8 Kitchen-Cleaning Tricks
You can remove most coffee or juice stains with a little hydrogen peroxide in water, plus a few drops of ammonia, according to kitchen designer Florence Perchuk. For everyday wear and tear of your stone countertops, buff away small scratches with superfine dry steel wool called "grade 0000."
To clean tile floors or a backsplash, Marty Hoffman of Hoffman Brothers Floors suggests mixing baking soda and water together as a homemade cleaner. Pour half a cup of baking soda into two gallons of water. Then scrub with a string mop or sponge.
To clean a cast-iron pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil and place on medium heat. Once the pan is heated, pour in 3 tablespoons of salt. Next, using a tong to hold a paper towel, scour until clean. Finally, rinse and coat with vegetable oil to cure. Done!
For wood floors, contractor Stephen Fanuka says, "You want to get a nice clean shine on a wood floor? Get yourself a bucket and mix nine parts warm water to one part white vinegar. This is a cheap trick I learned from an 80-year-old cleaning lady who used to make my wood floors look dazzling."
There are basically two kinds of stains on painted walls: oil- and waterborne. Benjamin Moore's Carl Minchew suggests taking a wet cloth or paper towel to the waterborne ones — wine, Jell-O, ketchup, mustard, even smashed mosquitoes. For oily stains — cooking grease or crayon — try using a little mild dishwashing soap mixed in with water, and then rinsing with water.
To minimize a scratch on stainless steel, Adam Kamens of Amuneal Manufacturing Corp. says to try steel wool. Rub it gently in line with the grain until marks disappear. Afterwards, you can try spraying a wax-based aerosol spray, like Ball's Stainless Steel Cleaner/Polish.
If your hand doesn't fit down a narrow vase, then fill it halfway with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets to do the dirty work for you.
It's not just for french fries. To remove tarnish from copper and brass fixtures, pots, and pans, give ketchup a shot. Dab some onto a soft cloth and gently rub. Finish by rinsing with warm water.