Coffee Filters – Who Knew

This was on Facebook.

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Image may contain: food
Lizz Fee

DID YOU KNOW THIS?

Coffee filters …. Who knew! And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for almost nothing even the large ones.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome… Coffee filters are lint-free so they’ll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11.. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters..

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. It soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great “razor nick fixers.”

15. As a sewing backing. Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics.

16. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.

17. Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.

18. Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.

19. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.

20. Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies.. Saves on having extra bowls to wash.

21. Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.

22. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

23. Use them to sprout seeds.. Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.

24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers. Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book..

25. Use as a disposable “snack bowl” for popcorn, chips, etc

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There are some pretty good hacks in this list.

 

Renew Old Furniture

This came from Facebook. As I have done a few things from scratch myself, I wrote a lengthy piece about it. And it is below this picture. I have put a boarder between what I wrote and what was already written by the original poster on Facebook.

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Transformation! Turn a plain old bookcase into a little child’s closet. via Pinterest.

No photo description available.

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I have done some things like that. The best one I ever did got broken when I moved to the senor citizens high rise apartments.They were small and I had a lot of stuff. I took what I could to the new apartment and most of the rest of it to my storage unit. Some was left behind. I have even built a bed, but I had to leave it behind, because once I nailed and screwed it together, it was too big to move out of the bedroom. I made it with 4x4s and4 full sheets of heavy plywood. The head of the bed was 4 feet off the floor and the foot was 3 feet off the floor. I woke up the fourth night in the middle of falling off of the bed. I broke my wrist in that one. So I bought PVC pipes, PVC elbows, and PVC t connectors. Whenever I come across the pictures of it again, I’ll post them on my blog, blogsbymamma.com. And I will also explain how I made it.

 

 

Sanitation In The Home – What I was Taught As An Adolescent

When I was growing up, my Mother stressed the importance of cleanliness to me and my brothers and sister. She told us that being clean would help to keep us healthy. Then she went on to add that our home needed to be kept clean also, so that we would not have bugs such as roaches, and that roaches carry diseases. I Googled “Can roaches carry diseases?” I copied the top answer below.

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Cockroaches may spread a range of diseases. It is believed that the cockroach may be a reservoir for a range of bacteria including salmonella, staphylococcus and streptococcus. The cockroach can also harbor viruses such as the polio virus.

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Needless to say, I have been very conscious of trying to keep as clean of a house as I possibly can. I try to make sure that anytime food wrappers are thrown in any trash can except for the kitchen, then those trash cans are emptied at the same time as when I empty the kitchen trash can, which is every night, except for when the weather is too bad. If any food gets spilled, then I clean it up as quickly as possible as well. I make sure that all food containers are closed tightly, and all bread bags are twist tied very tightly.

The house needs to be vacuumed and dusted at least weekly, and more often if necessary. This includes the top of furniture and any nick knacks on the furniture, as well as the tops of door frames and around picture frames. Linens on the beds need to be changed at least weekly, and of necessity any time that there is any type of accident in the bed. Accidents may include things such as, getting sick, having bladder or bowel problems, or our pets getting sick and having accidents in our beds.

If by chance you have any type of fans, then they need to be cleaned every few months if they are used very often. I use mine everyday, and therefore need to clean them every two to three months. This is especially true if there are people in the household that have any types of breathing problems such as allergies, asthma or COPD.

Anytime anything is spilled, it needs to be cleaned up as quickly as possible. This will hopefully avoid getting any stains anywhere, and eliminate bugs coming because they smell whatever it was that got spilled. If something is accidentally dropped, and it break, then of necessity it must be cleaned up immediately. Sometimes the area has to be vacuumed or swept more than once to make sure that any small shards are gotten up. You don’t want to get any of the shards in your feet, from where they weren’t gotten up totally from the floor. Nor do you want any children of family members or friends, that may still be crawling around, to get any shards in their little fragile bodies anywhere. That would be an awful thing to have happen. Needless to say, that child would probably never be brought back to your house. I guess that would depend on how bad the injury was. But I would be horrified if a child ended up getting hurt because I had not gotten up the pieces of glass when something got broken.

With the change of the seasons, it is usually a good idea to go through clothes and discard any clothes that are ripped or stained. Any clothes that are too small should be given to organizations like Goodwill and/or The Salvation Army, so that those less fortunate than us can be helped out some.

Then there is the Spring Cleaning that needs to be done. All furniture needs to be pulled out and the woodwork and floor behind it and under it needs to be cleaned. Carpets need to be deep cleaned, as in having a carpet cleaning service to come in and clean them. That is unless you have the equipment to do it yourself. The windows, screens and doors need to be cleaned, as well as the gutters. If you live in an apartment all of this may be done by the apartment owners. If you own or are buying your own home, then you need to do it or hire someone to do it. If there is a garage, then it needs to be cleaned out also. The yard needs to have a going over too.

In doing all of this cleaning, it may be necessary to do some painting before the paint on the windows and trim work outside of the house starts cracking and peeling. Many people also have their roof checked out to make sure no shingles have come loose during the winter snows and bad weather. It is better by far to have it checked out than to wait until there is an obvious leak and major damage could be present that you haven’t discovered yet.

What I am trying to say is that anything that can be cleaned needs to be cleaned, and anything that needs to be repaired needs to be repaired. Not only is this necessary for keeping up your dwelling place, but it will also help you to feel better about yourself and your life. You will have such a sense of accomplishment you will be surprised.

 

Power Clean – Dawn Dish Washing Liquid

The picture is not mine. I went to Google for it. I do not know whose picture it is.

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I report on very good products that I find and use personally. The latest one is the Power Clean – Dawn Dish Washing Liquid. It touts that in only 5 minutes of soaking with this, the pans get as clean as if they had soaked overnight. And you know what? They really do.

Dawn Power Clean

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and even though the pans are clean, I still use S.O.S. afterwards to put a nice shine on them. Part of it is my upbringing though. When I was little, back in the 50’s, the only way to get pans REALLY clean was to use the S.O.S. on them, and needless to say, I have continued that practice.

You may believe in another name brand of dish washing liquid, and if so that’s fine, but at least try my method once. Then you can write a comment back to me and let me know what you thought of it. If by chance you have some way that you swear by, let me know in the comment, and I will try it some time and write back on it at a later date.

Thank you in advance if you do try it and write back to me in a comment.

 

 

Tide Pods and Downy Balls

The pictures are not mine. I Googled to get them. I don’t know whose they are.

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Tide Pods and Downy Balls are my choice for just normal clothes washing. I use the Tide with Fe-breeze in it if I am not using the Pods, and April Fresh Downy. The way they leave my clothes and linens feeling and smelling is just so nice. For stains I use Z-out when they are really stubborn. Of course for whites such as socks, linens, and wash cloths and towels I use Clorox, and if the towels and wash cloths are not color fast I use Clorox 2 for colors.

Tide PodsDownyBall 2DownyBall 1

Most people think I am just being silly about the way I am so particular about my wash. But I want and expect my wash to be a certain way, and I am going to do what ever necessary to get it that way.

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The above was written on October 11, 2012, right after Tide Pods first came out. They seemed so good at first, but after a while, I started noticing big purplish splotches on my clothes. I couldn’t imagine what they were. After a couple of weeks, it occurred to me that it was the Tide Pods where they weren’t melting quickly enough and completely enough, with the results being the purplish splotches. At that time, I still had quite a lot of Tide Pods that I hadn’t used yet. I decided that I would melt them before I put them in the washing machine with the clothes. This worked out really well. Granted it was time consuming, but at least I did use all of my Tide Pods up by doing that. I went back to the liquid Tide once all of the Tide Pods were all gone. I now use Tide with Downy.

Tide with Downy

 

Crochet Tip

For those of you who crochet, I have a suggestion, or idea, whichever you want to say.  Since I am obsessive/compulsive, I like for things to be in some kind of order.  Whenever you work with yarn, the chances are high that the yarn is going to get messed up.

To keep my yarn from messing up, I looked all around the house to see if I could find anything to use to keep the yarn straight.  You won’t believe what I found. Tupperware used to make a saltine crackers keeper (I don’t know if they still do or not).  The tall, square container was made to be able to hold a full box of four stacks of crackers.  I knew that it certainly could hold a skein of yarn up straight.  And I was right.  unlike the large Rubbermaid Bread Container (which won’t fit in very many places), the Saltine Cracker Container will fit almost any place you put it. If you can no longer purchase the saltine cracker keeper from Tupperware, then you can still purchase a Rubbermaid Bread Container. Amazon also sells yarn holder bags that can hold up to six skeins of yarn I think. I say I think because, it may hold more than six.

 

Sanitation In The KITCHEN – What I was Taught As An Adolescent

When I was growing up, my Mother stressed the importance of cleanliness to me and my brothers and sister. She told us that being clean would help to keep us healthy. Then she went on to add that our home needed to be kept clean also. A very important room in the home is the KITCHEN. The living room, the bathroom room, the den and the KITCHEN are the main rooms that guests would most likely happen to be in, short of the children having friends in their respective bedrooms. That being the case, the KITCHEN is a very important room to make sure that it is sanitary.

Sanitation in the bathroom is very important, but sanitation in the KITCHEN is even more important. If the KITCHEN is not clean, it could cause many different problems. There are many people that think cleanliness in the KITCHEN only means washing the dishes. many more things are involved than washing dishes. To have a clean KITCHEN you have to make sure that food is taken care of correctly, counters are kept clean, the sink(s) is/are kept clean, the dish drainer and drainboard is kept clean, small electrical appliances are kept clean, the stove and oven are both kept clean, the refrigerator is kept clean, the dish rag is washed frequently, the cabinets are kept free of any spilled food, and the floor is kept clean. I am going to go into great detail on each of these areas. I just hope that my post will help you to be able to maintain a clean and healthy KITCHEN both for you and your family and/or friends.I will try to give details on each area and to take them in the order that I mentioned them.

That being the case I will cover the topic of washing dishes first. It has been my experience that as soon as I finish preparing any food, it is best to go ahead and soak whatever containers that I used to prepare the food with and in. I usually will go ahead and wash off the cutting board, if one was used, as soon as I finish with it. Then I will either just soak or actually wash the bowls that I mixed the food in during the preparation. Once the food is cooked, I do the same with the pots and pans. The first thing that I do is to get the water as hot as possible, then I put some dish soap in them, I usually use Dawn Power Clean, and lastly I fill the containers with the hot water and let them soak until after I have finished eating. Once I finish eating, I start in on the actual dishes, unless something unavoidable happens. The most frequent unavoidable thing that happens is that someone sets off the smoke detector, while they are cooking, and that in turn sets off the fire alarm for the whole apartment complex. When that happens, everybody has to go outside until the fire department comes, handles whatever was the cause of the alarm, and tells us that it is safe to go back inside. When I get ready to do dishes, I clear the table, stack the dishes on the counter, and put dish soap in the dish pan and fill it with hot water. As soon as I start filling the dish pan, I put the silverware in and face all of the sharp knives toward the outside if the dish pan. That way I won’t be as likely to cut my fingers or hand on the sharp edges. After putting the silverware in , I put in the flat dishes and the cups and glasses. By this time, the dish pan is usually full and I start to actually wash what is in it. I put the glasses and cups near the end of the dish drainer that is furthest away from the silverware holder. Next, I wash the plates and stack them in the drainer straight up and down in the slots in the dish drainer. When washing the dishes, it is important to make sure that all of the food and any grease is off of them. If the grease is not cleaned off well enough, then there is a chance that there will be grease actually dripping down on the drainboard instead of just water. Grease does not dry, it only keeps accumulating. You also have to make sure that any hard to get off food is scrubbed extra hard. Food that is left on the plates and/or silverware will be very hard to get off once the plates and/or silverware dry. Just keep telling yourself that you don’t want your dishes and/or silverware to end up like the ones in a restaurant, that get handed back for being dirty. Any food that has been allowed to dry will not only be very hard to get off, but if other food is put on top of it, and the dried food is reconstituted, there is a chance that it could make you sick. After doing the cups, glasses, and silverware, serving bowls are next. I usually stack these on top of the cups, glasses and dishes. Last, but not least are the pots and pans. Usually the pots and pans require using some type of scouring pad with steel wool and possibly soap on them. I like S.O.S. If there is baked on or fried on food left behind, it will require the use of the steel wool pad, and some very hard scrubbing on your part, to be done.

Little Note:  Never fear if not all of your dishes and pots and pans don’t fit in the dish drainer. There are some really handy things called drying mats. I have two of these, and use them quite frequently. They are put on the counter top, after it has been cleaned off. If by chance you run out of space while doing the dishes, it may be necessary to stack the pots and pans on top of the stove. Usually, I clean the counter as I go along. When I get the dishes stacked up on the counter top, they usually cover up the whole counter. The first things to be washed are the closest to the dish pan. As I get them washed, I keep moving the things that are left to be washed down closer to the dish pan. I am constantly moving the dishes as I wash them. As more of the back of the counter becomes empty, I clean it off. I especially have to do this when I have run out of space in the dish drainer. After I have cleaned off some of the counter, I put one of the drying mats down and start stacking the clean wet dishes on them. If there are more dishes than usual, I may even end up having to use both of the drying mats.

Taking care of food is next. When you get home from the store, you need to read the instructions as to whether or not the food needs to be frozen or just refrigerated, or if it can be stored in a cabinet with no refrigeration at all. If they need to be frozen, you need to know if you should take them out of their original packaging and repack them in freezer bags. Look at your bottled items and items in jars. The label will usually let you know if it does or does not need to be refrigerated. Once you have finished eating, if there are left overs, they need to be stored away properly also. It is very important to make sure that any cooked food that is left over gets put away properly. You need to store the cooked food in an air proof container or plastic bag. Food that is not cooked, such as some fruits, have different directions as to how to store them. Some fruits such as grapes don’t need to be stored in an air proof container, they can be stored in open containers or the bag with the little holes that they came in, in the refrigerator. You should always read the instructions as to how to store the food both when you first get it home from the store, and after you have cut it or cooked it. Improper storage of food can spoil the food and therefore make it unsafe and poisonous to eat. There are even some fruits that may become poisonous, after they have been cut, if they are not stored correctly.

You may think that cleaning a counter involves only washing off the working area of a counter. This is not true. There are usually some different items that are always on the counter. These items may include a spice rack, a coffee or tea pot, a toaster, the drainboard for the dishes, sometimes there will be a microwave and/or toaster oven , and possibly the large cooking utensils such as a spatula, a soup ladle, potato masher, etc in a container, and so on. Most sinks are fitted into the counter top, and therefore the dish soap, cleaner pads like S.O.S., and possibly hand soap are usually on the back of the sink. Every time that you do dishes you need to at least clean the area behind the sink where all of the cleaning soaps are. The sinks need to be cleaned out and any food that is stuck in the drain pipe needs to be removed. There are strainers that have a screen type of mesh in them that catch food really well. After finishing dishes, simply empty the strainer in the trash can and rinse it out real well. If there is quite a bit of food that has been cleaned off of the dishes, it may be necessary to empty the strainer more than once. You have to be careful when emptying out the dish pan and not go too fast for the strainer to catch the food. Too much food going down the drain pipe, unless you are lucky enough to have a garbage disposal, may clog up the drain. The expense of having to get a plumber to unclog the drain is much more than purchasing the strainer and emptying it out whenever it is necessary. Every night the strainer needs to be checked to make sure that it has been emptied. Then you need to actually wash out the sink with the dish soap, and if necessary even use the steel wool pad. The dish drainer and the drainboard also need to be cleaned, to avoid both bacteria and calcium buildup.

After doing the dishes, you also need to clean the counter. When you consider all of the things that may possibly be on a counter, there is a lot to have to move to clean the counter. I always start with the obvious, the area behind the sink. It is almost impossible to not get water in that area whenever you do dishes. That being the case, this area needs to be cleaned every time that dishes are done. Many people tend to ignore this area until they notice an ugly buildup of white residue there. The buildup is calcium deposits from the water. When they go to clean it up, often times they find that it does not readily come up. Unfortunately calcium buildup is pretty hard to clean up. For me, I have found that a calcium, lime, and rust remover works really well. However the area behind the sink is not the only place where calcium builds up. Under the drainboard is another place where calcium tends to build up. When wet dishes are put in the dish drainer, often times water splashes and runs under the drainboard. If the water is not cleaned up daily, then the calcium will build up under it. When cleaning the counter, this area needs to be cleaned also. When I mentioned all of the items that might be on a counter, it was for the reason of pointing out that these items need to be taken off of the counter every week or two at least, and definitely whenever something is spilled on the counter and gets under one of them. If this is not done, especially when something spills and gets under them, you may start to notice a pungent odor in the KITCHEN. Also, an unclean KITCHEN can be a breeding ground for bugs, the worst of which being roaches. I Googled if roaches carry diseases and this is what I found out with the first response on Google:

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Cockroaches may spread a range of diseases. It is believed that the cockroach may be a reservoir for a range of bacteria including salmonella, staphylococcus and streptococcus. The cockroach can also harbor viruses such as the polio virus.

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After reading this, I shuddered just thinking about all of the people’s houses that I have been in and seen the roaches running around. I used to babysit back in the 60’s and one of the houses was so infested that you could not even go anyplace in the house without seeing them. I made up my mind then that I would always keep a clean house. Many times I have heard that “it is no crime to get roaches”, they can be brought in on grocery sacks, “but it is to keep them”, by having such a dirty house that they start breeding. If you happen to see any roaches in your house, start treating to get rid of them immediately.

The bug infestation that is possible with a dirty house, and especially a dirty KITCHEN, is why it is so imperative to keep the house, and especially the KITCHEN, as clean as possible. Keeping your KITCHEN clean is not a laughing matter.

All bugs that I know of have a very good sense of smell. An area doesn’t have to actually have freshly left food for them to come. A very fine film left on the counter is enough for them to smell and start invading your KITCHEN.

That’s why it’s so important to periodically take everything off of the counter and not only clean it with dish soap, but also with bleach. Bleach is known as being able to sanitize almost all spaces because it kills germs and bacteria so well.

Besides the obvious things mentioned above, you also need to make sure that all appliances, both big and small, are kept clean. Usually the ones that may be on a counter top are: a coffee or tea pot (possibly both), a toaster or toaster oven, a microwave, and possibly a standing mixer (this is especially true where there is an older family member that likes the older appliances), a smaller version of mixer would be the hand held mixer – but the hand held mixer is usually stored in a cabinet or a drawer. The large appliances would include the range with a stove and an oven, a refrigerator, and possibly a stand alone freezer.

For most of the small appliances, you need to pay close attention to the instructions that came with the appliance, as to whether or not they can be immersed in water. If they cannot be immersed in water, then you will need to have a dish pan with hot soapy water and a dish rag to use to clean them out. You may even need to use the steel wool soap pad to aid in the cleaning. The toaster oven is especially important for two reasons, one being cleanliness and the other being safety. The safety part comes in if there is a buildup of cooked on food that may catch fire. The toaster is a little easier because there is usually a “door” on the bottom of the toaster. You need to release the trigger and the door will come open allowing the crumbs to fall out. Then the “door” may be cleaned with a soapy dish rag and rinsed the same way. The microwave can only be cleaned by hand. It cannot be immersed. I try to always cover anything that I microwave, to keep the splatter down. If by chance there is still some splatter, I try to clean it while it is still fresh. Usually, at that time it can be cleaned quite a bit easier. When the splattered food is dried and therefore hard to remove, there is one thing that can be done to help make the cleanup easier. You need to boil a cup of water for a few minutes and let it steam up the inside of the microwave. When you take the cup out, the steam helps you to clean the microwave. The steam moistens up the food and makes it be a lot easier to remove with a soapy dish rag. For the different mixers, you can immerse the beaters, and with the standing mixer you can also immerse the bowls. The standing mixer and the hand held part of the small mixer both need to be cleaned with soapy dish rags that have been wrung out really well. You should not let any water get inside any of the slots in the hand held mixer, or the electrical part of the standing mixer.

Cleaning the refrigerator and freezer. If the refrigerator has a frost free freezer, then go on to the next paragraph. Having a frost free freezer means that the freezer compartment does not get a buildup of ice in it. If by chance your freezer gets ice buildup in it, then you would need to defrost the freezer first. While defrosting the freezer you can also start cleaning the refrigerator part. Put a couple of large pans of water on to boil, you will use them in a little while. TURN OFF THE REFRIGERATOR AND FREEZER! Next you need to empty out the refrigerator. The reasons for having to do this are that you have turned off the refrigerator and when the ice starts melting, it drips down in the refrigerator and makes a big mess. You will need to remove the crisper drawers and put hot soapy water in them and let them soak for a little while.They may have dried on residue from where things have leaked in them. Next you will need to put down some towels in the bottom of the refrigerator, where the crisper drawers were, so that the towels can absorb the melting ice when the water comes down the back of the refrigerator. Now is when you will use the boiling water. Put one of the pans at a time in the freezer and close the freezer door. Wait about five minutes. While waiting the five minutes, you can be cleaning out the refrigerator bu wiping off all of the shelves with a hot soapy dish rag. After waiting the five minutes open the freezer. If there is any loose ice, pick it up and throw it in the sink. By doing this, you make it so that not as much water will end up in the bottom of the refrigerator. Once you have removed all of the loose ice, take out the first  pan of water. If there is still ice left to be melted, then put the second pan in the freezer and repeat the process of waiting five minutes and then throwing loose ice in the sink. Put water in the pan that you just took out of the freezer and start it to boil again. That way if it is necessary to use another one, it will already be boiling. Now, if the towels are soaked, wring them out, and if necessary put them back in the bottom of the refrigerator. If you have enough towels, you can use dry towels and put them in the refrigerator instead of using the wet ones again. You will need to repeat this until there is no ice left in the freezer. Once the freezer has been defrosted , refill the ice trays and put all of the frozen items back in the freezer. You can take the last towels out of the bottom of the refrigerator, and remove the pan of boiling water from the freezer. Now you can clean the bottom of the refrigerator. It should be easy. If there had been any stuck on stuff on the bottom of the refrigerator, all of the water from the freezer should have softened it up. If not, you may have to put some hot soapy water in the bottom of the refrigerator and let it sit for a few minutes until it does get soft enough to remove it. Remove the rest of the now softened stuff and put the crisper drawers back in. Now put all of the food back where it belongs. Congratulations! You have succeeded in defrosting your freezer and cleaning your refrigerator. And best of all, most of the refrigerator got cleaned at the same time as when you were defrosting the freezer.

If you have a refrigerator that doesn’t have a freezer, here are your instructions. You need to empty out the refrigerator first, and take out the crisper drawers. You need to try to clean out the refrigerator when there is not a lot of food in it. If there is a lot of food in it, I would suggest waiting until there is only a little bit of food. That way when you take the food out, it will fit in a cooler. You need to wipe off each shelf and then clean out the inside of the shelves in the door with a hot soapy dish rag. If anything has leaked in the refrigerator, you can put some hot soapy water in the bottom of it and let it soak for a little while. After it has soaked, clean out the water. You may either use a dish rag to absorb it, and keep wringing it out until you have cleaned up the mess, or you can use paper towels. It all depends on your preference and whether or not the expense of the paper towels is an issue. For me, I go the route of the dish rag. After the crisper drawers are clean and dry, and the bottom of the refrigerator is cleaned and dried, put the crisper drawers back into the refrigerator. Congratulations! Now your refrigerator is clean and you can put the food back in it.

Last, but certainly not the least of the appliances, is the stove/oven. Cleaning this particular appliance is the messiest of the appliances that I have talked about. Let’s get down to business. The most visible part of the stove is the top where the burners are. If by chance you are lucky enough to have a glass top stove, the cleanup won’t be too difficult. Of necessity, these have to be cleaned almost every time they are used. If anything was spilled on it during the cooking process, then you have no choice but to clean it off before you use it again. This is true, unless you don’t mind your smoke detector going off, and whatever spilled on the surface getting burned on even harder. If you have a conventional surface stove top with burner pans, then the job is more difficult. You will have to pull out the elements and put them aside. Next take out the actual burner pans. You will need to put them in hot soapy water to soak. How long they soak depends on how dirty they are. If there is a lot of cooked on food on the, then they will need to soak for a longer time that if there is just a little bit of food on them. Once they have soaked and you are ready to clean them off, then use the steel wool soap pads to help remove the cooked on food. Most stove tops have release levers that can be activated to raise the lid and have access to the area under the burner pans. It is important to keep the stove top clean to prevent fires. If oil accumulates too much, the oil catching on fire is very possible. By the same token, if there is no oil buildup in the burner pan, then there in not going to be as much of a chance for the stove to catch on fire. Yes, even a clean stove can catch on fire if whatever is being cooked sticks on the bottom of the pan and catches on fire in the pan. This usually only happens when someone is not paying attention to what is cooking, and the water, or any other liquid boils out, and the actual food starts getting too hot and flames up. Once the area under the burners has been cleaned out and the burner pans have been cleaned, the stove top may be put back together. There are aluminum foil burner pan inserts that you can buy. After cleaning the burner pans and the area under them, and you are putting the stove top back together, put the inserts into the burner pans right before you put the elements back into their plugs. That way, if something does spill over, it is possible that the insert will catch the spill, and the whole stove will not have to be cleaned again. The inserts save a lot of time and headache and are relatively inexpensive. I bought some for about $3 for a set of 12 inserts. That is enough to do all four burners three times. The cost for each insert is only 25 cents. Now for the oven. Some stoves have an automatic cleaning function to them. If you are lucky enough to have one of these types of ovens, then you need to follow the instruction that came with the oven. For the older and more conventional ovens, you will most likely need to use some type of oven cleaner. For most of them, it is necessary to preheat the oven. Once the oven is at a certain temperature, then you turn the oven off and spray the cleaner all on the inside of the oven and wait the instructed amount of time before wiping it off. You have to follow the instructions with whatever oven cleaner you choose. Once the oven is clean, you may choose to cover the bottom of the oven in heavy duty aluminum foil. You may even cover each shelf with the foil. The choice is totally yours. When you are finished you deserve a congratulations for accomplishing one of the worst task, according to many housekeepers, that has to be done in the kitchen.

It is important to keep your cabinets clean too. You may not think that the cabinets are very important, but they are. This is especially true for foods being stored in them. Any time that foods that are stored in the cabinets are used often, there is a chance for the food to spill. This is true for items like cornmeal, pancake mix, stuffing mix, the different types of sugars, teas, any types of mixes, mashed potatoes, rice, pastas, cereals, honey, syrups, breads, and spices. Whenever any of these items spills or is left open, it produces a breeding ground for roaches, ants, little flying black bugs and meal moths. Any and all of these types of bugs, once they have invaded, are hard to eliminate. They are so small, that it is hard to kill them, simply because you usually can’t kill the eggs or larvae. Besides living in the foods, some of them, such as roaches, live in the woodwork and walls, as well as in the appliances such as the stove and refrigerator. It is much easier by far to make sure that every food item is closed very securely. If there is no access to the food, the bugs can’t feed on it and therefore can’t live. Once they realize that they can’t live and flourish in your KITCHEN, they have no choice but to leave. Like I pointed out earlier, I have heard that “it is no crime to get roaches” (actually,this goes for any type of bugs), they can be brought in on grocery sacks, “but it is to keep them”, by having such a dirty house that they start breeding. If you happen to see any roaches in your house, start treating to get rid of them immediately.

Now for the trashcan. One thing that is very important is the trashcan. Simply because of what it is, it is a prime breeding ground for all types of germs as well as bugs. Many people have really big trashcans, and this is fine if you have a big family and therefore a lot of trash. But if there are only a couple of people in the household, then a medium sized trashcan should do just fine. The reason I say this is that many people tend to not empty their trashcans until they are full, and possibly even overfull. If the trashcan is a big one, then it could take a few days to fill up the trashcan. But if the trashcan is medium sized, or even small, then it would most likely be filled up every day. Point being that the trashcan needs to be emptied every night. The longer the trashcan sits there, with any trash in it at all, the more the germs and the bugs have a chance to multiply. And believe me, they can multiply very quickly. The germs multiply a lot faster than the bugs do though. Germs can multiply within hours down to even within minutes. Most bugs take a few days to multiply. Once they have mated they hide in very small places to lay their eggs, and the number of eggs they lay can range from hundreds at a time to thousands at a time. It all depends on what bug it is and how big their eggs are.

Some people have the habit of putting extra bags down in the bottom of the trashcan so they can immediately put a fresh bag in the can when they take the full bag out. This seemed like a great idea to me the first time I saw a friend do it. As a matter of fact, I started doing it myself. That is until the day the two extra bags I had in the bottom of the can got ruined by the bag that was being used. The bag that was being used ended up getting cut by a can lid. There was some food in there that started leaking. You can guess what happened next. The extra bags that I had put in the bottom of the can got wet with whatever juice was leaking. There was no way that I was going to put a bag, that already reeked of leaking garbage, down in the trashcan . Therefore, the two bags got thrown away when the one that was being used in the can got thrown away. I have not put any extra bags in the bottom of the trashcan since then. One thing that I do, whenever I can, is to put the Styrofoam tray that meat comes in down in the bottom of the bag that is in the trashcan. That practice serves a dual purpose. One it reinforces the bottom of the bag so that it won’t break when it is being carried out, and two it helps to catch some of the liquid, if there is a leak, in the bottom of the bag in the can.

Now, the absolute last is the floor. The floor needs to be swept every night to get up all of the crumbs and dirt that has accumulated during the day. At least once a week, the floor needs to be wet mopped, and whether or not to use bleach is entirely up to you. I, myself use bleach. If there have been any spills, or a lot of tracking in due to bad weather, then the floor will need to be mopped more often.

 

 

Sanitation In The BATHROOM – What I was Taught As An Adolescent

When I was growing up, my Mother stressed the importance of cleanliness to me and my brothers and sister. She told us that being clean would help to keep us healthy. Then she went on to add that our home needed to be kept clean also. A very important room in the home is the BATHROOM. The living room, the kitchen/dinning room, the den and the BATHROOM are the main rooms that guests would most likely happen to be in, short of the children having friends in their respective bedrooms. That being the case, the BATHROOM is a very important room to make sure that it is sanitary.

One would most likely consider the BATHROOM and the kitchen as the two main rooms that one would have to be more particular about keeping sanitary. As soon as the word BATHROOM comes up in any conversation, even in a joking manner, one almost automatically thinks about odors. I am going to be very blunt while trying to use as kind words as I can to get the point across. I am sorry if I offend anyone with this discussion. Unfortunately this is one topic that all adolescents need to hear about and be told how to accomplish the task of keeping the BATHROOM sanitary. Some items you will need are a trash can(preferably with a lid on it to help control odor), a toilet brush, a plunger, BATHROOM cleaner, and possibly some baby wipes for splatter cleanups. Whether it is in your own apartment, or house, after you have a mate, you need to be considerate of others. Always put a plastic bag in the trash can so all nasty trash can be thrown in it and you won’t have to handle the nasty trash when it has to be thrown out.

When you brush your teeth always clean off the toothpaste tube if you got any on the tube anywhere. Nobody likes to pick up the toothpaste and get toothpaste on their hands and possibly their clothes. Clean out the sink of any toothpaste that has been spit out. You need to clean out your toothbrush as well. When the toothpaste builds up in your toothbrush, you don’t get your teeth as clean as you would if the toothbrush was cleaned out properly.

When you use the toilet for a number 2, you need to ALWAYS make sure that there is no number 2 left on the inside of the toilet. If there is any left on the inside, then you need to clean it off with the toilet brush. If by chance you have had a bout with diarrhea, then it may be necessary to use the baby wipes to clean up any splatter that may be under the toilet seat and around the top of the bowl, that is usually covered with the toilet seat. I also use the baby wipes and wear rubber gloves to clean under the rim of the toilet, just in case the toilet brush misses any spots. A dirty toilet is just disgusting to look at and could be very smelly.

Use the BATHROOM cleaner to clean the sink out. You need to keep the sink drain cleaned out so you won’t have any stopped up sinks. To do this, from time to time you need to take out the stopper in the middle of the sink and remove any hair or debris that has built up on it. Clean up around the faucets on a nightly or every other nightly basis to prevent any calcium buildup. If by chance you do end up with calcium buildup, simply spray on any calcium, and lime remover, and let it sit for just a few minutes and then wipe it off. Always clean out any hair that you can, to prevent the drain from getting stopped up.

There are products available to clean the shower,and make the shower so that the soap scum doesn’t stick on very badly after using it. Once the product is sprayed on the shower, you can use a squeegee to clean it off, once it has soaked on for a few minutes. The same is true for the tub. Each time that you take a bath, you should always clean out the tub, as best as you can, with the wash rag that you used to bathe with. There are products out there, such as sprays and foams and even different types of mops and sponges, that can be used to clean the tub. With both the shower and the tub, always clean out any hair that you can to prevent the drain from getting stopped up. This is true even if you only have a stand-up-in, or roll-in shower and no tub. Stopped up drains are no picnic and could be very expensive if you have to get a plumber to unclog.

I find that cleaning the floor is better done with bleach simply due to the fact that it is the BATHROOM and that it is inevitable that there will be accidents. These accidents may include such things as wetting, being sick, and even sometimes having diarrhea just before you are able to actually sit on the toilet. Other people may not be as picky as I am about what to clean these accidents up with, but I always use bleach.

MEN, this section is for you. When you use the BATHROOM to urinate, ALWAYS raise the toilet seat, and when finished REMEMBER to put it back down again. There is almost nothing more frustrating to a female than to be in a hurry to use the BATHROOM and end up falling into the toilet because the seat was left up. So be considerate of the females in your life and put the seat back down.

If you have a girlfriend and end up using a condom when having sex, THROW IT AWAY in the BATHROOM trashcan, not the bedroom trashcan. After all, who wants to have to put up with the smell after you’re done, and the condom full of the stuff has been thrown away.

When you shave your beard, clean up all of the cut off hair, and rinse out your razor. It’s disgusting to see all of the hair in the sink or shower. You need to replace your razor blades regularly. Used blades can rust and cause medical problems, one of which being tetanus. I know that razor blades can be expensive, but there are solutions. I know that razor blades can be expensive, but there are solutions like “Dollar Shave.com” and monthly subscription places. You just need to Google razor blade subscriptions

WOMEN, this section is for you. When it is “that time of month” you need to be considerate of others. When you change your sanitary product and go to throw out the used one, wrap it up in toilet paper first. That way, if someone other than yourself uses your BATHROOM, they won’t have to see the disgusting used sanitary product.

If by chance you drip on the toilet seat, you need to clean it up. It’s just plain nasty for someone to go to the toilet after you have used it and they end up sitting in urine, or worse, that you dripped when you were wiping yourself when you got up.

When you shave your legs, clean up all of the cut off hair, and rinse out your razor. It’s disgusting to see all of the hair in the tub or shower. As razor blades or razors can rust, they need to be replaced often. I know that razor blades can be expensive, but there are solutions like “Dollar Shave.com”. You just need to Google razor blade subscriptions.

Kitchen Inspection By Health Department Inspector

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I Googled about which was more sanitary to do your dishes with, a dish rag or a sponge. The article below is one that I found that answered that frequently asked question. It really answered a lot of questions for me. Some that I didn’t even know I needed to ask. I hope it is helpful in answering some of your questions too. The URL for the article is: http://www.thekitchn.com/a-health-inspector-visited-my-kitchen-and-heres-what-happened-194282

I did not write the article, I copied it from a website called the kitchen.

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A Health Inspector Visited My Kitchen, and Here’s What Happened

Health Inspector Rob Acquista

Public Health Department inspector Rob Acquista explaining health and safety practices.

It all started with an email from Mary, a reporter at The Columbus Dispatch, the local newspaper in my town. “We are looking to have a health inspector examine a home kitchen the way they might a professional kitchen,” she said. And she had immediately thought of me — not because I have a dirty kitchen, she hastened to add, but because I write about food and, she said, I seemed “like the kind of person who might be game for this.”

Oh really? Let a health inspector run his gloved fingers over my kitchen? Was I brave enough? I couldn’t turn down a dare, and a few weeks later two city health inspectors, a photographer, and a reporter showed up at my door. Here’s what happened.

As you might imagine, I scrubbed my kitchen that morning. I swept the floor, cleaned the sink, and threw out anything suspicious in the refrigerator. I like clean surfaces in my kitchen, but let’s be honest — the floor is usually a little grimy and there’s often something sticky in the back of the fridge. I cook all the time; it’s hard to keep the kitchen pristine.

Just as I was getting ready to clean out the sink, Mary showed up with Rob Acquista, a genial and talkative inspector from the Public Health Department, and I took a deep breath.

I am not quite sure what I expected. I knew that there were many things that my kitchen wouldn’t have that are required in restaurant kitchens, like a separate sink for handwashing and a bucket full of rags in sanitary solution. And indeed, Rob hardly mentioned details like these.

Refrigerator Door Shelf

Instead, he started with my refrigerator and went through it shelf by shelf. He brought me a present: my very own refrigerator thermometer! I keep a thermometer in the oven, but never in the fridge. He explained that he likes to keep a thermometer in the refrigerator door, which is one of the warmer places in the fridge, so you can see how cool it gets. The back of your refrigerator could be staying cool enough but the milk in the door might be sweating in a too-warm environment.

We talked through meat storage (keeping meat away from other foods in the fridge — even dedicating a drawer just to meat). Then we moved on to food storage at room temperature. Did you know, for instance, that it’s not a good idea to leave cooked rice at room temperature? Rice can grow a toxin called Bacillus cereus which can make you very sick, and it’s not destroyed by reheating. It’s best to immediately store cooked rice in the refrigerator.

As Rob moved through my kitchen, asking questions and looking at how I cook, I got the clear sense that a real health and safety inspection is much less about the surfaces or even the amount of dirt on the floor. It’s far more about how you handle food.

Frequent handwashing, proper food storage, and getting cooked food to a safe temperature in the right amount of time are three of the most important health practices in the kitchen.

3 Takeaways from My Kitchen Inspection

Here are three more things I learned in my chat with Rob and the rest of the team. Do any of these surprise you?

  1. The real rules for getting food into a safe temperature zone are not as difficult as I thought they were. This is one thing that I am usually quite careful about in cooking — getting food into a cooler environment after cooking. But I learned, to my pleasant surprise, that the safety rules for this are actually less demanding than I thought. Rob said that the official recommendation is to cool food from 135°F (or over) to 70°F within two hours. You can use ice baths or ice paddles — anything to cool that food quickly. But after that you have four more hours for the food to cool to the final 41°F or less. That first temperature zone, from 135°F to 70°F, is where the primary amount of bacteria growth happens; it’s the danger zone. I had thought I had just a couple hours to get food all the way down to 41°F, and I often stressed if I found soup still lukewarm in the fridge a few hours after cooking. But these rules are actually more relaxed and yet linked to good data about what actually causes infection or sickness.
  2. Don’t leave cut fruits and vegetables at room temperature. As soon as a fruit has been cut open, Rob explained, its integrity has been breached and it can breed germs and toxins. This is a pretty extreme rule for those of us who leave plum halves or slices of peach lingering on the windowsill for eating later. But it’s not fearmongering; some of the worst outbreaks of food poisoning have been traced back to melon or other fruit in salad bars, sitting at room temperature. It’s a prudent practice to put cut fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator.
  3. Use rags or dishcloths instead of sponges. This, along with the refrigerator thermometer, is one of the few kitchen setup (as opposed to food handling) tips that I took away from the inspection. Rob practically shuddered when he saw the dishwashing sponge in my sink. He picked it up between two fingers and said that he sees sponges as bacteria breeding grounds; germs just get into those little holes and camp out. He stopped short of saying that I should throw out all my sponges, but he does prefer to use rags and launder them frequently.In the end, I think I came out of my kitchen inspection pretty well; no one checked my windowsills for dust or mentioned the water rings on the table. Instead, it was a fascinating discussion of what matters in kitchen health and safety, and which things a home cook should actually be concerned about.

    Read the full article → Could your kitchen pass inspection? by Mary Nguyen at The Columbus Dispatch

    Are any of those notes surprises to you? I consider myself a fairly clean cook, and yet I am not really a germ-phobe; I try to concentrate on the truly major points of staying healthy in the kitchen, while not getting paranoid about every little thing. The inspection reinforced the things I prioritize while also making me a little more attentive to other details.

    What are the major points of kitchen health and safety for you? What are you especially careful about?

    (Images: Faith Durand)

Home Builders – Accessible Homes – Appliance Designers

In my opinion, all architectural companies need to have a wheelchair bound person working for them, This person is essential for them to be able to make sure that there are at least some already built houses that are accessible. Why should a disabled person have to be put in a nursing home because they or their family is unable to afford to buy land and have an accessible home built? Why can’t it be a requirement that every new subdivision have a certain number of accessible houses that have to be built. This means accessible bathrooms with roll in showers and grab bars all around the shower and the toilet area as well as sinks at a correct height for a chair to fit underneath them. The kitchens need to have the appliances low enough for the disabled person to use them, as well as the sink being lower and having a spray hose on the faucet, cabinets and countertops need to be lower and have open space for the wheelchair at the bottom. There needs to be an automatic dishwasher. The laundry room and washer and dryer need to be accessible as well.

The washer and dryer need to have doors that open in the front with controls that are accessible from the front as well. Appliance companies need to take the wheelchair bound person into consideration when designing their appliances. Don’t get me wrong, but I just think that there needs to be accessible options for those that need them. I know that not all people are disabled, but there are many that are, and more and more becoming that way everyday.

Our population is living longer and longer with the advancements in medicine that we have today. They are also able to stay in their own homes longer for the same reason. Many medical machines that used to be available only in medical facilities as in patient recipients are available for home use today. This helps to alleviate the need for away from home admissions and treatments. There are numerous home health agencies that offer a wide variety of medical service in the home. These services can range from simple activities of daily living (ADL’s as they are commonly called), such as bathing and dressing the person to light housekeeping like doing dishes and laundry, on up to advanced skilled nursing care that may include IV’s, and wound care to doing medical treatments with machines that are now accessible for such home usage.

All of the things mentioned above need to be taken into consideration when building accessible homes. In addition, these homes also need to have wider doors to be able to accommodate hospital beds and therapy equipment. They need to have a higher power availability. There may be  many different machines that are necessary, for the disabled person’s care, that will need the extra power. Along with needing more power availability, of necessity, there will have to be more power outlets to plug these machines into. No matter how many surge protectors you may have, there is a limit as to how much power is available for the house as a whole to be able to consume. Once this limit is reached spontaneous combustion may result if there is even a small spark of any kind.

In doing this post, I don’t mean to sound like all doom and gloom, I am only trying to point out as many extra accommodations that a disabled person may need as I can think of. There would be nothing worse than moving into what a person thinks is an accessible home only to find out there is not enough power to operate the necessary machines, there are not enough outlets in the room to plug in all the necessary machines, and the doors are not wide enough to allow for a hospital be to be moved into the bedroom and therefore it has to be set up in the living room or the dining room. For a person to think that they have found the perfect accessible house, only to find out that these things are not accessible, would almost make someone want to just sit down and cry.

I know many of these things because I am disabled myself. Granted I do not need extra power to my apartment, but I could stand to have some more outlets for my hospital bed, my nebulizer, my CPAP machine, the CD player, my clock and my fans, a nite lite, a lamp, to charge my cell phone, and of course for my TV, along with it’s additional machines, such as the DVD/VCR player, and the converter box. I do have surge protectors for these machines, and unplug them whenever a bad storm hits so that there is no way that lightning can strike them if they are unplugged.

At this time, I cannot think of anything else that needs to be included. If by chance I do think of anything else, I will update the post and make a special note of the updates.