Snow Day Cleaning
When temperatures drop to minus degrees and snow covers everything in sight, Finns gather their rugs, blankets, and clothes and take them outside. The coldest winter days are perfect for cleaning.
The crisp winter air here in the north is perfect for airing out rugs, duvets, and pillows. As children, many Finns loved walking on chilly rugs that were just brought inside from the cold. The rugs seemed to be breathing fresh air into the home, making everything feel that much tidier. Cleaning with snow is a traditional way of washing and freshening natural materials in Finland. Textiles that can't be washed with water can often be cleaned with snow, so come winter, many take their woollen rugs, linen clothes, and woven blankets outside.
All you really need is a cold day, when snow on the ground is dry and powdery. A brush or a broom is optional, and woollen mittens will work just as well. Take the textiles outside an hour before cleaning, which ensures they don't melt the snow once on the ground. Lay the textiles on the ground and cover them with snow. You can leave them for a while or scrub them with a brush, broom, or even just mittens. Snow easily removes lint and dust that gathers in the creases of textiles over time. Go over the seams and folds with a soft brush. Cold air also freezes any stains your clothes or rugs might have, and makes them easily removable.
Afterwards, remember to brush out all the snow and let your textiles dry properly. If you cleaned old clothes with snow, they should be hung inside airily for a couple of days before taking them back into storage. Rugs should be laid out to dry.
After a day of cleaning in fresh wintry air, it's time to relax in the sauna. Even then, the cleaning properties of snow come in handy. For many, rolling around in snow after a hot sauna is a must once every winter. It certainly gets your blood flowing and makes sure the day's troubles wash away. Returning to the warm sauna afterwards will certainly feel all the more blissful.
Text Aino Hyyryläinen Photo Katja Lösönen