Imagine for a moment that you were not in debt and didn’t have to send those big payments to credit-card companies every month. What would you do with that money instead?
One reader whom I heard from recently faced that exact, and may I say awesome, situation. Her reward for getting out of debt was the freedom to start paying herself every month instead of Visa and MasterCard!
Recently, after saving for 10 years, I paid cash to remodel my kitchen with stainless steel sinks, granite countertops and new wood cabinets. I’ve been reading your columns and newsletter for many years and used your Debt-Proof Living method to get out of debt and stay out. What advice do you have for caring for my new sinks, counters and cabinets? Thanks, Mary, for changing my debt-ridden life to a beautiful debt-free life! Karen
Dear Karen: Getting out of debt is no small feat, but once you hit that goal, the money you were sending to credit-card companies each month was yours to save. You did it exactly right and I am so proud of you!
STAINLESS STEEL SINK
Daily Stainless Steel Cleaner. Start with a clean 16-oz. spray bottle. Pour in 1 1/3 cups white vinegar, 5 drops Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent and 2/3 cup water. Apply the spray top and shake to mix.
To use: Simply spray on stainless steel sink (appliances, too) then scrub with a cloth or sponge to clean, rinse well then buff with a dry microfiber cloth to shine. (Be sure to label this product clearly, as you DO NOT want to use it on natural countertops of granite, marble or stone because it contains vinegar.)
Then once a week, or as needed, scrub the sink with Bar Keepers Friend cleanser and warm water. Unlike porcelain sinks, durable stainless steel stands up well to abrasive cleansers. BKF is by far the best cleanser for stainless. Remember always to scrub in the direction of the polish lines (look closely and you’ll be able to see these grain lines in your sink) then rinse well with hot water and polish dry with a soft cloth.
To make your sink sparkle, club soda will do the trick. Place the stopper in then drain then pour some club soda. Saturate a soft cloth and then rub down the entire sink. This will also prevent water spots and surface rust. Once dry, add even more shineby wiping down with a few drops of baby oil.
DONT’S FOR STAINLESS CARE
Don’t let soap cleansers dry on the sink’s surface. Rinse regularly to keep the chlorides found in most cleansers from affecting the natural luster of stainless.
Don’t use steel wool pads. The iron particles that are left behind can lead to rust and corrosion. For hard-to-clean projects, try a ScotchBrite scouring pad when the job requires a little extra effort, again in the direction of the grain.
Don’t leave steel and cast iron cookware in your sink for extended periods of time. Iron plus moisture on top of stainless can lead to surface rust and staining.
Don’t let rubber dish mats, wet sponges and cleaning pads stay in your sink for a lengthy time. They trap water; discoloration and staining can result.
Don’t use your sink as a cutting board. Knives and other sharp kitchen instruments will naturally damage the surface of your sink
The enemy of kitchen cabinets is dirty, grimy build-up over time as the result of cooking oils and other normal kinds of kitchen residue. The way to prevent this is to clean the door and drawer fronts at least monthly.
A few drops of Blue Dawn in a spray bottle of distilled water will remove any greasy buildup on the cabinets. Just spray, scrub lightly with a sponge or cleaning cloth and immediately wipe dry. Provided you are diligent to clean the cabinets often, they will remain beautiful for years to come.
Countertops made of granite, marble and stone are tricky because these materials are porous and stain easily. You never want to clean them with anything acidic, which means vinegar and lemon juice are both out because both will dull the sealant that has been applied to these counters.
Granite Cleaner: Here is a homemade granite cleaner that will not stain, nor is it acidic. It works like a champ to clean and shine natural stone and granite counters.
Pour 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol into a 16-ounce spray bottle. Add 3 drops (only 3) Blue Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent, 5 to 10 drops essential oil (this is optional, but will add a nice fragrance) plus enough distilled water to fill the bottle. Apply the spray top and shake to mix. You can use this cleaner to clean and shine your appliances as well.
This homemade solution costs about 25 cents for 16 oz. Compare that to Granite Gold ($16.95/24 oz), or Method Daily Granite, ($7.00/12 oz.)