Dryer Cloth!

I had posted earlier about a foil ball to put in the dryer – which worked well, but sometimes things were a bit static-y. I decided to try this idea from That Crazy Family, and it works PERFECTLY. No more running out of dryer sheets! No more throwing away a dryer sheet with every load! And it takes the static out awesomely. Hooray!

All you need is a washcloth and fabric softener (click here for another awesome tip with fabric softener). I use both of my red washcloths because I can find them easily when I’m pulling the wash out. They have been washed and dried many times themselves, so I don’t worry about bleeding.

Take your washcloth and saturate it with fabric softener. I just take about a capful (you may need more or less, depending on the size and absorbancy of your washcloth) and dump it on the washcloth. Then I squeeze the washcloth so I can mix the fabric softener in.

Let it dry.

Voila! Instant dryer sheet. I have been using my dryer cloths for several months now and can say that they WORK, and work well. I use each cloth until I can’t smell or feel the fabric softener in the cloth (easily 20 loads), and then just put more fabric softener on it again, let it dry, and use it all over. Easy, cheap, friendly to the trees and animals – there you go!

The only times I do NOT use my dryer cloth is when I am drying towels or rugs. You don’t need a dryer sheet or fabric softener for those. (For a tip on getting the stink out of your towels, click here. It’s awesome.)

Enjoy! :)

DSC_0009

Clean that Microwave….Painlessly

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I had a bit of a bout with a fever and the chills, but am doing much better now. It’s the last week of school here too – so the upcoming summer months should be exciting. On to today’s project: cleaning the microwave. Without much effort at all. A good thing for a Monday morning.

Our sad microwave takes a beating. We are not the most vigilant people at remembering to consistently cover our leftovers when we microwave them, and so we get splatters. And then some more. And then a couple more. Does it bother me? Yes, a bit. BUT, it is very easy to clean.

Here is all that you need:

Yep. Lemon juice and a cup. And a sponge to wipe things down when you are done.

Step 1: Take a look at your dirty, sad microwave. It is telling you to clean it.

Step 2: Take out your lemon juice, and fill a microwave safe container (I use a mug) about a third of the way full. I usually will put some water in there too just because I want to.

Step 3: Put your microwave safe container into your microwave and turn it on high for 2 minutes, or until you see your lemon juice boiling. Turn it off and LEAVE IT ALONE. Do not open the microwave. Do not be tempted to wipe anything off yet because it won’t work. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Just leave it alone for at LEAST 5 minutes and let your lemon juice steam do its job. I like to set the sponge in front of the microwave so I remember that the lemon juice is in there, and then I leave it alone for a good 10, 20, 30 minutes. This time I left it for about 30 minutes.

Step 4: Open your microwave, and wipe the walls down. Everything should come off easily. You will probably need to rinse your sponge a time or two in this process, or more depending on how dirty your microwave is. You’ll also want to pull out your microwave plate (if you have one) and give it a scrub.

That is IT! Clean microwave.

Here is the inside of the microwave door, right after I opened it. This is after the lemon juice steam had been hanging out in the microwave, but before I wiped it off:

Here is what it looked like after 3 swipes of the sponge:

Yup. Clean. {Cue chorus.}

Here is the rest of the microwave before:

And after:

Easy, easy. It’s nice when you can start something and have the hard part done for you while you get other things done.

Enjoy! :)

BUR 11

My Cookie Sheet is CLEAN :)

Yes. It is finally clean. (Cue heavenly chorus.)

When I was cleaning the drip pans from my stove, I remembered that I had read a comment somewhere in the middle of my many cookie sheet cleaning tips that had mentioned using ammonia to clean out her oven. My oven, oddly enough, is not very dirty. I gave it a wipe down with a wet sponge (no other chemicals) and it got most of what was in there cleaned out. I couldn’t remember if the commenter decided to stick her cookie sheet in her oven with ammonia, but decided it was worth a go.

I put my cookie sheet in the cold oven on the bottom rack, put some ammonia in a bowl on the top rack, and let it sit overnight.

Here is what it looked like before (after my 11 different ways to try and get it clean):

And here is what it looks like now:

Clean! Hooray! That used some steel wool and elbow grease too after I took it from the oven, but I had tried steel wool over and over again with many different products and I couldn’t get it all off. The ammonia worked great. It also took off some of the oil splatters on the glass on the inside of the oven that I couldn’t get off earlier with just the wet sponge.

Hooray! :)

BUR 7

Clean Your Stove Drip Pans

For those of you who are fortunate like me to have a non-flat top stove, here is an easy $1 solution to get the drip pans CLEAN. I didn’t realize that was possible. But it is. :)

I found this from Jill @ One Good Thing by Jillee. Hers worked a little more easily than mine did – I’m guessing that is because hers look like they have some kind of teflon coating on them? Some of the stuff came off easily, but I still had to give mine a fair amount of elbow grease with steel wool. But it was worth it.

BEFORE:

Apparently we use the stove a lottle bit over here.

AFTER:

I could cry. Seriously. I love when things are clean, and I get frustrated when I can’t figure out how to get them that way.

And how do you do this?

All you need are four gallon-sized ziploc bags, some ammonia, and your drip pans. And, if you have the old school non-coated drip pans like I do, you may need some steel wool and elbow grease too.

Step 1: Put your drip pans in your ziploc bags.

Step 2: Splash some ammonia in there. You don’t need to cover the drip pans – the ammonia vapor is what does the trick. The vapors act to bind to the oil and fat in your drip pan grime and break it down. Pretty cool.

Step 3: Wait overnight (or, if you are doing this during the day, think 9-12 hours). The longer you let it stay in the bags, the longer the ammonia has to do its work.

Step 4: Get the rest of your stove top clean. Take some time to use toothpicks and Q-tips and get things cleaned out. I cleaned around everything with toothpicks and it looked MUCH better.

Step 5: Open the bag. This seems like a silly step to have alone, but I will tell you – AMMONIA IS VERY PUNGENT. It will make you want to curl up and cry to stand over that bag and get a nice waft of ammonia in your face. So here is how I found it to work best – get water running in your sink, open your ziploc bag a bit (enough for the water to get in), and fill the bag up part way with water. This will not destroy the handy work of your ammonia vapors – it WILL keep your eyes and nose from burning.

Step 6: Wipe the grime off with a sponge (if you are lucky), or give it some elbow grease. This got ALMOST everything off of my drip pans. What was left over may just be the pans aging and changing color or something (with the larger ones). They looked muuuuch better.

 

Ammonia can work very well with other things too – I tried it on something else and was SHOCKED at how well it worked. I’ll post those pictures tomorrow.

Happy cleaning! :)

PAN Final 2

11 Ways to Clean a Cookie Sheet

**Update: I found a way that WORKED completely for me – check here. Hooray! :)

With the 800,000 ways to “get your cookie sheet GLEAMING NEW!!!” on Pinterest, I decided I needed to try it.

After all……..

This is my friend, the cookie sheet:

And, yes, “THE” is singular. We were given probably seven cookie sheets when we were first married. We gave several of them away to other people, left some at different places, and now have ended up with only two left. One of them I don’t like because it tends to burn things on the bottom, so really we only have one.

That one cookie sheet looked good for years. Until I ended up baking olive oil onto it at a very high temperature. And baking bacon in the oven without lining it first with parchment paper. Yeah. That all happened in the past year. We’ve had the cookie sheet for almost nine.

I found an idea on Pinterest that claimed to get your cookie sheets looking like new with no pain! Sounds great! But, it didn’t work. At all. This, unfortunately (fortunately?) led me on a maniacal quest to find a way to get the silly thing gleaming and new again. If someone is able to get a clean cookie sheet, certainly I could too!

Here is what it looks like now:

A big improvement. Not perfect, but it still surprises me when I see it out of the corner of my eye – it is so shiny! Minus the stubborn stains, it looks new. I just tell myself that the stains left on the cookie sheet are its battle scars and prove that it has lived to see many a hot oven and make many a good meal. And, gauging from the stains left and the hours I put into cleaning my faithful cookie sheet, I am the master of leaving stains that are practically impossible to get rid of. This is “The Cookie Sheet that Lived!” (think Harry Potter).

As my gift to you, here is a rundown of pretty much everything the web had to offer on how to clean a cookie sheet – what worked, what had potential, and what didn’t seem to hold much promise. This way, you can know where to start you own obsessive quests to clean off your cookie sheets. :)

What worked (FINALLY):

1. Baking Soda + Peroxide – this was the first thing that I tried. And one of the last things too. The author said that she just smeared it on with her hands. This did not work at all. I wish I hadn’t read the “hands only” part because that would have saved me hours of searching. BUT, it finally did work (hours later) when I came around and tried it again scrubbing with steel wool using all of my might. You could also just use baking soda, but I found that the two together really did work best – you just make a paste from them. Wear gloves too – it started turning my fingers white when I first tried the “hands only” method.

2. Bar Keeper’s Friend (from a comment string) – this was the first thing in the beginning that “budged” my stains with only using a sponge to scrub, but it didn’t do much to the big stains. HOWEVER, once I used Bar Keeper’s Friend AND steel wool, it got even more off than the baking soda + peroxide + steel wool. I just felt like I had to wash it 500 times afterward to make sure the chemicals were all gone.

Worked Somewhat or Had Potential (could be used for the right stains):

3. Cream of Tartar + Vinegar – this left my cookie sheet GLEAMING, but otherwise the stubborn spots were still there. And Cream of Tartar is definitely more expensive than baking soda.

4. Oven Cleaner – this particular article mentioned leaving it on for 20 minutes. By the time I got around to trying this one, it did not to a lot for me. It seems like it should work in theory, but it didn’t work on the heavy stains. I also tried later to leave it on for 2 hours – DON’T. It left a funny residue on my pan.

5. Ginger Ale – It actually recommended cola soda, but ginger ale is what I had on hand. This one was interesting. After I poured it on and it had settled down a bit, I noticed that there were places where the carbonation was congregating – right around the big stains. I had hoped this would mean it would take them off, but it did not. It did, however, get the funny residue off that had been left by the oven cleaner. And it was quite shiny.

6. Sol-U-Mel – this is a fantastic cleaner, and was what the original pinned person said made their pans perfect and new again. It didn’t budge anything, but by the time I got around to trying the Sol-U-Mel, I may have gotten all of the easy stuff off. I tried full-strength even. No help there.

What did NOT work (but may have a chance if you have the right stain):

7. Magic Eraser (from a comment string) – this did not work AT ALL.

8. Goo Gone (from a comment string) – didn’t work either.

9. Washing Soda + Vinegar – this was my creation. I had thought that maybe since washing soda has a higher pH than baking soda, maybe it would be better at taking off the grime than baking soda alone was. Turns out that vinegar turns Washing Soda into a clumpy solid, and it is very hard to smear on the cookie sheet. When I did get it to smear on there, it turned grayish, but didn’t do much else. Same with Washing Soda and water.

10. Boiling Baking Soda in water, and dumping it on the pan (reader comment) – didn’t do much either

11. Borax (reader comment) – this also did not work for me at all.

There you have it. A rundown of pretty much everything I could find on the web. Let me know if you try or have tried any of these things – I’d love to hear how they work for you!

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