Wine Bottles

This question was submitted from Ray

“How should I clean used wine bottles and make them odor free? ”

Try these techniques:

  • Used wine bottles can be cleaned using regular dish soap and hot water. If you don’t have a bottle brush, soak the bottles for a while before washing. You may want to soak in hot water anyway if you want to remove the labels, if you plan to re-use the bottles.
  • If you are planning to re-use after washing, wash in a disinfectant solution. (1 part chlorine bleach 4 parts water)  Fill your sink with the solution and let the bottles soak for at least ten minutes for best results and be sure to rinse well with hot water after disinfected.
  • If you have a bottle which has a stubborn odor try using an enzyme based cleaning solution and soak it for 1/2 hour to one hour to really let the enzyme work at breaking down the organic material and rinse well with hot water.
  • Many micro-breweries have a special disinfecting bottle baths available to you when you come into bottle your home brew at the micro-brewery, so you would just have to clean the bottles before coming in to bottle your wine. That is assuming that the reason you are cleaning your used wine bottles is for that purpose.

Waffle Iron and Grills

Technique:

  • If the grids or grills are removable they can be soaked in a dish detergent solution to loosen baked on food particles. Otherwise use a soft cleaning brush to remove any stuck particles.
  • Never put the grids into the dishwasher and never immerse the whole appliance directly into dishwater.
  • If the grills are made of unfinished cast iron, dry thoroughly after washing and wipe with a light coat of cooking oil before storing to prevent rusting.

Cast Iron Stove Top Grids

Here is a question submited recently…

My stove has cast iron grids over the burners and they are very difficult to clean. No matter how often I clean them I cannot get all the grease off. Is there a better way to do this than the old-fashioned way of boiling them in ammonia?

Boiling ammonia???? please don’t do that.

I have NEVER heard of any benefits derived from increasing the temperature of ammonia for cleaning. In fact it sounds downright hazardous to be ingesting the resulting fumes.

The best way to clean any cast iron kitchen wear is to stick them in the oven during the self cleaning cycle, or allow them to sit in a sink, sprayed with oven cleaner overnight.  Place the grids in a plastic bag overnight for good results.  A light scrub should remove any residue, rinse and they should be like new. If they are not painted, a light coat of cooking oil will prevent rust from appearing.

Always use caution when using caustic chemicals like oven cleaner. Wear gloves, safety glasses, and follow all the manufacturers instructions.

Crayon off Cupboards and Counters

This question was submitted from Tracy…

My son colored several of our kitchen cupboards with crayons. We tried window cleaner, but now the wax is smeared all over. What will remove this mess?

Think of how Rembrandt or Monet got started!  Did their mom’s have to clean oil paints off the walls?

The best solution is likely in your basement or garage. It is WD-40, a spray lubricant used for tons of things including cleaning.  Spray some on a clean, dry, cotton cloth and wipe the stain. It is that simple.

This works on most hard surfaces, including tables, counters, walls, and televisions. Avoid spraying the lubricant directly on the surface if possible, and test a small area to be sure it does not damage the finish.

Cutting Boards

General Information:

Wood or synthetic cutting boards can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria such as E. Coli. When a board has too many cuts and scratches to clean effectively it should be replaced. Small pieces of food caught in deep cuts can easily generate enough bacteria to make anyone seriously ill.

Technique:
Always clean immediately after use with detergent – rinse with clean water. If used for meat, fish or poultry then it is recommended to disinfect afterward. Soak the cutting board in bleach and water solution for a minimum of three minutes, then rinse with clean water.   Washing with soap and water immediately after use is the best way to insure the spread of bacteria.

Pewter

General Info:
Modern pewter has a higher tin content and as a result it does not tarnish as quickly as antique pewter.

Tools & Chemicals:

  • Dish soap
  • soft clean cloth
  • pewter or silver polish.

Technique:

  • Modern pewter comes in two different finishes. The first is a brushed finish that gives more of an antique look. The second is a polished high sheen.
  • For both types, after using wash in warm soapy water. Dry and buff with a soft clean cloth .
  • DO NOT put pewter in the dishwasher. The high heat and harsh chemicals will damage the finish beyond restoration.
  • Acids can also damage the finish on pewter so avoid using pewter dishes or cutlery with salads containing lemon or vinegar, pickles, sauces, or other citric acids.
  • Using pewter or silver polish occasionally will help remove light scratches, or tarnish due to exposure of sea air, that is typical of this soft metal.

Smells From Plastic Containers

General Info:

This happens more often than you might imagine, and the smell lingers and tends to be absorbed by other foods being stored.

Tools & Chemicals:

  • cotton cleaning rag or paper towels
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 lemon or lemon juice.

Technique:

  • Mix  the water, baking soda & lemon juice together
  • Wipe the interior of the container with the above mixture removing all spatters
  • Rinse with fresh water
  • Take the balance of the solution and boil in a shallow microwave safe dish for two minutes
  • The microwave should be very steamy, use caution when opening the door
  • Wipe down the container with a dry rag or paper towel

Another solution is to wipe the container with a 50:50 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water. Vinegar is an effective cleaning agent. If the smells are very strong,  let the container sit overnight in the solution as this may help as well.

Pyrex

General Information:
Pyrex is a very durable type of glass cook ware. It can be used in microwaves, on stove tops, and in the oven.

Tools & Technique:
Pyrex is dishwasher safe, however to remove baked on food, soak the pyrex in hot soapy water for half an hour. Scrub with a scrubbing pad. For badly burnt on food use a tablespoon of detergent for your dishwasher instead of dishwashing liquid.