For the ardent devotees amongst us, the puja room is a sacred place and the heart of our homes. Before you light the lamp we always have to ensure that the room is clean and fresh.
The same routine is practiced in the evening as well. It’s no easy task to keep this revered room gleaming.
The oil from the lamps, the smoke and ash that fall from the agarbathis and the dried-up garlands from which the petals fall all causes the puja room to get messy every day unlike all other rooms in a house.
The puja room is a place of worship and the center of all energy, hence it’s important to keep the puja items clean and the room spick and span.
The puja room is often filled with brass idols and statuettes. The lamps or diyas and even the bells are made of brass. Without a doubt, due to the daily usage of them, they tend to get greasy and grimy at the end of the day.
Brass as a metal is also very prone to getting oxidized resulting with the item becoming dull and to lose its shine. However, there are easy ways to get rid of this dilemma.
Firstly, you need to soak these items in a bucket of hot water with a spoon of detergent for about ten minutes. Then using a metal scrubber and a little bit of dish wash soap that preferably contains lime, scrub the items well and as vigorously as possible. Then rinse it with some warm water.
Then using some tamarind, after soaking it in water, scrub the brass items again and rinse in warm water. Pat the items dry and it will look as good as new! If you have silverware in the puja room, you can clean them using the ash from the agarbathis.
Silver can get scratched so it’s wiser to use a muslin cloth and clean them. Make a paste out of the ash with water and lightly scrub the silver. Other common house hold items that can be used to clean silver are ketchup, tooth paste and baking powder.
All these items can work wonders on your tarnished silverware. In case you have copper based idols, that have discoloured over time, you can easily polish them and make them brand new with a paste made from salt and vinegar.
Make the paste using equal amounts of both and using a rough cloth, wipe them down and rinse with lukewarm water.
These days most of the puja room floors and countertops are made from granite or marble. Dust quickly accumulates on these surfaces especially if there are oils spills. Wipe clean at the end of every day with a detergent spray and warm water.
Wipe again with a dry cloth so that there are no spots on the surface. Puja room doors often have intricate jalli work on them. Woodwork should ideally be vacuum cleaned or dusted.
Oil fumes and smoke can not only affect the floors and counter but also the walls. If the walls are made of stone or tiles, they can easily be wiped down with some soapy water.
However, if the walls have been painted, then ensure that the paint used is a plastic emulsion which can be wiped once in a while. Repainting the walls once a year is advised to keep the place looking brand new.
In addition to the idols and statuettes, most puja rooms also have framed pictures of deities on the walls and counter. The fumes from the oil lamps will invariably reach them and make them greasy.
Make sure that you take them down once in a couple of weeks and wipe them clean with a glass cleaner spray.