Thursday, July 19, 2007

Summer "Smell" Patrol

It can be fairly said that summer can stink. Or at least that the heat of summer can make your kitchen smell bad.

There's nothing like walking into your home sweet home after being at work all day and being assaulted by that unmistakable reek of something “dead” in the kitchen.

There are several likely culprits for this problem and our kitchen (and possibly in yours too) and this is how we deal with trying to keep them under control.

Dishes in the sink
I know, it’s a pain, and you’re running late for work, but take the time to RINSE! If you make a habit of emptying your dishwasher right after the load is done drying, you can rinse those dirty dishes and use the dishwasher to stash them in until it’s full enough to run it again. By rinsing those dishes you’ll get rid of all the little pieces of food that spoil quickly and smell even faster. Special culprits for “the stink” – anything with a dairy product involved (you know, milk, yogurt, ice cream). Be sure to wash the dish rags frequently and throw your sponges into the dishwasher about once a week (or more often if they smell sooner) to further eliminate the “sink stink”

Mop up that spill
Remember the Petri dish? Nothing is quite so close to that perfect thin layer of growing medium as a spill of something on the counter, stove top or floor. We keep a stack of bar towels (those 15” x 15” terry squares) on the counter so we can easily grab and wipe whatever gets spilled. (I know, you could use paper towels, but I just hate adding to the land fill that way, so bar towels are my substitute for just about everything short of bacon grease and pet barf). Be sure to rinse the towel out or toss it into the washer right away or the bar towel becomes one more stink machine!

The Trash
Empty milk containers, packaging that meat was wrapped in, empty food cans, watermelon rinds and corn cobs are all major players in the Stinky Trash Can Syndrome. Empty that can frequently! No standing on it like a semi-automatic trash compactor just to get one more milk carton in there! And a little spray of Lysol or some citrus based air freshener after every emptying helps too.

Grog (aka: the garbage disposal)
I can’t remember when it was that we first started calling our garbage disposal Grog, but it just seems to fit. The garbage disposal is a wonderful thing, and it’s also a great incubator for “summer stink”. One of the very best things to clean the blades and freshens the air in the whole kitchen as well is any kind of citrus peel. I like to cut them into about ½ inch strips and feed them down one at a time (I’ve even been known to cut the strips and lay them out on the window sill to dry then use them one a day in the times I don’t have any citrus – just watch them carefully for infestations of mold or 6 legged friends). Failing the citrus peel, try this: first run some really HOT water down the disposal, then pour in a good dose of baking soda and let sit for about 5 minutes, finally, take a tray of ice cubes and run them through the disposal. Here’s how that works: the hot water will melt away any lingering greasy deposits, the baking soda neutralizes the smells and the hard ice will clean away any little particles that are still laying around in there.

So, that’s my list for today…..anybody got any additional tips?


Nancy G said...

Another "Grog" tip: be sure to clean the undersides of the little rubber fins in the drain on a regular (at least weekly) basis. They can be an often overlooked source for Stinky Sink Syndrome. [Ask me how I know :-)]

Bev said...

Great addition.....I had forgotten about those!