October 12, 2008

Baking Soda May Clean Stained Stainless Steel

By Karen Youso

Question: I burned olive oil on the bottom of a stainless-steel pan. I have tried cleaning it by heating baking soda and water, dishwasher detergent and water, and tomato sauce in the pan. The burned area is better, but there is more to be removed. What can I do?

Answer: You can try rubbing the stain with a paste of baking soda mixed with liquid dish soap. Rub in circular motions. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and towel dry. If that doesn't work, try a stainless steel cleaner, but read the label carefully. Avoid any product than contains chlorine, which will mar the surface. Follow directions for best results. Be sure to rinse and towel-dry. Do not use steel-wool scrubbers.

Q: Is it environmentally better to burn twigs in a fire pit or let them decompose somewhere?

A: It's better to let them decompose, said Mark Sulzbach, spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Burning twigs and yard debris releases more air pollution and carbon than decomposition. It can take a while for the twigs to decompose, but it's better for the environment. Depending on where you live, there may be a free composting site nearby, he said. Ask at your city or county offices.

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