How To | January 3, 2020
After the season’s festive fun, your home might be a little messy. From gift wrap balls still scattered on the floor, to crumbs from endless holiday cookies, it’s important to clean your house to put your best foot forward for the new year. Before you tackle the tower of trash, take note of these tips.
Cleaning up after a massive meal is no easy task. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Any foods that are supposed to be refrigerated shouldn’t sit out for more than 2 hours, and that is cumulative—including everything from transport from the grocery store to cooking to the table. This includes most cooked items. Otherwise, harmful bacteria—which can be invisible and odorless—may form. Keep your food out of the danger zone (40-140 degrees Fahrenheit), and when in doubt, toss it out.
Many baked goods are safe to leave out if covered or wrapped. If you have food that needs to be refrigerated, store it quickly. Make the most of your limited fridge space by transferring leftovers to smaller, seal-able containers. If those aren’t available, cover your plates with foil or plastic wrap before stashing them in the refrigerator.
Shake the crumbs off your tablecloths and place mats. Unless you want to make more work for yourself, do this over the trashcan or sink. Now would also be a good time to scan for stains. We’ll talk about how to treat those in a bit.
If grease used for deep-frying is clear and free of odd odors, you can reuse it. Transfer it to a metal can or plastic jug with a tight-fitting cover and stash the container in the fridge. Recycling is another option in some areas, but you will generally have to take it to a drop-off center. If all else fails, seal it in a leak-proof container and place that within a bag before it goes in the bin to reduce leaky messes. In every case, make sure the grease has completely cooled first.
Depending on the level of caked-on crud stuck to your pots and pans, you might want to vary your approach. Squirt a little dishwashing soap in them, fill with water and let sit overnight if the situation is a little sticky. For those more stubborn burnt-in messes, you can let soda like Coke or Pepsi loosen things up for you. Just leave it in the pot for a few hours or overnight.
Once your guests are gone, you probably don’t want permanent reminders of the party on your floor or tablecloth. How do you get rid of those scuffs and stains?
Polyurethane hardwood floors might pick up a few marks while you’re cuttin’ a rug. Don’t despair at your damaged dance floor. Rub the area for a bit with a soft cloth, and if that doesn’t do the trick, add a little floor cleaner as you rub.
If wine ends up on the carpet, rug or tablecloth, you’ll need to act fast. Salt can help keep the stain from settling in for the long haul. Carpet cleaner might be required, but if you have club soda or white wine on hand, you might try those first. Whichever one you choose, pour it directly on the stain and blot the area. Avoid rubbing as that will make matters worse.
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