Deep Fryer Dilemma

My deep fryer has bugged me for years.  After use, I empty it of the used oil and hand wash the removable basin, wipe down the exterior shell and the heating element.  The baskets and handles I either toss in the dishwasher or hand wash in a sink of dishwater, depending on the room available in the dishwasher (and what might be stuck to the basket wires that may require a soak).  But try as I might, there was always a slightly tacky, rough area along the oil line.

The basin is big, and black, so it’s really hard to tell if this was substance stuck (fried?) on or if the finish had been damaged by use. I’m not one to really care that my pots and pans look seasoned.  But the possibility that this was an old oil deposit–or a break-down of the finish (both serious sources of carcinogens)–very much disturbed me.
imageI confess, in early years of its use, I was not aware of the shelf-life of oil (it goes rancid faster than I’d have thought) nor the dangers of reusing oil.  Peanut oil, though cheaper than olive oil, is still pretty expensive in the quantity needed to fill this large of a fryer.  [Note:  don’t by a deep fryer larger than your usual use would require.]  I’d bought the largest one to accommodate the possible occasions for use when I host my whole huge extended family.  The thought of tossing an industrial-sized vat of oil after a single use was enough to make my frugal soul consider giving up Christmas Zeppole–for a couple of seconds.  Plus, I was taught at my mother’s elbow that frying potatoes cleaned up used oil.  So… a batch of french fries, and voila, your oil is good to fry your next batch of chicken or calamari.  But I know better now.  So I’ll store the strained used oil in the refrigerator and re-use once if I have need to within a short period of time. For more about reusing oil, check out:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/532582-the-hazards-of-reusing-cooking-oil/

Because I’ve never been able to get the basin completely free of whatever is on the surface, I dread cleaning it.  Yesterday, I determined I would figure out how to get it off.  I started using dish soap on a Spirisponge – which is safe for almost all surfaces.  When that didn’t work, I pulled out the Cleaning Paste and coated my Spirisponge.  This combination works fabulous for getting off the cooked on food on my ceramic gas stove-top, so I had high hopes.  Alas, oil line – 1, Spirisponge/Cleaning Paste combo – 0.

As best I could tell, this basin was not non-stick (why would it be? — the stuff floats in baskets), so I pulled out my Mighty Mesh Pot Scrubber — which is NOT recommended for non-stick surfaces — and thru it into the mix of dish soap and Cleaning Paste.  As I scrubbed and scrubbed, I considered my next option.  I was considering trying my luck at putting in my oven, heating it up, and using the Oven & Grill Cleaner to let the enzymes safely dissolve the … gunk.  That had worked well on the tougher spots of my stove top and on my toaster oven.

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Then I noticed the bottle of Lemon essential oil on my counter from having added to my batch of blackberry Preserves.  I’d recently read 101 uses for this oil and recalled it is a degreaser and removes sticky stuff.  So I sprinkled a 1-2 drops onto the Pot Scrubber. I gave one side a good scrub and checked.  It DID seem to be smoother!  Eagerly I continued scrubbing the rest of the oil line and lip of the basin.  When I rinsed away the suds, I was thrilled to see  there were only a couple of spots of gunk remaining.  I hit those with another pass and now my basin, for the first time in years is as perfect as the day I bought it.

While I was at it, I grabbed the almond butter jar I’d removed the label from and washed in the dishwasher in order to refill with a homemade nut butter.   I hit the exterior with a few scrubs of the lemon EO infused spirisponge, and away went the remnants of the glue from the label, easy-peasy.

My heroes!
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Kids EnviroCloth® Update

We’ve updated our Kids EnviroCloth! It’s now made with our new, super-absorbent Next Generation microfiber and is perfect for removing dust, dirt and grease from any washable surface using only water. It’s perfect for teaching your little ones how to clean without harmful chemicals – get one today!

 Norwex Kids

 New SKU # for this product: 300405

Get your Norwex kids cleaning:

Winter Weather Causing Increased Static In Your Laundry?

If you haven’t done so already, DITCH THE EXTREMELY TOXIC FABRIC SOFTENER AND DRYER SHEETS!  Please!  It’s one of the top 3 most toxic household items!  Use save, natural wool dryer balls instead.  (and get yours free).

Wool dryer balls enable you to dry your laundry more efficiently — with shorter cycles and decreased heat.  If you’re still drying on high heat for longer times, that will increase static cling.

As the weather gets colder,  you may experience static cling despite reducing your settings.  In that case,  add a safety pin to your dryer balls to minimize it!

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How/why does this work? It creates a “grounding” effect within your dryer.  Different fabrics rubbing together create electrostatic charge. The wool balls collect charged electrons during the drying cycle, which spread out onto the metal safety pins which are highly conductive. Your dryer’s metal drum is also conductive and when the metal pin touches the metal of your dryer drum, the built-up electrons are discharged into the drum and away from your fabric.

Get your wool dyer balls

Cleaning Floors

I have been asked what I recommend for floors. So I’m sharing my experience thus far.

The Norwex Floor Collections  are our most coveted products . Despite being the most expensive item, it was the item my husband wanted me to get to confirm if Norwex was all my internet research claimed it was. I confess, I was a little concerned it was just Swiffer with a higher price tag. I have had every Swiffer there has been. Had 2 in my possession when I signed up with Norwex. I use them. I just don’t think they clean very well. [I laugh every time I hear their current tag line, “Don’t just clean your floor, Swiffer it.” Never a truer bit of advertising in my opinion.] They make the room smell nice, and they make the floor all shiny and get up the noticeable spots. But any time I’ve had to wipe up a spill on a freshly swiffered floor (and let’s face it, nothing begs for a spill like a freshly mopped floor. Every. Dang. Time.), my towel would always come up positively black. Great for touch ups, or a spill, but not for really cleaning the floor. On the seasonal occasion of really mopping the floor, I used Murphy Oil Soap for Wood diluted in a bucket, and a Casabella cotton wring mop.

So I was not eager to test out Norwex’s claims with a $120 glorified Swiffer. But our floors were are largest pain point. With teens that tracked in, dogs that tracked in, slobbered, and shed, and a toddler who spent too much time on the floor for it to be a complete bio-hazard, we really needed a good, safe, solution. So I did my research. Norwex carries 4 mop collections: the Starter Mop, with it’s Mini version, and Kids version, the Superior Mop and it’s Mini version, and the Double-sided Mop. The difference between the standard and superior was self-explanatory — the superior is.., well, superior. And there’s nothing “mini” about our floor situation. So…. Superior or Double-sided? I took to the internet to look at reviews. A well-written reviewer indicated that in her house, with all the pet fur, the advantages of the double-sided mop just wasn’t recognized. It’s very convenient, but better for pet-free, or even child-free, homes due to the demands each place on a floor. “Amen, Sister,” I thought. So, we determined the Superior mop system was for us. Luckily, it’s in the Consultant Starter kit, so I got mine for free.

During my 2-week-long deep-clean (read more HERE), I pulled up my area rugs (except for the one under the piano). Because we have a St. Bernard, we can easily fill a Dyson canister a day, and STILL have fur tumbleweeds rolling about our floor. The Beast is a big chicken and circles the house avoiding the vacuum cleaner. I vacuum my downstairs (all hardwood) in a clockwise fashion, and by the time I reach 12 o’clock again, he’s deposited more fur — it’s endless. So I decided to vacuum the whole downstairs first. Then I’d go one room at a time, first dry mopping and then wet mopping, then on to the next room. While you can use a spray bottle and spray water as you go, I didn’t have one handy and thought it more effective to soak the wet mop cloth.

THIS WAS NO SWIFFER. First thing I noticed, as I tend to mop barefooted, is that the dry mop picked up ALL the grit. The Dyson, the broom, and the swiffers always left some grit behind. This was the first time I walked barefoot and felt nothing but the floor under my feet. Since this was my maiden voyage, when wet mopping, I checked the mop head periodically to see how much it was picking up. It looked grungy, but not overwhelmingly so. But it did need rewetting frequently. So I took it off every 10 square feet or so and rinsed it out in the sink. And was amazed at the amount of dirt that rinsed out. Since the map pad is the Norwex microfiber, it can pick up and hold massive amounts of dirt, just like the EnviroCloths.

I continued on thru all the rooms, rinsing out the mop pad each time it needed rewetting. I found it more effective to barely wring out the pad, leaving it very wet. Because the mop pad leaves so little behind, I found that each room was dry by the time I started the next. This is a godsend since I could never, and I mean never, get my floors dried before a person or animal traipsed thru the room, despite the obstacles I put in the doorways.

At first the mop was too maneuverable, flipping up on me. I’ve learned over the months, Norwex products require a soft hand. If it’s not working well, you’re probably using too much muscle. Once I adapted, I found it very easy to control. And the mop head’s profile is so low, and wide, it gets under places previously requiring me to move furniture.

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If I run across a problem spot (say, fur stuck with dried slobber), I just have to put my foot on the mop head and rub the area with a little added pressure. It comes right up.

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The marks on the left of the step are puppy chew marks — the only intentional damage the St. has ever done.

Our wood floors are rough finished anyway. And our Saint has Hanging Tongue Syndrome so that his tongue is never completely in his mouth. And his ruff stays damp from drinking massive amounts of water (think camel). And that’s laying on our floors most of the day. So the condition of the floor is what it is. They aren’t going to shine like some of my friends’ floors. But they looked cleaner than they every have before and they felt fabulous underfoot.  For a few days, at least.

The wood on my stairs has fared much better. They shined up so well with just water and microfiber  (I got the flat of the steps with the mop and the wood handrails and between the cast iron spindles with a wet EnviroCloth), my husband asked if I’d refinished them. The floor under a pulled-up area rug absolutely sparkled. The best thing is, it is so quick and convenient to mop the floors with the mop system, using just water, that I’m able to clean them more often, in less time, and have them dry before they’re walked on. I can, finally, keep up with the mess-makers.

We also have tile floors in our bathrooms and laundry room. The tile mop pad has been just as effective in those rooms. My mother was a July host and got her Superior mop free as well. I cleaned her travertine floors with her new mop and got up, with ease, many of the spots she thought to be natural shadings in the stone since her steam mop missed them.

I received the double-sided mop free as a bonus item and we use it in our pool house (the dogs are not allowed in there and it has less traffic). We have a laminate wood flooring, with tile in the bathroom. It’s fabulously convenient.  I keep the mop hanging on a hook behind the bathroom door and as wet feet track into the bathroom, I can just grab it and flip it to the wet side and dry up behind them. Then flip it to the dry side and get the corners which have collected some dust. Then run it up the wall to catch the webs (spiders love the pool house for some reason — probably the low human traffic volume). By then, the kids are done in the bathroom and I can flip it back to the wet side and mop up the puddles left by their swimsuits and hang it back up on the hook behind the door. Quick and easy.

Besides that, no more chemicals on my floor for the Saint to lap up and my toddler to absorb thru her skin. No dirty mop buckets to dump. No wet-jet refills. No disposable mop pads to purchase and to build up the landfill.  And the floors stay cleaner longer without the soap residue to attract more dirt.

Win – Win – Win.

For our rugs and carpets, I’ve loved how the Carpet Stain Buster and an EnviroCloth have cleaned up the pet accidents. Just clean up the solids, spray the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe with EnviroCloth.  You’re supposed to repeat as necessary, but I’ve never had to.  A solution of Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent and water is fantastic for carpet cleaners like our SpotBot and Bissell Pro Heat.

We also use the Norwex Entry Mat at each of our doors, house and pool house, to help catch 85% of the contaminants brought into our home before they hit our floors.

 

Clean The Dryer Too

Now that I’ve just finished cleaning my washing machine, I take a second and clean my dryer too.

The first time, I had to clean out the dryer sheet residue. I’ve not used them for a while now, since learning it’s toxic — one of the top 3 toxins in your home! (I use wool dryer balls instead — learn more here)  And it’s a no-no for my Norwex microfiber.

So, the first time I scrubbed out the inside of my dryer with Ultra Power Plus laundry detergent and hot water and an old (NOT Norwex microfiber) rag.  I also took the lint trap out and cleaned that under running water to fully remove any fabric softener residue that had built up.

But now that dryer sheets and their toxic residue have been completely eradicated from my home, it’s much simpler.

I empty my lint filter after each load, but now I remove the filter and clean out the well with my EnviroWand. [You’ll want to do this first because the excess lint can float back into your dryer drum.]

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Now I just wipe down the dryer drum with my wet EnviroCloth I just finished cleaning my washer.

This is also when I try to also clear the tops of the machines, vacuum between, behind, and under them, and wipe down the whole exterior of the machines with the wet EnviroCloth — assuming I don’t have piles of laundry waiting to be washed in the newly cleaned washer.  And it will be an ideal time to refresh my dryer balls with a few drops of an aromatic essential oil of my choosing to scent our clothes for the next few weeks.

Underwhelmed

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Waldo (aka ‘Beestie as in Waldo-beest)

I have to say that’s my response.  And what I’ve found to be the response of everyone with whom I’ve shared about Norwex.  I warned my first party host that the box she would receive for her party order would be disappointingly small.  You look inside and think, “That’s it?”.  You double-check all the items are accounted for.  You put your products away and they take up such a meager space on your shelf, in your cabinet, wherever you store them.

And then you pull out your EnviroCloth to start to clean.  And it’s freaking addictive!  I, who have avoided housework for many a year, worked non-stop for the first 2 weeks after getting my starter package to give all of my home’s downstairs the deep cleaning it was so famished for. I spent Mother’s Day cleaning my windows and my wooden blinds that were coated with several years’ pollen.  I would be bone weary from a day of cleaning and childcare, and general housewifery, but I’d sit down to read or watch a program, and the siren’s call beckoned; drew me up to find another surface that required some attention. (We have a St. Bernard — there’s not many surfaces that have escaped flung slobber, fur, or massive paw prints. But mostly the drool.)

By this time, my in-laws were visiting. The guest bathroom is “The Boys’ Bathroom”. The one my 15-year-old swore he’d cleaned to guest-readiness. (We have two teenage boys — need I say more about the condition of our bathrooms?) I hurriedly moved upstairs to the bathroom. An EnviroCloth and a little water, a Window Cloth, and a couple of shots of Descaler on the shower walls, and wipe, wipe here, wipe, wipe there. Quick mop of the floor. Done. Not the huge ordeal it’s always been. I’d not yet received my Blue Diamond cleaner that would make this bathroom look like new, but there was still worlds of difference.  My mother-in-law put in her order right then for her own cloths!

BEFORE                                                                                  AFTER

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I suppose when you consider that this:                                    is replaced by this:

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Sorry for the quality. Click on image to more easily view.

 

you start to really understand that less is more.  Way more.