Elbow Grease

January 26, 2009 at 7:24 pm Leave a comment


Allow me to introduce you to my fabulously understated tea kettle. Boyfriend and I use this every day to boil water for his coffee and my tea, and after over three years of use and abuse, our poor, chickenesque kitchen implement developed a thick coating of greasy stuff that a normal dish washing could not penetrate. Many of us would merely toss out an old pot or kettle once it reaches this point of stuck-on greasiness, or else turn to some harsh grease-dissolving chemical cleanser or magically toxic eraser. Neither of these options is very green, but applying a little elbow grease to the problem is always an eco-friendly option, and it’s cheap too.

The key to cleaning up my nasty old kettle was the age-old practice of scrubbing. Using the scratchy-side of a normal dish sponge, plus a dollop of dish soap (I’m using this brand these days), I was able to rid my kettle of all that goo in about 15 to 20 minutes (I forgot to check the clock before I started). Pointer: don’t run the water while you’re cleaning like this (you shouldn’t run it when you’re doing dishes anyway). Water will wash away the soap and make it way harder than it should be, so just wet the sponge, add the soap, and keep the water turned off till you’re ready to rinse.

I won’t deny that my little exercise in scrubbery took a toll – I warmed up pretty fast and had to take off my sweater in order to avoid sweating – but overall it was pretty quick and painless. For the final bits of really tough stains I sprinkled about a teaspoon of baking powder on to give it a little extra abrasiveness, and pretty soon the whole thing was as shiny as the day I bought it (except for the chipped enamel and burnt plastic that I couldn’t change if I wanted to, and I wouldn’t change because they give the kettle character).

So if you’re considering trashing, replacing or chemically-treating your kitchen tools, think again! A little elbow grease can go a long way.


Entry filed under: conservation, housekeeping. Tags: , , , , , , .

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