Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tip of the Day #312: Maintaining a Clean Garbage Can

This chore should be a breeze if you first drill several half-inch holes in the bottom of the can. The drainage holes will allow you to hose down the insides of the barrel without having to dump out the dirty water; this will also prevent rainwater from collecting and allow for proper ventilation. Rinse with a hose, scrub interiors with water and dish soap, rinse, and dry in the sun.

10 Bathroom Cleaning Tips

1. Start by tossing harsh scouring powder for the tub. It is too abrasive to use regularly. After showering, take a minute to wipe down the tub and faucets with a terry-cloth towel to help remove soap scum and prevent mineral deposits.

2. Pull the shower curtain closed when not in use, so water can't sit in the folds. Spread towels over two hooks to dry, or hang them on rods instead. Wipe shower walls with a squeegee after every use.

3. To discourage mildew growth in the bathroom, increase the amount of air circulation and light to decrease moisture. Use fans during the shower and for roughly 30 minutes after, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and open windows. If you do not have a window in your bathroom, ensure the bathroom door remains open.

4. Grout is porous and absorbs oils from shampoos, conditioners, and soaps, which can lead to mildew growth that can spread to the tiles it surrounds. Clean mildew with a mix of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach (or ammonia) and a soft-bristled brush. Make sure to thoroughly rinse afterwards.

5. Once a month, give the pipes a good preventative cleaning to keep them clear of grease, oil, and hair clogs. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup white vinegar. The mixture will foam up. Let stand for a few minutes to dissolve fatty acids, then pour boiling water down the drain to wash out any clogs.

6. Vinyl, synthetic, cotton, and hemp shower-curtain liners can generally be laundered in a washing machine using hot water and a mild laundry detergent. Air-dry the liners promptly. If you can't machine-wash, simply spray the liner with white vinegar and give it a good wipe down.

7. To remove a hard-water ring from the inside the toilet, pour white vinegar into the bowl and let set for an hour. Scrub clean and flush.

8. Clean bacteria and mildew from bath toys by giving them a vinegar-water bath. Fill a bucket or large bowl with warm water, adding 1/2 cup white vinegar per gallon of water. Soak toys for 10 minutes, then rub gently with a sponge and allow to dry. The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through dirt buildup and works as a natural disinfectant.

9. As I have posted before, if a showerhead becomes clogged with mineral deposits, fill a plastic bag with undiluted white vinegar and place the bag over the head so it is submerged; secure and seal the bag with a rubber band. Soak overnight and then scrub the face with a toothbrush.

10. To clean your bathtub, heat 1 cup of vinegar for 90 seconds in the microwave then pour into a spray bottle and add 1/2 cup of dish soap. Let sit for about 15 minutes then wipe away effortlessly! This solution is better than anything, even a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

10 Dishwashing Secrets

1. A Dish Tub Saves Time. Washing the dishes properly, in a plastic dish tub, rather than one at a time under the tap, will not only SAVE WATER & ENERGY, but also save time. If you're not using a tub, line the sink with a rubber or plastic mat.

2. To catch drips, place a baking sheet under your drying rack. Look for sheets with 1-inch vertical sides to prevent runoff from seeping onto your countertop. They'll also resist mildew better than a rubber tray or dish towel.

3. Use very hot water. Fill the tub with one or two squirts of dishwashing liquid. This is more economical than squirting dishwashing liquid directly onto a sponge. The hotter the water, the more likely glass and silver will dry without spots and streaks.

4. Wash in order. Wash dishes in this order: crystal, glassware, clear glass plates, other plates, flatware, serving ware, the greasiest serving dishes, then pots and pans--this prevents your best dishes from cracking or breaking. Drain the dishwater tub and start again as needed. Rinse five or six pieces of dishware at a time, using hot running tap water. Start from the back of the plate or outside of the glass, rinsing the eating or drinking surfaces last.

5. Use cold water to wash off starches and dairy products, because they get gummier in hot water. Bottles are easier to clean if you soak denture cleaner in them overnight, or swish dry rice & water inside, then scrub them with a narrow nylon toothbrush.

6. The sooner you wash pots and pans after using them, the better. Because salt is absorbent and a natural abrasive, it is an excellent antidote to grease. Rub salt into especially dirty pots and pans with a dry sponge until greasy residue is gone.

7. Fill especially dirty pots that have coated, baked-on food with water and 1/4 cup powdered dishwasher detergent or baking soda. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from heat, and let soak for an hour. Scrape the pot with a spoon or rubber spatula and finish up washing as you normally would.

8. Fill badly burned pots without nonstick coatings, with cold water and 2 or 3 tablespoons salt. Let soak overnight. Slowly bring the water to a boil; the burn marks should disappear. (You may need to repeat a few times.) Then wash as you normally would.

9. When using the dishwasher, put heavy-duty wash jobs on the bottom rack, delicate dishes and glassware on the upper rack. Don't place items over the prongs on the upper rack, but use the prongs to hold glasses and mugs in place.

10. Be safe with silverware. Contrary to what many people think, you can put silverware in the dishwasher. The key is to keep stainless steel out if you put sterling or silver-plate pieces in. The two metals will react with each other and cause irreparable damage to both finishes.
Wash and dry new silverware by hand a few times, then place it in the machine -- but use less detergent than normal and don't run the "dry" cycle. Silver should be removed just before the rinse cycle and dried by hand.

Tip of the Day #311: Prep Time

Time Saver: Make laundry time easier by readying the clothes (zip zippers, close snaps, etc.) before tossing them into the machine.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tip of the Day #310: Citrus Trick--More Juice!

To get every last drop from an overly firm lemon or lime, zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds. The heat will soften the fruit, releasing its liquid. Slice it in two. Using one hand, squeeze half (cut side against your palm) over a bowl. The seeds will collect in your hand as the juice flows into the dish

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tip of the Day #309: Cleaning Shower Heads & Faucets

You probably dont realize how much build-up is on your shower head and faucets! To clean, pour vinegar into a ziploc bag and dip shower head in, then wrap with an elastic band--let sit overnite!!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tip of the Day #308: Removing Cooking Odors from Kitchen

Boil spices such as cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg in water or use plain white vinegar. Continue boiling for 20 or 30 minutes, or until the cooking smell is completely gone. I personally like to use the white vinegar--it initially has a smell, but subsides and is the most effective in removing other odors.

One of the most persistent odors in a kitchen is fish. Fish smells can be eliminated in a number of different ways. Again, leave a small bowl of white vinegar by your stove while you're cooking and it will help to absorb the odor particles in the air that saturate open surfaces which can cause smells to linger. You can also boil a small pot of lemon water while cooking.