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April 26, 2009

Different uses of vinegar

Clean a coffeemaker
If your coffee consistently comes out weak or bitter, odds are, your coffeemaker needs cleaning. Fill the decanter with 2 cups white vinegar and 1 cup water. Place a filter in the machine, and pour the solution into the coffeemaker's water chamber. Turn on the coffeemaker and let it run through a full brew cycle. Remove the filter and replace it with a fresh one. Then run clean water through the machine for two full cycles, replacing the filter again for the second brew. If you have soft water, clean your coffeemaker after 80 brew cycles -- after 40 cycles if you have hard water.

Clean a teakettle
To eliminate lime and mineral deposits in a teakettle, bring 3 cups full-strength white vinegar to a full boil for five minutes and leave the vinegar in the kettle overnight. Rinse out with cold water the next day.

Cut the grease
Every professional cook knows that distilled vinegar is one of the best grease cutters around. It even works on seriously greasy surfaces such as the fry vats used in many food outlets. But you don't need to have a deep fryer to find plenty of ways to put vinegar to good use:
  • When you're finished frying, clean up grease splatters from your stovetop, walls, range hood, and surrounding countertop by washing them with a sponge dipped in undiluted white vinegar. Use another sponge soaked in cold tap water to rinse, then wipe dry with a soft cloth.

  • Pour 3-4 tablespoons white vinegar into your favorite brand (especially bargain brands) of liquid dishwashing detergent and give it a few shakes. The added vinegar will not only increase the detergent's grease-fighting capabilities, but also provide you with more dishwashing liquid for the money, because you'll need less soap to clean your dishes.

  • Boiling 2 cups vinegar in your frying pan for 10 minutes will help keep food from sticking to it for several months at a time.

  • Remove burned-on grease and food stains from your stainless steel cookware by mixing 1 cup distilled vinegar in enough water to cover the stains (if they're near the top of a large pot, you may need to increase the vinegar). Let it boil for five minutes. The stains should come off with some mild scrubbing when you wash the utensil.

  • Get that blackened, cooked-on grease off your broiler pan by softening it up with a solution of 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar. Apply the mixture while the pan is still hot, and let it sit for an hour or so. Then watch in amazement as the grime slides off with a light scrubbing.

  • Got a hot plate that looks more like a grease pan? Whip it back into shape by washing it with a sponge dipped in full-strength white vinegar.

  • Fight grease buildups in your oven by wiping down the inside with a rag or sponge soaked in full-strength white vinegar once a week. The same treatment gets grease off the grates on gas stoves.

Brush-clean can opener blades
Does that dirty wheel blade of your electric can opener look like it's seen at least one can too many? To clean and sanitize it, dip an old toothbrush in white vinegar, and then position the bristles of the brush around the side and edge of the wheel. Turn on the appliance, and let the blade scrub itself clean.

Remove stains from pots, pans, and ovenware

Nothing will do a better job than vinegar when it comes to removing stubborn stains on your cookware. Here's how to put the power of vinegar to use:
  • Give those dark stains on your aluminum cookware (caused by cooking acidic foods) the heave-ho by mixing in 1 teaspoon white vinegar for every cup of water needed to cover the stains. Let it boil for a couple of minutes, then rinse with cold water.

  • To remove stains from your stainless steel pots and pans, soak them in 2 cups white vinegar for 30 minutes, then rinse them with hot, soapy water followed by a cold-water rinse.

  • To get cooked-on food stains off your glass ovenware, fill them with 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water, heat the mixture to a slow boil, and let it boil at a low level for five minutes. The stains should come off with some mild scrubbing once the mixture cools.

  • They call it nonstick, but no cookware is stainproof. For mineral stains on your nonstick cookware, rub the utensil with a cloth dipped in undiluted distilled vinegar. To loosen up stubborn stains, mix 2 tablespoons baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1 cup water and let it boil for 10 minutes.

Clear the air in your kitchen

If the smell of yesterday's cooked cabbage or fish stew is hanging around your kitchen longer than you'd like, mix a pot of 1/2 cup white vinegar in 1 cup water. Let it boil until the liquid is almost gone. You'll be breathing easier in no time.

Refresh your ice trays
If your plastic ice trays are covered with hard-water stains -- or if it's been a while since you've cleaned them -- a few cups of white vinegar can help you in either case. To remove the spots or disinfect your trays, let them soak in undiluted vinegar for four to five hours, then rinse well under cold water and let dry.

Make all-purpose cleaners

For fast cleanups around the kitchen, keep two recycled spray bottles filled with these vinegar-based solutions:
  • For glass, stainless steel, and plastic laminate surfaces, fill your spray bottle with 2 parts water, 1 part distilled white vinegar, and a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid.

  • For cleaning walls and other painted surfaces, mix up 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 cup ammonia, and 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water and pour some into a spray bottle. Spritz it on spots and stains whenever needed and wipe off with a clean towel.

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