Thursday, August 11, 2016

Kitchen Safety: Keeping Stovetops and Ovens Clean

The kitchen is the heart of a family's house. It is in this room that a family prepares meals, shares meals, and gathers to talk about the day. This is the room where guests gather, where friends play games around the kitchen table, and where parents might relish a quiet time at the end of the day. It is also one of the leading locations for a household fire, an accident, or germs that breed food-borne illness.

Every householder needs to be aware of the issue of kitchen safety. Many homemakers ignore the regular cleaning and maintenance of kitchen appliances, preferring to cover dirty burners or toasters to give a false sense of cleanliness, but allowing crumbs and greasy residue to accumulate on these surfaces. Others hate cleaning their ovens with a passion reserved for little else, and put this chore off as long as possible, even when they own self-cleaning ovens.

Kitchen safety is the farthest topic from their minds. However, food that is spilled or burned-onto the cook top or oven surface and not cleaned up is the leading cause of kitchen fires. Oven, microwave, or stovetop spills can ignite quickly, and can spread just as quickly to curtains, towels, or walls.

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Greasy residue on floors can cause people to slip and fall; and old, spoiled food on counters and tables is a source of bacteria that can contaminate fresh food and utensils. If small children are crawling or walking underfoot and reaching for every visible item of interest, tasting as they go, it is even more important to keep things clean in this central room. Kitchen cleanliness is an issue of kitchen safety, and not just of keeping a neat house to impress the neighbors.

 A regular chore list is the best way to get in the habit of kitchen maintenance. Writing down each small chore and when it should be completed, helps to form habits that will keep the entire family safe and well.

Counters and sinks should be wiped off at least daily, if not after each meal. Spills should be cleaned up quickly in microwave oven (Try Fuller Microwave Oven Cleaner.), regular ovens, or on stove tops.

Cutting boards need to be washed with each use. To control spatters and the residue of cooking fumes, the entire kitchen should be washed with a good degreaser at least once a week.

Range filters and hoods are part of this maintenance, as well as garbage cans and disposals. Any appliance that is regularly left on the counter should be given a cleaning at least once a week, if not after each use. Make sure that every surface of the kitchen is cleaned thoroughly at least once a month. (Try Fuller Cooktop and Counter Cleaner.)

The entire family should be educated about the importance of these chores and encouraged to clean up their part of the mess. A good, easy-to-use stove or oven cleaner can make these essential chores more palatable. What is the best oven cleaner? Look for one that does not need to be left overnight, but that works in a few hours.

Many stove or oven cleaners produce less toxic fumes than earlier versions. Also, newer formulas will not run, but will stay in place to soak and thoroughly loosen the burned on food. (Try Fuller Brush's Industrial Oven Cleaner or Spotless Oven).

With a damp rag or sponge, wipe off any loose food, and then spray on the cleaner. Let the cleaner set for thirty minutes to several hours, depending on how soiled the area is or according to the product's instructions. Soil should be softened to the point that it wipes up easily with a damp rag or sponge.

If there is stubborn, burned on food, follow your oven manufacturer's instructions for what type of abrasive you can safely use and not mar the cooking surface. If you have left the product on too long and it is dried, try laying a damp rag over the area for a few minutes to soften the product for easier removal.

There are products on the market that will help keep food from adhering to cooking surfaces, keeping these appliances from getting so dirty they are difficult to clean. One product that can save hours of cleanup time the next time you clean your oven is Fuller Brush's Oven Spray.

This product is to be sprayed on the oven surface after it is clean. Again, check with your oven manufacturer to see if it is compatible with your oven surface. With good habits, or fanatical adherence to a chore list, your kitchen can be the safe, pleasant, gathering place it is meant to be. Kitchen safety will become second nature to you and your family.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How to Deep Clean Your Gas Stove Burners

Dirty stove burner grates not only look messy, they can affect your cooking and present a fire hazard. If you are looking for advice on how to clean gas stove burners quickly and effectively, we have everything you need to know right here. Push up your sleeves and let’s get to it!

How to Clean Stove Burner Grates

When it comes to your stove grates, assess if it’s going to be an easy job or one that requires elbow grease. From there, you can choose whichever method does the trick best.

The Vinegar Method

For daily maintenance and light grease stains, pull out the vinegar from under the sink, and get to work!
• Spray burners with vinegar and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
• Wipe down with a clean cloth.
• Done! You should see cleaner, shinier grates. Just remember, this method is most effective as ongoing maintenance, as it cuts through grease before it has a chance to be baked in.

The Baking Soda Method

For harder grease stains and grime on your stove grates, try the baking soda method.
• Wash all burners with lukewarm water and dishwashing detergent to remove initial film.
• Make a thick paste of baking soda and water.
• Coat all burners with paste and let stand for 20 minutes.
• Scrub the softened food residue with a sponge and rinse thoroughly.

The Ammonia Method

For those truly tough stains that won’t come out with vinegar and baking soda, bust out the ammonia.
• Place each burner grate into its own gallon-sized zipper lock plastic bag.
• Add ¼ cup undiluted ammonia.
• Seal the bag and allow it to sit for several hours or overnight. You may want to put the bags outside in case the ammonia smell leaks out (it’s pretty strong and unpleasant). During this time the fumes will dissolve and loosen the griminess safely from the enameled iron.
• Remove from bag, wipe off grates, and admire.

How to Clean Stove Drip Pans

Don’t forget to clean those drip pans while you’re touching up the grates! Those little saucers under the grates collect burnt pieces of onions, peppers, salt, and anything else that’s fallen into them. Here are some easy ways to make them shine:

The Soak Method

The easiest method of getting those pans clean is to use the soak method. With some dish soap and some baking soda, you’ll be on your way to shiny drip pans (and who doesn’t want that?).
• After taking the pans off the stove, give them a good shake and rinse in the sink.
• Combine dish soap and baking soda at a 1:1 ratio. Lather the mixture all over the discs.
• Put the sudsy pans in some ziplock bags for an hour, and then rinse them off once the time has expired. Done!

The Boil Method

If those pans are really caked with burnt grease and food, try using the boil method as a final step for truly tough stains.
• Mix half a cup of baking soda with water in a large pot.
• Heat the mixture until it hits the boiling point and drop the pans inside.
• Leave in the boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
• Use tongs to get them out of the water, and wipe them down once they’ve cooled to room temperature.
When you’re asking yourself how to clean a gas stovetop, just remember that routine maintenance is the sure-fire way to never spend too much cleaning the grates and pans. And once those are taken care of, it’s easy to clean your oven the right way, too.
If you’re intimidated by cleaning your gas stove grates, or any other place in your kitchen, don’t fret. Call The Maids at 1-800-THE-MAIDS for a free estimate! That good-as-new feeling is closer than you think.
*Safety First!*
If the electric starters (which sit on top of the stove under and to the side of the burner) get wet with any chemical, it will fire constantly until the chemical is completely dissolved. Lighting the burner and letting it burn in most cases will not remove the overspray. Many times it takes either letting it fire constantly for 24 to 48 hours or replacing the starter. Use caution and avoid getting the electric starter wet.