Care and Cleaning for Stainless Steel Countertops

stainless-steel-counter-top-with-integrated-sink

Stainless steel is very popular material used for counter tops today. It looks elegant when it’s clean, since it resists rust and corrosion. The main risks (and not to mention major eyesore) to stainless steel are dirt, grime and dust. These are easily overcome as long as you can manage to keep your countertops clean and shiny.

You can wash stainless steel with a microfiber cloth and warm water for routine cleaning. This is the easiest method and also the option that poses the lowest risk to the steel. Microfiber works very well on stainless steel. This type of cloth can hold a lot of water, and although it may absorb oil and dirt, it won’t damage or scratch it, as long as it’s not dirty. Microfiber is durable, too, and it doesn’t shed lint like some cleaning cloths tend to do.

If you need more power in your cleaning, use warm water and a mild detergent. Be sure to rinse the counter top first to prevent spotting or staining. You can use many different kinds of dish soaps that are environmentally friendly and will still do a good job on the counters. Today’s Eco-friendly dish liquids can degrease and clean quite effectively. Use a few drops of your dish detergent liquid to lift away food and cut through grease. Use a towel to dry it off, to prevent water spotting, which is sometimes caused by the minerals found in water.

If you have children, you probably tend to get a lot of fingerprints on your stainless steel countertops. You can clean them with ammonia or glass cleaner. Rinse the counter after cleaning, and dry it with a towel. You may also purchase a newer finish that works to resist fingerprints on stainless steel.

If they have become scratched or stained, you may need to use stainless steel cleaner to clean and polish the counter. Most of these polishes and steel cleaners will remove the stains and help in minimizing scratches. They will also give your counters a beautiful shine. Test your chosen brand on a spot that’s not easily visible, to be sure it works properly. Rinse the counter well and dry with a towel. With a bit of work and the right tools, you can keep your stainless steel countertops looking new.

Homemade Cleaner for Stainless Steel Appliances

cleaning stainless steel

Stainless steel appliances are the current craze in new kitchen appliances. Everything from the stove, refrigerator, dishwasher and even smaller appliances like mixers and blenders are all being made in this shiny, futuristic-looking finish.

While the new appliances have a nice, high reflective finish, a few years of wear will remove some of the protective coating and make the surface more susceptible to showing fingerprints and water spots. A number of commercial cleaners are on the market, but they can be costly, toxic to children and pets, and generally packaged in non-recyclable containers.

You can help the environment and your pocketbook by making your own stainless steel cleaner from common household ingredients.

1. Water and a soft cloth – For routine cleaning, a spray of warm water and buffing with a soft cloth will remove most fingerprints and water spots. Wipe immediately and dry with a microfiber or soft cloth to prevent water stains.

2. Dishwashing Liquid – Any mild dishwashing liquid without ammonia mixed with warm water can remove stubborn spots. Clean with the damp solution and a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly with warm water to remove any traces of soap. Polish with a soft cloth.

3. Vinegar – Fill a spray bottle with undiluted vinegar. Spray the surface, rub gently, and wipe off with a soft cloth. The acetic acid in the vinegar cuts the oils left by fingerprints.

4. Baking Soda – Mix ¼ cup of baking soda with enough mild dishwashing soap to make a paste. Apply the mixture using a sponge and rub the area well. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry with a soft cloth. For a higher gloss, finish off with the undiluted vinegar spray mentioned above.

4. Olive oil or club soda – Dampen a sponge with a drop or two of either olive oil or club soda. After using any cleaning method above, polish the surface with either ingredient. Clean the surface with a paper towel if too oily.

Benefits of homemade cleaners:
• No extra packaging to dispose of
• Safe for the environment
• Safe around children and pets
• Saves money

Care an

cash-for-appliances

After the success of the Cash for Clunkers program, the Government came up with the Cash for Appliance program hoping for the same success. Beginning in 2009, the Cash for Appliance program offered rebates to consumers who purchased appliances that would make their homes more energy efficient. The program officially came to an end with the last of the 11 participating states on December 31, 2011.

The Cash for Appliance Rebate Program simply ended because the funds allotted through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were depleted. $300 million dollars were set aside from the Act to the program so that home owners and renters alike would be encouraged to purchase new, energy efficient appliances. The goal in mind was that by giving consumers this incentive, in this case a rebate, a sector of the economy would be stimulated. Since demand for energy efficient appliances would rise, manufacturers of those appliances would reap the benefits in profit and jobs. Whether or not the economy actually was stimulated as a result of the program is not yet known and may not be determined for another few months, but the program itself could be considered successful since its budget was completely expended.

As of February 2012, results of the program showed that 1.7 consumer’s did take up the Government on its rebate offer. At that time, $258 million of the $300 allotted had been paid out. The balance remaining was for those who had applied at that last minute whose paperwork had not yet been processed.

washing_machine_cold water

More and more people are becoming “green aware” and everyone likes to discover effective ways to save money. Washing clothes in cold water does both. It’s good for the environment and good for the household budget.

Running the washing machine uses energy and that costs money. But a large part of the expense of washing clothes is heating up the water. To put this into perspective, here’s an observation made by Proctor and Gamble who are the producers of Tide Coldwater. They note that if every person in New York City washed clothes in cold water for just one day, it would save the amount of energy it takes to light up the Empire State Building for thirty days! That’s a lot of energy and a lot of money.

The US Department of Energy has published this piece of information: if a person washes his or her laundry in cold water 80% of the time, it would be a savings of $60 to $100 annually, depending on the volume of laundry.

Another way washing clothes in cold water saves money is that cold water does not fade the colors in clothing like hot water does. In addition, all those nasty protein-based stains such as eggs and blood are “set” in hot water, but come out in cold water. There is clearly a lot of money savings when one’s clothes last longer.

When you buy a detergent for use in cold water, be sure that it states on the label it is an enzyme-based, cold water detergent.

What is Energy Star?

energy-star-logo

Energy Star is a program between the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide energy saving solutions. Their goal is to help everyone protect the environment and save money through the use of energy-efficient appliances. They do this by making it easy for consumers to identify which products are energy efficient and will save them money on their energy bills. They also do this by reducing gas emissions produced by greenhouses which are caused by the use of energy in an inefficient way. The Energy Star program has helped saved many businesses, consumers, and organizations and average of about $18 billion in 2010.

In order to earn the label, Energy Star, the products must meet the energy efficient requirements and specifications. Some of the requirements that must be met are: the products must significantly contribute to energy saving, product labels must be visible for customers, products must have the features that customers demand, and if the product is more expensive than other products it must be more energy efficient and save more energy and money in the long run.

Some appliances, building products, plumbing products, heating & cooling products, computer & electronic products, and lighting and fan products, have earned the label, Energy Star. Energy Star appliances include things such as dishwashers, refrigerators, etc. Building products include windows, roof products, etc. Plumbing products include water heaters, heat pumps, etc. Heating and cooling products include boilers, purifiers, etc. Computer and electronic products include cordless phones, televisions, etc. Lighting and fan products include fans, light bulbs, etc.

All of these products, I use at my home. I always buy Energy Star products because even if they cost a little more than other products they end up saving a lot of money on my energy bills.

What is SmartDispense Technology?

smartdispense

Technology is constantly improving. This includes technology for household appliances which once used a lot of water and electricity. This made for much higher bills and a lot of waste. Now there are energy-efficient appliances that use only what they need and save resources such as electric and water.

Many appliances are now using SmartDispense Technology, including many dishwashers. The dishwashers are built in and installation is needed. This tells the dishwasher how much detergent to use every cycle including the pre-wash stage based on the hardness and soil levels of the water. When installed a hardness test strip will be done to allow the customer to program the dishwasher to the correct setting . More detergent will be dispensed for hard water, less for soft water.

Either liquid or powder detergent can be used. Any brand of detergent can be used with this dishwasher. The amount of detergent dispenses is all automatic. And not to worry, your dishes will come out clean as a whistle with SmartDispense technology while reducing waste. This will not only help the environment, but help the customer save money as well.

unplug small appliances

We all have small appliances in our kitchens. They consist of a toasters, toaster ovens, electric can openers, coffee makers, and microwave ovens. And today most of your coffee makers and microwave ovens have digital clocks. Unlike your larger appliances such as your refrigerator and stove, your small appliances are not made to be energy efficient appliances. Most of us use small appliances every single day. We do not think about the energy usage of these small appliances, we simply turn them on, use them, and turn them back off. However, these items go int a stand by mode when turned off, and if left plugged in they are still using electricity. 20% of electricity is used when these small appliances sit in the stand by mode.

A couple of ways to make sure your small appliance are not using electricity in the stand by mode is to:
1. Simply unplug your appliances.
2. Use a good power strip. The power strip should have it’s own on and off switch. Plug your small appliances into the power strip. At the end of the day shut your power strip off. This will cut all electricity to your plugs.

So the question remains,” should you unplug your small appliances when you are not using them?” The answer is yes. If you were to unplug your small appliances after using them, you would save on electricity. It may not seem like much of a savings, but it all adds up in time.

Which Appliance Uses the Most Electricity?

energy efficient appliances

These days it is important to make sure that you conserve as much energy as possible. Not only is energy conservation important to the earth but it is also an important part of shaving money offer your home electric bill and this can really help to save you money. More than energy efficient light bulbs, use of energy efficient appliances can really help to reduce your electricity bill and save you money.

The most inefficient appliances are those that use 220 volts as opposed to 110 volts. The appliances that are costing you the most money to run are your clothes dryer and your electric range and therefore when you are looking to make your home more energy efficient it is best to begin with making these energy efficient appliances first and then moving on to the 110 volt appliances in your home such as the washing machine, the dishwasher, and the refrigerator.

Creating an energy efficient home can be accomplished by utilizing the many different eco-friendly appliances and light bulbs that are on the market today. It is a toss up as to which household appliance uses the most electricity but most believe that since in a normal household the clothes dryer runs for many more hours then the oven or stove that this appliance is actually the one that contributes the most to your household electric bill.

Is it Energy Wasteful To Use an Ice Dispenser?

ice dispenser efficiency

Using an ice dispenser to get ice cubes out of a freezer is actually a more efficient way to get ice, and can actually be viewed as a way to save energy. When you open the door of a freezer to get out ice, you let room temperature air inside and thus that air needs to be cooled down and thus the motor needs to run more often.

This is why an ice dispenser can save energy on its own, and when used in energy efficient appliances you increase the amount of energy you save and conserve.

Energy efficient appliances help you to lower your energy costs associated with the appliances themselves, and thus help you to reduce your total carbon footprint which is essential in environmentally friendly environments such as your home. Ice dispensers are another, often overlooked, method of saving energy as the mechanism only lets the ice out and not the warm room air in and thus causing more power to be used in running the unit.

This is just one example of the small things you can do in your everyday life to conserve energy and live a an Eco-friendly lifestyle that is beneficial to everyone. Not only will you help to save the environment by reducing your energy consumption, you will also have lower utility bills as well when you use and incorporate energy efficiency in to your home and daily routine.