Real Clean Home Wednesday August 01 2007 Entries



Today’s new surfaces require special cleaning.  Years ago, porcelain stoves and laminate countertops required little effort to keep them clean.   A wipe of the sponge is all it took. But, they weren’t nearly as attractive as today’s stainless and granite.  Increasingly, though, we are using natural surfaces and stones for countertops and appliances and that range from porcelain to ceramic, from stainless steel to cast iron, from granite to marble.  And when it comes to cleaning, it’s become a nightmare.  These surfaces, while beautiful, do require more maintenance.

Glasstop or ceran stovetops take their very own kind of liquid paste cleaner.  Granite is also a maintenance nightmare if you don’t know how to clean it right, requiring gallons of spray cleaners and three trees’ worth of paper towels.  Fortunately, there is an easier way that can handle most cleaning needs for these special surfaces that is as easy as soap and water were for handling the surfaces in our mothers’ and grandmothers’ kitchens.

STAINLESS STEEL 
It was most often used for kitchen sinks, but now stainless steel become an extremely popular finish and is used on everything from kitchen counters to refrigerators to stoves, ovens, and microwaves.  It’s versatile and practical.  However, over time, stainless steel can become dull-looking or lose its original luster. 

How to clean:  To remove fingerprints from stainless, use a lightly dampened microfiber cloth.  For extra stubborn stains or fingerprints, use a mild window cleaner with a microfiber cloth. Do avoid using scouring powders on stainless steel.  For all-purpose cleaning, use plain dish detergent and make sure water spills are wiped up right away as water is harmful to the finish of stainless steel. 

GRANITE 
Nothing is as durable as granite – or as beautiful.  It’s tough and extremely handsome making granite a terrific choice for kitchen counters and floors.  It resists heat and scorching and is almost impossible to nick and scratch.  The problem with granite is getting that shine on it again – especially for that beautiful, deep black granite.  To clean, dampen the cloths with a spray bottle filled with regular tap water. 

Worried about bacteria on the counters?  Don’t be. Microfiber cloths have fibers small enough to pick up bacteria according to a test conducted in Canada that compared cleaning with microfiber and water versus a sponge and disinfectant.  The room they cleaned?  A men’s urinal.  The microfiber tested cleaned 96% of bacteria – cleaning as well as the sponge and disinfectant did!  If you have granite floors, use a microfiber mop dampened with water.  Soon your counters and floors will be glossy and beautiful and disinfected without harsh chemicals. 

How to clean:  The most important thing to remember is to avoid using window or ammonia-based cleaners.  These will harm granite and its finish.  Wiping with a sponge is no good either because it makes a nasty, dull finish.  To keep that beautiful, glossy granite shine, the only thing to clean with is microfiber cloth.  These cleaning cloths shine without using strong chemicals – so you you’re assured that you aren’t damaging your beautiful stone counters while you’re cleaning. 

Ceran & smooth-top Cooktops & Stoves 
These beautiful surfaces are wonderful to look at but do require some special treatment – especially with regard to the cleaners used.  Ceran and smoothtop stoves usually require a special liquid paste for cleaning.  They should be regularly cleaned (about weekly) with this paste to polish the surface, but for daily cleaning, this becomes too tedious.

How to clean:   Wipe up spills with a damp cloth as soon as possible, especially if the spill is sugary.  Use plastic scrapers to bring up any food particles, or follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  For daily cleaning, use a regular sponge and water to wipe up any food particles, follow up with a microfiber cloth to make the stove shine. For deep cleaning, use a cleaner specially formulated for glass tops.  Never use scouring pads or cleansers as they will scratch smooth surfaces.

In short, microfiber is a cleaning and polishing wonder.  Use it in every room in the house but where it really does some of its best work is on today’s new surfaces.  Microfiber levels the cleaning playing field and makes today’s beautiful-to-look-at-but-hard-to-clean surfaces as easy to clean as the ones we grew up with.  You can go without using microfiber, but why would you when it makes cleaning easier (especially for today’s surfaces), better, and chemical-free?

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