Fingerprints on the fridge, stubborn cooked-on stovetop grime, and unsightly stains on stone countertops—every kitchen has a few elements that can stand in the way of you getting the satisfaction of a sparkling finish, no matter how much elbow grease you apply. A few of those cases can be confronted by working smarter, not harder, and relying on task-specific tools like Scotch-Brite™ Glass Cooktop Wand. Here are a few tips for how to handle some of the most commonly troublesome kitchen textures.
Don’t resort to crazy tricks for your glass cooktop.
Low-profile glass cooktops have risen in popularity lately, and for good reason. They look sleek, don’t have any major crevices for food to get stuck in, and are available with induction burners. But they can present a tricky cleaning challenge if anything like a splash of sauce gets hardened on there by the heat.
There are all kinds of elaborate hacks out there for getting those messes off, but do you really want to be using harsh scrapers on your priciest appliance? Instead, try the Scotch-Brite™ Glass Cooktop Wand, a winner of the 2020 Good Housekeeping Cleaning Award.
The pyramid-textured surface effectively cuts through the ickiest grease and grime using just water, which means there’s also less need for harsh chemicals near your food prep area. The judges loved the easy leverage of the wand version, but you can also snag the pad version if you prefer. And if you’re obsessive about a see-your-reflection shine, finish up with a swipe of the Scotch-Brite™ Glass Cooktop Rejuvenator Polish.
Double down on shine when it comes to stainless steel.
When cleaning stainless steel surfaces like refrigerator doors, the experts at The Good Housekeeping Cleaning Lab recommend brushing in a circular motion, which will buff out streaks, disguise any big scratches, and leave you with a pretty buffed texture.
For an extra gleam, there’s a solution right under your nose. While oiling your refrigerator or toaster might seem odd at first, buffing in a thin coat of mineral oil will not only restore that factory-fresh shine, it will also create a bit of a protective shield from fingerprints. That gunk-repelling power will make it easy to do a quick maintenance wipe with a soft cloth or sponge every day or so, limiting daunting deep cleans.
Go gentle on your countertops and stone surfaces.
What’s the best material for counters? It’s an endless debate. But regardless of if you’re team stone or favor a composite surface, prevention is key. Once you’ve scorched, scratched, or chipped these surfaces, it can be tricky and costly to replace them. Invest in some attractive trivets and hot plates to hold any hot pans coming off the stove, and consider keeping an old-fashioned spoon-rest handy to avoid stains from sauces or spices. And while granite is ideal for rolling out pastry or kneading bread dough, avoid exposing it to any acidic foods like lemon or tomato, which can etch and damage the stone itself.
When you’re doing your nightly kitchen clean-up, don’t just absentmindedly reach for the heavy duty scrubber that’s on your sink. Designate a guaranteed non-scratch sponge, like the Scotch-Brite® Advanced Scrub Dots Non-Scratch Scrubbers, as your regular go-to. The extra-wide sponge is easy to hold and makes quick work of large surface areas, and can lift up stuck-on stuff without doing any damage.
And don’t be afraid to get a little aggressive with woods.
Woods are some of the trickiest kitchen surfaces to keep looking fresh. Constant use, dish soap, and the abrasions of sharp knives all pummel away at any protective finish on your cutting boards or butcher blocks. This will leave an opening for water and juice from meat or fruits to soften and dull the texture—if you’ve ever taken a cutting board out of the sink and noticed it feels a little mossy or slimy, that’s exactly what we’re talking about.
When your workhorse wood pieces get to that point, do a bit of refinishing to bring them back to their former glory. First, give them a good once-over with something textured, like a scrubbing sponge. The beautiful thing about wood is that little knife scrapes will turn into a rich patina that just gets more beautiful over time.
When the wood is dry, follow up with a medium-grade sandpaper (we like 120 grit). Follow up with a more finely textured paper (220 grit or higher). You’ll be left with a velvety, smooth surface with plenty of character. Seal everything up with a coat of food-safe finishing balm—usually a combination of beeswax, a neutral oil. Rub in a generous coat and let it soak in overnight, then wipe away any excess in the morning. Happy chopping!
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