Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Burnt Pan and Other Cleaning Conundrums

I keep meaning to take this blog back to book talk. I actually am in the middle of getting an older book ready to upload and make its ebook debut (probably next week, so stay tuned). I'm also changing the cover on another book, and I'm writing a new book, but in the meantime life goes on, and much as I love talking about books, I don't have 365 days of book talk in me. Plus, life sometimes hands me problems (or craft projects/funny videos) and I love to share my solutions (or the crafts/videos). So today, let's talk about the more boring and irritating subject of cleaning things that don't want to come clean.

For starters...through an oversight (we'll call it that), we ended up with a very burnt pan. (The one below is not it. I was too busy muttering beneath my breath and charting a path on how to clean it to remember to take a photo, but many thanks to normanack on Flickr, the photographer of this prime example).

        burnt cow

My first reaction was, "this pan is an ex-pan. It's never going to come clean." The burnt part was thick and really baked on hard. But it was a nice stainless steel pan, and I didn't want to give up on it. So, relying on my faulty memory of something I had read on the internet, I poured a bit of white vinegar in the pan, added some tap water and (just for good measure) a squirt or two of dish washing liquid. Then I put it on the stove and boiled the concoction for a bit. I tested it with a spoon to see if I could scrape some of the worst bits off, and boiled it a bit longer. Then, after scraping a bit more (it seemed done), I upended the whole thing into a colander to catch the worst of the junk, gave it a quick scrub with a scratchy pad and...voila! Not perfect, but close.

In other cleaning news, I'm still working on the soap scum in the shower dilemma. I've been told that body washes won't create soap scum, but we still use old fashioned bar soap. I don't really like harsh cleaners. Breathing in that stuff give me the creeps, so I keep trying to find a better way. Two methods I've used that have had semi-decent results are:

Straight lemon juice left to sit for awhile and then scrubbed, but that's a rather expensive solution and it's also not perfect. Close but not perfect.

The internet-fueled solution of 4 ounces of vinegar (most people say that you should heat the vinegar first, but others say that it works fine without doing this) and 4 ounces of Dawn dish soap (other similar products might work as well, but Dawn is the one known for its grease killing power--it's used to clean up birds that are the victims of oil spills). The solution is powerful, really sudsy and smelly (as in overpowering), and some have said that you don't need that much Dawn, that its real purpose is to make the vinegar stick. I don't know the answer to that. The idea is to put it in a spray bottle, shake it up to mix, spray the solution on the soap scum, let it sit, then scrub and wipe it off, removing the soap scum with the solution. I've tried it and it does work (mostly--perhaps I didn't use enough solution or needed to let it sit longer or scrub a bit harder). Still, the smell and the vinegar fumes were almost too much for me, so beware! I've read anecdotal reports that people with asthma should not use this solution. And the scent lingered for longer than I would have expected. 

So I continue to search. 

Do you have any cleaning problems/solutions? Share in the comments.

Have a great (shiny) day!



Mary Preston said...

I loathe housework. I tend to use vinegar everywhere. It's cheap as & safe to use.

I use it on my floors with very good results. Just rain water from my tanks & a generous splash of vinegar. The house smells like vinegar for about 5 minutes, but then dissipates. (I have vinyls & tiles throughout.)

I also use vinegar in the final rinse of the washing machine - deodorises, disinfects, softens & cleans the pipes & machine. After hanging out on the line in the sunshine, the smell goes.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Mary, I've started buying vinegar in bigger bottles because I'm using it more often these days. I haven't used it in the washing machine yet, though. I'll have to try that.

Laney4 said...

I use the vinegar to clean out my dishwasher hoses every six months, similar to cleaning out the washing machine hoses like Mary.
I use Lestoil to pretreat really bad or really old laundry stains (no matter what the stain). Simply dribble some on, use my finger nail to rub up and down then side to side, and then wash in hot water (for whites) or warm water, if possible but not necessary, for colours. The whole load smells awful while washing, but the smell disappears once done in the dryer. Lestoil has saved me a LOT of money, but, more importantly, it has saved me a lot of aggravation.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Laney4, I had forgotten Lestoil even existed. Thanks for the tip!