Just when you thought it was safe to put down that sponge, Real Simple magazine has put together a book on cleaning your home! Whether it's the calcium buildup on your deluxe coffeemaker, the dried tomato sauce and coffee splatter in your microwave or the burnt toast edges sticking to your toaster — discover how to tackle household appliances.
We all know that there is more to life than cleaning toilets, but there is something redemptive about cleaning: It promises a fresh start. When life is a mess you can always clean, and your outlook (not to mention your house) will be improved. In other words, you can rise above it all — and shine. Kristin van Ogtrop, editor-in-chief of Real Simple magazine, shares quick and simple tips on cleaning those pesky household appliances from "Real Simple Cleaning: Your Room-by-Room Guide to a Beautiful House.”
Reheating one pasta dish can change a sparkling-clean microwave into a red-stained, garlic-smelling, sticky mess. To get rid of the odors and stuck-on food, place a coffee mug filled with water and a few slices of lemon in the center of the microwave and run the machine on high for 3 minutes. Let the water sit inside for 3 more minutes. The steam will soften the food spills, and the lemon will eliminate odors. Wipe down the walls with a soapy cloth.
You might think that the one clean thing in your kitchen should be the dishwasher, since its job is to clean! But stains and calcium deposits can also build up in the dishwasher. The folks at Real Simple suggest dumping a packet of powdered lemonade into the detergent cup and running the washer empty. The citric acid breaks up stains.
You can wash the pot with hot soapy water till the cows come home! The problem child of the coffeemaker is in the water chamber — where water deposits (usually calcium deposits) stack up.
To descale water deposits, pour 2-3 cups of water and an equal amount of white vinegar into the water chamber and hit the brew button. Turn the machine off halfway through the cycle and let the solution sit for an hour. Turn it back on and complete the cycle. Then run two cycles of plain water through the machine to rinse out any vinegar before using it for your morning coffee.
For this one, go check out the kitchen on the second floor of the studio — and you can see what happens when old bread burns on the insides of the toaster. It's not pretty.
To clean: Unplug the appliance and empty the crumb tray. Dislodge burned-on food with a toothbrush or an old credit card. Reach into the slots of a regular toaster with a wet pastry brush. If the exterior is chrome, crumble a ball of aluminum foil (shiny side out) and rub off rust spots.
Everything goes down the disposal drain, but unfortunately, the smells often remain. To clean the garbage disposal, simply grind the skins of oranges, lemons or limes in the garbage disposal with a handful of ice cubes. The citrus scent of the peels clears the air. Why ice cubes? The rock-hard texture of the ice cubes sharpens the blades.
Mineral deposits can tarnish and stain the bottom of an iron. To get rid of them, make a paste of 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 tablespoon water. Spread it on the soleplate. Wipe with a damp cloth. Dip a cotton swab into distilled water and insert into the steam holes. Fill the reservoir a third of the way with distilled water. Turn on the iron. Make sure nothing delicate is underneath it, as sediment from the broken-down mineral deposits will drip out the bottom. Press the steam button until steam flows freely. Pour out leftover liquid.
For more smart cleaning tips and home advice, visit www.realsimple.com.
© 2013 MSNBC Interactive. Reprints