The skies are clearing, the sun is showing it’s face more and the weather is warming up a bit. Springtime is full of promises and here at Great 8 Friends the promise is Gr8 Food, Gr8 Friends and Gr8 Fun! And if you’re going to be serving Gr8 food to Gr8 friends, then you want your kitchen to shine, too! Although, I’d much rather be reading a good book than cleaning!I love getting my kitchen sparkling after cooking, it’s very satisfying to have everything back in its place AND have Gr8 food prepared. And the best cleaner is plain old white vinegar. That’s right, vinegar is for more than just salad dressing! It is inexpensive, extremely effective, and totally natural. Once the cooking is done and all the delicious smells linger, who wants to spray a chemical laden cleaner around? Yes, vinegar smells but it is totally natural and dissipates quickly. The BEST news is, vinegar won’t harm anyone if it accidentally gets sprayed onto that tomato that is sitting on the counter top.
A couple of years ago a friend was getting rid of some books and I picked up a book called, “Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile & Very Good Uses You’ve Probably Never Thought of” by Vicki Lansky. And let me tell you, there are some surprises in that little book! We all know that vinegar and baking soda can be used for cleaning, (Vicki Lansky also wrote a book called “Baking Soda: Over 500 Fabulous, Fun & Frugal Uses You’ve Probably Never Thought of“) but these little gems show many, many ideas for using these always available and inexpensive pantry products.
A gallon jug of vinegar is under $3…that’s right, under $3!! And it will clean virtually everything! So toss out all the expensive, chemical cleaners and spring into clean with this natural, environmentally friendly and safe alternative. Pick up a couple of spray bottles at your local hardware store and fill one with full strength white vinegar and one with equal parts vinegar and water. Be sure to mark them! Keep these under your kitchen sink for easy clean-ups.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to use vinegar in my kitchen:
Cutting Boards: After you are done using and washing your cutting board, spray some full strength vinegar onto the surface. Don’t rinse it! The smell will evaporate, and the vinegar will disinfect the surface. If you have been cutting a particularly colorful fruit or veggie and it has stained, just use some elbow grease along with the vinegar. Pour full strength vinegar onto the board and scrub with brush or scrubber, this should remove any stains.
Counter Tops: Use full strength vinegar to wipe down your counters. This will cut through grease and get rid of any lingering food germs. Do not use on marble, the acid content of the vinegar will etch the marble. But this works fine on my granite. If you are unsure, test the vinegar in a small out of the way spot to ensure that it won’t harm your counter. Wiping the counter tops with vinegar also helps to keep bugs away, in case you live in an area prone to crawly creatures.
Freshen Drains and Garbage Disposals: Heat one cup of vinegar in the microwave. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain then follow with the hot vinegar. Let this sit for 5 minutes, then run hot water for a couple of minutes. If this doesn’t solve the problem of a smelly garbage disposal, then freeze some vinegar in an ice cube tray and put the vinegar cubes down the disposal while running.
Dishwasher: Put one cup of vinegar into the empty dishwasher and run it through a cycle. Do this once a month to get rid of soap build-up and make it smell fresh and clean. You can also add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to your dishwasher with your glassware to get your glasses sparkling clean and clear again. (This will not work if your glasses are etched from the minerals in the water.)
Refrigerator: Clean the shelves and walls with equal parts vinegar and water mixture mixture. Just spray it on and wipe it down!
Chrome Fixtures: If you live in a hard water area like we do in Southern California, then you probably have mineral deposits around the base of your faucets and other chrome fixtures. Simply soak a cloth in full strength vinegar and lay it on top of the deposits for an hour. Be sure the cloth is fully saturated with the vinegar. When you remove the cloth scrub the hard water stains with a soft scrubber (be careful not to scratch the chrome). For especially stubborn deposits, you may need to do a second application of the vinegar soaked cloth. Here is a Gr8 video on the process.
So get cleaning my friends!
This was a Gr8 week because we got to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! But you don’t need to wait for it to come around again to serve our Slow Cooker Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread. This is the perfect comfort meal, and the stew is so easy because it goes right in the slow cooker. And for dessert, how about this easy homemade Lemon Sorbet?
Be a Gr8 Friend!
Anna, Kyle, Jurga, and Debbie