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LINDA ROBBINS: Kitchen cleaning tips |

LINDA ROBBINS: Kitchen cleaning tips

The calendar says that we are still in the middle of winter, but it may not be too early to start some spring-cleaning. It is so easy on a busy day to ignore the little things that need cleaning in your kitchen. Here are a few easy tips using things you already have around the home from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Answer Line that will help you get some cleaning done.


• Burned popcorn or other odors in the microwave: Combine ½-cup lemon juice and 1-cup water in a microwavable bowl. Heat the mixture for 5 minutes and then wipe out the microwave. Repeat this procedure two or three times a day for a few days if the odor is strong.

• Slow running drains: Combine ¼-cup baking soda, ¼-cup salt and 1-tablespoon cream of tartar and pour into the drain. Slowly add ½-cup white vinegar and then slowly pour in 1-cup boiling water. Allow to stand; then flush with cold water.

• Burned or scorched saucepans: To remove scorch stains in a saucepan, try a solution of 3 tablespoons Ajax in water and boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Scrub remaining residue with a scouring pad. If your pan is aluminum or stainless steel, try 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice or cream of tartar per quart of water. Boil 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure the water line remains above the scorched line.

• Removing odor from the refrigerator: Try one of these four solutions until the odor is gone.

Empty the refrigerator shelf and lightly crumple enough newspaper to fill the shelf. Sprinkle the newspaper with water and close the door. Replace the newspaper every 1 to 2 days. In 5 or 6 days, the odor should be gone.

Place toothpaste (not the gel type) on small pieces of foil and set in several spots in the refrigerator.

Place activated charcoal or activated carbon in a shallow bowl and leave it in the refrigerator while it is running for several days. The charcoal or carbon is available where aquarium and/or plant and garden supplies are sold. It will become saturated but can be reactivated by heating in a 300 degrees Fahrenheit oven for one hour and then put back into the refrigerator. Try this for about 10 days.

Unplug the refrigerator and thoroughly wash the inside of the unit with a mixture of two tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in one quart of warm water. Wash the shelves, drawers, accessories and gaskets. Be sure to wash corners, crevices or grooves where odor-causing liquid may have settled. Dry everything thoroughly.

If odor gets into the plastic lining or the insulation of the refrigerator, it can take a long time to dissipate.

By using these tips, you will be able to clean without a trip to the store.

Linda Robbins, CDN, is assistant director and nutrition educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Herkimer County.

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