grade oil you can get from Amazon – John Boos. I usually wipe the item with a wet cloth to open up the grain, and then slather the oil on. Let it sit. then wipe it off hard with a rag or cloth towel. You can rinse it in water and then wipe hard again to prevent gumminess. You should also sand any rough spots (mostly on spoons) with fine sandpaper and treat again with oil. I tend to do everything a couple of times a year,

    Are those wooden spoons made out of The True Cross? The most expensive wooden spoon I can find online is $5. Most are around $1.

  56. The mandates in dishwasher detergent of recent is a problem in my house (no more phosphates). I haven’t been loyal to any brand since, trying to find one that cleans the best without scratches and leaving glasses cloudy. Finish, Cascade, Target generic all seem the same to me. Anyone have a good recommendation?

  57. Lemon,

    Cascade Pods. Also, do you keep your rinse agent reservoir filled in your dishwasher?

  58. I have a set of 4 handmade wooden utensils I bought on vacation. They don’t shred like cheap ones, or lose their plating like Ecco spoons, and I don’t like the hard rubber ones that you are supposed to use on non stick or seasoned cast iron.

    Aha – found the shop’s website

  59. I use Jet Dry in the rinse agent reservoir. I’m open to suggestion on that one too. I don’t notice much of a difference when it goes empty, and we have hard water.

  60. I use the finish pods and jet dry, and rarely have cloudy anything. That’s the combo recommended by Bosch for the machine, per the manual.

  61. Lemon, at one point Allboys told us that if you go to and pretend to be a commercial entity, you can buy Cascade with phosphates.

  62. I am not sure exactly how the magic eraser works, but it does slowly become almost nothing. It will take paint of the wall if you do not have washable paint, so be careful there. Takes black marks of tile wonderfully. You do wet it first. I sometimes use it on kids back packs where there is an ugly mark and it gets it off or reduces it significantly, but chews up the eraser quickly.

  63. Q: What did phosphate do?
    A: When used in automatic dishwashing detergents, phosphate helped to remove food and grease, reduce spotting and filming, control water hardness and suspend the bits of food so they were not redistributed on your dishes.

    Ok, we presumably don’t use phosphates and everything comes out perfectly clean. What sort of issues are you having?

  64. Lauren, I think white is a better color choice than light grey, like my kid wore, because you can bleach the heck out of it. His T-ball pants were practically plastic, so not that hard to clean.

  65. I’m thinking water quality plays a big role. My family in Michigan does not have spotting nor do they have a water softener. I’ll admit that I don’t have a high end dishwasher and mine is probably nearing the end of its life, but this spotting and film seem to be problem for everyone I know getting water from aquifers in my neck of the woods.

  66. Lemon, you might try contacting your local water department (or looking at their website) for advice and information. They usually have information on what levels of different contaminants are present in a test sample and may have advice specific to your water supply.

  67. A friend of mine who homeschools his youngest daughter just got a letter as her “principal” that she is a NMF. Is there anyone else here with similar news to share?

  68. Sky, if you’re still reading, I’d love to get your list of products that didn’t irritate your children’s eczema. One of my sons suffers terribly from it. Costofcollege, if you wouldn’t mind forwarding it on, I’ll send you my email address.

  69. RMS, is your friend’s daughter a senior? I assume she’d already heard back around September that she’s a NMSF.

    I’ll ask DS if he’s heard (he knows some seniors who are NMSF). But I believe most NMSF become NMF if they do OK on their SATs, maintain their grades, and the, and their schools, turn in the appropriate paperwork.

  70. RMS, thinking about it, I can’t think offhand of any regular here who’s mentioned having a kid who is currently a senior. There are some from whom I expect to hear news like this in the next couple of years.

    Where’s SoFL been lately?

  71. Lol, here’s Tampa in a nutshell–very big house, gated community, strippers, and even the wedding industry, all in one place!

    In other news, my neighbors seem to think I’m that neighbor. They are no longer talking to me about noise issues, but I’ve gotten a letter from the management, saying noise must stop within a week or we’ll be asked to move. I don’t want to have to move. I’ve been very strict about stopping jumping at 9:00, as I told them I would (incidentally, it’s been helpful with getting him to bed on time). I don’t know if they are thinking normal footsteps are too loud, if they didn’t like the 9 pm cutoff, or if they’re just jerks (not the impression I had originally). I obviously must reply in writing to the management, am trying to figure out what all that letter must include.

  72. My friend’s kid got 2340, so I expect he’ll be NMS, but I haven’t heard anything from her about it.

  73. SM, I think your cutting board probably has reached its equilibrium. My guess is that it wasn’t completely dry when you got it.

    If the problem is that it is no longer as smooth as you would like, I suggest wet sanding, allowing it to dry overnight, then applying mineral oil. You might need to apply mineral oil more than once, and you might also want to sand again after applying the mineral oil.

  74. SM, the NMSF announcement is typically made in September.

    I’m assuming your friend’s kid’s score is for his SAT, which doesn’t affect whether or not he is NMSF. That is based entirely on the PSAT/NMSQT scores, which are on a scale of 240.

  75. Finn, with homeschooled kids I think it’s hard to tell whether she’s a junior or senior, but I know she’s 17 and they’re planning to keep her home for another year before college (partly because of some psychological fragility that led to the homeschooling in the first place.)

  76. Wet sanding involves sanding something while it is wet. It requires the use of wet/dry sandpaper. You can use water or oil to create wetness.

    For your cutting board, I suggest using water to wet sand first, before applying oil, to get it to a satisfactory smoothness. Only wet sand with oil application of oil makes it less than satisfactorily smooth.

  77. I just looked it up. He was a “National Merit Scholarship Finalist”, according to his mom in Feb. Is that all, or is there one more announcement to come?

  78. Louise- very difficult to say what a “typical” school is. I’ve heard of over 40 in a massive school in a wealthy district. Many more average public schools have 0 or 1.

  79. Louise, there’s a huge variation.

    I’ve been watching the annual announcements here for many years. In a typical year, about 5/6 of the NMSF in our state come from two schools. About 1/12 will come from other private schools, and the rest are from public schools. In a typical year, the majority of public schools here will have no NMSF.

    I know that in other states, there are similar patterns in that there are some schools, many of them private schools or magnet schools or selective public schools, that produce a disproportionate number of NMSF, and many public schools that only occasionally produce more than zero NMSF.

  80. SM, there may or may not be more. One possibility is an announcement of him winning a NM scholarship, but I believe many NMF do not win a NM scholarship.

  81. Louise, NMSF are apportioned on a per-state basis. The top 0.5% of each state’s senior class, based on PSAT/NMSQT scores, become NMSF.

    ( don’t know how ties are handled. There must be some policy for that; from what I’ve heard, a large %age of NMSF are right at or just above the cut line.

  82. Louise, NMF make up 0.5% of all test-takers, so if you know how many seniors are in a class you can estimate how many NMF you would expect given a normal distribution. If you can get actual numbers, you can see which schools are over- or under-represented in your area.

  83. WRT wooden spoons– I recommend that anyone looking for wooden spoons, or other wooden cooking utensils, consider bamboo utensils. We have several, and we like them better than our wooden utensils. They don’t dry out and splinter or split like some wooden utensils, are easy to maintain (we throw ours in the dishwasher), and are also made from a more sustainable stock.

    Bamboo utensils are readily available, e.g., from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Amazon, Crate & Barrel, Pampered Chef.

  84. Saac, I had a friend that couldn’t have weighed 90 lbs, and the elderly woman downstairs from her complained incessantly about her loud walking. So it could just be poorly designed space. But if you weren’t kidding about jumping until 9pm, I would not consider them jerks for complaining about that. I can’t imagine what it would be like to sit down to dinner or to read a book and hear the sound of jumping above my head.

  85. “I love swiffer dry cloths for hardwood floors.”
    “Based on comments, I’m now consider a Swiffer. Is it good on dog hair?”

    Anyone who loves Swiffer cloths for floors might want to consider the Mint, which is like a Roomba that uses Swiffer cloths.

    I don’t know about dog hair, but the Swiffer cloths work well with human hair.

    A friend, who has a couple of Roombas, told me that he’s had to replace his Roombas several times because of human hair. If that’s a large part of what needs to be cleaned from your floor, the Mint may make more sense, since the hair get captured and thrown away with the Swiffer cloth and doesn’t seem to mess with the mechanicals as it does with the Roomba.

  86. I’m not talking about straight jumping for hours on end. He’s a 93 pound, 12 year old boy who loves basketball. Whether there’s a little hoop on the back of his door or not, whether he has a (4″ soft rubber) ball or not, he practices his “dunks” and “shots”, usually in spurts of 5 minutes, sometime 10, sometimes just one shot. Pretty normal activity for his age, imo.

  87. GFM, here is what we use:

    Biokleen Free & Clear Laundry Powder
    Biokleen Oxygen Bleach Plus
    White vinegar in the rinse cycle
    Chlorine bleach on whites occasionally

    Diluted chlorine bleach
    Biokleen Bac Out (stain remover and bathroom cleaner)
    Clorox wipes

    I wasn’t satisfied with the Biokleen dishwasher detergent so we have stuck with generic store brand pods.

    Goat milk soap, lotions and lip balm from Goat Milk Stuff . Com (any cold process soap should work)
    Rainbow research co’s shampoo and hair care products (in the baby section of Whole Foods)

    Non-detergent shampoos that work were tough to find. The rainbow products seem mild enough as long as your child doesn’t use them as bubble bath. DD tried that last night and is itchy now (after bathing in half a bottle of it for half an hour).

    WCE probably knows more about the chemistry of detergents than I do, but my general guideline to avoid detergents is that I don’t buy anything with sulfates (especially sodium laureth sulfate).

    You will need to completely avoid exposure for a few weeks before you start to see a cure, but my kids’ skin improved visibly after 4-5 days.

    The solve eczema . Org website has a long product list and an explanation of the underlying chemistry.

  88. Saac, that doesn’t seem unreasonable. I was wondering if it was jumping rope or something. It may just be lousy design. Seems really unfair for you to have to move, though.

  89. S&M, that is normal behavior for a kid that age, and it’s also annoying as heck to the people below you. if that is what they are complaining about, then it needs to stop. If it’s just normal walking around, then you need to talk to the management to see what they can do to mitigate the noise.

    I would say go talk to your neighbors and ask them to call you when they hear the noise so you’ll know exactly what you and Saac are doing that is creating it. And if it is just normal walking around, you can go downstairs and listen while Saac walks around so you can hear it for yourself.

  90. I love swiffer (the dry one) and Weiman stainless steel wipes. Their granite wipes are good, too.

  91. Back OT, I learned here about the Magic Eraser. It is great for getting our stainless steel sinks back to looking like new.

    A few weeks ago I borrowed a pressure washer, which was quite effective for cleaning stucco walls.

  92. Interesting, SSK, I had no idea they were doing that online now. I took the test when they came through here some years ago, and did pass (barely), but never got contacted afterward about actually being on the show, which was just as well as I didn’t actually have time to go hang out in LA. I haven’t watched it for years and I still wouldn’t have time to actually do it, so I won’t be testing either online or in person for it.

  93. SSK, I am. I should’ve done it today, because to forgot to sign in.

    It’s petty dismal that none of the lawyers want to comment on my question.

  94. saac, I have a heavy walk, due to somewhat flat feet, and I had a formal complaint and a couple informal complaints when I lived in inexpensively constructed apartments as a co-op. When I got my full-time job, I sought a ground floor apartment to avoid that situation. Given your son’s age, either a ground floor apartment or a high-end apartment with better soundproofing seem reasonable. Standard apartment construction in the US usually has minimal soundproofing, in contrast to construction in Korea, where soundproofing techniques are a focus in apartment buildings.

  95. Finn, yes she has, but I don’t want to go into specifics about either her qualifications or the schools. Suffice to say she was a very strong candidate but she nonetheless had a couple of Ivy rejections.

  96. “It’s petty dismal that none of the lawyers want to comment on my question.”

    Which one?

    I’m not a lawyer, but I did respond to a couple of your questions.

  97. Saac – you can still take it Wednesday or Thursday. Honolulumother – it is quick and easy to do online, but there are a limited number of cities they you can go to for the next round, where you take another test and audition for some people. I don’t remember if Honolulu is one of them, but you’d think the Jeopardy people would like to take a trip out to your neck of the woods!

  98. Oh, ok, SSK, it sounds like the pretest. The test/audition is the one I did.

    Saac, I don’t know Florida law, I don’t practice landlord-tenant law, and I have the work I get paid to do needing attention.

  99. S&M, it’s a fairly state-specific (and contract-specific) area of landlord-tenant law. I don’t think any of the regular posters are real estate lawyers in your state.

    As a tenant in NYC, my lease had a rug clause, which my apartment management company would enforce. Check your lease if you haven’t already done so.

    A few ideas from my NYC years:
    – Add a thick pad and area rug where he plays in his room, even over wall-to-wall carpet it still makes a difference
    – No shoes in the house
    – Silent walking contests – if you practice, you can get quite good at walking quietly and sneaking up on your mother. Extra points if Last of the Mohicans is assigned reading at the time :)

    But he’s not going to get smaller or less energetic in the next few years, so you might also consider moving to the first floor. It’s the kind of thing that would cost far more to litigate than it would be worth.

  100. Saac – When I was 4 Mom and I lived in a studio apt for a year – we had to vacate our home precipitously and that is what my mom could find in DC in the mid 1050s. The elderly lady downstairs had no expectation that she would end up living underneath a preschooler, and regularly complained that my footsteps made her chandelier rattle. It was a bit of a joke to my mom, and she was a real straight arrow, so few things amused her. We moved when we could.

    Saac, I am going to speak truth to you, as a long time tenant. I can’t tell you how often I had to impress upon my kids that they could not irritate the landlord who lived next door – a family of five is grateful to have an affordable if shabby place to rent. It is entirely reasonable that the tenants downstairs have come to the end of their rope. It is the fact that they have asked you nicely and the behavior has not stopped, at least not to their satisfaction – that is why you got a formal letter. your son needs to stop dunking immediately. Throw out the hoop. No balls in the house is a normal house rule in a home even when there isn’t someone underneath. No sustained jumping either. A 12 year old can control his behavior and in your climate he can go outside pretty much anytime to play without supervision.

    Day to day noise and play are is the reason that I always lived as family with kids in a side by side duplex or townhome, and not in a flat. Apt 344 and the shaking chandelier made a lifelong impression on me.

    I am not a lawyer, but I respectfully disagree with Denver Dad – the neighbors have discussed this with you in the past and from their perspective they are not getting through to you. You mentioned above that you don’t mean to be a PITA or cause offense or stir things up, and everyone reassured you of your welcome here, but even here sometimes you don’t fully process the interpersonal cues or feedback. IRL, I would expect it to be the same. A letter to management is called for, and I would consult with a local lawyer or legal aid society. From what has been written in the past about tenant law in Florida, it sounds like the landlord holds most of the cards.

  101. S&M, one other piece of advice before you act on this: set the maximum dollar value you are willing to spend not to have to move.

    A neighbor of ours got caught up in a real estate dispute, and at $350/hour for the attorney quickly spent far more fighting for her vision of justice than it would have cost her to fix the problem in the first place.

    If you already know you are only willing to spend $2,000 to avoid moving, then you will not be tempted to arbitrate or sue the landlord with a $400/hour lawyer.

  102. I would be annoyed as hell if that big a kid was jumping or playing hoops on top of my roof for 5-10 minutes at a stretch. I would have made a much bigger fuss. Your neighbors are being nice.

  103. Saac, what is wrong with our climate? I love it here. I hate the drivers, the politicians and not knowing the language, but our weather is wonderful– aside from hurricanes, of course. Junior is outside for many hours each day. The cat even longer. I try to read outside for a couple of hours each lunchtime.

  104. Honolulumother – Sounds like it. Maybe the online test is a new weeding out process that they have implemented. Anyway, I just took it and am already kicking myself for the mistakes I made – hopefully not too many!

  105. I looked up the National Merit Semifinalists for my area. The well known private schools had an average of around 10. The well known public schools had around 5. Other schools mentioned usually had 1 student. No surprises on the list of schools.

  106. My formal complaint came in the form of a police call while my parents were visiting when I was 19. My mother has a much louder walk than I do and is impervious to it, so I still blame her. :)

    We returned to my apartment around 12:30 AM, avoided loud talking, and went to bed. Around 1:30 AM, there was a knock at my door. Through the peephole, I saw two officers. I opened the door, and they informed me that there had been a complaint about excessive noise in my apartment. I asked about the nature of the complaint and the time it was made, and they told me that the caller claimed I was “walking too loud” around 12:30 AM. Considering my standard of “loud at 12:30 AM” was set by a few hundred drunk college guys with open windows around the dorm courtyard the previous semester, I did not agree with the assessment that we were “loud” but I told the officers that we had been asleep for about 45 minutes and had no plans to do any more walking that night. The officers warned me that it was the third noise complaint about my apartment in the past year. I explained that I had just moved in a few weeks ago, and that it was a corporate apartment with various tenants, so that all the complaints were about different residents. The officers realized all the complaints were from the apartment below ours and decided that the resident below the apartment had a low noise threshold and bid me goodnight.

    That was when I realized that in any future apartment choice, I should avoid the “Get Off My Lawn” demographic.

  107. Saac, I echo other posters in suggesting that you move to a ground floor apartment.

  108. It’s petty dismal that none of the lawyers want to comment on my question.

    S&M, this is the type of comment that turns people off. You complain that “none of the lawyers” replied to your question less than two hours after you posted it, in the evening when people are often spending time with their families and aren’t online.

  109. Tee, hee. I had a very flamboyant and very gay secretary years ago. He lived on the 4th story of a 5 story “tenement”. (His apartment probably rents for $3000 now.) Anyway, he couldn’t stand it. His upstairs neighbors had a cat that would walk across the floor above him.

    A housecat. Not a lion. And I had occasion to meet this cat once and it was affectionate and delightful. Meme might have one of its grandcats.

    Man, was my secretary a pain to deal with!

    Saac, I am sure lawyers aren’t commenting because we don’t like to give advice, lest you listen to it and because folks are right when they say landlord/tenant laws are very specific in the many states. Even counties in some of them. (New York and Florida come to my limited mind.)

    Your downstairs neighbors are entitled to not be disrupted in their enjoyment of their apartment. Even one loud and unexpected jump could scare the heck out of them. Continued jumping– if even just for 5 or 10 minutes– could be very irritating if they were watching Downton Abbey, working or eating dinner. Or trying to produce an offspring, I guess.

    I guess I’d just tell your son that he can’t jump in the apartment.

    And as far as your lease goes, I can’t imagine that it doesn’t say something about disrupting others. And yes, it would cost way, way too much to involve a lawyer in this.

  110. Is it too late in the day to ask about Oxyclean in the laundry? I have a front loading machine and use liquid detergent. Where/how do I add the oxyclean?

  111. Not sure if y’all are referring to me missing “cues” of the type “I’m hoping for comment from regulars with x qualifications” or more along the lines of actually reading what I wrote to notice that I spoke with the neighbors, we made an agreement, which my son and I held, but they broke by going to the management company. If they don’t like what they agreed to, there are more civilized ways to deal with it than comainging to management. Asking to change our agreement would be the best place to start. Good night.

  112. DD, are you suggesting it would have been more politic of me to say “all of you people who don’t know any more about this than I do, please hold off on commenting until you’ve given the people who are likely to know more a chance to comment”? I figured that was pretty easy to understand from what I did write, especially since, as you point out, it was a low-traffic time of evening for the blog.

  113. saac – what was the question? What to say in your letter back to management? Or what to do in general, now that you have received the letter?

    I think I’ve missed some of the story here, because tonight is the first I’ve read that there’s been any problem w/ the neighbor and noise. Based on what I’ve read tonight, about the jumping, I’d be inclined to stop the jumping immediately, state in your letter to management that the jumping has been stopped for good, and apologize profusely to the neighbor (aided by a gift of a nice bottle of wine). Asking for a ground floor apt, as others have suggested, is a great idea. But I’d be sure to stop the indoor jumping in the meantime.

    My comment is more person-living-in-the-world-ish than lawyer-ish. Not because I don’t know FL law (and I don’t) but because I think the issue here is about being a good neighbor, not about parsing the law or some clause in a lease. To me, it’s not reasonable for a kid that age to jump — at all — if he lives above other people. One stray jump now and then can be forgiven. Five or ten minutes at a shot, not so much.

    I get that saac’s of a certain age and he’s an active boy and he’s into basketball and all of that. But he’s also a kid who lives in an apartment, with neighbors underneath. And his jumping is bothering the neighbors. He has to make concessions, like every other apartment dweller in the world. Jump outside, not inside. If the weather’s not good for jumping outside, don’t jump that day.

    It’s no big deal. There are certain things we don’t do when we live in close proximity to others — jumping’s pretty high on the list. So, we do those things elsewhere, not in our apartments, and we go on with life. And we are relatively cheerful about it because we know our neighbors are making concessions for us, too, and refraining from doing things in their apartments that might bother us.

  114. “all of you people who don’t know any more about this than I do, please hold off on commenting until you’ve given the people who are likely to know more a chance to comment”

    Saac, you asked for and received feedback from multiple people, including lawyers. Be happy, say “thank you”, and move on.

  115. Grocery Bags, I just put it in with the liquid detergent in our front loader. Ditto Borax.

  116. “DD, are you suggesting it would have been more politic of me to say “all of you people who don’t know any more about this than I do, please hold off on commenting until you’ve given the people who are likely to know more a chance to comment?”

    Saac, respectfully, my friend, you almost pleaded for those of us who are lawyers to respond to you. A few of us did.

    Now just tell your son to stop jumping. For heaven’s sake, you’ve been known to be irritated before. Your neighbors might be right, you know.

  117. S&M – I live in a 2 story house built in the late 1970s. When my children were toddlers and just one of them would run down the hall from their room to the top of the stairs it sounded like a herd of elephants. Dancing to a show like Dora by toddlers made by kitchen light fixture shake. My youngest dropped her ipad from her bed recently (regular height off the floor) on to the carpeted floor, I thought the child had fallen down the noise was that loud. Granted it is my house and my children, but we stopped the running, jumping, and dancing up stairs by age 6 or so because those of us who mainly live down stairs can’t tolerate it.

    Consider that your neighbors might have raised the issue with you thinking you would politely say something like “OK, I am so sorry we disturbed you. We’ll work to tone it down; please let me know next week if we are still creating too much noise.” They may feel that your response to have certain hours was, in effect, telling them no we are not going to tone it down. Therefore, the next step for them is to seek outside assistance. As I tell a friend of mine, it is important to read all the cues and not just hear the words they spoke.

    I am not advocating letting your kid turn into a couch potato, but maybe more outside activity or something like a stationary bike or taking a walk/run/swim in the evening would be a better solution.

  118. DD, are you suggesting it would have been more politic of me to say “all of you people who don’t know any more about this than I do, please hold off on commenting until you’ve given the people who are likely to know more a chance to comment”? I figured that was pretty easy to understand from what I did write, especially since, as you point out, it was a low-traffic time of evening for the blog.

    My point was that you got totally bent out of shape because you didn’t get any replies from lawyers within two hours of making a post during a period that you acknowledge is low-traffic. And your outrage about this is even stranger given that you didn’t actually ask for help, let alone say that you specifically wanted advice from lawyers.

    All you said was “I obviously must reply in writing to the management, am trying to figure out what all that letter must include.” I’m not sure how anyone is supposed to infer that what you really meant by that was the statement above.

  119. Grocery Bags– I put oxyclean in the main tub w/ the clothes as well. I don’t have a front loader, but a he top loader, if that matters.

    S&M– I don’t do landlord/tenant *or* know FL law, so I have no opinion. In most big cities with lots of renters, you can easily google for landlord tenant laws in your city/county and get some sort of self-help or pro se guide to help you figure out the rules. Even in places with lots of tenant protections, most places have rules regarding nuisance (of which noise would likely count).

    I know that I used to hate living on the ground floor because everywhere we lived any neighbors sounded like buffalo upstairs. Our house is slightly elevated (flood reasons) and when my kids jump it echoes through the whole house. Which is a roundabout way of saying that I agree with the consensus that it’d be better to get on a ground floor if possible and/or stop the jumping because it’s just a hard behavior/sound to go with sharing a building with other people.

  120. SM – the sound of a dribbling basketball is very distinct. The “thunk, thunk” sound is like somebody playing music with a loud beat. In our house, when the kids run around upstairs or DH plays his loud music, we can hear the sound downstairs.
    I don’t suggest getting into legal tangles with the management or the neighbors, such that you have to move. From my point of view it is an unnecessary waste of time and money.
    You have to work both ends – getting along with the neighbors and having Saac play basketball. If there is a basketball league (or different leagues), Saac can belong to year round enroll him in those.

  121. @Saac – at airport, but:

    1. Oil is oil for your purposes – just make sure it’s food grade.

    2. It is probably a crappity constructed apartment. But you can’t fix that. And I am sure the lease gives the landlord the right to boot you for any reason or no reason at all. Don’t even think about legal action – “12-yr-old boys who play basketball” are not a protected class. Just figure out if there’s something more you can do to stop the noise. It doesn’t matter if the neighbors broke an agreement (they probably think you did). What controls is the lease — and the landlord’s right to boot you. Sorry.

  122. In many ways, this is a boilerplate NYT-whiny article, but it offers a few interesting insights about the distinction between middle *class* and middle *income*.

    At first glance, I took issue with their selection of that photograph to imply 1950’s middle class. That’s a luxurious house with a private, in-ground pool. That is well above the median in 1957. I don’t think it’s a minor issue, either, because when people say that they’re not doing as well as prior generations, it’s usually because they have a skewed view of how prior generations really lived.

  123. Saac,

    No jumping after 9? How is it possible that you think his jumping is OK ever? Seriously, how can you think that?

  124. Milo –

    Here is a better and more representative photo – Family of three, mid to late 50s in front of a Levittown Cape.

  125. No jumping after 9? How is it possible that you think his jumping is OK ever? Seriously, how can you think that?

    To stick up for saac here, I’m going to say that it’s a da*n good thing I never lived in an apartment as a child or as a parent with young children. I agree with the suggestions that saac needs to toe the line here, if for no other reason then it’s as good a starting place as any for both of them to learn how to do that in life, but I’m also kind of surprised that so many people seem to think that living in an apartment (and apparently a cheap apartment) means that you should never be burdened by hearing any movement noise from your neighbors. Someone said that saac needs to make concessions here, just like her neighbors have made concessions for her. What concessions have the neighbors made in this case? It seems like they expect to be able to live in the nearly absolute quiet of a single family home on two acres.

  126. means that you should never be burdened by hearing any movement noise from your neighbors

    We aren’t talking about “any movement noises” we’re talking about prolonged, gratuitous and raucous jumping. He needs to go outside.

    Seriously Saac, in Switzerland you get yelled at for flushing your toilet after 10pm. Folks in Flordia aren’t as extreme but everyone has their limits.

  127. >
    we’re talking about prolonged, gratuitous and raucous jumping.

    I still can’t tell if we’re talking about that, or if we’re talking about one or two jumps every now and then from a bed toward a plastic, novelty, over-the-door basketball net with a Nerf ball.

    Either way, my kids, especially #2, would have needed to be read the riot act, or spanked repeatedly or something because the jumping can be crazy. At one point DW asked me, in all seriousness, if I thought that the integrity of the floor joists was going to be threatened from a fatigue-stress aspect.

  128. Milo,

    To quote Saac, “usually in spurts of 5 minutes, sometime 10,”. Spurts indicating multiple instances per evening. I classify that as prolonged, gratuitous and raucous.

  129. Rhett – Maybe. It surely doesn’t bode well for any significant move toward New Urbanism. Kids can’t jump inside, they can’t play outside unsupervised or else they’ll get picked up by the police, there are HOAs that are forbidding kids to ride bikes in cul-de-sacs. I kind of have a feeling that saac’s neighbors who are complaining about jumping are not going to be any more tolerant of him bouncing a basketball on the sidewalk or in the parking lot, and God forbid he has any of his friends over to hang out and do the same.

    So in many communities, there’s no way young kids can play unless they’re under the direct supervision of an adult with no concurrent responsibilities. Then they’re allowed to putz around with a water table or on a playground that’s nothing but a series of immovable steps and platforms. Older kids really can’t do anything at all that isn’t a structured and scheduled activity that they usually have to be driven to, and even if it’s walkable, they probably need an adult to walk them there, anyway.

  130. I have no experience with landlord-tenant law, but I agree with Risley, PTM, et al. No more jumping indoors.

  131. Milo – I talked of concessions. I didn’t mean these particular neighbors but more of a cosmic past-and-future neighbor concept. We all make concessions in close quarters and expect others to do the same. Sometimes we are the upstairs neighbor and sometimes the downstairs. Concessions we make as the former gets evened out in the cosmic sense when we later are the latter.

    But still, I would guess the current neighbors arent blasting their stereo for example, aren’t shouting at the top of their lungs, aren’t having guests come and go at strange hours, etc. Downstairs neighbors do make concessions.

  132. ” Older kids really can’t do anything at all”

    Milo, you’re a father of daughters. Especially when they are of dating age, I would reconsider this.

  133. Milo,

    Maybe. It surely doesn’t bode well for any significant move toward New Urbanism

    You just move to a building at least 5 stories tall. 0-4 are almost always wood which is loud. Once you hit 5, it’s steel and concrete which is quite like a tomb – in my experice.

  134. That “middle class” house from 1957 is hilarious. That family would have been rich! In the early 60s my family of 6 lived in a 3 bedroom cape, less than 1000 square feet. When we moved in 1970 to a house similar to the one in the NY Time picture, minus the swimming pool, I became the only one among my friends who didn’t share a room with a sibling. That was way above middle class.

  135. There are multiple reasons that Levittown house was aspirational in its day. One is the green space outside the city. Two is having one’s own castle. And three is not having to endure as if in one’s own home the neighbors’ fighting, f–king, smoking, cooking odors, heavy feet, music (including kids’ practicing), early or late hours. Even with today’s heightened standards there is some give and take in communal living. “Thundering” kitty paws are a fact of life. An upstairs neighbor who works nights or early mornings and has to walk across the bedroom floor is a fact of life. The pitter patter of little feet or a crying baby is a fact of life. That is why there are rug clauses in NYC leases. But Milo is right that it much harder nowadays to live a normal messy middle class life with kids without a little bit of acreage.

  136. The other area to consider as part of figuring out if the jumping is acceptable or not is to compare it to another annoying activity. For example, what if the neighbor below or to the side did something like blaring loud music at the same frequency and duration as the jumping? Would that be annoying at any time of the day between say 8 am and 9 pm? If so, then the jumping is too.

    I agree that finding a good place for kids to play can be an issue, espeically with the level of supervision than can be expected, and distance to a playground, park or school. I know in tight rental markets, you don’t always get to choose between multiple units.

    Recently, I visited a friend whose apartment complex seems more geared more towards families with kids – as there is a small playground, 1/2 size basketball courts, and shallow kiddie-type section to one of the two swimming pools. I don’t know if these are constructed any better, but I think if you rent there you realize there will be more kid noises than you might find elsewhere.

  137. I was going to send it that MC article for discussion…should I still submit or do you think it’s gotten enough attention?

  138. send it. we’ll say no more about it. there’s other interesting stuff in there about volatility and fluidity in the typical earner’s percentile.

  139. That picture in Milo’s article is ridiculous. If I showed that picture to my dad he would surely say it was of an upper class family. He grew up squarely middle class in the 50s – one working parent working in the auto plant. They spent summers at the community pool in the park and boy scout summer camp like everyone else in their school. No one had a private pool, including the families with doctors and lawyers. Those pools were in the auto executive’s homes

  140. I agree more with Milo about the Saac jumping situation. Frankly it seems pretty normal for a 12 year old boy to shoot a few hoops with nerf basketballs between homework questions. But it’s also important for the boy to realize the effect his actions have on others and how certain situations require us to behave differently than we would have to in an ideal situation. I agree that much of this problem could be avoided if he’d just go outside into the beautiful warm evenings and play there.

    I have been on the reverse situation of having the noise complaint about me. I got an angry call from my landlord threatening to evict me right then- simply for the noises of moving in on a weekday morning. The furniture delivery came early and apparently the neighbor below thought the noise of the workers assembling a piece of furniture after 8 in the morning was too much. I was also pretty annoyed with that neighbor for not saying something to me first since it was a one-time situation and there’s no way to get around the noise of furniture delivery. I sent him an apology letter (at the landlord’s insistence) and neighbor admitted after the fact that he was hungover and out of line to call the landlord. But the noise complaint call terrified me and I was afraid that I was on the landlord’s “watch list” for my entire lease.

  141. Rio, I told my story about the police visit because of how it affected me- since it was a corporate apartment, I got a call from human resources, too. Since I was 19, they assumed I was doing something wild, and only the fact that my parents were visiting and the complaint said “Walking loudly” mitigated the situation.

    And I agree with Milo, but probably no one imagines that my house is quiet, or that my retired, rural neighbors have modern sensibilities about child supervision levels.

  142. Yeah WCE your story inspired me to post my own. That’s even worse that HR got involved! Mine feels like kind of a funny story in hindsight but at the time it really upset me and made me feel like a horrible person or something.

  143. LfB – Yep, I noticed that later, too. It’s so typical of the NYT–even a half-century ago, they were in a bubble.

  144. “Oil is oil for your purposes – just make sure it’s food grade.”

    Make sure not to use any oil that could go rancid. I suggest not using any vegetable oil.

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