In this edition of Dear TMH I try two different reader-suggested cleaning tips. Want me to test out a recipe or a cleaning tactic you’ve heard about? I’ll do that, too. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or post a note in the comments.
Cleaning the vent filters above my stove is one of my least-favorite cleaning tasks. I first wrote about it here, testing two different liquid degreasers. Then a reader suggested washing the vents in the dishwasher. I tried that, too.
What I found in both instances was scrubbing was key to loosen the gunk from the filters. Still in search of an easier method that didn’t take as long (running the dishwasher for an hour, for instance) I was eager to try this tip, from Solp:
Here’s a good tip: take a large pot (that your filters will fit it) and simply add about half a cup of sodium bicarbonate in boiling water. Let the filters boil for about 5 minutes. Works great.
This had potential. I brought a large pot of water to a boil, added the baking soda (slowly, so it didn’t fizz all over the place) and dropped the filters in. Five minutes later I poured out the water.
Although my vents were fairly clean to begin with, a startling amount of grease melted off. This is by far the easiest cleaning method. Sure, it starts to smell like bad chicken soup when you boil the filters, but that’s a worthy trade-off for getting this whole project done in just a few minutes.
Since I wrote about cleaning mini blinds, I’ve gotten a number of tips about other cleaning methods, including dunking them in a tub and spraying them with water outside. My mini blinds are quite long and don’t fit in my tub, so that was out of the question. I was afraid I would just get more dirt on the blinds if I sprayed them outside, plus there was the task of drying them. I was more intrigued by this reader, who suggested:
Vacuum cleaner! Turn the slats vertical and use the soft round brush. You have to hold the blind taut, but then you just run the hose along horizontally. It’s quick and it’s neat. Then tilt the blinds in the other direction and do the same thing (if they need it).
It took me 19:21 minutes to clean my blinds thoroughly with a Swiffer Duster – could a vacuum do the job faster? I wanted to remove the blinds so I could hold onto them easier, and I was afraid that would slow me down. The vacuum is just so much faster that I shouldn’t have worried. Cleaning one six-foot-long blind only took 9:35 minutes. Better still, the brush is a perfect soft scrubber to remove stuck-on dust and dirt.
Even though it sounds like more trouble, from now on I’m going to take down my mini blinds and vacuum them. I’ll actually have them clean in half the time.