Stubborn Stains: An In-Depth Kitchen Cleaning



BY LAUREN SEPHTON

When it comes to cleaning those stubborn stains and unorganized kitchen cabinets, it’s all about working smarter, not harder. Laying out the science below, you may just end up taking these life-changing tips with you beyond the spring cleaning season!

There are two natural ingredients, which may very well be in your pantry right now, that are the secret components to each technique: baking soda and vinegar.

Removing Stubborn Stains from Pots and Pans

Being highly acidic, vinegar is phenomenal in breaking down cooking-related stains that are usually the result of accidentally charred food. However, vinegar is not recommended for use on cast iron skillets as they may cause pitting damage. Another method is to fill the pot or pan with water, then add a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent or a heaping tablespoon of baking soda. Carefully boil the mixture over medium heat for up to 10 minutes, until you notice the hardened food being to float to the top of the water, then scrub clean. Similarly, you can remove the burned residue on the bottom of your tea kettle by rubbing it with a baking soda and vinegar paste mixture, then wipe clean with a soapy sponge.

Cleaning Kitchen Appliances

Dishwasher

Besides removing stubborn pots and pans stains, vinegar is exceptional in cleaning appliances. For example, do you have lingering odors in your dishwasher, or a hard water build up? Try placing a cup of vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack during a hot cycle. Once the dishwasher cycle ends, generously sprinkle the bottom of the dishwasher with baking soda to run a short wash cycle.

Fridge

Do you love the modern, sleek look that your stainless steel appliances add to your kitchen, but hate the fingerprints they inevitably showcase at the end of each day? One method to easily resolve the mess is to simply soak one microfiber rag in hot water, then add a drop of liquid dish soap. Work your way down from the top of the appliance, removing any built-up food or fingerprints by wiping left to right in circles. Once done, add some warm water to a second microfiber rag to rinse away the solution. If you have a few extra minutes, use a microfiber wax applicator sponge to dry the appliance while the surface is still damp to leave a nicely polished finish.

Microwave

If your family is one to enjoy microwavable popcorn on weeknights and mug cakes on weekends, then you may experience the occasional hardened food particle built-up inside. Simply add the juice of 1 lemon and 1/4 cup water into a bowl, then microwave for 5 minutes to create steam that’ll eliminate odors and loosen up any food remnants.

Stovetop

From cozy winter soups to spaghetti to weekend pancakes, your stovetop has been life giving the past few months, but now it’s time to give it some love back. The first method to removing any caked-on food is to lightly sprinkle baking soda directly on the stovetop, spray with vinegar, then use a damp microfiber rag to scrub any spots clean. If the hardened food is too stubborn to release, try lightly scraping it with a silicone or plastic spatula to prevent scratching the glass surface. However, the ticket to keeping a sparkling clean stovetop is to attack the worst of the spills immediately, such as sugary spills which can solidify like concrete.

Cleaning Granite Countertops

For most oil stains, simply wiping it with a damp kitchen towel that has a small pump of grease-lifting dishwashing soap should do the trick. When it comes to coffee or tea stains, try grabbing a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning spray that is safe for stones. Another method for oil-based stains is mixing together baking soda and water, baking soda and peroxide for food-related stains, until you have a nut butter thick consistency. Generously coat the stain in the mixture, cover it with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the plastic to allow air, then secure the edges with masking tape. Leave it to sit for at least 24 hours, then wipe clean.

Everybody is prone to accidents in the kitchen, but with these tips in mind, you no longer have to worry about paying the price!


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