Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Those kitchen surfaces - how to keep that new look.

Each of us has a favorite way of cleaning our kitchen, some surfaces are easier than others to keep in beautiful condition.

For a wonderful all purpose fill a spray bottle half full with water add a squirt or two of Ivory Liquid dish soap then finish filling with water. It's inexpensive and does a great job cleaning kitchen surfaces without leaving a residue behind.

Granite & Solid Surfaces - Windex is the best choice.

Standard Surfaces - The Ivory mixture cleans most kitchen surfaces and appliances.

Stain Removal - A 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water will remove most stains. Blot on the spot and let it set 30 minutes. Then scrub lightly with baking soda if needed. Shaving cream also does a great job on difficult stains.

Marble - Do not use anything other than Ivory liquid dish soap on marble. Harsher cleansers will damage the surface. Always dry marble to prevent water spots from leaving their signature mark. Marble stains easily so wipe spills immediately. Do not use vinegar or orange based cleaners to clean marble. The acid in them will damage the surface. Peroxide is safe for stain removal.

Tile - Tile grout poses its own difficulties. The porous nature of grout means cleaning solutions pass through without a thought of taking the stain with them. When that dreaded spill happens, clean immediately. The longer a spill sets the better chance of it staining. Mix a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide to water in a spray bottle. Spray the stain and allow to set 30 minutes. Retreat if needed. Do not use peroxide on colored grout. It's bleach and will take the color out of the grout.

Club soda will also help remove the stain if poured on immediately. Shaving cream does a good job. Spray on and allow to set 30 minutes. Tile stores carry a chalk like stick that is safe for any color grout. Drag it across the stain and remove after an hour or so. Reapply if necessary.

Keep a good sealant on the tiles and especially the grout. You'll find good sealants at tile stores.

Stainless Steel - Cameo or Bar Keepers Friend works best on stainless steel. Scratch marks are impossible to remove, so prevention becomes important. Always place a rubber mat in stainless steel sinks.

To remove burned on food from the surface of a stainless steel stove, boil some water (wear gloves) and pour directly onto the spill. Let it set a few minutes. That helps loosen the food making removal easier. In microwaves, wipe them down with boiling water then scrub with Cameo. Cover your food to prevent the splatters.

Use Cameo to clean stainless steel cookware as well. Remove burned on food by first boiling water in the pan. Never cook on high heat with stainless cookware. Use medium heat only. And never let the pans boil dry.

Corion - Use only mild cleansers like Ivory for Corion. Harsh detergents will damage the surface. Remove tough stains with Cameo or baking soda or a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Corion can be sanded lightly using number 800 sandpaper. This sandpaper is gray and called wet or dry sandpaper. Rub very gently keeping the paper wet.


Vertical surfaces clean easier with a foaming tub and tile cleaner like Dow Foaming Bubbles. It adheres to the surface giving the cleaner time to break down the grease or dirt. Leave scrubbing for those who don't know better. You won't find me using elbow grease under the hood of the stove, refrigerator walls, ice chest - you have the idea.

Refrigerators - Odors are caused by hidden food particles. Make sure to clean under the rubber gasket, but first, use the foaming bath cleaner on the walls, wiping them down with a baking soda, vinegar and water combination. Use about a quarter cup of vinegar and one or two tablespoons of baking soda for each quart of water, though you don't have to be too precise. The combination fizzles, but it should zap the smell. The smell lingers? Check for Freon leaks.

Dishwashers - Remove the spindles and drawers, clean under them and under the gaskets to get rid of odors. Fill one dispenser with Tang instant drink mix and the other with automatic dish soap and run the dishwasher empty through just the wash cycle. This combination cleans and deodorizes the inside. I'm not sure how the Tang works, it just does.

Small Appliances -Sprinkle a little baking soda on a damp towel to clean without scratching.

Microwaves - To clean that baked-on mess in your microwave, place a coffee cup half filled with water inside and cook on high for two minutes. The water steams the inside, loosening the hardened splatters. Spray with your Ivory soap cleaner and wipe dry.

Disposals - To freshen, pour baking soda on your scrub brush and scour the inside.

A word of caution - Be cautious using orange-based cleaners to clean a kitchen. Some contain petroleum distillates. Petroleum distillates break down the rubber in the rubber gaskets around refrigerators and dishwashers.