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  #1  
Old 05-30-2007, 11:43 PM
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Idea Cleaning Tips

Fresh off a fabulously successful attempt to clean the hardened grease on the area around my oven burners, I'm inspired to hear any good cleaning tips y'all have, especially ones involving non-toxic common household ingredients.

My stovetop trick is almost too easy to brag about (and yet, I will still try): I just poured some baking soda in the moat area around the burners then sprayed water on it until it made a paste. I let it sit a few minutes, spraying it whenever it got crumbly-looking. Then I took one of those nylon scrubby things to it, and lo and behold, the gunk came right off.

I'd been trying to get that crap off for ages, using all sorts of hardcore cleansers like Formula 409 and Ajax. None of them ever made a dent in it, and the nastiness wasn't even that bad compared to some of the other 70's rental property appliances I've had in the past.

So baking soda paste as oven cleaner. Check. Your turn!
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  #2  
Old 05-31-2007, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

I use baking soda a lot, too.

I also use vinegar for cleaning windows and appliances and counters and things like that.

And sometimes I use them together. It doesn't improve the efficacy, and according to something I read somewhere, it might actually make it less effective. But it's cooler and more explodey, so I do it anyway.

Oh. And shaving cream for spot cleaning carpets and upholstery. Like if you spill something or an animal barfs. Clean it up some, wet it, then put shaving cream on and leave it set for a while before scrubbing it up.
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  #3  
Old 05-31-2007, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

I considered using vinegar to make the paste, but I opted for plain water just to keep it simple. I'm definitely using baking soda, vinegar and boiling water to clean the drains, though. That's when the explodey factor really pays off.

Excellent shaving cream tip. :thumbup:
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

I'm not a fancy schmancy cleaner with lots of special techniques. I buy the toxic chemicals from the store and then squirt them at the mess until it goes away. But I will scald something with boiling water at the drop of a hat. Also, bleach. A pot of boiling water and some bleach may not always open up the drain, but it feels like you're really doing something.

And salt and Perrier helps keep a stain from setting.
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

Hmm. I don't clean much. Soak dirty grill in ammonia in a plastic bag and stuff comes right off them. Boil water in a really dirty microwave before you clean it and stuff just comes right off. (Just don't burn yourself with the steam.)
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Old 05-31-2007, 02:58 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

I'm not sure if those Mr. Clean erasers are non-toxic? At least they don't stink. They do an amazing job of getting the 'brown' off of coffee pots.
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

I find that they only thing that could clean up this mess is Alfred Nobel's invention, dymamite, followed by a bulldozer.
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:45 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

I forgot something: Washing soda. It's like baking soda, but more caustic or something. So for stuff that is too dirty or greasy for just baking soda, try that.

And borax. That's good for cleaning and deodorizing, too. I sprinkle it around before vacuuming sometimes, and use it in the laundry. It's also supposed to be good for general cleaning. (For some reason, I haven't used it for that much, though.)

And lest anyone get any mistaken impressions about my housekeeping skills, I spend a lot more time thinking about cleaning stuff than I do actually cleaning.

Filth. Everywhere. Seriously.
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Old 05-31-2007, 04:22 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckF View Post
Also, bleach. A pot of boiling water and some bleach may not always open up the drain, but it feels like you're really doing something.
I have a bit of a bleach fetish meself, but only with Clorox Ultimate Care Cotton-Scented bleach 'cause it smells so laundry fresh. I add a few drops to a small spray bottle full of water and use it as a kitchen sanitizer. I spray that bleachy goodness everywhere I can think of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumb View Post
Boil water in a really dirty microwave before you clean it and stuff just comes right off. (Just don't burn yourself with the steam.)
Add a few slices of lemon or a few drops of lemon juice to that water and not only with the spooge just wipe off, but all funks will die as well.

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Originally Posted by Pinecone View Post
I'm not sure if those Mr. Clean erasers are non-toxic? At least they don't stink. They do an amazing job of getting the 'brown' off of coffee pots.
They're prolly imbued with Mr. Clean, no? So that means they're toxic, but hey, at least they're effective. Unlike the toxics I tried today. :brooding:

Vinegar cleans coffee machines and pots, btw. The process stanks up the house something fierce, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
I forgot something: Washing soda. It's like baking soda, but more caustic or something. So for stuff that is too dirty or greasy for just baking soda, try that.
Oh yeah! I've heard about that on my latest British teevee obsession, How Clean Is Your House?.

They also use a semi-mythical beast known as "biological washing powder". I don't know what the hell it is, but it sounds so fucking Victorian I covet it insanely.

Quote:
And borax. That's good for cleaning and deodorizing, too. I sprinkle it around before vacuuming sometimes, and use it in the laundry. It's also supposed to be good for general cleaning. (For some reason, I haven't used it for that much, though.)
It's been on my shopping list for ages, but I can't seem to find any. Who's your source?

I use baking soda for the pre-vacuum sprinkle. I add a few drops of whatever essential oils I have lying around (right now that's tea tree, lavender and grapefruit seed) for a little somethin' nice in the smell department, then I let it dry for a couple of days before using it so the oil doesn't stain.

Quote:
And lest anyone get any mistaken impressions about my housekeeping skills, I spend a lot more time thinking about cleaning stuff than I do actually cleaning.

Filth. Everywhere. Seriously.
Oh, I know. You're like a proto-hoarder.
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  #10  
Old 05-31-2007, 05:23 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by livius drusus View Post
They also use a semi-mythical beast known as "biological washing powder". I don't know what the hell it is, but it sounds so fucking Victorian I covet it insanely.
Isn't that just powdered laundry detergent? Yeah, looks like it's just laundry detergent that has enzymes in it. (I looked it up in between those sentences, and decided to leave the suspense in.)

Quote:
Quote:
And borax. That's good for cleaning and deodorizing, too. I sprinkle it around before vacuuming sometimes, and use it in the laundry. It's also supposed to be good for general cleaning. (For some reason, I haven't used it for that much, though.)
It's been on my shopping list for ages, but I can't seem to find any. Who's your source?
They have it at our grocery store, in the laundry section. (The washing soda is there, too.)

If they don't have it in your regular grocery stores, try like carnicerias or anywhere where lots of old people and/or immigrants shop.

I think you can also get it online, but odds are good there's some nearby you already.
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Old 05-31-2007, 06:31 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

Actually, I think the magic erasers *are* non-toxic. I love them.
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

Ive found that accidently leaving the door open on my washing machine so that it sits full of water for 10 hours and starts leaking, is just a fantastic way to pre-soak a floor for cleaning.
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

Not really a cleaning tip, more of preventing cleaning..mom used to wrap those pans underneath the stove burners in aluminum foil. The elements themselves pull right out, and the pans lift out..cover in foil, and then all you have to do is change it when it gets icky. Bonus-recycle the foil.

That being said, is there a good way to kill mildew that's non-toxic?
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Old 05-31-2007, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

A baking soda paste 1 part soda to 1 part lemon juice is supposed to do the trick with mildew. I have an evil bead of caulking around my bathtub on which I intend to test that theory.
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

I don't have any cleaning tips at the moment but I just wanted to thank you all for the tips and especialliy Crumb and Liv for the tips on cleaning the microwave. Mine sees a lot of use and I was just about to clean it and dreading every moment of it. Now I'm not dreading it.. as much. :giggle:
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

If it takes you more than 2 minutes of wiping down, I'll be stunned, Shell. The spooge just comes right off after the steaming, and it smells lemony fresh. :pleased:
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  #17  
Old 05-31-2007, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

How does one clean a stinky food disposal?
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:46 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

You mean like a sink garbage disposal?
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

Yeah, exactly. I've tried some chemical stuff, but nothing seems to work very well. Also, I can't find anything that's not some cheap-o stuff from the dollar store. It's like none of the "big" household chemical makers address this problem.
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

I have the perfect solution, wei, and again, it's stuff you might well have lying around.

Cut a lemon in half and put both pieces into the drain. Pour a bunch of baking soda into the drain. Turn on the water. Run the disposal until the lemons are no more. (You know how the sound changes when it's got nothing left to grind.)

It works so well you can't believe it.
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  #21  
Old 05-31-2007, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

Thanks, liv.

I've done the lemon thing, but without baking soda. I got a lemony-fresh scent, but that didn't last very long.
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Old 05-31-2007, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

Oh, you gotta have the soda for deodorizing and cleaning. Otherwise the stinky disposal just smells like lemons until the juice dries.
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Old 05-31-2007, 04:18 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

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Originally Posted by livius drusus View Post
I have the perfect solution, wei, and again, it's stuff you might well have lying around.

Cut a lemon in half and put both pieces into the drain. Pour a bunch of baking soda into the drain. Turn on the water. Run the disposal until the lemons are no more. (You know how the sound changes when it's got nothing left to grind.)

It works so well you can't believe it.
:hyper: :thankee:
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:38 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by livius drusus View Post
Oh, you gotta have the soda for deodorizing and cleaning. Otherwise the stinky disposal just smells like lemons until the juice dries.
That's a good one. I've been wondering that for awhile, too.
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Tips

I do it every couple of weeks. I haven't had a funky disposal since I started.

In other news, the lemon juice-baking soda paste had no effect on the mildewy caulk. I rinsed it off and am currently attempting method #2 which looks to be working marvelously.

I poured some of my always handy cotton-scented bleach into a cup, then rolled a bunch of cotton balls in it so they were nice and imbued. I shoved the bleachy cotton balls against the caulking all the way around the walled rim of the tub.

They've been setting for a couple of hours now. I just took a peak and the caulk is bright white almost everywhere. There are a couple of mildew spots left where the cotton balls weren't so well-imbued, but otherwise my tub is now mildew-free, and that caulk has been charcoal grey since I moved in.
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