vinegar

Rust Removal

If you’re like many of us (especially many of us with children), perhaps you’ve found a few things that were left out in the rain and snow when they shouldn’t have been. Not to worry — you can clean off any lightly rusted items in an earth-friendly way by using some of the items in our Fantastic Four cleaning kit (baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and salt).

 

General cleaning

First, mix equal parts salt and cream of tartar, moistened with enough water to make a paste. Use this paste on metal outdoor furniture, for example, or rusted metal parts on an outdoor grill. Apply the paste with a soft cotton cloth and set the item in the sun to dry. Wipe off and repeat if necessary. Afterward, rinse clean. You can also try making this paste using lemon juice and salt, rather than cream of tartar. Be sure to keep the amount of lemon juice or water you use consistent with making a paste thick enough to not slide off any vertical surfaces.

Cleaning Grills

You’ll find all kinds of fancy sprays and specialized formulas in a store for cleaning the burned-on gunk off your outdoor grill racks, but good old elbow grease and a stiff brush are all you really need. It’ll help if you can tackle this project when the grill is still a little warm (though not hot!), but it will work regardless.

If you have stubborn charred remains on the racks, try treating those areas with a vinegar and baking soda mix. First apply baking soda and then dab with vinegar to get the foamy action started. Both vinegar and baking soda are safe to use around food, of course, but you’ll still want to rinse your grill racks thoroughly before using them again.

Ovens

To clean an oven manually, sprinkle about a 1/4-inch layer of baking soda over the entire bottom of the oven. Use a clean spray bottle to wet the baking soda with water. Over the next few hours, spray the baking soda every so often to keep it moist. Then let the baking soda mixture sit overnight. In the morning, scrape and scoop the dried baking soda and grime out of the oven with a damp sponge. Rinse the residue off.

After you’ve done a major cleaning, finish the job by using a sponge to wipe down the entire surface with a mixture of half vinegar and half water. This will help prevent grease buildup. Be sure to give the entire interior a wipe once each week with a sponge soaked in pure vinegar. 

If you have vents above your oven, check them about every six months for grease buildup. To clean, wipe the vents with a sponge soaked in pure vinegar. Use an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar to get at the grime that may have built up in small crevices or other hard-to-reach places. If the filter is metal and removable, soak it in a vinegar solution.