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Best kitchen cleaning products


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What are your favorite kitchen cleaning products? What brand of paper towels do you prefer? Dish soap? Dishwasher detergent? Oven cleaner? Anything else?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Quote: from RPerlow on 9:58 am on Jan. 19, 2002Or, just not be?

(Edited by RPerlow at 10:03 am on Jan. 19, 2002)

Reminds of the time my son, then 7 years old, wanted to stay up and listgen to the adults' conversation.  After listening to my sister-in-law's sister-in-law compare, at some length, the relative merits of Fantastik and 409, he said he had no idea adults were so boring.

This topic is unworthy of eGullet,  or, at best,  should go under the washing kitchen sponges thread.

On the other hand, it may be interesting to see what some of the fine-tuned eGullet wits can make of this.

(Edited by Sandra Levine at 11:20 am on Jan. 19, 2002)

(Edited by Sandra Levine at 11:43 am on Jan. 19, 2002)

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I have extremely strong preferences in sponges and paper towels.  My preferred brands could triple their prices and I would still buy them.  I hope they are not reading this.

Sponges:  SOS blue.  They have a handy parallelogram shape that makes it easy to get into corners, and they're really thick and hold lots of soap.

Towels:  Bounty all the way.  Once I bought a bunch of Brawny on sale, thinking I was buying Bounty.  It was a sad day.  Have you seen the Simpsons episode with the ultra-absorbent Burly paper towels?  Bounty is better.

I also have a couple dozen of those white bar mop towels.  I use them for all sorts of things and hang one off my belt while cooking for wiping my hands.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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mamster, your idea about using a bar mop towel to wipe hands sounds great.  I'm forever using paper towels (Bounty, by the way).  I have a question...where do you buy these bar mop towels?  Are they the same thing as a white terry wash cloth that one can buy a big pack at Costco, or is it more like a flour sack tea towel or other type tea towel?  Do I go to a restaurant supply house?  Can a regular person even buy things in a restaurant supply house?

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They sell the bar mops at both Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table.  They're pretty cheap--I bought some the other day before we went to Le Pichet and I think it was 8 for ป or so.  They're terry cloth, about 10x16, I guess.  Not the same as the flour sack towels.

(Edited by mamster at 3:24 pm on Jan. 19, 2002)

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I, like the wise Mamster, think this stuff is important and fascinating.

I clean my kitchen as I work, so having a housekeeper would not be a relevant consideration for me. On occasion, my mother sends her housekeeper over for an afternoon. She does laundry, vacuums the house, cleans the bathrooms, and dusts. But there's nothing for her to do in the kitchen. I handle that part of the house myself, so I must take an active interest in kitchen cleaning products. The topic seems germane enough to cooking, if you ask me.

That being said, I totally disagree with Mamster's choice of paper towels. The best are Scott. To me, absorbency from a quantitative standpoint is not the critical issue. I don't use paper towels to absorb cups and cups of liquid. I use them to wipe up. So to me the important thing is how well they wipe up little spills and splatters. And somehow the Scott paper towels do the best job of this. In addition, these are the best paper towels for drying dishes, glasses, cast-iron skillets, etc., because they never shed. Yes, I am guilty of using paper towels for this purpose on occasion, though I mostly use dishtowels. This non-shedding property makes them great for absorbing bacon grease as well, though if I have them available I prefer to use those brown trifold paper towels used in most restaurant kitchens for this purpose.

My kitchen has wood floors, so the Swiffer is essential. Actually, I use the Pledge knockoff of the Swiffer, because that's what Home Depot had in stock. I don't use any cleaning solution on the floors because my floor guy told me not to.

For the Corian countertops, I find Windex does the best job. It leaves very little residue and really makes them shine.

I've become addicted to the new Cascade gel for the dishwasher. It has totally eliminated that annoying powder buildup at the hinges, and it appears to be very gentle. I use the Cascade brand of rinse agent as well. If you don't keep your rinse agent full, your dishwasher's performance will be sucky.

I'm having a problem finding a satisfactory oven cleaner. I'd appreciate suggestions there.

I don't have much brand loyalty with regard to dish soap. I just buy whatever is on sale. I don't use very much of it, because most stuff goes in the dishwasher.

Fantastik is used all over my kitchen and elsewhere in the house when I can't figure out what else to use.

I've never used any of those things that make your stainless look really good, even though I have a lot of stainless in my kitchen. Do those products work?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I use paper towels to: pat dry meat and fish before cooking or marinating; to line a double mesh strainer for stocks before they meet the chinois and coffee filter.

I clean as I go, absorbent cotton waffle wash cloths, bar mops, hot hot hot water, bleach for this, dish soap for that.

Stocks should be crystalline, kitchen surfaces should at least be without blemish.

When I use prepared cleaning products they tend to be "President's Choice" tm products from Loblaw's.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Quote: from Fat Guy on 6:46 pm on Jan. 19, 2002

I, like the wise Mamster, think this stuff is important and fascinating.quote]

OK.  I'll read and learn;  maybe if I were as interested as Steve in this topic, my kitchen would be as clean as his. :smile:

(Edited by Sandra Levine at 1:27 pm on Jan. 20, 2002)

(Edited by Sandra Levine at 4:54 pm on Jan. 20, 2002)

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"The Wise mamster" sounds like something your eastern European grandmother would call you, and you wouldn't be sure it was a compliment.

My kitchen has crappy linoleum floors, so I just sweep it with a regular broom.  But the rest of the apartment has wood floors, and we use the Swiffer all the time.  Actually, usually Laurie does it while I say, "Oh yeah, I was going to do that."

I use one cleaning spray or another on the countertops and stovetop, and they all seem to work about the same.

Oh, and I have one of those mesh sink strainers.  I think they're made in Japan.  The thing has lasted two years and I sterilize it from time to time;  I think it cost about Ů, if not less.  Great item.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Quote: from Fat Guy on 6:46 pm on Jan. 19, 2002

I'm having a problem finding a satisfactory oven cleaner. I'd appreciate suggestions there.

Mr. Muscle, if you can find it.  It seems to have vanished from my local shelves.  You spray it on, go away and do something decadant for a half hour, then you swoosh the crud off, easy as pie.

Cats

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Does anyone have a preference on what to use to clean tile floors?  I use swiffer-wet on my Armstrong vinyl kitchen floor...cleans like a dream.  But I'm never sure what to use on our tile halls and entry way (thus they don't get cleaned very often, just swept).  Any suggestions?  Would swiffer-wet be too harsh for them?

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My father rarely assisted with cleaning the kitchen, but I did see him once pick up a used teabag, thinking it was a Brillo pad, and start scrubbing a saucepan with it.  Very amusing.  

I have decided I am living at too fast a pace.  Do you know, I never even stop to think about whether one paper towel is better than another?  Now, have you thought of having an e-gullet paper towel testing - like the wine tasting.  The co-ordinators could list six brands of paper towels, and we could all go away, compare them, and come back with notes.  It will be less expensive than the wine tasting, too.

(Edited by Wilfrid at 2:14 pm on Jan. 21, 2002)

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What a hoot. Tea bags, Brillo pads. What's the diff?  But wait, don't some folk use tea leaves to clean their drains?

Much of this over my head too. Swiffer? What on earth?

What can I add? I'm a Bounty person. The other paper towels I've tried have either turned to sludge or been non-absorbant cardboard. But  I will try Scott just to see what Fat Guy is raving about. (Scott loo roll isn't bad, so maybe he's on to something.)

Cleaning products: I like Clorox spray with bleach and Lysol spary with bleach. They remove turmeric stains from the countertops. I find Fantastik less able on that front.

Blue heron: for tile floors I use Mr Clean Top Job

Dishwasher detergent. I'm not sure there's much between them. The last one I got is called Cascade Complete powder. If the packet is to be believed, you no longer need Rinse Aid.

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Bleach... yes!   I am also a fan of Chlorox w/bleach spray (or any other spray with bleach in it).   I also highly recommend Lysol w/Bleach TB cleaner for the TB.   The bleach in it really makes the difference.   And I add a little chlorox bleach in with my Tide detergent, to get my white clothes clean.  now, getting this back to related to food...For white linens, like my dinner napkins, I use Biz (non-chlorine bleach) to remove stains.  

Thanks for the tip on Mr. Clean Top Job.  

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Quote: from Blue Heron on 4:26 pm on Jan. 21, 2002

also highly recommend Lysol w/Bleach TB cleaner for the TB.   

OK, I thought the sponge thread was a little wacko, but cleaning your TOOTHBRUSH??  Geez, I thought you were supposed to just throw them away periodically too.

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