Kitchen Cleaning Tips: Washing Up By Hands (Part 2)

How to clean decanters?

Do not leave decanters to stand for a long time with alcohol in them. It can stain the glass and leave a ring mark. To remove stains, pour a little white vinegar into the decanter and add some dry rice. Swirl round – the rice acts as a gentle abrasive. Rinse out thoroughly, wash and rinse in plain water with a dash of vinegar in it. If the rice does not work, do the same thing with decanter beads, small metal balls that replicate the lead shot which used to be recommended to clean decanters. They can also be used on glass vases.

The problem with decanters is getting them dry. To do this safely, make the rinsing water a little hotter than usual so the heat will begin to evaporate the moisture. Then turn the decanter upside down in something like a plastic jug to finish off drying.

Removing stains from teapots

Fill with cold water, add a fizzy denture sterilising tablet and leave for an hour or so. Before using the teapot, rinse thoroughly with cold water. You can also fill with cold water and add sterilising fluid (the kind used for babies’ bottles). Again, rinse thoroughly before using. The above will also remove stains on vacuum flasks and coffee pots.


How to clean very dirty dishes?

For cleaning dirty items, we advice to use a brush. For tough, burnt-on bits use a scouring pad, but sparingly. Soaking items before washing is a gentler alternative. There are several sprays designed to tackle burnt-on bits on roasting pans and so forth. These work well, but it is far easier and cheaper to do the following:

– Pour off excess fat from the roasting tin (not down the sink). Fill the tin with very hot water; add a couple of tablespoons od dishwasher powder or biological washing powder and leave to soak for at least 20 minutes;


– Place on the hob and simmer until the burnt bits loosen, as if you are making gravy. If you have made gravy, you will not need to do this. One of the bonuses of making real gravy is that you are left with a roasting tin that is much easier to clean.

decanters-washing washing-glass

Cleaning a pan after cooking eggs or milk. After cooking scrambled eggs in anything other than a non-stick pan, soak it in cold water. Hot water sets protein, and far from removing egg, will set it like concrete. The same principle applies to other protein-based washing-up problems, such as milk and porridge.

Descale a saucepan: Washing up alone will not remove limescale deposits in saucepans, double boilers and steamers. To remove, boil half and half water and vinegar in the saucepan, for a minute or so. Rinse out and wash. To prevent limescale forming in the bottom of steamers or double boilers, add either a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, or a squeezed-out lemon skin to a water.


Drying dishes

Dishes should be wiped and put away immediately after washing. In fact, if the rinsing water is hot, not much drying will be required, but wiping removes the last traces of water and means you can give a final polish to cutlery and crockery.

Leaving washing up in the rack looks slovenly. In hard-water areas the dishes will be marked with water spots, and it is unhygienic, especially in towns where there is so much dust in the atmosphere.

That said, a dirty tea towel is a health hazard. Always use a clean tea towel and replace it when it becomes damp. In any case, tea towels should be replaced every day along with dish cloths.

Dish cloths

Keep separate cloths for separate functions. Do not use the same cloth to wash up, wipe surfaces and wipe the floor! Do not dip a cloth in dirty washing-up water to clean it. In the same way, do not use tea towel to dry your hands – keep a separate hand towel for this purpose.

The best cloths for cleaning and washing dishes are the traditional loose-weave cotton dish cloths with a coloured hem, which are sold everywhere, and are cheap, easy to clean, long-lasting and functional: the loose weave gives extra friction when rubbing off stubborn marks. Sponges are not good idea because they are so difficult to get clean.

After washing up and wipping down kitchen surfaces, fill a bowl with clean hot water and add a dash of washing-up liquid. Soak the dish cloths for 30 minutes, along with the washing-up brush and/or dish mop. Remove, rinse them all in clean water, wring out the cloths and dish mop and leave to dry.

Use a clean dish cloth every day. Replace the tea towel every day, too, unless there has not been much washing-up, in which case, change in every 2-3 days.

If you have used a cloth to wipe a board or surface where you have been preparing raw meat, or have wiped up pet messes, replace it immediately with a clean cloth.

Wash dish cloths and tea towels on a hot wash (60°C) and store separately from food.

Read also: Kitchen Cleaning Tips: Washing Up By Hands (Part 1)

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