Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to clean your dishwasher and kitchen sink drain the green way

Life is Good: everything is clean!

Nerd alert! This post is about cleaning. Borrrrrring, I know! But it is a necessity. And when your house is clean, life is oh, so...wait for it...pleasant!

Because this is about the boring topic of cleaning, you might want to stop reading right now. OR, if you want to discover something BRILLIANT, easy to do, and good for the environment, please feel free to keep reading.

Typically, the adults in this house don't get sick. And the little ones seem to only get sick with major, rush-to-the-ER-in-the-middle-of-the-night kind of illnesses. (I know, it's a swervy ride, remember?) But last week, Grant went down. And I mean, boom. We thought he had the flu, but as it turns out, he caught an infection and it turned into pneumonia. He got meds and is on the mend. We feel fortunate for first world medical access and a big house where he could be quarantined. Literally, he was on our third floor for a week in an attempt to keep everyone else healthy.

While parenting two kiddos under the age of five, maintaining my position as CEO of casa de How to be Pleasant, and playing nursemaid, our dishwasher stopped working well. It was still working, but the dishes weren't all coming out looking clean. Great timing, huh? I ended up doing several loads twice. Not the most efficient use of my time.

I remembered reading that you can use lemonade mix to clean out your dishwasher, so I tried that. I thought maybe there was some kind of build up in there. The inside of the dishwasher looked a little shinier, but it didn't clean the next load of dishes any better. A quick search of the internet told me that you are supposed to use sugar-free lemonade mix (duh, the sugar could gum things up).

I also remembered that the combo of baking soda/vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner. So I threw some baking soda in the drain hole at the bottom and doused everything with vinegar. Again, the inside looked shinier. I think the dishwasher seemed to work a wee bit better (very wee?), but I was still having to re-wash items twice.

So I decided that it might be my kitchen drain that was the problem. I googled "how to clean your kitchen drain" and found this post. My mom had suggested using vinegar and baking soda in my drain a few days earlier, so I took this as a sign that it should be done! I adjusted the other blogger's instructions a little.

Here's what I did.

Boil a pot of water on the stove.
While the water is boiling, measure out 1/2 cup baking soda.
Also, measure out one cup of vinegar.
In a separate vessel, measure out one cup of water and heat the water in the microwave.

Let's begin!
1. Pour one pot of boiling water down your drain. Fill up pot with water and put it back on the stove to boil.
2. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down your drain. Use a fork to get all of the soda down and not trapped aboved the drain.
3. Set your timer for 3 minutes.
4. When the timer goes off, pour your pre-measured vinegar and microwave hot water into a bowl. Pour that mixture down your drain.
5. Cover your drain with a drain cover (or a saucer, etc).
6. Set timer for 8 minutes.
During this time, I could hear some bubbling going on down in the drain, but it didn't bubble up above my sink.
7.  When the timer goes off, pour your second pot of boiling water down the drain.

I did this twice--once for each side of the sink. I didn't think my sink was clogged, but one side bubbled a little more than the other, so there was a little debris down in there.

I don't know that I would use this method to unclog a clogged drain. It might not be powerful enough. However, this is a great way to clean the muck and guck out of your drain.

I ran the dishwasher once without any dishes in it. Then, it was time to see if the dishwasher was back to cleaning everything.

Drumroll, please...

The first load of dishes was clean! Every single dish was clean!

*Imagine me doing a happy dance.*

This ends our self-professed nerd alert. Now, back to your regular, scheduled programming.

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