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Tips and Tricks
Cleaning & Household Tips
Editor: Keri

1) Occasion-Colored Recipe Cards I put all of my family's favorite recipes for holidays on different colored recipe cards. I use red for Christmas, pink for birthday dishes, etc. That way, no one's favorite is forgotten, and I can pull them out easily according to color.

2)  I use an extra calendar to keep track of the dinners I make each week. When I go to plan the week's dinners and make a shopping list, usually on a Sunday night, I simply refer back a few months and select meals I have already served. It's a great help when I am feeling uninspired.

3) If you ever find yourself without the time to change the sheets, freshen them up for a few extra days by sprinkling a soft-scented perfumed powder on your sheets. Sprinkle some inside of the pillowcases too. This will refresh the sheets and feel silky smooth on your skin. It is great aromatherapy and relaxing when you have had a difficult day

4) I have a great tip for cleaning your house and keeping it clean. I take a sheet of paper and list all the daily, weekly, and monthly chores that need to be done. Then, I take file cards and a file card box; I put a chore that needs to be done on each card and file it under the day of the week it needs to be done. I shortened the amount of cards by making one card that says what needs to be done daily. The system works very well if you keep to it.

5) Ever have mysterious foods stuck in smelly splatters inside your microwave? Red spaghetti sauce is often a culprit in mine. Here's an easy way to remove these without scrubbing: Take a two-cup glass measuring cup or bowl, put in 1 cup water and 1/2 to 1 cup lemon juice or white vinegar. Place in microwave and cook on HIGH setting for 2-3 minutes, longer if necessary. Remove cup and wipe out microwave with sponge or paper towel. Voila! The steam loosens the splatters, and the lemon juice or vinegar dissolves the grease making it very easy to clean and smelling GREAT. Try it, it really works!

Cookware/Pots & Pans

1) On non-stick cookware, stubborn stains can be removed by boiling 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1 cup of water for ten minutes. Before using, season pan with salad oil.

2) To clean burnt and scorched pans, sprinkle liberally with baking soda, adding just enough water to moisten. Let stand for several hours. You can generally lift the burned portions right out of the pans. Burnt food can be removed from glass baking dishes by spraying with oven cleaner and letting it soak for 30 minutes. The burnt-on residue will be easier to wipe off.

3) To restore color and shine to an aluminum pan, boil some apple peels in it for a few minutes. Then rinse and dry.

4) For cast-iron skillets, remove baked-on particles with a kitchen brush. Avoid using metal scouring
pads because they will scratch the surface.

5) When an enamel pan is badly burnt, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of salt. Let stand for an hour, then rub gently with a steel scrubber.

6) To remove lime deposits from your tea kettle, fill with equal parts of vinegar and water. Bring to a boil and allow to stand overnight.

7) Whenever you empty a jar of dill pickles, use the left-over juice to clean the copper bottoms of your pans. Just pour the juice in a large bowl, set the pan in the juice, and let it stand for a little while.  Wash the pan as usual. The bottom of the pan will look like new!

8) For oven racks and broiler pans that are encrusted with grime, spray generously with ammonia, seal tightly in a garbage bag, and let set for 24 hours. This also works on BBQ grills and pans.

9) Line your baking pans with aluminum foil before baking. This way, you won't have to spend so much time cleaning the pan afterwards. Similarly, when roasting, lining the pan with aluminum foil will save a lot of scrubbing afterwards!

10) Instead of using expensive silver cleaners, put a dab of toothpaste on a clean rag and rub it on your precious possession. After you've rubbed it in, just clean it with another clean rag. Your silver will look like new.

11) Before you scrub pots, pans, or cooking dishes, sprinkle the entire surface with dishwasher crystals and add a little water. Let set. In a short time it will come clean!

12) To clean wooden cutting boards, cut a lime or lemon in two, pour salt on the cutting board, and rub the surface with the cut side of the fruit. Then scrub with a big scrub sponge, heavy duty scrubber, or all-purpose scrub pad. All odors should disappear!

13) To get the copper bottoms of pots and pans clean and shiny or to clean cast iron pots and pans try the following: Slice a lemon in half, pour some salt on the lemon, and rub it into the pan in a circular motion. Then gently scrub with a steel scrubber or copper scrubber. After awhile the tarnish and dirt will be removed. Repeat the process until they are bright and shiny.

General Kitchen Cleaning Tips

1) To clean copper bottoms on pots and pans, simply open a can of tomato soup paste, rub it on and scrub with the big scrub sponge and then rinse. If you do this weekly, your pots and pans stay shiny clean. This is a very inexpensive way to clean copper and brass items!

2) Run a cup of white vinegar through the entire cycle of an empty dishwasher. This will remove all soap film and leave it sparkling clean. You can also use powdered orange or lemon drink mix to clean the dishwasher. Add the powder to the detergent cup and run through the normal cycle. The citric
acid in the powder removes stains.

3) To clean smudges and fingerprints off the outside of the dishwasher, use a damp all-purpose kitchen cloth dipped in baking soda.

4) To thoroughly disinfect dishes, add a small amount of bleach during the wash cycle. The dishes come out squeaky clean and disinfected.

5) To get rid of the white residue on glasses after washing them in the dishwasher, run the dishwasher with glasses only and one cup of vinegar.

6) Here's a great way to clean sterling silver: In a large pan boil 3 cups of water, 1 Tbsp. baking soda, and 1 Tbsp. salt. When it's boiling, add a piece of aluminum foil the size of the pan. Then add the silver to be cleaned. The tarnish will be gone instantly!

7) To clean brown stains from your tea cups, coffee cups, and mugs, rub them with an all-purpose kitchen cloth sprinkled with regular salt.

8) To clean and disinfect small sponges, put them in the dishwasher and run them through the HOT cycle. Even the grungiest sponges come out of the dishwasher looking and smelling like new!

9) To help keep your dishcloths and pan scrubbers clean, put them in the silverware basket when you run the dishwasher each day. If you have hard water, an added bonus is they stay much whiter.

10) Are you tired of wondering if the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty? I use a 'clean' and 'dirty' sign. Just attach Velcro to the dishwasher and to the sides of a homemade or store bought sign that says 'clean' on one side and 'dirty' on the other side. When the dishwasher is run, the sign should say 'clean'. When the dishwasher is emptied, the sign is flipped to 'dirty'. This way dirty dishes aren't put away and clean dishes aren't washed again.

Stove & Oven

1) To remove a spot from the oven caused by a pie or casserole dish running over, first let the oven cool, then place a cloth on the spot and saturate it with household ammonia. Let soak 2 hours, then rinse.

2) Place a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of your oven. When spills happen, just replace it with a new piece. No need to scrub the oven!

3)  To get rid of oven cleaner fumes, bake citrus peels in the oven at 350 degrees.

4) After cooking on the stove and before sitting down to eat, spray the top of the stove with a good degreaser. Then when the meal is through, all it takes is one wipe to the stove and
it's sparkling!

5) To clean under the kitchen stove or refrigerator, stretch a dress sock over a yard stick or straight edge and dust under the appliance. Picks up all kinds of fuzzies!

6) When you encounter rust rings or stains left behind by appliances on your cushioned no-wax floor, gently scrub with a solution of cola and coarse salt. Then rinse thoroughly. It effectively removes the rust without ruining the shine.

7) Has your husband (ok ok... or wife) ever burnt everything to the stove top while you were out of town? Instead of scrubbing with Brillo, Comet, or anything else and wasting all of that elbow grease, just spray oven cleaner on the stove top. Let set for about an hour and then rinse the grime away!
(Caution: Do not spray the oven cleaner towards lit pilot lights. It is flammable.)


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