The last kitchen cleaner you’ll ever buy

If Sisyphus existed in modern times, his eternal punishment would be achieving a clean stovetop. Because it’s almost impossible.

If your stove top is white, you can never quite remove every last discoloration. If you’re cleaning a glass top stove, you’ll rue the day you ever overboiled a pot or cooked atop existing food residue. Black glass top ranges seem to attract dust every night.

Miracle in a sponge.

I’ve blogged previously about how to a clean stove top using Barkeepers Friend and a razor blade, but if you could only buy one tool, make it the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or (if you’re cheap like me) its generic copycats.

Made of melamine foam, whose tiny particles act like extra-fine sandpaper when moistened, magic erasers do as named and erase otherwise persistent stains from hard surfaces. You might want to test a small area if you’re nervous about scratches, but I’ve never run into any problems.

I use mine to remove hardened food the discoloration around the burners on my white gas range, but it multitasks in my porcelain sink and especially on shower tile soap scum and grout mildew.

Am I missing anything? I bet there are tons of creative uses for these.

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.

6 Surprising White Vinegar Uses

Vinegar is quite the cheap, green cleaning wunderkind. Ditch the store-bought cleaning products laden with chemicals, and try using vinegar for the following.

1. Vinegar as Rinse Aid

bottle of white vinegar

We have recently blogged about the benefits of a regular vinegar cycle in your dishwasher, but we’ve also heard of using vinegar as a dishwasher rinse aid substitute.

There’s really no harm in using vinegar in your dishwasher, but we 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. Clean Microwave with Vinegar

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. Clean Washer with Vinegar

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. Vinegar as All-purpose 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.

5. Clean Coffee Maker with Vinegar

Run a full coffee pot of vinegar through your coffee maker 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. Vinegar as Stovetop and Oven Cleaner

Apply a paste of vinegar and baking soda to your stovetop to scrub out those stubborn brownish discolorations and food splatters.

Do you have any other creative white vinegar use ideas? Let us know in the comments!

How To Clean Cast Iron Stove Grates

We read each and every Customer Satisfaction Survey returned to us by our customers. One customer’s cleaning inquiry struck me.

She couldn’t find any information on how to clean cast iron – the “rough” iron grates and burner caps on her new range. The manual only referenced porcelain-coated grates, not cast iron grates.

“I’m sure I’m not the only person who is wondering,” she wrote – and I agree with her.  Plus, I love a good challenge.

So I e-mailed the smart folks at Wolf appliances for help on cleaning cast iron grates. They sent me a knock-down, drag out PDF containing their best cleaning tips, including recommendations for products they’ve tested!

From the guide:

Burner Grates

Recommended products

  • Mild detergent
  • Paste of baking soda & water (NOTE: the customer previously tried this unsuccessfully)
  • Mild abrasive cleaners
    • Soft Scrub Orange
    • Bon-Ami
    • Barkeeper’s Friend
    • Fume Free Easy-Off (spot cleaning)
    • Carbona 2-in-1 Oven Cleaner (cleaning solution can be reused once)
    • SOS pads
    • Dawn Power Dissolver
    • Krud Kutter

Recommended method

  • Remove grates from unit and place on a flat surface near the sink to clean. DO NOT immerse in water. Towel dry.
  • Use a no-scratch cleaning pad to scrub with hot water and mild detergent or a paste made of baking soda and water.
  • Use a degreaser, such as Formula 409, if needed. Then, rinse and towel dry.
  • In a worst case scenarios, spot clean with Fume-free Easy Off or use Carbona Oven Rack Cleaner.

Do you have any tips for cleaning cast iron stove grates? Share them in the comments.

How To Clean a Dishwasher

Most of us think of dishwashers as cleaning our dishes, but you should routinely clean your dishwasher, as well (especially if you’ve noticed a change in its performance). We are huge advocates for performing regular maintenance on your appliances, just as you would your car, to maintain the life and get the most out of your investment.)

Dishwasher detergent and food residue might build up over time (especially if you use too much dishwasher soap and pre-rinse your dishes, which can leave white film on dishes). Use the following tips to return your dishwasher to its glory days.

Dishwasher Cleaning Tips

Clean out the filters and scrub the spray arm nozzles with a toothbrush to loosen any food residue clogged inside. Then, the real secret of how to clean dishwashers is hiding in plain sight of your own cupboard: white vinegar.

Fill a cup with vinegar and put it in the top rack of the dishwasher (don’t add any soap to the dishwasher dispenser) and run the dishwasher as normal. Voila!

If you don’t have any vinegar (or the smell grosses you out), our St. Paul Store Manager swears by powdered citric acid in the dishwasher soap dispenser.

What are your best tips for cleaning the dishwasher?