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Ask Nancy Tell Nancy

Nancy Bock   2010 [320x200]

Remember when you were in school and Show ‘n Tell was a favorite classroom activity? Well, that's just what we'd like to do with this section of Cleaning Matters. We'd love to hear more from our readers! Here's an acceptable place to air your dirty laundry . . . to tell others how you coaxed spots and stains from your favorite outfits. Do you have a funny story about what was left in the pockets? What lessons have your kids learned the hard way about doing their own laundry? You decide what's next! Send Nancy an email at education@cleaninginstitute.org and write "Tell Nancy a story" in the subject line.

Q: How do I remove greasy film from my granite countertops?

A: Fill your sink with warm water and add two tablespoons of a mild dishwashing detergent. Dip a cloth into the soapy water, wring it out and wipe the countertop. Continue dipping and wiping until the greasy film is removed. Rinse the countertop with cool water and a clean cloth. Dry with a soft dry cloth. Avoid abrasive cleaners, scouring pads and acid-based products such as those with lemon-based or vinegar-based ingredients. 

Q: Is it okay to wash and re-use disposable dishes and utensils? We do a lot of casual entertaining and it seems wasteful to keep buying new.Is it okay to wash and re-use disposable dishes and utensils? We do a lot of casual entertaining and it seems wasteful to keep buying new.

A: As long as they are washed in hot water with soap, there’s certainly no reason you can’t re-use most disposable plastic dishes and cutlery. Exceptions to reusing disposable tableware include paper, foam or the newer bamboo disposable items. Why? They are too porous and manufacturers don’t use any sort of sealant on them. Plastic cutlery can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher. If washing by hand, soak the utensils first in a bowl of hot water with soap, then wash and air dry. If washing in the dishwasher, put them in a dishwasher basket (the type sold for baby accessories works well) and place it on the top rack to reduce heat exposure. Note that the more expensive grade of plastic cutlery will hold up best to repeated washings. Plastic dishes can also be washed and reused. Generally, handwashing is recommended.

– Nancy Bock is Senior Vice President of Consumer Education at the American Cleaning Institute