Archive for the ‘Cleaning’ Category

Stove top cleaning tips

December 20, 2013

candy-stove-mess

It’s that magical time of year when you’re cooking twice and much and inviting people into your home to witness the aftermath of that.

Luckily, returning your stove top or cooktop to looking like new isn’t that hard; it just takes a little know-how.

Follow my tips and you’ll never flounder with soap and water again. Cuz ain’t got time for that!

If you have porcelain-coated stove top or grates

gas-stove-top-cleaning-tipsNo. 1 Enemy: Clean up spills containing acids, such as vinegar and tomato, as soon as the surface is cool enough as they could affect the finish.

Tool: Nonabrasive plastic scrubbing pad and cooktop cleaner. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser saves a lot of elbow grease.

Timesaver: Throw grates in the dishwasher on the most powerful cycle you have. It’s recommended to give it a good bath in the sink first, but if you have a great Warner Stellian dishwasher like I do, no prerinsing necessary!

DO NOT: put caps on the dishwasher or reassemble caps on burners while they are wet. Unless you like struggling to ignite your burners.

If you have a ceramic or glass top stove, i.e. electric:

how-to-clean-ceramic-stove-top

No. 1 Enemy: Sugary spills (jellies, candy, syrup). Tis the season!

Tool: Cooktop Scraper or a razor blade. Clean while the cooktop is still warm, wearing oven mitts if necessary.

Culprit: Heavy soil, dark streaks, specks, and discoloration

Tool: Cooktop Polishing Cream or soap and water (if you have aggression you need to work out). Do like Mr. Miyagi taught you: wax on, wax off until white film disappears and takes mess with it.

Culprit: Burned-on soil

Tool: Cooktop Cleaner and Cooktop Scraper (or razor blade). First apply cleaner. Then scrape surface keeping blade as flat as possible. Finish polishing cooktop until film disappears.

Culprit: Overboiling residue

Tool: Overboiling was a special skill of mine when I was first learning how to cook, which took place on the unforgivably hot surface of an electric stovetop. I learned that a melamine sponge (aka Mr. Clean Magic Eraser) eliminated the evidence quite well.

If you have cast-iron grates

cleaning cast iron grates

Read this existing post. HOW TO: clean cast iron grates.

how to clean stainless steel cooktop

You might have a full stainless steel stove top under your grates. First try stainless steel cleaner. For tougher messes, try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Always go with the grain for best results.

Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher’s crazy rotating spray arm adds 4x the water coverage

May 25, 2012

This Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher promises to clean better, get your dishes completely dry and do so quietly.

There’s a reason that the most-read posts on this blog are about dishwashers.

They’re frustrating.

Half the time the dishes come out still needing to be dried — or worse — washed. Can’t they just get it right the first time?

And if your dishwasher does do the job, it probably makes its presence well known to anyone in earshot.

Sound familiar?

Frigidaire is making a big deal out of the Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher they’re selling that addresses each of these issues.

1. The OrbitClean technology, aka satellite-action lower spray arm, works independent of the upper and middle spray arms and covers 4x more area with concentrated soap and water.

Instead of drawing the same pattern of water over and over again, the OrbitClean rotates on the spray arm as it turns in circles at the base of the dishwasher. Watch the video. It’s pretty crazy.

2. The fan-assisted dry (“SaharaDry”) eliminates the need for toweling off your glasses while unloading.

3. The alternating wash arms that improved the wash action of the dishwasher also lessen the noise output. But the four-sided sound insulation wrap further ensures that this Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher is the quietest in its class (aka for the money; it retails at $599 at Warner Stellian).

PLUS, you’ll receive a free one-year extended warranty if you buy one before August 2012.

If you buy this dishwasher, Frigidaire is saying they get it right the first time; so no do-overs in terms of dishwashing. But if you share another do-over you’d LIKE to do, you can win the dishwasher.

Microwave odor? How to get smell out of microwave

March 21, 2012

You know how sometimes you microwave food and it ends up smelling like something you made last week?

No one wants broccoli vaguely reminiscent of burnt popcorn or that super greasy pizza.

But as much as you clean it, you just can’t get rid of that darn stinky odor in the microwave.

Until now.

Frigidaire passed along this odor-removing solution that requires little more than pushing buttons.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • grated lemon peel
  • several whole cloves

Combine all ingredients together in a glass measuring cup and boil for several minutes in the microwave on full power. Allow the hot mixture to sit in the microwave until cool (this is when the magic happens).

Wipe interior with a soft cloth.

Voila!

 

HOW TO: clean stove drip pans

January 26, 2012

OK, stop acting like you're having fun. Cleaning the stove is NOT fun. Especially with that spray; you'll be scrubbin' all night.

Cleaning my stove top reminds me of making the bed: even if I do it today, I’m still going to have to do it tomorrow, too.

If you have an electric coil stove you have drip pans, which — by name — catch drips. Even if you clean your range top often, it’s a mess the next time you cook.

So the clean up should be quick and easy, or it won’t get done, right?

The method I’ve suggested before is cleaning stove drip pans with a paste. But no matter how wonderful, applying the paste and rinsing the pans is still more than some of us have time for on a nightly basis.

And this applies to gas stove tops like mine, too. Lots of drips land on the burner caps and below the grates.

The fastest, easiest — and perhaps even most effective way to clean the surface — Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, or a generic version of this melamine foam sponge.

It looks like an ordinary sponge, but because it’s melamine, it actually has little microscrubbers that can remove discoloration and baked on mess with minimal elbow grease.

That being said, it is abrasive in nature so it can scratch or dull surfaces if you’re not careful (Bon-Ami is a great alternative in this case). ‘

If you’re like me, you get so excited about the sudden ease of cleaning your seemingly impossible stove top that you move on to those marks on the floor, that mildew in the shower grout…

7 most popular appliance blog posts of 2011

December 28, 2011

A post on cleaning the dishwasher was a top dog.

Though not the most-read posts of all time on the Warners’ Stellian Appliance blog, these next 7 posts garnered the most views of those written this year.

7. HOW TO: clean a dishwasher

With more states banning phosphates in dishwashers without consumers possibly noticing, dishwashers got white film.

But a regular maintenance cleaning is always a good idea.

6. HOW TO: clean cast iron grates

If you’re lucky enough to have cast iron grates, you’re unlucky enough to handle cleaning them. The experts at Wolf Range weighed in.

5. DIY Network ‘Rehab Addict’ Nicole Curtis talks appliances

Old house lover/rehabber Nicole Curtis invited us into her “Minnehaha House” in Minneapolis for tips on fixing up kitchens and buying the right appliances.

4. Stove drip pans cleaning tips

Is there anything worse than the grime that builds up on the burner pans on your stove top? Not only do I include a deep-cleaning method, but I offer up the secret ingredient to easily keeping those drip pans shiny on a weekly basis.

3. How long does a dishwasher last?

2. How long does a refrigerator last?

1. How long does a washer last?

No, you’re right; they don’t make ‘em like they used to. (But believe me, that’s not all bad!) Unfortunately, gone are the days when you could expect your appliances to last a decade and a half. Find the new lifespans in each post above.

Don’t put foil in the oven

December 19, 2011

Maybe your grandma used to use tinfoil to line her oven floor to aid clean up.

But times have changed; tinfoil is no longer made of tin. The stuff you use to shield your ham is actually aluminum foil, which has a lower heat tolerance.

The high temperatures of your oven floor can actually cause the foil to melt right onto that oven surface.

And you can’t clean it off.

We’ve had Warners’ Stellian Appliance customers spend hundreds of dollars replacing the oven floor on relatively new ranges because of this well-intentioned mistake.

Instead, aluminum foil-makers suggest you line the oven rack you’re using with aluminum foil rather than lining the oven itself.

Get your oven ready for the holidays

December 15, 2011

Just like you might get an oil change before going on a road trip, you might have considered cleaning your oven before hosting a holiday party.

Here’s some advice:

Don’t.

Every holiday we get a panicked call from a well-meaning customer who ran the self-clean on her oven and afterwards, the oven didn’t unlock (in this cautionary tale, Northland Service was able to unlock the oven in the nick of time). Of course, this isn’t what’s supposed to happen; the self-clean mode should just work like a charm.

But we all know that things don’t always turn out as they should, and if it’s going to malfunction, Murphy’s Law dictates that it will be right before your in-laws show up.

Instead, follow my tips on how to clean your oven manually. You don’t even need oven cleaner.

And then you can use your self-clean function AFTER the holidays.

 

Before you get dryer repair…

October 20, 2011

If you’re dryer’s not drying, troubleshoot your vent before calling for dryer service. Especially if you’re running your dryer twice to get clothes dry.

If your dryer’s vent system is clogged, moist air won’t exhaust as well and it will take longer for your clothes to dry.

Here’s how to test your vent to see if it’s clogged:

  1. Run your dryer for at least 5 minutes
  2. Find your exhaust hood on the exterior of your home. It will look like one of these


Use your hand to feel for air movement. If it’s less than a hair dryer on high speed, clean the lint from the entire length of the system and exhaust hood. (This should be done about every two years, anyway).

How to clean stainless appliances without a stainless steel cleaner

September 29, 2011

(Disclaimer: Just because I know how to clean stainless steel appliances, doesn’t mean I actually do it.)

If you have stainless steel refrigerator like I do (and especially if you have kids), chances are, that refrigerator looks like this:

Cleaning stainless steel appliances is not like cleaning other surfaces, because it’s easy to leave behind streaks from the actual cleaning process itself.

We sell a really good cleaner for stainless steel appliances called Citrushine. I used to use it all the time when I worked at the stores (if you think your kitchen is bad, imagine how much our appliances get touched!).

But sometimes company is coming over — which is about the only time I’ll polish my stainless steel — and you don’t have time to run to the store.

Try baby oil.
Apply with an old towel or rag in small doses so you don’t end up with a greasy refrigerator and wipe with the grain for the shiniest finish.

Cold-water washing? People aren’t buying it

September 19, 2011

New York Times photo

In this thinly veiled puff piece for Procter & Gamble’s Tide Coldwater, The New York Times reports that despite the efficacy and saved money/energy of cold-water washes, consumers are still hesitant to give up hot-water washes:

Procter officials said they were encouraged by company surveys that showed more consumers were washing in cold water. When Tide Coldwater was introduced in 2005, just 30 percent of laundry loads were washed in cold water; now, it’s pushing 40 percent.

“We have people moving from warm to cold,” said Dawn French, the company’s director of North America laundry products research and formula design. “But hot-water loads have remained very steady.”

Currently, about 7 percent of white laundry loads are done in cold water, compared with 22 percent for lights and 57 percent for darks, according to company studies.

Many of us do probably wash our colors in cold water, but I’ll admit I usually still do my whites in hot water. Though after reading this article I’m reminded how frivolous that likely is.

And expensive (according to the article, energy savings isn’t really a big selling point with Americans, yet).

About 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothes in an average washer is for heating the water. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.

It really is a no-brainer, given current technology.

One possible issue associated with only washing in cold water: smelly washers. I’m sure that cold-water detergent is formulated to fully dissolve — making residue less of an issue — but remember to keep your washer open between loads, wipe your gasket clean occasionally and run a washer cleaner through as needed.


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