hintsandthings.co.uk »Utility Room

More kitchen cleaning tips, how to remove water marks, clear blocked drains and clean refrigerators etc.


(for other cleaning tips see our Kitchen and Living

My tip is for cleaning
stains on plastic such as tupperware:

1) soak it in water using denture stain removal tablet
2) use one part bleach and 4 parts water and soak the item.

Make sure you wear protective gloves and wash your
hands and the item you are de-staining thoroughly afterwards


Nick Wareham


We’ve just had an open
fireplace restored and brought back into use.  We ordered a black slate
hearth, but when it arrived, it looked dry, dusty, matt and decidedly grey
rather than black.  However, the fitter told me the secret of making it
black and glossy – WD40!  

Spray over lightly and
spread evenly using a kitchen towel.  The result is truly magical
(just allow a couple of hours for the smell to disappear before lighting the
fire).  Worked well on the old hearth in the other room too, after
removing dust and surface deposits.

Sarah Nicholson

Just a word of
warning here – some people do not recommend the use of WD40 on some slate
and, in fact, too much can stain some types of slate and finishes. 
Others, however, swear by it.  This remedy is used at your own risk,
test on a hidden area first.

An easy way to remove
tea stains
, even dried on ones is to soak in a strong solution of
washing soda or bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and very hot water for at
least 20 mins, preferably a couple of hours and wash as normal.


If you have a smelly
, just get two newspapers pages, and roll them
both up into a ball; put one on the top shelf and the second on the bottom
shelf and the smell will be gone before you know it


large cylindrical pedal bins are popular in UK, but when the bag is full,
the bin liner often sticks to
the inner metal part. 

good remedy is to spray the inside regularly with a SILICONE SPRAY, such as
STP Silicone Spray Lubricant or similar.
bag will slide out much easier.


dull uPVC window frames
? Polish them up with cheap car polish to
restore the as new shine. Dirt beads off every time it rains. Have even
tried this on the soffits & barge –boards (the plastic bits near the
roof) with amazing results but get somebody to foot the ladder


you live in an area which is prone to
, saucepans often begin to
get a grey and spotted deposit inside.

couple of squirts of lemon juice swished round in a little hot water and
left to stand for a few minutes (or longer if it is really bad) brings up
a brilliant shine without effort.

Rodney Tibbs

I would like to add a tip on foggy
. I use Ivory Soap. I put a little on the glass and polish in
on there and the window doesn’t fog up. It also works great on bathroom
window after a shower.

Joe Price

Line your grill pan with aluminium foil, this
will save you a lot of time
scrubbing after use
, just discard the foil, wash and reline the pan
ready for the next time.

 Sue Wand

Iron Cookware
. When Cast Iron cookware gets burnt on food or if you
get a deal at a garage sale but the pan looks like you would never use it in
a lifetime it can be made to factory new condition.

Just place it in a self-cleaning oven (not
continuous clean) when you do a clean cycle. The high temperatures will burn
the food to a dust and then a simple wash and dry and season as if it were


keep tiles, basins and baths shining
and to help prevent limescale
and dirt building up between cleans – use furniture polish.

Clean the area in the usual way and dry it.
With a clean cloth use furniture polish (as cheaper brand as you like) to
lightly ‘polish’ the area and keep it sparkling!

Peta Dunn

stained sinks
by pouring soap powder into it, rub gently with cloth
and rinse well.


Baby oil can be used to
clean granite or stainless steel.

Use an old toothbrush to clean
behind taps which are close to the wall
or other hard to reach


Baby sterilising
fluid can be used to clean work
surfaces, chopping boards, bread boards, mugs, teapots, dishes.
After use the same solution can be used to freshen
up dishcloths, sponges, vegetable brushes etc.
(take care not to
splash fabric etc.) and then, finally, pour down
to keep them smelling fresh.


Keep the water in which an egg has
been boiled to clean up the spoon afterwards.

use hot water to clean up egg or
as this “cooks” them and makes them stick to the
container.  Rinse under cold tap before washing in warm, soapy water.

 Lisa Elder.

clean up a broken egg pour a
handful of salt over it, leave for a few minutes, the salt will harden the
egg enabling it to be cleaned up more easily.


aluminium pots and pans can be
by boiling up tomatoes (tinned or otherwise).


I thought
I would send you this tip I got from a professional cleaner. If you have brushed
in your kitchen e.g. cooker hob and you find it hard to
make it look really good, mine watermarks easily, just before the mother in
law comes round, put a little bit of baby oil on a cotton wool ball and rub
it gently over the surface, it looks great. not a permanent solution but a
great tip.


When we moved our stove changed from a glass
cook top to an enamel gas burner.

The glass stove top cleaner works great on
the white enamel no scratches at all. Also works great on the inside of
the glass door of the pellet stove.

I’ve found no differences between brands or
pricing. I use the least expensive.



To avoid white
watermarks in pans
when boiling puddings, eggs etc., add a little
vinegar to the water (cider vinegar is less potent if you don’t like the


Many modern deep
fat fryers
are dishwasher proof (check the instructions first!). This
is best done after every fry up or at least every couple of weeks, because
otherwise you get a sticky layer which the dishwasher can’t get off.

If, however, you left it a bit long,
how do you get rid of the sticky layer? I found that you can scrape most of
it off with a plastic utensil (not metal or you’ll damage the non-stick

The last residues come off really
easily if you rub them with a little plain flour. It sticks to the residues,
stops your fingers sticking and is mildly abrasive but won’t damage the pan.
A quick rub and the job’s done.


To make cleaning
grill pans easier
half fill the pan with water prior to commencing
the grilling, afterwards to clean just tip the remaining water down the sink
and wipe out with a damp cloth with a little bit of dishwashing liquid.

This tip was sent in by a
professional (Paul Harratt).  I did query whether this had any effect
on the food being cooked as I thought it may partially steam the items in
question.  Paul assured me this was not the case, however, I must
confess when I tried it out I could not get the food being grilled to
crispen as it would normally.

Oven/Stove Shelves.
… those grids that go black – Go to local Do-It
Yourself store… get an ‘underbed plastic storage box’. Best done outside,
near a drain…, wear rubber gloves … part fill with water, add a tub of
caustic soda. Place shelves / pans in overnight, soaking in caustic. Remove
shelves in morning, wash off…bright and shiny!!!.

Warning – caustic soda should
be handled with extreme care.


following solution has been provided by Martha S

Use this method for the easy way to clean oven shelves, chip and fry pans, grill and roasting pans and barbeque grills and racks.

You need some strong black bin liners, rubber gloves. A bottle of household ammonia – this is not ordinary bleach and you wont find it on the supermarket shelves – though an expensive product called ‘ovenpride’works in a similar way! Go to an old fashioned hardware/housewares shop. The bottle of liquid comes in a childproof sealed container and costs about £2.

Method. Put the gloves and apron on.
Work in a well ventilated area, best outside. Put racks and, pans in the bag – not too many at once and slug in some of the liquid. Tie the top of the bag. Leave for a few hours – overnight would be good. Rinse off gloves and remove.

When the items are done. Put gloves on remove the items and wash them well, you
wont need to scrub, the gunge and grease will just slide off. 

Rinse bag and dispose of responsibly.


do this job around young children or pets. Keep the product right away from them in the locked container.

attempt to do this job if you are a severe asthmatic, get someone else on it while you go out!

Ammonia is very fumy be careful work in a well ventilated

You’ll get very clean and
sparkling results on your pans and racks.

mix ammonia and bleach – this can prove fatal.


Use White Spirit to
remove sticky brown fat from cooker area
. Apply with a cloth
wetting/working in the area, the grease is easy to remove after a min or
two. After cleaning of with rags finish off with water and washing up
liquid. (White Spirit is what is used for thinning household oil base paint,
it’s not turpentine substitute but that may even work.)



Do not use around
naked flames.  White spirits can also damage some plastics. 

See Kitchen Safety tips


Washing powder has a fat base,
this tends to build up in the machine and pipes. May even smell nasty. Take
3 lb bag of ordinary washing soda, throw in machine, do full hot wash. If
you don’t want to be embarrassed, don’t look now…. The colour of the water
when I first did this was grey-black!!!!So, I repeated the wash with more
soda, and it looked very clean, no smell at all. Even cleaned the drain


careful when handling washing soda and it can irritate skin and eyes. 
Also this does seem and huge amount to use especially as washing soda is the
main ingredient of many laundry products and I am not sure whether, after
time, this would have a detrimental affect on washing machines.

manufacturers themselves also warn that Super Washing soda should not be
used on aluminium surfaces, no-wax floors, fibreglass sinks, tubs or tiles,
or wool or silk fabrics and should not be used to clear blocked drains.

years ago I experienced a blocked drainage pipe which turned out to be
caused by the build-up of washing powder.  It can fur up the inside
pipes like arteries and becomes rock hard, like concrete, until it
eventually blocks completely.  Since that time I have always used
washing liquid rather than the powder.

Krud Kutter removes
almost anything and is non-toxic, biodegradable, non-flammable and
non-abrasive. It is great to clean stains off glass, latex paint and
wallpaper adhesive, almost anything!


My cleaning tips are to
clean a dirty tide marked bath use Swarfega Hand Cleansing Gel put on a
soft, damp cloth or soft pan cleaning cloth, not to hard to avoid scratching
the bath. and then rub it all over the tide mark areas of the bath then wash
it out with warm water.


Stephen used this on a plastic
bath with no ill effects but, as always, we cannot guarantee results – test on
a hidden area first to ensure no adverse effect.

good to get personal recommendations for particular products.

is a hub of cleaning tips and advice. Simply select the room you need to
clean, then the type of surface and follow the guides.