Stove Burner Cleaning Tips

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Having a messy stove top is not only unattractive but can cause an effect on your cooking. Caked on gunk can make your kitchen smell, and can cause a fire hazard if any of the residue were to catch flame. Whether you’re using a gas or electric stove, with regular grates or glass top, keep your stove in it’s best condition by cleaning it regularly.

Methods for Cleaning Stove Burner Grates

The methods below can be useful but will depend on the about of work is necessary to get the job done. Like many other household chores, maintenance and prevention is always easier than deep cleaning. So, spend the time, get it cleaned right, and stay on top of future spills to prevent build-up.

Using Vinegar to Clean

This method is good for daily and light cleaning. Vinegar is a great cleaning agent that is useful for so many household chores. (And even, some of us crazies like the clean smell of vinegar as well!)

  • Apply vinegar to your burners with a spray bottle.
  • Allow the vinegar to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Then, wipe up!

It’s really as simple as that, provided that you catch the spill before it has time to set/get baked in.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is another great household cleaning supply. It is granulated enough to cause some friction on surfaces, but gentle enough to not scratch surfaces. For hard stains,

  • Wash burners with soap and water to start with.
  • Make a paste with baking soda and water.
  • Cover the burners with the baking soda paste and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  • Scrub the burners afterwards.

For Glass Tops

For glass top stoves, you can purchase a cleanser specifically for that top. That cleanser is recommended so that you do not scratch the surface of your glass top. Scratched burners would cause uneven cooking surfaces and look unattractive.

  • Wipe with a microfiber cloth.
  • Use stove top cleanser as needed.
  • For caked on debris, scrape  GENTLY with a razor and then wipe with a cloth.
  • You never want to scrub your glass top and risk scratching it.

Eliminate Sugar Ants in Your Home

Sugar ant infestations are a common problem in the Texan summers and not easily removed. Sugar ants are a simple pest, eating sweets and other food scraps left behind. The ant however, isn’t technically a “Sugar Ant”, as that is a specific species of ant common in Australia. They aren’t found here. The ant species we have is most likely Pavement and Pharaoh ants, but for this post and to use common terminology, we will refer to these ants as sugar ants.

Sugar Ants and Other Ants

The Pavement and Pharaoh ants we refer to as sugar ants are the most common and abundant ants found here in North America.

Sometimes, Little Black Ants are called by the same name, although they are completely different. The black ants will eat a variety of foods and really prefer dark spaces and rotting wood.

Whether you have sugar ants or Little Black Ants, getting rid of them can be accomplished by the same methods. Baits are going to be your friend, both indoor and out.

Best Ways to Control Ants

It really is a daily task to control ants during the peak season. The season runs March through September and ants are most likely to be found in your kitchen.

Kitchen Sink

Keeping your kitchen sink clean and dry is the most important preventative method. Washing dishes, cleaning the sink, and wiping down the counters are crucial. You want to make sure there is no residual food particles on the surfaces that may attract the ants.

To be extra cautious, you can add a little bleach water down the drain to get rid of any food smell.

Counter Tops

Be extra detailed by the coffee station. The few crumbs of sugar is all that’s needed to signal that food is available to ants. Once again, bleach water is a good option to get rid of any lingering smells.

Floors

Sweep and mop DAILY during the summer to take care of extra crumbs. Vacuum carpeted areas daily as well.

Garbage

Use strong trash bags and make sure the trash is taken out regularly. Also, check the bottom inside of your trash can for any spills after removing the bag. Always, make sure everything is clean and dry.

Baits

Lastly, sweet baits can be put in your home as well for an extra elimination method. The ants eat the sweet bait that is poisoned with Borax and take some of the bait back to the colony. Using baits will help get to the bottom of the problem and wipe out the colony.

Things You Should Clean More

Things You Should Clean More Than You Probably Do

You clean your house, are you getting it all covered?

Even the cleanest people can miss things if they aren’t thinking about it. Now, of course, we don’t advocate for anyone to get obsessive in their cleaning. BUT, you don’t want to overlook some important items either. Check out the following list of things you should clean more than you probably do and see if there are any items you are completely overlooking on your household chores.

Don’t Forget the Remote Control

Everyone’s grimy hands fight over the remote. You don’t want to be fighting over each other’s germs as well. Use a Q-Tip and rubbing alcohol to wipe between the buttons and to get everything all sanitized. (And use that alcohol again for your computer mouse and your phone buttons too.)

Don’t Forget the Dishwasher

Clear out that extra gunk by pouring a cup of baking soda in the bottom basin of the dishwasher, and put a measuring cup of vinegar in the top shelf. Run the dish cycle as normal. The extra cleaning cycle will freshen the odor of your dishwasher and help clean out any caked-on gunk, for a more effective dish cycle.

Don’t Forget the Ceiling Fans

That dust builds up over time, and it always seems to fall off in the most inconvenient times. Catch that dust by wrapping an old pillowcase around the fan blades and pulling the dust into the case.

Don’t Forget the Fridge Handles

And can opener, and any other gadget, tool, or appliance you touch daily that doesn’t go into the dishwasher. These things don’t need to be done often, but an occasional sanitizing is well worth the extra couple of moments. Especially in the kitchen.

Don’t Forget the Pillows

Did you know it is generally safe to throw pillows in the washer and dryer? It won’t extend the lifespan forever, but it is good to give pillows a quick washing every now and then. Cut down on germs, improve smell, and add some extra fluff by washing bed pillows and throw pillows when needed.

Trash Overhaul, Reduce Waste Now

Trash Overhaul

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was not “Reduce Waste”, then you may want to consider it. Whether you cut back on trash production for environmental reasons, cost reasons (some cities charge for bigger garbage receptacles), or just because it’s a hassle to take out the garbage SO much, a few helpful tips can get you on the right track. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done, and try out a few of these tips this week!

Reduce Waste With these Trash Overhaul Tips

  1. REUSABLE BAGS! Did you know that some cities have now banned plastic bags? Some stores have gotten rid of all bags together. And some charge for disposable bags. We may not be in an area where those things are happening, but they are very likely around the corner. So, get into the habit now of bringing your reusable bags to the store. (If you forget, make sure to reuse your bag later in the week or recycle it, but don’t just toss it in the trash can.)
  2. Cut back on single serve containers. It may be more convenient, especially for packing lunches and for after school snacks, but it’s less wasteful and less costly to buy in bigger packaging. So, bag up your chips and cookies in reusable containers, and TRY not to leave them at work at the end of the day.
  3. Try your hand at composting. Quite a bit of our trash comes from food waste. Plan your list in advance, buy what you need, and if you do have scraps, consider a compost heap in the back yard.
  4. Unsubscribe from junk mail. Find out how HERE. 
  5. Purchase soaps and detergents in concentrated forms. Some products are made to be diluted, or can be used for multiple purposes. Try to cut back on plastics by finding refillable options!

Ladybugs: Distinguishing Fact and Hype

In the past few weeks, a number of posts and online news outlets have reported the “dangers” of Asian Ladybugs, or lady beetles. A recently circulated picture shows a dog with a mouth-full of ladybugs with a warning that these beetles are different from other lady beetles and are more aggressive and dangerous. So, what’s the story behind this picture? And what do you need to know about clearing out a lady beetle infestation in your home?

Regarding the Picture

A quick internet search will show that the current image circulating of the dog with beetles stuck to the roof of its mouth, is actually a picture from fall 2015. According to the fact-checker site, Snopes, the image is real. But, the associated danger hype was over stated. In this case, as well as in similar cases, the dog most likely ate a mouthful of the beetles and a few got stuck. Eating a dozen or so beetles at once does cause an increase of mucous and can make your pet sick. However, the beetles aren’t actively looking for a home in your pet’s mouth. Neither the bug nor the dog want that scenario. In any case, if you see your pet behaving unusually or is exhibiting excessive drooling, do contact your veterinarian.

Regarding the Species

The recent news has focused on the multi-colored Asian lady beetle, distinguishable by the “M” shape on their heads. These are the ones that are labelled at prone to biting and being more of a pest than the common lady bug. According to Orkin, despite their unique appearance, the Asian lady beetle is the same species as the other lady beetles you see in your yard.

Ridding Your Home of Ladybugs

Although ladybugs are helpful in the summer, out in the garden, you don’t want them inside. Like any other buggy critter, a few are okay, but an infestation can be trouble. One female can lay 1000 eggs, and the buggies are moving in during the cold months. To prevent beetles, make sure your home is winter-proofed by checking the seals on doors and windows and checking the walls for cracks.

If they are already in, you can sweep or vacuum them up or place traps. If the infestation continues despite those measures, contact an exterminator for more information.

Tips for the 2016-2017 Flu Season

It’s coming up on December, so we are now well into Flu Season. There is too much to do this time of the year to risk being stuck at home for two weeks with the flu. So, get your shot, minimize your risk, and know what to do if you catch the flu this year.

What’s New for the 2016 Flu Season

According to the CDC, there are a few new points of advice to keep in mind this season.

  • The nasal spray is out this year. Only injectables (shots) are recommended.
  • The vaccines are updated for this year and for the current viruses that are circulating.
  • There are new vaccines available this year.
  • Recommendations for those with egg allergies have changed this year, so talk to your doctor if you have been unable to be vaccinated previously for that reason.

Recommendations

Pretty much everyone over the age of six months can and probably should get a flu shot. Children sometimes require two doses a month apart. There are higher dose vaccines for older people.

In addition to vaccines, it is generally advisable to:

  • stay away from sick people
  • wash your hands often to limit the spreading of germs
  • stay home from school/work when you are sick

For loved ones:

Encourage your family to get their vaccine. It is especially important for high risk people to get their vaccines. You may be high risk if you are elderly, work with high risk people, or work with a lot of people in close quarters.

Take your children to get their vaccines and encourage healthy behavior. Teach them about hand washing and to be especially careful during the winter months when colds and the flu spreads.

Help protect your babies younger than 6 months by encouraging caregivers and family to get vaccinated. Babies can not get a flu vaccine, so keep them away from sick people if possible.

It’s not too late to get your flu shot for this year. Flu season is underway but there is still time to take precautions.