There’s nothing like the smell of Johnson’s paste wax. Is it a yummy smell? Oh, heck no. It’s pungent with a kick of industrial solvent, but when I get a whiff of it I know there’s some serious housecleaning going on.
Paste wax is an olfactory trigger for me. One sniff and I know what I need to do – grab two cotton dish towels reserved solely for the paste wax application process and get to work. This is all because I grew up as a child of a paste wax fiend. My mother didn’t think a house was really clean until all the wood surfaces glistened and you were basically getting high from the fumes.
Last weekend I had what my husband described as an attack of binge cleaning. I don’t like to brag about myself (that much) but I was like Wonder Woman if she was about 30 years older, wore bleach stained leggings and an old t-shirt and instead of a lasso of truth and those silver bracelet things she was finessing a Swiffer Wet Jet, a Dyson vacuum and a can of Johnson Paste Wax.
Nothing could stop me. Not dust bunnies hiding out in chandeliers that required me scaling a six-foot ladder, not crown molding that got the Magic Eraser treatment, not bathroom tile that was slapped around by a bleachy sponge. It was vicious cleaning spree that even extended to my linen closet. I purged that bad boy of about half its contents.
At first it was hard to let go of random pillow cases, fitted sheets that have lost their elastic integrity and towels that were one level above car wash rags, but I did it because I was – yeah, that’s right, Wonder Woman.
I never even asked my family to grab a mop and help out because, to be honest, they aren’t up to the task. This was a job for a mythical warrior not some humans that would haphazardly clean a floor with zero enthusiasm or muscle. Besides their vision, when it comes to seeing dirt, is significantly impaired to the point of being legally blind. (Interesting note – they also suffer from refrigerator blindness. If an item is not the size of a gallon of milk they can’t see it.)
The pinnacle of my cleaning binge euphoria was opening a fresh can of Johnson paste wax. Once you use a kitchen knife to pry the top off the metal container it’s the Defcon 1 of aromatherapy. The no-nonsense scent beckons you to go above and beyond and polish your home with a zeal you didn’t know you had.
I was in the zone until my children came home and started gagging and wheezing over the scent, calling the house “uninhabitable.” I was equal parts outraged, saddened and disappointed. How had I raised children who didn’t appreciate and savor the smell of Johnson paste wax?
In between their coughing both looked up the contents of the paste wax on their phone and in unison told me I was “killing them.”
Now I was really angry. How insulting that they thought I wasn’t well acquainted with the cleaning trifecta of mineral spirits, carnauba and microcrystalline wax.
I told them there was only one thing to do to cure them of their sensitivity. They needed to immerse themselves in the satisfying chore of polishing the dining room table and it’s eight chairs.
As I went to the kitchen to get more dish towels those fiends bolted from the house. My son sent me a text that said “let us know when it doesn’t smell like a chemical plant exploded.”
What a bunch of babies. I guess this means the paste wax legacy might be ending with me. Their loss, I promise you that.