Cleaners in Your Kitchen Cabinets: Lemon Juice, Salt and More

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Lemon Juice
Lemons and lemon juice not only clean, but smell great, too.

Use sliced lemons to freshen your microwave by placing a bowl of water with three or four lemon slices in the microwave and cook on high for 30 seconds.

Clean copper by dipping a cut lemon in salt and rubbing on the copper.

Rub halved lemons on cutting boards, rinse with cold water to clean and destroy cutting board odors.

Clean scratch-prone laminate counter tops by rubbing with lemons or lemon juice for gentle cleansing.

Salt is another kitchen cabinet cleanser that is useful as a soak and mild abrasive. It is also known to kill germs and preserve foods.

Sprinkle salt on spillovers and oven drips while they are still liquid. The salt absorbs the drips. Wipe the mess away when it cools.

For burnt on foods in enameled pots, cover the pot bottom with water, add four to five tablespoons of salt and soak overnight. Bring to a boil in the morning and the food should lift away.

Frequent washing of cast iron washes away the non-stick "seasoning" from the pans. As an alternative, shake salt on the pans, then wipe clean. Wash with soap after every other use. Do this prior to cooking to keep fried foods from sticking.

These are a few other salt cleaning tips: mix salt and vinegar to clean copper or rub damp salt to remove dried or cooked-on egg. Food and soap scum can be removed from sinks by scouring with salt, too.

Potatoes are often on hand in home kitchens, and are useful for cleaning metals. Rub raw potatoes on rusted pans, or save the water from boiled potatoes and dip tarnished silver in it when cool to restore shine.

Toothpaste is not technically found in the kitchen, but is a relatively harmless and handy home cleaner nonetheless. Use toothpaste as you would a polish to shine silver, rub onto marks left by cutlery on china, or brush toothpaste with a toothbrush to clean grout between tiles.

Here are a few kitchen and bath cabinet odds and ends and some interesting uses for them.

Orange drink crystals (like kool aid or tang) get rid of dishwasher stains; start the cycle and add crystals when the water has filled. Complete the wash cycle.

Drop vanilla, orange, or lemon extract onto cotton for quick air fresheners for room and refrigerator deodorizers.

Run a section of wax paper though can openers (as if opening a can) to free up the mechanisms.

Clean your bathroom mirror with shaving cream and it won't fog from the shower.

Shine stove tops using rubbing alcohol.

This is a good sampling of the many uses for everyday, safe cleaning products that you likely already own. Save money and keep harmful chemicals away from pets and your family with these tips. Many, but not all of these tips and more can be found in the book "Haley's Hints" by Graham and Rosemary Haley (1999, 3H Productions).

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