How to Remove Dirt and Grime from Surfaces

One of the things that makes our world dirty is the fact that we touch everything, and dirt and grime is everywhere. Fingerprints from even clean hands can dirty up things due to the oils we have in our skin. When you clean anything in your home, consider the different materials that they’re made of so that you don’t ruin them.

Tips For Cleaning Dirt and Grime


Plastic can easily be cleaned using just hot soapy water or a high-quality leather cleaner. Just squirt some dish soap in hot water, use a soft cloth and wipe the surface down. Then using another soft cloth, buff it dry. If you notice white bumpy areas in your plastic containers, the containers have been ruined from either acidic food or from microwaving or cleaning in a hot dishwasher. These are best disposed of or used for non-food purposes.

Painted Areas

Typically you can use a soft cloth with hot soapy water to get most painted areas free of grime and fingerprints. If the area is made of wood and seems to be getting dried out, try using a high quality kitchen cabinet cream followed by a lemon oil polish, or make your own with an equal mixture of olive oil, vinegar, water, and a couple drops of mild dishwashing liquid. Wipe down the area with the soapy cloth, then with a cloth that only has water. Finally, dry it with a clean cloth.



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Depending on the type of metal, you have many cleaning options. For aluminum, use a soft cloth to rub in a paste made with cream of tartar and water. Wipe off with a clean cloth and only water, then use another soft cloth to buff dry. For brass, use baking soda and lemon juice. For chrome, use vinegar, then shine up with mineral oil. To clean copper, use baking soda and a soft cloth to wipe. You can also use a lemon wedge and salt to clean the bottom of copper pots. A high-quality polishing cloth would also be an excellent choice to get metal pieces looking their absolute best.

Stainless Steel


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You need to be careful with stainless as it has a coating on it to prevent it from corroding. Therefore, only use gentle soaps and oils on this type of surface, never bleach. For example, to clean a stainless island, wipe it down first with hot soapy water, then wipe down with just water and a soft cloth. Next, polish with a little olive oil, buffing it with a soft cloth until it shines. Hint: go with the grain.



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With wood, it will depend if it’s natural wood or treated wood. If water soaks in, it’s untreated and you should clean that wood mostly with only a dry, soft cloth. If it’s treated, you can use gentle soap and water. Use wood paste or olive oil to treat the wood and keep it from drying out.



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Some tiles are coated and some aren’t. For coated tiles, you can usually clean them with almost any type of mild cleaner and a soft sponge. For uncoated tiles, use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean. Make a paste of baking soda to clean grout, rinse well, then buff dry. A high performance all-purpose cleaner/degreaser would also work wonders on your favorite tile surfaces.


Removing dirt and grime from surfaces doesn’t have to be hard, but it is important to use the right tools to get the job done depending upon the material in question.


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