Like everyone else, I clean year-round. But Spring always puts me in a cleaning mood. I want to scrub off the winter doldrums, open the windows, and let the fresh air in. Here are some of my favorite cleaning tips for those pesky jobs.
Burned food in the bottom of a pot: Add a squirt of liquid dish detergent and half an inch of water to the pot. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the water cool to room temperature. The burned food should clean up quickly.
Accumulated grease on cookie sheets: In a GLASS bowl, mix ¼ cup baking soda with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste. Smear mixture on cookie sheet and scrub with small, circular motions, pressing firmly. Rinse and repeat until cookie sheet is clean and shiny. Wash sheet with soapy water and rinse well before using. Don't get the cleaning mixture on your clothes. It could remove the color from fabric.
For sluggish drains: Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain followed by ½ cup of white vinegar. Cover and let bubble for a few minutes. Then flush with a couple quarts of boiling water.
To freshen up your garbage disposal: Run water into drain, full hot. Turn on garbage disposal and pour in about a tablespoon of liquid dish detergent. Let water and disposal run until the suds are rinsed away. Or grind up slices of lime or lemon peels while flooding the drain with hot water.
For a stale-smelling microwave: Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave until the mixture boils. The steam given off will cling to the walls. Wipe down for a fresh, clean microwave.
Coffee-maker Maintenance: Mix 2 cups white vinegar with 2 cups water in the coffee pot. Pour into the water reservoir and press the "brew" button. The vinegar mixture will remove the mineral deposits from the heating element. You might even see bits of it in the "brewed" mixture. If you do, mix a new batch of vinegar/water solution and brew again. Brew plain water several times to rinse the inside of the coffee-maker.
Wood Floor Cleaner: An 85-year-old friend recommended white vinegar to keep wood floors sparkling clean. Add 1 cup vinegar to a gallon of warm water and sponge mop.
Narrow-necked Vases: If you can't get your hand down the neck of your flower vases, use Alka-Seltzer. Fill the vase half full with water. Drop in 2 Alka-Seltzer tablets and let the fizz do the dirty work for you.
Range Hood Filters: Once a month or so, soak hood filters in hot, hot soapy water. Rinse before replacing. This will keep them grease-free and in good working order.
Clean Cutting Boards: For wood cutting boards, sprinkle with course salt and rub with ½ a lemon. Plastic cutting boards can be run through the dishwasher. Once a month or so, soak plastic cutting boards in a mild bleach solution (2 tablespoons bleach to 2 quarts of water).
Garbage Can: At least once a week, wipe the inside and outside of the can with a soap solution (1 teaspoon dish soap to 1 quart warm water). This will get rid of any lingering odors.
I'm always looking for tips to make cleaning faster and easier. What tips do you have to offer?