Kitchen Hints and Tips - Cleaning

Instead of using commercial waxes, shine appliances by using rubbing alcohol.

To whiten appliances that have begun to yellow, apply a mixture of 1/2 cup bleach, 1/4 cup baking soda and 4 cups warm water. Let set for 10 minutes before rinsing and drying.

Clean stainless steel burner pans on stoves by putting them in a large pan, adding enough water to cover, and 3/4 to 1 cup baking soda. Simmer on low for about 1 hour, then wash with regular detergent. Any stains that remain can be removed by ribbing lightly with a steel wool soap pad.

Run greasy stove hood filters through the dishwasher.

If you would like to take it one step further and help to extend the life of your appliances, include a preventative maintenance regimen whenever you clean them. Partselect.com recommends, at the very least, performing a visual inspection. Check for any leaks, standing water, worn or cracked gaskets, busted seals, etc. Anything hindering the performance of your appliance will affect its efficiency, ultimately contributing to a higher utility bill at the end of the month.

Blender
To clean the blender, fill part way with hot water and add a drop of detergent. Cover and turn it on for a few seconds. Rinse and drain dry.

Broiler
To clean the broiler pan, sprinkle the hot pan heavily with dry laundry detergent. Cover with a dampened paper towel and let the burned food set for a while. The pan should require little scouring.

When broiling, put a cup of water in the bottom of the broiler pan before starting. Cleanup is easier, and the drippings create instant gravy. This also eliminates smoke.

Butcher Block
Minimize stains and cover scratches by rubbing mineral oil on surfaces. Mineral oil is odor-free and nontoxic.

Can Opener
Loosen grime from a can opener by brushing with an old toothbrush. To thoroughly clean blades, run a paper towel through the cutting process.

Cast Iron
To clean cast iron skillets, clean the OUTSIDE of the pan with commercial oven cleaner. Let set for 2 hours and the black stains can be removed with vinegar and water. After cleaning pan, take a piece of wax paper and, while skillet is still warm, wipe around the inside to prevent rusting. Or, when clean, rub a small amount of oil on the inside of the pan to keep it seasoned.

To remove charred food and burn spots from cast iron skillets, boil vinegar and salt in the skillet.

Put a coffee filter into cast iron skillets when you put them away. The filter absorbs moisture and prevents rusting.

China
To remove coffee or tea stains and cigarette burns from fine china, rub with a damp cloth dipped in baking soda.

Coffee Pot
Perk one tablespoon powder dishwashing detergent and a full pot of water through the coffeemaker to get it clean without any scrubbing.

Remove stains from a glass pot by rubbing them with a lemon slice.

Copper
Remove tarnish from cooper cookware by mixing equal parts of salad and vinegar or salt and lemon juice. Rub it into the tarnished area with a paper towel. Restore the copper's shine by scrubbing it with a wet steel wool soap pad. (Avoid abrasives on soft tin linings.)

Wipe tarnished cooper with undiluted tomato juice applied with a soft, clean cloth and your pot bottoms and candlesticks will shine! Make sure that you rinse thoroughly.

Crystal
Vinegar is a must when washing crystal. Rinse in 1 part vinegar to 3 parts warm water. Air dry. Crystal will be spotless!

Cutting Board
To rid cutting board of onion, garlic or fish smell, cut a lime or lemon in two and rub the surface with the cut side of the fruit.

Pour liquid bleach on the cutting board to clean and sanitize it. Rinse well, then apply a bit of mineral oil.

Pour liquid bleach on the cutting board to clean and sanitize it. Rinse well, then apply a bit of mineral oil.

To make a stained cutting board look like new, mix a couple teaspoons of liquid bleach into a dishpan full of warm water. Scrub the board. Rinse the board several times with very hot water.

Deodorizer
Boil a little vinegar or a teaspoon of cloves in a half-cup water to dispel cooking odors.

Detergent
Always use the cheapest brand of dishwashing detergent available, but add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the dishwater. The vinegar will cut the grease and leave your dishes sparkling clean.

Dishes
To quickly remove food that is stuck to a casserole dish, fill it with boiling water and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda or salt.

Use the cheapest brand of dishwashing detergent available. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the dishwater. The vinegar cuts and grease and leaves dishes sparkling clean.

Dishwasher
To clean, use regular powdered laundry bleach instead of dishwasher detergent in an empty machine. It cleans and disinfects.

Before loading the silverware tray, place a sponge in the bottom. It will prevent small utensils from falling to the bottom.

To remove stains from the inside of the dishwasher, set a cup of bleach in the bottom of the dishwasher and run it through the entire cycle. Then run a cup of vinegar through an entire cycle. DO NOT mix the bleach and vinegar as it will cause poisonous gases in the dishwasher.

When removing dishes from the dishwasher, unload the bottom rack first so that water that has pooled in glasses or cups on the top rack doesn't drip onto the dishes below.

Disposal
Grind a half lemon or orange rind in the disposal to remove any unpleasant odor.

Deodorize it by running lemon, orange or grapefruit peel through it.

Food Grinder
After using a food grinder, get all the ground material out and make the grinder much easier to clean by running a slice of bread through it before dismantling.

Formica
Scrape dried food spills off counters with a square plastic tab such as that found on bread bags. It won't scratch as a metal utensil might.

Polish Formica tops to a sparkle with club soda.

Freezer
A piece of charcoal in your freezer will keep it smelling sweet.

To clean a frost-free freezer, mix 1/2 cup of isopropyl alcohol with a dishpan full of lukewarm water. The alcohol loosens any icy matter. Sponge away the dirt. The alcohol evaporates rapidly, so you do not have to dry.

After defrosting the freezer, spray it with alcohol or vegetable oil spray. It will be less work the next time you defrost.

Grill
When the grate is cool after barbecuing, place it inside a large plastic garbage bag with 1/2 cup powdered dishwasher detergent. Pour in enough hot water to cover the grill; seal the bag, shake it to dissolve the powder, and then let it stand for several hours. Rinse thoroughly.

Before ever using your barbecue grill, spray it heavily with vegetable oil.

A fast and effective way to clean a grill is to use leftover brewed coffee. Pour it on a hot or cold grill. Wipe off and you will be amazed at the results.

Ice Chest
Sprinkle a musty-smelling ice chest with baking soda, then close the lid for about an hour. Rinse with clean water and wipe with a soft cloth dampened with a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Your ice chest will smell wonderful between picnics!

Meat Grinder
To clean the meat grinder of particles and grease, run a piece of bread through it before washing.

Microwave
To easily clean up a spillover in the microwave, cover it with a wet paper towel and put the oven on HIGH for 10 seconds. The mess will wipe up when the cloth cools.

Odors
Add a few teaspoons of sugar and cinnamon to an empty pie tin and slowly burn over the stove. Your family will think you have been baking all day.

To get rid of the oily film on plastic bowls, make a paste of baking soda and a little water. Rub it on, then rinse and wash as usual. The bowls should be squeaky clean.

Rub your fingers on stainless steel under running water to remove the odor of onion or garlic. Anything made of stainless steel will work - cutlery, bowls, and also the sink itself if it happens to be made of stainless steel.

Pans
To remove badly burned-on food from a pan, scrape away as much of the burned-on food as you can. Fill the pan with cold water, add a cup of salt and let it soak overnight. The next day bring the water slowly to a boil and allow it to boil gently for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the water cool. Pour water out and finish cleaning with a scouring pad. The burned-on food should come off easily.

Refrigerator
Wash the inside of the refrigerator with vinegar and water to prevent mildew.

Be sure to keep the coils at the rear of your refrigerator clean and dust-free. Remember to unplug the refrigerator before cleaning.

Repellents
Put a few bay leaves in your flour and cereal bins. They will keep the bugs out.

To keep bugs away, put several unopened sticks of spearmint gum on the shelves where you store your flour, cornstarch, etc. My mother taught me this years ago and it works. Mom says that it has to be spearmint and I always used it. ~ Liz (as posted on the Recipegoldmine message boards)

Scouring Pads
Cut nylon net into four-inch strips and gather into a pompon.

When scouring, hold steel wool in a sponge. The sponge will protect your hands and absorb the water so the job makes less mess.

Sink
If your drain is clogged with grease, pour in a cup each of salt and baking soda followed by a kettle of boiling water. This will usually open the drain.

Stainless Steel
Use rubbing alcohol or salad oil to clean stubborn water spots off a stainless steel sink or counter. Shine with a sponge dipped in vinegar.

Clean faucets and appliances with vinegar. For stubborn buildup around faucets and fixtures, put paper towels around the fixtures and soak with vinegar, then let stand until the grime comes off easily.

To remove fish odor from stainless steel sinks, fill the sink with warm water and a small amount of vinegar. Swish the vinegar-water around the sink, then drain the water.

Remove spots with white vinegar.

Use a cloth damped with rubbing alcohol to remove water spots from stainless steel.

Thermos Bottles
Keep them uncapped and they won't get a musty odor.

To clean, fill with warm water, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and allow to soak.

Walls
Wax them and grease will wipe off easily.