Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bright and Shiny

The carpet cleaning guy came this morning to take care of the wall-to-wall on the main level. He arrived promptly at 9:00, and was gone by 10:45.  Afterwards, I hauled our two box fans and the dehumidifier up from the basement and turned them on to help remove the moisture from the damp carpets.  Soon the humming of all the motors sounded like a runway with a plane ready to take off.

I decided to stay around the house and move the fans every once in a while so things would dry as quickly as possible.  Since I was stuck at home, there were a bunch of household chores I could tackle.  However, most of them required me to walk across the wet carpet, so I was pretty much relegated to the kitchen.  I sat at the kitchen table and thoroughly read the newspaper, heated up some leftovers for lunch, then decided to tackle an overdue job-cleaning the stainless steel appliances.

Shortly after we installed our new kitchen countertops we got a new range and microwave, replacing the ones that were original to the house.  I decided to go with stainless steel, even though they have a reputation as a fingerprint magnet.  I've been happy with my choice, but today I noticed the dirt and smears on them and decided to do something about it.

First I tried wiping the surface with soap and water.  That got rid of most of the food residue, but now the stainless was dull.  How could I shine it up? An Internet search brought thousands of suggestions.  One of the first sites I visited suggested car wax.  That made sense. It does a good job of shining up metal on a car. Why wouldn't it do the same for my stove?

I had a container in the garage from the time I polished my kitchen countertops with car wax. First I tried it on the oven door.  After applying a bit of wax I let it dry, then rubbed it with a clean rag in the direction of the grain. And rubbed.  And rubbed some more. It was amazing how much dirt came off the newly-cleaned surface, but when I was finished the stainless looked mottled and streaked, not the effect I was going for. Thinking that maybe I didn't get all the dirt off, I applied a bit more wax and repeated the process.  The results were better, but still not good.  Time to try something else.

The second Website I visited suggested using vinegar.  We use a vinegar and water solution to clean the bathrooms, and mix it with baking soda to get the stinky smell out of the kitchen sink drain, so why not try it for stainless steel?  I moistened a rag with a bit of plain white vinegar and started rubbing the oven door.  This time there was no dirt left to make the rag dirty, and  I got yet another rag to polish with.  Success!  The oven gleams like the day it was delivered to the house.  I did the same thing with the outside of the microwave, and while I was at it I gave the inside a cursory clean.

So for a while I have shining appliances.  As an added benefit, my kitchen smells like salad dressing.