Cleaning · FAQ · HOW TO · Washer

Washing machine smells? Stop shutting the door

Eww, your washing machine is stinky.

If you’re suffering from clothes washer odor, the solution could be as simple as leaving the front door open.

Front load washers clean better, use less water and energy and treat clothes more gently, but they’ve earned a smelly reputation. A frontload washer necessitates an airtight seal on the washer door to prevent water from leaking all over your floor. But the lack of airflow breeds that mildew-y odor in a washing machine.

Simple solution? Leave the door open after wash cycles, and teach your family to do the same. Then,  water remaining in a front loading washer following a cycle can dry out and you’ll go back to having the best washer ever.

To eliminate existing washing machine smells, try cleaning the washing machine with Affresh or run a vinegar cycle on the hottest setting.

Cleaning · cooking · Cooktops · Energy Efficiency · Innovative Features · Ranges

Induction cooktops work like a gas cooktop, using electric power

Induction burners heat only magnetic surfaces (like cookware) and nothing else.

While visiting a home in my neighborhood on the Minneapolis – St. Paul Home Tour yesterday, a tour representative said this homeowner’s renovation included switching from an electric stove to a gas stove and how much the representative wished she had a gas stove top in her own home.

“Well, what about induction?” I asked her.

It’s no longer just a choice between gas or electric stoves; homeowners with electric hookups can enjoy all the power of gas plus more responsiveness.

What do you lose with induction? All the wasteful energy loss. Cooking with induction is 70% more efficient than gas and 20% more efficient than electric.

Clean up is easier than smooth top gas ranges because spills don’t burn onto the surface. You can stick a hundred-dollar bill between an induction burner element and a pot of boiling water without worry

Why? Induction burners only heat magnetic surfaces (so you’ll know if your pots and pans are compatible if a magnet sticks to the bottom!), which also make induction cooktops popular choices for kid- and pet-safe kitchens.

Due to its recent rise in popularity (induction has been around since the ’70s but only took off recently), brands now make induction ranges in addition to induction cooktops.

More chefs and gourmet cooks are choosing induction; we put a Thermador induction cooktop in Midtown Global Market’s Kitchen in the Market just this year. I can’t wait to see more people delight in the ability to cook like they’re using gas without the cost and hassle of switching from electric.

Cleaning · HOW TO · laundry · Washer

Stain removal suggestions from regular people

Welcome to my life.

For those of us who end up wearing 10% of what we eat, stain removal is a constant battle.

Washing machines themselves are getting better at removing stains from clothing without any kind of pretreating or spot removal.

But for tougher jobs like grass stains, you might need to some additional help.

Tide Stain Brain collects real people’s successful stain removal tricks and displays them by stain type. So if you need to figure out how to get rid of wine stains, click on the wine button and you’ll find out that white wine actually removes a red wine stain, according to several submissions. Or learn that hydrogen peroxide is the best stain remover for blood.

If you have a smartphone, you can download a mobile app, which could be real handy when I spill coffee all over myself while walking into work (happens at least twice a week).

You can comment on specific submission or add your own. It reminds me of my second favorite website (after www.warnersstellian.com, of course) AllRecipes.

Cleaning · cooking · Food · grilling · Recipes

RECIPE: Caribbean Chicken on the grill

Because this is exactly what I have on the to do list this week, here’s my post on waking up your grill ready after winter hibernation.

Need some motivation?

Thanks to our Holland Grill and Big Green Egg expert, Stu “King of the BBQ” Glock, for sharing this recipe for grilled chicken that’s anything but ordinary. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but if it’s coming from Stu, I know it’s amazing (i.e. 3 takes on steak).

I’m going to try it soon…let me know if you do!

Grilled Caribbean Chicken

Courtesy of Derrick Agate

  • 1 Tbs allspice
  • 1 Tbs thyme
  • 1- 1/2 tsp each – cayenne pepper, black pepper and ground sage
  • ¾ tsp each ground nutmeg and cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs each salt and garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno or haberneros, finely chopped
  • 1 cup white onion chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3 lbs chicken

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients.  Whisk in olive oil, soy sauce, orange juice, vinegar and lime juice, then the peppers and onions.

Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate overnight or up to 48 hours.  Cook on the Holland Grill or the Big Green Egg at 350 degrees until the internal meat temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest 5 minutes before serving.

Cleaning · Dryer · laundry · vacuums · Washer

Seasonal allergy treatment? How about prevention?

After a windy spring weekend outdoors, I found myself battling itchy eyes and a watery nose yesterday.

Seasonal allergy symptoms are back.

For those who suffer from pollen allergy symptoms, you know how easily the tiny allergens travel…everywhere.

But treatment of seasonal allergies isn’t the only option. I much prefer preventing symptoms altogether, rather than relying on allergy remedies once I’m already dealing with histamines.

Here are the two main ways I prevent allergy symptoms:

  1. Keep windows and doors closed. Pollen travels mostly through the air, so I don’t let it blow into my house.
  2. Wash your hair and clothes soon after returning from the outdoors. Pollen will attach to you outdoors, and you’ll help it set up shop around your house by simply moving around and making contact. (Think about everything you touch: your pillows and sheets, your furniture, your carpet…)

So, because vacuuming your floors and washing your clothes and sheets is such a huge component to prevention, those with terrible allergies have found relief in some  products designed with them in mind:

LG’s Allergiene cycle from its TrueSteam washer and dryer

LG’s Allergiene washer cycle uses steam power to gently remove over 95% of common household allergens, like dust mites and pet dander, from even the most delicate fabrics.

Plus, you can safely sanitize nonwashable items like pillows and toys in LG’s steam dryer, which is what I did with all my throw pillows last night.

AquaFilter system in the Rotho Twin TT 580 canister vacuum

Rotho uses water and a HEPA filter to trap dust and dirt, not a canister or a bag, so it’s no surprise it has a 99.999% retention capacity, making it the ideal vacuum for allergy sufferers. Vacuuming is supposed to get rid of all the stuff that irks you, not kick it up into your airway.

The Rotho vacuum sprays water and cleaning solution on the area, then simultaneously vacuuming up the used water and solution to free embedded soil, dust mites, allergens, and odors — not the stuff sitting on the surface.

The $795 price tag makes it spendier than the also-awesome Dyson DC 23 Animal canister vacuum, but the Rotho’s deep-cleaning features and water filtration make it the ultimate tool for an allergy-free home.

Cleaning · FAQ · HOW TO

Best cleaning tips posts

It’s official spring, which means it’s officially appropriate for a cliche “spring cleaning post roundup”!

We’ve accumulated quite a few cleaning posts, which might surprise my house if it found out about all this unused knowledge.

Anything else you’d like to see here? Leave a comment.

 

 

General

Cooking

Other kitchen cleaning

Laundry room

Budget-wise · Cleaning · Cooktops · Dishwashers · DIY · HOW TO · Microwave · Ovens · Refrigerator · Washer

Vinegar cleaning ideas

White vinegar: not just for salad dressing and pickles.

Kim Ode of the Star Tribune posted last week that vinegar rids salt stains from suede boots. And that got me thinking: vinegar is kind of a cheap, green cleaning wunderkind.

Using vinegar to clean is certainly nothing new, but perhaps you haven’t yet tried one of my ideas.

Cleaning uses for vinegar

1. Rinse aid – I’ve recently blogged about the benefits of a regular vinegar cycle (using vinegar to clean your dishwasher), but I’ve also heard of using vinegar as a dishwasher rinse aid substitute.

There’s really no harm in using vinegar in your dishwasher, but I suggest only using it in lieu of rinse aid between trips to the store. Rinse aid should be called drying aid, and modern dishwashers need it to properly dry dishes.

2. Microwave cleaner – Heat a microwave-safe cup of vinegar in your microwave and let it boil, so the steam can loosen up all the stuck-on splatters for a minute or so. Wipe down the interior immediately, while it’s still moist inside — no scrubbing necessary!

3. Clothes washer cleaner – Just like  your dishwasher, your washing machine benefits from a regular vinegar cleaning. Run a cup through an empty cycle using the hottest setting.

4. All-purpose surface cleaner – Equal parts vinegar and water work well for cleaning windows or glass. Also try the solution for an all-natural way to clean the inside of a refrigerator. I hear you can use it to clean stainless steel as well, though, I recommend using a stainless steel cleaner for a shiny, polished finish.

5. Coffee maker cleaner – This tip, learned from my mom, is among my favorites. I try to run a full coffee pot of vinegar through my coffee maker (remove any coffee or filter, obviously) every few months. It’s satisfying to watch all the grime flake off into the pot, and you’ll be amazed how much faster your coffee brews without all the sediment slowing it down!

6. Stove top and oven cleaner – I’ve already blogged about using a paste of vinegar and baking soda for oven cleaning, but that same paste can be applied to your stove top to scrub out those stubborn brownish discolorations and food splatters.

Have you ever tried cleaning with vinegar?
What other household cleaning remedies have you tried?