Posts Tagged ‘cleaning tips’

Steam dryer: Not just hot air

December 31, 2009

Iron-a-aphobia? Don't worry, there's help.

Tell me if this has happened to you: You work all day, come home for a quick wardrobe change for a night out (especially on a day like New Year’s Eve) only to find your dress or dress shirt more crinkled than an Ore-Ida — and you don’t have time (or refuse) to iron!

What now? Hang it on the door and turn on a hot shower? I think we’ve all tried that.

Electrolux EIMD551RR, though I prefer to use its middle name, "Lifesaver."

Now I just toss it in my Electrolux steam dryer for a refresh and throw it on 15 minutes later. This one has rescued me so many times.

In steam refresh cycles, a small amount of water is sprayed into the dryer drum after several minutes of tumbling with heat. The dryer will continue to tumble at regular heat for the duration of the cycle to reduce wrinkles, static and odors in fabrics. Of course, some fabrics release wrinkles easier than others, but I like prepping heavily wrinkled clothes with a steam cycle so they’re easier to iron.

But steam dryers aren’t just for procrastinators/wrinkled-clothes wearers.

LG DLEX2501V

The LG TrueSteam Dryer (among others) has a SteamSanitary™ cycle, which is NSF certified to eliminate 99.3% of 3 common infectious bacteria. Think of all those decorative pillows, comforters and children’s toys and stuffed animals that can’t be washed, but need to be sanitized for allergy-sufferers and to ward off cold/flu this season.

Whirlpool WED9500TW

While not cheap, steam models aren’t too much of upgrade from a comparable model, money-wise. The LG steam electric dryer  in white is on sale for $999 until Monday, Jan. 4, and the Whirlpool steam electric dryer pictured to the right is on sale for $799 while quantities last.

Next week, I’ll be in hot water…talking about steam washers. OK, no more bad idioms until the New Year, I promise :) .

Photo credit (wrinkled shirt): http://www.flickr.com/photos/foshie/ / CC BY 2.0

Cleaning oven glass

December 9, 2009

Noticed some streaks and stains on the inner oven glass that weren’t there before?

(fig. 1)

Hold up! Step back from your Jump To Conclusions mat — it’s not a bad seal.

Several vents (highlighted in fig. 1) open directly into the inner door to vent the hot air away from the glass. And because of their proximity to the stove top and its mess, people often spray cleaner near the vents that sneaks inside the door and drips down, causing streaks and stains.

What to do?

Our smart and helpful customer service rep Amy cautions you against pulling the door apart yourself.

Officially, if it bothers you enough, pay a service company to clean it — otherwise you’ll void the warranty, she said. Unfortunately, this aesthetic nuisance falls outside of warranty coverage because the customer did it herself.

Anatomy of an oven door

But if your range is older than 10 years — and in some cases, five years — warranty is no longer a concern.

So, unofficially, you can check out this HOW TOs on espares.com and find more on fixya.com — at your own risk.

Don’t get all “Red Green” inspired and duct tape the vents, like one customer informed Amy he’d being doing. That hot air needs to go somewhere.

A better way to prevent stains between the glass is to not spray near the vents. Better yet, spray cleaners directly onto the rag, rather than the range.

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishes not clean

November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving means two things: lots of food and lots of dirty dishes. And more dirt requires more soap, right?

WRONG.

Despite what you might think, too much soap can actually prevent your dishes from getting clean — especially on the top rack.

You should only use about half the amount of detergent recommended on the package. And if you have a water softener, you need only 1-2 teaspoons of powder — even less if you use liquid.

I think these people may have used too much detergent.

Too much soap can cause over-sudsing. Our customer service representative Maghan explained to me that the dishwasher tries to drain as much of the soap suds and food residue as it can. But when too much soap is used and it produces  so many suds, the dishwasher can’t drain it all in the time allowed.

So instead of draining, the soap bubbles pop inside, redepositing tiny food particles back onto the dishes, which show up most on glassware and silverware.

How do you know if you’re over-sudsing? Run a cycle without any soap. If suds are left at the bottom of the tub, you’re over-sudsing.

To remedy, we suggest a “vinegar cycle”:

  • Empty any dishes and shut soap door, without adding any detergent
  • Run dishwasher until it gets to the wash cycle
  • Open the door and check if the dispenser flap has opened
    • If it hasn’t, run for another minute or so until the flap opens
    • If the flap has opened, add the 1 cup vinegar and run through the full cycle.

You might have to repeat the process two or three times to ensure you’ve eliminated the build up of soap. Maghan also suggests trying a dishwasher cleaner like Glisten or Dishwasher Magic.

And I’ve said it again but I will continue to harp on about using rinse aid. It’s not just for looks, people! Maghan reminds us dishwashers today come designed to use rinse aid to help dry, as they lack a built-in fan.

So remember: gorge on turkey, just go easy on the soap, OK?

Photo credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/flexsleuthor/ / CC BY 2.0

Cleaning your washer – 3 tips on how to clean a smelly washer

October 28, 2009

frigaffinityFront-load washers earned the reputation for being high-efficiency, eco-friendly machines with outstanding cleaning power … that smell bad. (My sister/salesperson Angela Warner actually talked to WCCO-4 about the problem with smelly washers about a year ago.)

So why do front-load washing machines sometimes smell? For many of the reasons that they’re generally better machines, ironically enough.

High-efficiency washers use MUCH less water, so more residue and detergent can be left behind after the cycle. Both front- and top-load washers that are high-efficiency can suffer from this, but high-efficiency top-load washing machines are less common.

Constant cold water cycles can also contribute to the stink, as they don’t always fully dissolve dirt and grease from the interior of the wash tub. Also, the tightly sealed door, left closed after a wash cycle, might not dry completely, which leads to the growth of odor-causing bacteria (Think: when you leave wet clothes in the washer for too long).

Luckily, the solution is as easy as 1-2-3. I know it’s cheesy, but if you remember these three easy steps, yo nose will be in the clear.

1. Keep the gasket dry

The crevasses of your washing machine gasket, which is the rubber seal that runs the perimeter of the door and opening, is a favorite place for moisture and residue to hang out. Keep a rag handy to quickly wipe this area dry after you’re done with laundry for the day.

2. Keep the washer door open

After you wipe down the gasket, fight the urge to shut the door. Don’t you hang a wet beach towel out to dry? Same thinking. Let the washer air out so there’s no opportunity for the mildewy smell to develop.

3. Use a washer cleaner

Use a cleaner formulated specifically for the interior of the machine, such as Affresh, once a month to prevent odor. And if your washer already smells, you should use Affresh three times to get back on track. Read more about how Affresh works.

These steps have become second nature for us in using our front-load laundry pair. And it’s worth it for the money savings in utility costs, the huge capacity and the superior cleaning. Are any of you still struggling with this? If not, what worked for you?

HOW TO: Clean a stove top

October 13, 2009

You probably already know you’re supposed to use special stove top cleaner for your smooth- or glass-top range or cook top to keep it looking new.

It looks like Soft Scrub (pale and creamy-textured), but it works like wax, restoring a shiny finish without streaks left from soap and water.

Most customers who come into our store stock up on this stuff because nothing else works quite like it for the day-to-day clean ups.

Like I said, you probably already knew that. But this tip usually makes customers think we’re nuts: straight-edge razor blades.

razor

The sneakiest weapon in your appliance cleaning arsenal.

Using a sharp object to clean glass might sound strange, but wait until you see it scrape off those old “burns” you got from over-boiling water. Just be careful with your fingers and keep the razor at an angle so it doesn’t scratch the top.

As for getting rid of brownish stains, my sister/salesperson, Angela Warner, swears by Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Have you used a razor blade to clean your range top? Or do you have another great cleaning move you swear by? Leave a comment!

HOW TO: Clean stainless steel appliances

September 30, 2009

If you’ve ever owned them, you know: Stainless steel appliances can carry more fingerprints than an episode of “CSI” — especially if you have kids.

Or customers. Back in my receptionist days, I used to be responsible for cleaning the rows of lovely stainless steel products we displayed in our St. Paul store on Snelling Avenue. So I’m somewhat of a stainless steel cleaning expert. Our volume of fridge smudges dwarfed what you would have in your kitchen, of course, because you don’t have customers touching your stuff all day.

Don’t get me wrong. Stainless steel does have a stunning effect on a kitchen…

Dacor Stainless Steel Kitchen -- Dacor.com

Dacor Stainless Steel Kitchen -- Dacor.com

…but you just have to have the right stuff to clean them and a good process in mind.

Citrushine Stainless Steel PolishI used Citrushine, which we sell because it’s really the best polish we’ve found. It’s nontoxic, smells like oranges instead of chemicals and doesn’t leave your fingers feeling too greasy. Plus, I kept rows of fridges, dishwashers, ranges, microwaves and kitchen displays clean without losing my mind or the integrity of the factory finish. (If that’s not a ringing endorsement, you don’t own stainless steel.)

My process? Spray some Citrushine on a dust rag (you can also use a paper towel, but I don’t like getting cleaner on my hands) and wipe down the appliances going with the grain of the stainless steel. Citrushine doesn’t streak like other cleaners and certainly not like soap and water, but I found that going with the grain makes clean up way faster.

Some brands now carry stainless steel appliances that wipe clean with only a warm rag, like Miele‘s Clean Touch Steel™. All Fisher & Paykel DishDrawers and some refrigerator models come in EZ-Kleen, which is an anti-fingerprint stainless steel finish.

I’m interested to hear in the comments if anyone else has tried this or other cleaners/methods with success.


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