Posts tagged ‘review’

Cleaning with Baking Soda

Back at the beginning of May I saw a blog post about a non-toxic way to clean stainless steel pans, but I didn’t get a chance to try it until the other day.  I had a pan full of stuck on onion and perogies, so I tossed in the salt, baking soda and foil, covered it with boiling water and proceded to forget about the mess for a while.  When I returned to the kitchen everything looked about the same as when I started, but when I applied my scraper (i.e. broken spatula upcycled to scraper status) everything came right off.  I wasn’t convinced that this result was any different than just regular soaking though.  So to continue the experiment I tried the concoction again with a pan that had burnt on oil around the edges (sometime I pretend I have cast iron and call that seasoning… I confess doing dishes is one of my least favorite chores).  This time, nothing happened and scraping did nothing.  I tried scraping with the foil which worked while there was some baking soda still clumped on the top of the foil.  Then I gave up and pulled out my trusty copper scrubby.  I know that the author of the post which inspired all of this said that she doesn’t like her copper scrubby, but mine is great.  My pans all came from my grandmother (along with the majority of my kitchen) and they’ve survived this long so I think they can handle some scraping from the copper.  All in all, I wasn’t particularly impressed with this method of cleaning and will stick with my soaking and scraping.

After cleaning the pans though, I approached my stove- the surface is easy to get clean, but the plastic panel with all the buttons/display doesn’t wipe off so easily.  There was some grease splatter (quite possibly from those same onions and perogies) that just wouldn’t wipe off with a dishcloth and soap.  Copper scrubby isn’t an option on the plastic and my other backup – bar keeper’s friend – also scratches plastic.  In the back of my closet I have some chemical cleaners that I bought before I was thinking about using non-toxic ingredients.  I pulled out the fantastic, sprayed it on and wiped – nothing happened!  I sprayed it directly on the cloth and scrubbed a bit, still nothing.  So, since I’ve heard so much about baking soda I thought I’d give it another chance.  I sprinkled a bit on my dishcloth, wiped and magically the grease is gone!  Maybe there is something to this baking soda hype.  In fact, thinking back to the pots, the best solution was scrubbing with that bit of baking soda left over.

In conclusion, baking soda works (better than the chemical cleaner specific for this purpose!) but there’s no need to do the fancy concoction with foil.


June 2, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Rewarding Good Behavior

When I’m not crafting I work as a teacher, so I understand the need to reward good behavior. Even my high schoolers love getting gold stars on A papers, respond well to bribery (if you finish your work we can watch that hilarious video about the lizard walking on water) and nearly always do work because I’m grading it and they want to pass (no matter how interesting the lesson it’s still more work/thinking than napping!). This isn’t isolated to high schoolers: I let myself watch ridiculous television as long as I’m crocheting while I watch, I don’t get to go home until my classroom is organized and I can’t check twitter/facebook until I’ve finished grading this stack of papers. Rewards motivate us to do the things we know we should do anyway. However, I’m concerned about some of the reward systems cropping up for environmentalists.

Today I received an email recommending They start off well enough giving you points for recycling at home and for learning about the real meaning behind different labels. But then you look further and find that you can earn points for recycling ziploc bags, sponsored by ziploc. Don’t we want to re-use the ziplocs we have, followed by not buying more? You get points for every 50 recycled, which seems to encourage you to use them up faster. That’s good for ziploc, but not for the environment.

Last year I joined a facebook group with the tagline: ‘serving up the hottest climate news’ so ever so boldly I assumed they would be a ‘green’ organization. In 4 months I won: a t-shirt, a license plate frame and a bookmark. Why is a group whose sole purpose is reporting on the environment distributing stuff all over the country? (or maybe even world?) I tried to explain this concern to customer service and suggested that instead of sending me more ‘stuff’ they could just donate the money they would have spent to an organization dedicated to combatting climate change.

The response:
“Thanks for your thoughtful question. Unfortunately, the t-shirts, license frames, and bookmarks were preordered in bulk, so we can’t recoup the cost. However, I will try to find another user who’s interested in them! Thanks for being committed to reducing your stuff.”

At least she appreciated my efforts, but that wasn’t really the point.

Have you found a good site for environmentalists to track their efforts and get encouragement without the result being more waste? I’m sure they exist but I haven’t found any yet since they’re buried under all the greenwashing!

May 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

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