Obsessed with cleaning?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2008
Obsessed with cleaning?
Mon, 08-05-2013 - 12:19pm

My friends and family think I have OCD when it comes to cleaning, and I wonder if maybe it's true.  This morning I am having an issue and I don't know if my concerns are legitimate, or if I really am obsessing over nothing.

I have a one year old baby girl, and this morning while she was playing on our rug, I noticed something on her foot.  I took it off and smelled it and it smelled like nothing at first, until I smashed it in my fingers and then it smelled like dog poop. I looked around and couldnt find anything on the rug. For all I know, it could have been a piece of decomposing wood, I dont really know for sure.  I dont know how it got in the house...We're very careful with our dog...we wipe him off when he comes inside from going to the bathroom (we didn't use to do this but after a couple times of him coming in with poop on his butt, we decided it was a good idea, since he jumps up on our couches). We also leave our shoes outside when we come into the house.

Anyway...I washed her foot off with soap and water just to be safe. But now I am worried about the rug, since that is where I first found it.  But I'm wondering if I'm worrying too much.  This is my thought process:

The rug is contaminated.  I need to steam clean it, and I am planning on doing that tonight when I borrow the steam cleaner from my mom.

The baby crawled on the dirty rug and then on the tile, so I need to mop the floors too.

I need to give my baby a bath and change her clothes since she was crawling around on the rug.

The baby is going to be put down for a nap, and her sheets will need to be changed later if I put her down for a nap without bathing her/changing her clothes, since she crawled on the contaminated rug.

I was holding her, so I now need to shower/change my clothes.

I need to clean her toys just in case she spread baceria onto them before I found the poop (or whatever it was).

And I feel like this needs to go in a certain order to prevent things in the house from being recontaminated, like first clean the rug and then the tile, then wash my feet to prevent spreading bacteria around the clean floors again, etc.

Is all of this too much?  Should I just steam clean the rug and be done with it?  Or should this thought process have not even entered my mind after I washed her foot off?  I know I get a little carried away...sometimes I clean so much that my hands get dried out and the skin around my knuckles cracks.  My husband says I should see a therapist, and sometimes I agree.  But in situations like this, I don't know what to do.  I know it's impossible to have a 100% sterile house, and I dont want that anyway because I know it's important to expose children to some baceria to help them develop a healthy immune system.  Plus, what is worse: not worrying about a little dog poop bacteria in the house, or exposing my kid to the nasty chemicals in antibacterial floor cleaners?  

So anyway, my question is, what would you do?  Clean the entire house? Just clean the rug and be done with it?  I have no idea if my thoughts are "normal" or something beyond the norm.  Does anyone else get like this?  I have noticed the more I "give in" to these thoughts and clean, the more I do it and the crazier it gets, like to the point of wanting to clean the floor where I layed my "dirty" clothes after getting undressed for my shower. The more I force myself not to give in, the more relaxed and less stressed I feel about needing to have a perfectly clean house all of the time.  And sometimes I feel like I spend so much time cleaning that it takes away from the time I could be playing with my daughter.  Which is really sad, considering how quickly they grow up.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2011
Wed, 08-07-2013 - 12:52am

Welcome to the board!  It's great that you found us.  :)

I'm no expert, but it sounds a little extreme to me.  I have mild OCD and it manifests itself as micromanagement -- my house will often be a complete mess but I'm focussed on whether or not the plates are straight and in the right order rather than the fact that the kids have no clean clothes and nowhere clean to play.  Basically what I'm getting at is that OCD can take pretty much any form, and it can be both ridiculous and debilitating.  It's worth talking to someone about it and seeing, even if it's not full-blown OCD, whether there are ways to manage your obsession.

Cheers, and I hope to see you around here more often.  :)