Sunday, August 26, 2012

Random Wild Card Post: Household Hints Edition

I have a few household hints I'd like to share with you tonight.  One has to do with cleaning pots and pans, one has to do with cleaning and oiling cutting boards and butcher blocks, and the last has to do with eradicating stains from clothing.  I've gleaned these hints from various sources:  Apartment TherapyReal Simple Magazine and of course, that font of wisdom, Mom.
  • To clean stains off pots and pans, spread some baking soda over the effected surface.  Pour some hydrogen peroxide over the baking soda, and leave it to stand for 10-20 minutes, depending on the severity of the stains.  A paste will form.  Using a non-scratch scrubbing pad, polish the surface until the stains are removed.  Rinse with warm water, and dry.  Your pot should now be shiny clean!
  • To clean and oil a wooden cutting board or butcher block, sprinkle kosher salt or other coarse salt over the surface.  Cut a lemon in half and use one half to scrub the surface of the cutting board or butcher block. This will sanitize the cutting board or butcher block.  Sanding butcher block or a cutting board will also cut down on the bacteria hiding in the surface of the block or board.  Wipe the surface clean of the wood dust with a clean tack cloth or cheesecloth.  
  • To oil a wooden cutting board or butcher block, use food safe mineral oil specially treated for wooden surfaces.  I use Tree Spirit Mineral Oil, which is food safe.  I bought it at Bed Bath & Beyond.  Coat the surface with the oil and using a cloth or paper towel, evenly distribute the oil over the surface, first in circles to get into all the cuts and grooves in the surface, then following the grain of the wood, so that the oil soaks in and is absorbed into the wood.  Let stand overnight or for several hours until all the oil has been absorbed and the surface is dry to the touch once more.  

 This is the butcher block kitchen cart after I cleaned and oiled it.  

Close-up of the grain.  Note the dark honey color.  Previously it was more of an anemic, ashy blond.  
  • To eradicate stains from machine-washable clothing, create a stain-removing kit.  I have in my stain-removing kit, a bottle of Shout! Ultra Gel with Stain-Lifting Brush, a Tide stain-removal stick, and my secret weapons, a couple of used toothbrushes and stain removal potion.  
  • To make the stain-removal potion, mix equal parts ammonia, dishwashing liquid and water.  I like to use Palmolive Ultra dishwashing liquid, because it's really good at removing grease and stains on pots and pans, and, as it turns out, it works on clothes too!  Put it in a bottle with a pop-up top, like a dishwashing liquid bottle.  I actually use a TSA-approved 3 oz. bottle for liquids like shampoo and lotion, that has a pop-up top.  This way you can control the amount of liquid you pour on the stain.  When you have covered the stain in the potion, commence rubbing the stain with a clean used toothbrush.  Continue until the stain has been eradicated.  Rinse the stained area in cold water.  For a little extra oomph, or if the stain hasn't been completely removed, use the Shout! gel with the brush.  Don't rinse the garment this time.  Instead, let the Shout! soak in for awhile, and then launder the garment according to the manufacturer's instructions. 
I had some stains that settled into my white t-shirts recently, and I used this method.  I send out my laundry to be done once a month, so it was awhile before my t-shirts got washed, but they came back nice and white, no stains.  It works best on oil-based stains, like ice cream and salad dressing (yes, I eat the iconic, ironic American diet: diet soda with my deluxe burgers, and ice cream with my salad!)

The kit revealed:  Clean, used toothbrushes, Shout! Ultra Gel with Stain-Lifting Brush, Tide To-Go, which I take with me on fancy dress occasions, and the Magic Stain-Removing Potion.

Don't use this on your fine hand washables, though.  To get my fine washables smelling fresh, I use a splash of white vinegar in the final soak, before I rinse them off.  You can also use a cup of white vinegar in the washing machine for the final rinse, instead of fabric softener, which is actually not so great for your clothes.  White vinegar gets your clothes nice and soft and smelling fresh.

Peace out, and be well everybody, until next time!