Cleaning Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Easy Tips for Cleaning Your Grill

Grilling season here, and if your grill is still buried in the ashes of last summer’s Buffalo wings, steaks, and burgers, NOW is the time to give it some much-needed attention. Whether you’re using a charcoal or gas grill, these simple clean-up and grill guide is sure to equip you with all the right steps to becoming the ultimate grill-master this season!

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO CLEAN YOUR GRILL

I vaguely remember growing up with the theory of “burning off the old” and not really cleaning the grates.  Yup, I’m old and our grill was well used all year long.  Did you know when you leave remnants of your last meal on the grates, it will char and burn the next time you fire up the BBQ. It seems like a no-brainer, right?  This not only changes the taste but also the quality of your barbecue.  The burnt pieces are also harmful to your health. When you burn those charred bits at high temperatures, a harmful chemical compound is produced which can potentially increase your risk of cancer. So you definitely don’t want to keep the old stuff around!

STEPS TO CLEANING YOUR GRILL

1. GRILL GATE REMOVAL AND CLEANING

Grates must be maintained clean because they are in direct contact with food. Remove the cool grates first, then use a brush to remove any large debris. Next you’ll want to  immerse the grates in hot water and dish soap. Let them soak in a sink or large bucket to make it easier to scrub later. Lastly, clean the grill with a firm grill brush,  rinse and dry!

2. INTERNAL CLEANING OF THE GRILL 

Brush the grates’ interior to remove any gunk gathering at the bottom and around the sides.  If you have a charcoal barbecue, you’ll want to scrape away any large peeling flakes of carbon/grease from the ash catcher and empty it.  To make cleaning easier the next time, wash the drip pan and grease cup in warm soapy water and line with aluminium foil.

3. EXTERNAL CLEANING OF THE GRILL 

Using a sponge or towel soaked in warm soapy water, wipe off the exterior, handles, side trays, and any bottom doors. Thoroughly rinse and dry before firing up the grill.

Brush Safety

If you opt to use a brush with bristles to clean your grill, follow these safety steps:

  • Grill brushes are like toothbrushes. When you see the bristles beginning to flatten or lose their efficacy, it’s time to replace.
  • Apply the “tweezer test”: take a pair of tweezers, randomly select five to 10 bristles and gently pull – if any bristles come off, it’s time to replace.
  • It is not recommend to leave grill brushes exposed to the elements when not in use. The rain, sunlight, humidity, snow, etc., can age them prematurely.
  • Above all, treat your grill brush just as you would any part of your grill and grilling environment: Follow manufacturers’ instructions and continuously inspect before and after using.

GRILL RECIPE TO KICKSTART THE BBQ SEASON

Now you’ve given your grill a total-body-scrubdown, it’s time to get grilling! So, pull out all your favorite gear and get ready to try out a new recipe idea!

Share some of your favorite tips and tricks that help you get through your cleaning routine? Which grill-worthy recipes are you most excited to try this season?
Looking for more recipes and hacks, check out my VIP group – Hope’s Healthy Kitchen. 
Home Organization, Unclutter Your Life

Household Items You Should Toss

Thank you Real Simple for today’s post….

Fall is time for seasonal cleaning, right?  I grew up on when homes were deep cleaned at least every season – spring, summer, winter and fall.  We sorted through clothes, moved furniture and got things ready for the next season (decorating, changing curtains, etc).  In the hectic world we live in, I’m not so sure it happens anymore but there are definitely some things which should be tossed on a periodic basis….if you hang onto these household staples longer than you should, and you risk spreading germs, dirt, or dust around your entire home. YUK!  The good news: replacing these household essentials shouldn’t take long at all and cost very little.  So, tack this onto your weekend to-do list and avoid all of the icky consequences of keeping these items around.

Kitchen Sponges

I’m sure you know this and if you didn’t, I’m sure you can SMELL when these get nasty.  The reality is porous kitchen sponges are the ultimate breeding ground for germs. New research shows the old cleaning-sponges-in-the-microwave trick doesn’t really work, the only solution is to replace your sponge more often. You’ll avoid spreading E. coli and salmonella to every dish you think you’re washing—making it well-worth stocking up on this cleaning essential.How often should you replace it? It is recommended at least once a week. Or consider an alternative sponge, like Norwex’s Envirosponge (one of my favorites)  The soft EnviroCloth microfiber side also has the ability to remove up to 99% of bacteria from a surface when following the proper
care and use instructions.  The best part, it can be used repeatedly; use, wash and use again, no need to continually reach for a new sponge or dispose of old one

Bed Pillows

Research shows after two years of use (how long have you had your pillows?), more than one-third the weight of the pillow is actually comprised of dust mites (both living and dead) and dead skin. If this doesn’t make you want to toss your pillow out the window immediately, we don’t know what will.
How often should you replace them? A synthetic pillow you have never washed, plan to replace it about every 6 months. If you wash your synthetic or down pillows at least twice a year (here’s the best method), they should last up to 3 years.

Shower Loofah

A loofah is basically your shower’s equivalent of the kitchen sponge. YUK!!! Luckily, it doesn’t need to be clean enough to eat off of, but its crevices do harbor bacteria, which the moist environment of the shower helps to grow.
How often should you replace it? Replace a plastic loofah about every two months. Besides spreading bacteria, they will also tend to lose their shape, which defeats their exfoliating abilities.  An alternative is Norwex’s Body Scrub Mitt. This product will help you to uncover fresh, new and glowing skin as it removes dead skin cells, revealing beautiful, smoother skin with just one hand.  Best part, you can wash and use it again.

Water Filter

If you have a refrigerator with a built-in water filter, chances are you don’t replace the filter as often as you should. When it isn’t replaced often enough, the filter can’t do its job of separating out impurities from your family’s drinking water. Even if you don’t notice a difference in taste, mineral buildup could be slowing down the flow of water.  Maybe you don’t have one of these and you have a Brita filter system…. the ones where you put water in the top, it filters out the junk and you keep it in the fridge so you have cold fresh water all the time.  Do you replace this filter as often as it says on the box?  Probably not.  How often should you replace them? Check the guidelines for your refrigerator model, but many brands recommend replacing the filter every 6 months or so.  If you use a Brita, I think it is at least once a month!

Old Plastic Containers

When shopping for plastic food storage containers nowadays, you’ll probably notice a little sticker or note assuring you they are “BPA-free.” But BPA, a plastics chemical some believe can affect development, was once common in such containers. While the FDA reports exposure to low levels of BPA is safe, if you’re still concerned, you might want to toss out those containers you’ve had stashed for decades.  If you have “old” tupperware containers, time to trade them in for some of the new ones….Throw away older plastic containers, and invest in BPA-free options or these stylish glass alternatives.

Need some help finding some awesome “clean products”… Check out Meredyth’s Norwex website.  Never heard of Norwex???  Their mission is to “improve the quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes.”  I use A LOT of their products and they do really work….

Have a blessed day!

Clear the Clutter

Make a Clean Sweep

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Okay, you can stop laughing now because for those who know me they know I am NOT the “cleaning queen”.  I am always amazed at the similarities between reducing clutter in our home and our weight loss journey.  The truth is when we reduce clutter – mentally and physically – we lighten our journey.  Who doesn’t want to be lighter, right?

Organizing your physical space – as well as your mental space – can banish distractions so you can focus on things which really matter to you.  What matter’s most to you?  For me, in addition to my faith, family and business…..my health and weight loss journey has become something which is in the top 5 of my “what matters’ most” list.

Did you know a chaotic environment can leave you open to making unhealthy food choices?  According to a recent study, disorder leads to stress and stress spikes your body’s cortisol levels which in turn may make your body hold onto excess weight.  Hmmm.. can I use this as a reason if I don’t loose any weight this week?  So, a clean sweep not only helps you to get organized BUT it also promotes healthy behavior like eating fresh fruits and veggies, moving your bike to the front of the garage instead of buried in the back and having a serene bedroom for a good night’s sleep.  Plus all of this moving around is exercise (yes, I went there) so you are getting double benefits.

Physical space is often easy to unclutter because we see it every day.  What about making a mental clean sweep?  This isn’t always so easy.  Here are some tips to help you on this project:

  1. Write Down Your To-Dos.  No matter how good your memory is, we all forget things.  Lately, I forget more often than I care to admit.  The thing is when we record tasks and reminders on paper or on a digital list (if you are tech savvy), you free up your brain space.  When you free up your brain space of your to-dos, you have space to get creative, dream and work on ideas floating around waiting to be discovered.
  2. Create Email Folders.  I know this may be a no-brainer for some but I know people who keep everything in one “general” folder then spend countless hours searching for things.  A waste of time and energy.  I have have become more specific with my email folders – bills (to pay & paid), upcoming events, follow-up, potential hostess, team news, and the list goes on.   When was the last time you went looking for an email only to find oodles of them and you couldn’t find the one message which told you what time to be at a meeting?  Make folders which work for you then as you read an email – delete, move to an action file or save.  The key is to not touch an email more than once, if possible.  I used to use this same theory in my office – it saved me moving papers from pile to pile and getting nothing accomplished.
  3. Speak Your Mind.  Yup, I struggle with this one.  In a perfect world, I would be comfortable telling others when I feel slighted, bothered or angry.  Since we don’t live in a perfect world,  I have a hard time speaking my thoughts especially if they don’t agree with others in the room.  If you are good at doing this – AWESOME!  Keep it up.  If you aren’t, why not try speaking your thoughts out loud in an empty room.  Sounds silly right?  The truth is when you voice your opinion, share your feelings and hear yourself out – you can let go of the feelings continuing on with your day.  Believe me, this does work.

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Now, it is your turn… what steps are your going to take to organize your physical space?  Need some help, ask me about an “organizing session” and let me help you with a difficult space.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!