Butcher Blocks: Refinishing

I love butcher blocks!

All of my counters are made of them and they are great, and they will last forever, if not longer!  If there is some serious disgusting build up, the knife is a good way to scrape it off, but perhaps try a stiff putty knife instead.  You only need to remove enough so that it doesn’t gum up your sand paper.  Start with a 60 grit sand paper and a small palm sander will speed things up ALOT, but it is not absolutley necessary. You can actually rent one for about $5 a day at some tool rental places.  Go in small circles, and don’t sit in one spot too long or you can make it uneven.  Always try to sand with the grain of the wood, not accross it as this can leave marks that are harder to sand out.  This may gum up with the oil residue you spoke of, but just change the paper frequently, and it should eventually come off.  Once you get it nice and smooth, move to a finer 100 grit and go over the entire surface again.  Then sand it again with a 150 grit and finally with a 220 grit paper.  This surface will be PERFECT!  You likely won’t want to cut anything on it, because it looks so nice! Be sure to protect the wood with a mineral oil.

Freezers

General Information :
These units are among the most dependable and reliable of all household appliances. A few easy cleaning procedures will both improve performance and lengthen their useful lives.

Tools & Technique :

For the interior, mild detergent and a sponge work best. Avoid strong and/or abrasive cleaners.

Outside the actual unit is the condenser coil which dissipates heat. Yearly or twice yearly (especially before summer heat) cleaning the coil will keep the unit operating efficiently.On some models you’ll need to remove a cover to access the coil. On others it is located underneath and somewhat more difficult to service.

Many older refrigerators have a drip pan which should be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent odors.

Pay extra attention to the door gasket. Even a small accumulation of dirt can affect it’s ability to maintain a tight seal.

Exteriors, whether painted metal, vinyl or plastic, will keep better looking longer with regular cleaning – again mild detergent works best. (For other surfaces – i.e.. stainless steel – refer to our stain & surface guide).

Specialized Tools & Chemicals :
You can purchase a condenser coil dusting brush (available at appliance stores) specifically made for the purpose. However a vacuum with a dusting brush/crevice tool or a feather/lambswool duster will also work.

Refrigerators

General Information:
These units are among the most dependable and reliable of all household appliances.  A few easy cleaning procedures will improve performance and lengthen their useful lives.

Interior

Use warm water, a mild detergent and sponge to clean the inside.  Avoid any strong and/or abrasive cleaners.

Exterior

Outside the actual unit is the condenser coil which dissipates heat.  Yearly or twice yearly (especially before summer heat), cleaning the coil will keep the unit operating efficiently. On some models you’ll need to remove a cover to access the coil.  On others it is located underneath and somewhat more difficult to service.

Many older refrigerators have a drip pan which should be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent odors.

Pay extra attention to the door gasket. Even a small accumulation of dirt can affect it’s ability to maintain a tight seal.

Whether painted metal, vinyl or plastic, it will keep better looking longer with regular cleaning – again a mild detergent works best. (For other surfaces – i.e. stainless steel – refer to our stain & surface guide).

Specialized Tools & Chemicals:
You can purchase a condenser coil dusting brush (available at appliance stores) specifically made for the purpose.  However a vacuum with a dusting brush/crevice tool or a feather/lambswool duster will also work.

Refrigerator Drip Pan

This question was submitted from Carmine

“I have a side-by-side refrigerator with an in-door water dispenser. The drip pan, though, is always nasty. I’ve tried cleaning it in a solution of vinegar and water, and some of the water deposits go away, but it doesn’t stay clean for long and not all the water deposits are cleaned. Help!”

Vinegar and water is a good way to remove water stains. However, if the dripping is on-going, it maybe hard to remove the constant staining.

Try these techniques:

  • Try using a strong acidic based cleaner, available at a janitorial supply store. It will be more effective at removing the water stains.
  • To really effectively clean the nastiness out of your drip tray you should use a bleach and water solution which will kill bacteria, hopefully the nastiness.
  • Use a mixture of 1 part chlorine bleach and 3 part water; if possible remove the tray and soak for ten minutes and rinse well with water.
  • If the tray is a color other than white there may be concern that the bleach will affect the color. If that is the case you can go to a janitorial supply store and buy a food safe disinfectant that will do the job of bleach although it will be more expensive.
  • Try to slow the growth of bacteria by empting and rinsing the drip tray as much as possible.

Solid surface counter tops refinishing or cleaning?

The following question was asked by Kathy:

I have just moved into a house that is 6 years old that has corian counter tops. There is a big stain which we tried to bleach out, however it has appeared to just change the color a bit.

There are a number of different manufacturers of solid surface materials. This stuff is fantastic! Cut it, scratch it, burn it, and you can still get it looking back to it original appearance. It is non-pourous so if bleach did damage the surface, it will not have damaged the material beneath. Start by clearing the damaged area, and give yourself room to work. You will need a vacuum, sand paper (120grit, 250 grit) scotch brite pads (which are typically green scrub pads for scrubbing your dishes). These are avaliable in different coarsenesses, and although purple is ideal, the common green ones will work as well. Start with the 120 grit sandpaper, sanding the area that is damaged to remove the offending marks. Work in a circular motion, being sure not to sand too deep in any one spot (or your counter will be uneven) The 120 grit will leave a matte finish, so depending on your finish this may be enough to remove the scratches and dull spots. You can use a palm sander, but it will create a lot more dust, and if your not careful you can sand away too much material. For a glossier finish use the 250 grit, and then the scotch brite pad. I have had some installers that keep going all the way up to a 600 grit very fine sandpaper. There are products that will restore a glossy shine, but one installer suggested using pledge furniture polish, to return the lustre and match the surrounding counter top. In any case your counter was very expensive, for the reason that it can be made to look brand new very easily. Even if you are not up to the task any Solid Surface Counter installation company would refinish your counter at a minimal expense in a couple of hours.

Gum Stuck on Shoe

  • Take the shoe with the gum and place it in a plastic grocery bag or large food storage bag.
  • Press the area of the shoe with the gum onto the plastic of the bag. Clear an area in the freezer. Place the bag into the freezer with the shoe still inside.
  • Allow the gum to freeze. This will require at least an hour if not two hours.
  • Once the gum is frozen, remove the shoe and the bag from the freezer. Pull the bag and the shoe apart from each other. The gum should stick to the bag and removal should be straight forward.

Gum…

This solution for removing gum from your shoe requires that you either have this product already or that you purchase it. Take a can of WD-40 and spray the area of the shoe with the gum. Allow at least one minute to pass. Use a paper towel or rag to wipe away the gum and the oily spray from the shoe. Use a clean rag or paper towel to wipe the shoe a second time to remove any additional residue.

Mustard Stains

As with any stain, mustard stain removal is more successful if done immediately, dried stains are harder to remove.

Rinse the fabric in cold water and remove as much of the stain as possible.

Create a solution of:

1 teaspoon ammonia
1 pint of warm water

  • Wash the fabric in the solution
  • Rinse in cold water to complete the mustard stain removal process.
  • Repeat as necessary until the mustard stain removal has eliminated the stain.

Marble Cleaning

Do not use anything other than Ivory liquid dish soap on marble.  Harsher cleansers will damage the surface.  Always dry marble to prevent water spots from leaving their signature mark. Marble stains easily so wipe spills immediately. Do not use vinegar or orange based cleaners to clean marble. The acid in them will damage the surface. Peroxide is safe for stain removal.


Water Stain from Ceiling

First and most important step is to fix the source of the stain. A quick tips is to dab or spray the stain with straight bleach, be sure to to drip on any other surfaces to prevent bleach damage. Use safely glasses and gloves etc. I have used this quick method with good success on smaller stains.

Step 1 – Repair the Leak
Before you remove the stain, you will have to repair what is causing the stain. In most cases, the cause is a water leak or the collection of water on your roof.

Step 2 – Getting Ready
Place a plastic sheet below the stained area. Using a stepladder, clean the stained area with a damp rag. If you find any mold, use bleach and water to remove it.

Step 3 –Analyze the Stain
If the stain is small, simply dab some bleach (mixed with water) on the area till stain disappears.

Step 4 – Apply a Stain Blocker
If the stain is large, use a pigmented stain blocker (such as Kilz or Bullseye) to cover the stain. To apply the stain blocker, use rollers for smooth surfaces and brushes for corners. Allow the ceiling to dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 5 – Paint
Once the pigmented stain blocker has dried, simply apply matching ceiling paint over the area. Let it dry and repeat this process, if needed.