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RealSimple.com: Easy Clean Up Solutions for Every Room

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In the Kitchen

Bad Habit: Using a Funky, Smelly Sponge
You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: You could be spreading mold and illness-causing bacteria around the kitchen.
Good practice: Replace your sponge every couple of weeks, and take care of it while it’s active. After each use, rinse the sponge in hot water and wring it out. At the end of the day, and after every raw-meat encounter, sterilize a wet sponge: Pop it in the microwave for one minute (the sponge must be wet—a dry one could catch fire), or run it through the dishwasher. For
RealSimple
storage, use a soap dish with holes for drainage, or go with a homemade solution: Set the sponge on a saucer full of small rocks.

Bad Habit: Letting Drips and Drops Harden on the Stove
These splotches are a bummer to look at and can discolor stainless-steel and porcelain surfaces.
Good practice: Have the right cleaner at your fingertips, says Linda Cobb, the author of the "Queen of Clean" book series. Her advice: Fill an olive-oil cruet with water and a generous squirt of dish soap and keep it next to the stove. When you’re finished cooking and the stove has cooled, shake the cruet and drizzle the soapy water over any spots, removing the grates if necessary. Allow the solution to soften spills for about 10 minutes, then wipe the cooktop, the burners, and the grates with a damp sponge or cloth.

Bad Habit: Subjecting Wooden Spoons and Cutting Boards to the Dishwasher
Intense heat can make wood crack; detergent can lodge in crevices and end up in your oatmeal.
Good practice: Hand wash wooden pieces with soap and hot water, then let them air-dry before putting them away. To remove tomato stains or garlic and onion smells, rub with a lemon wedge, sprinkle on some kosher salt, and let sit for 20 minutes, then rinse. You can also treat wood to make it less prone to cracking or absorbing smells and stains. When wooden tools start to feel rough (once a month or so), buff with 400-grit wet-dry sandpaper, says John Whetstone, the owner of Whetstone Woodenware, in Silver Lake, Indiana. Next, using a soft cloth, rub in a food-safe mineral oil (John Taylor mineral oil, $10 for 12 ounces, amazon.com); leave it on for a few minutes so that it soaks in, then wipe off the excess.

(Photo: Mikkel Vangt)



The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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