Cheryl Posner


Top 8 Cleaning Tips from the Pros

Nobody likes to clean.  It is laborious, time consuming and for the most part dirty.  So why do we do it?  Well, whether in business or in daily life, those working in serving or caring roles; be they parent, food service workers or healthcare staff, have a huge responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of those within their care.

Food poisoning alone is reported at 5.4 million cases on average each year, in Australia alone.  This means that finding fast and efficient ways to maintain high levels of hygiene throughout the home and workplace, is crucial.

Whilst those figures are daunting, professional cleaners have passed on a few nuggets of wisdom which can shortcut cleaning time and ensure your guests, visitors or customers stay safe and healthy.

Since food preparation is one of the most common sources of food contamination such as e-coli and salmonella, let’s begin there.

Tip 1 – Making a meal of it

You may want to put down your lunch before reading this, but studies have found that the humble chopping board, the platform from which the majority of food is prepared, can be up to 200 times dirtier than a toilet seat.  This means any discussion about food hygiene should begin here – absolute ground zero.

In a busy kitchen where speed can overtake care, cleaning rituals can be lax and the results tragic, caused by a proliferation of pathogens including:

  • Salmonella
  • E-coli
  • Campylobacter

Until recently it was accepted that plastic chopping boards were more hygienic than wooden ones.  Recent research however, has now discovered that bacteria can survive far longer on plastic surfaces than wooden, making wood the far superior choice for chopping boards.

Cleaning wooden boards should be done separately to crockery and other utensils due to the risk of cross contamination.   Inspect chopping boards regularly and if there are deep scores or grooves where bacteria can grow or signs of mould staining, replace them immediately.

Tip 2 – Surface sanitation

It goes without saying that hard surfaces and countertops need to be thoroughly cleaned after each use.  Using products not specifically designed for purpose including bleach and window cleaner, can eventually cause fading or damage to porous or synthetic surfaces.

Natural stone

Wipe down with warm soapy water and a clean cloth followed by a paper towel to dry and prevent streaking.  Sanitise with a mixture of equal parts distilled water and isopropyl alcohol.  Thoroughly spray the entire surface, leave for three minutes then wipe off.  Alternatively, use a commercial sanitising solution.

Stainless steel

Commercial steel benchtops where food is prepared should undergo thorough cleaning after each use.

  • Remove all dirt and food particles from the surface
  • Rinse with potable warm water using a sponge or microfiber cloth
  • Wash with hot water (60C) and a commercial detergent
  • To sanitise, apply clean water heated to 75C for at least two minutes
  • Apply a commercial sanitising solution as indicated on the label
  • Allow to air dry.


Follow the same process as for stone benchtops, avoiding the use of abrasive cleaners. Where staining has occurred, use baking soda and water formed into a thick paste and apply it to the affected area and cover with a damp paper towel.  Leave for two hours and then gently wipe off.

Tip 3 – Bake off

The bane of every cleaner are ovens and stove tops due the combination of intricate parts and stubborn grease, grime and carbon build-up.  Naturally, these are not the place for toxic chemical use.

An ounce of prevention as they say, is worth a pound of cure.  Regular cleaning will prevent the worst of the gunk.  Using proper sized dishes, lids and roasting bags plus foil trays at the base of the oven and cooktop, will cut down on mess.

Tips for keeping your oven spotless:

  • Remove racks and trays and place in dishwasher
  • Wipe down and remove debris from oven and cooktop
  • Avoiding the heating elements, apply a paste of baking soda and water to built-up carbon and stains
  • Leave overnight
  • Use a plastic spatula to lift and remove built-up crud
  • In a spray bottle, mix white vinegar and water and spray thoroughly, concentrating on stubborn residue
  • Rinse then wipe down with a dry cloth.

Tip 4 – Glass

Whether showers, restaurant windows or splashbacks, maintaining crystal clear glass can be challenging.  Cloudy, streaked glass can be both unsanitary and very off-putting, particularly in food display cases.

Glass requires a three-pronged attack – to clean, sanitise and avoid build-up of mould and bacteria. The following instructions work for soap scum and other hard to shift film on glass:

  • Place 1/2 cup of baking soda into a plastic container adding enough white vinegar to form a paste
  • Wipe this paste over glass when fizzing has stopped
  • Wait 15 minutes
  • Clean off
  • Sanitise with a commercial grade, non-toxic product made for glass
  • Dry with a paper towel.

Tip 5 – Refrigerators and Freezers

Whilst refrigeration equipment usually doesn’t suffer the same built-up grime as cooking surfaces, they still need to be cleaned thoroughly and regularly.  Some tips for cleaning and maintenance are:

  • Look for appliances which have removable seals, making cleaning more streamlined
  • Empty fridge completely and unplug from wall
  • Use a commercial grade sanitiser that is safe for use around food
  • Don’t forget to clean the condenser tray, condenser filter and drainage hole!
  • Dry thoroughly to avoid bacteria and mould growth.

Tip 6 – Stainless steel cookware

No matter how hard we may try to keep it from happening, pots and pans which are in regular use will lose their pristine appearance eventually.

To bring them back from the brink, place water and a cup of vinegar into the pan and bring it to the boil.  Remove it from the heat and add two tablespoons of baking soda (expect fizz!) Clean the pan as normal.

For stubborn stains mix up a paste using the baking soda and a few drops of water and apply this, leaving it a few minutes to work its magic before cleaning off.

Tip 7 – Grease and gunk

As with ovens and cooktops, a paste comprising water and baking soda or white vinegar is a safe and effective solution for stubborn grease and food residue.

Alternatively, look for a non-toxic commercial grade cleaner, designed for kitchen use.

Tip 8 – Implement a schedule

By employing a cleaning checklist you can ensure that hygienic practices are being followed at all times.  A sample schedule could entail:


  • Wipe down all surfaces
  • Sanitise food preparation surfaces
  • Change disposable foil on cooktops and in ovens
  • Clean cooking equipment, fryers and small appliances
  • Clean heads on beverage dispensers and similar
  • Clean sinks
  • Launder towels, cloths and aprons
  • Wash flatware, crockery and glassware and air dry
  • Remove trash and waste to external bins
  • Sweep, mop and disinfect floors


  • De-lime sinks and taps
  • Thoroughly clean ovens inside and out
  • Treat floor drains with commercial drain cleaner
  • Clean and sanitise refrigerators and freezers
  • Clean anti-fatigue mats


  • Clean out grease traps
  • Wash and rinse out range hood and other vents
  • If applicable, clean coffee and ice machines as per manufacturer’s instructions
  • Wash down ceilings and walls to prevent build-up of grease.

Implementing a formal cleaning schedule, whether in the home or a commercial environment, takes the guesswork out of hygiene.  It provides a transparent window into the health of a kitchen – a vital component to ensuring the continued wellbeing of everyone in your care.

Top 5 Instant Pot Recipes To Survive The Winter

Is it just me or is this winter the coldest it’s ever been? And, is your kitchen as cold as ours, despite the warm oven and the central heating and that delightful cup of cocoa? Well, you are in the same freezing ball of snow, then it means that you cannot withstand standing in the kitchen cooking for hours, can you?

While a packet of pastries and more cocoa sounds delightful, that isn’t the healthiest option, especially if you are an athlete or a CRA garnishment professional watching your waist. But, worry not! We don’t wish for you to sleep on an entry stomach, snack on unhealthy foods or starve to death. With the rest of the freezing families and singles out there, we have come up with simple, fast and, hearty instant pot recipes.  In a few warm minutes, you will be back on the warm couch with a bowl of the healthiest food to fill you up and keep you warm.

The five best instant pot recipes include:

1. Easy Chili

This is one of the easy-to-prepare recipes as you can prepare it within 45 minutes. The chili’s preparation time is 20 minutes, it takes 20 minutes on the pressure cooker, and it will be ready in 35 minutes.

If you are craving a hearty meal to warm you up this winter, you should get ready to prepare chili. This is a simple beef and beans chili recipe. Besides guaranteeing to warm you up an hour after you set foot in the kitchen, this easy chili loaded with layers, upon layers of umami, spicy flavors and textures will leave you satisfied.

The recipe for your chili is available here:

2. Easy Mac and Cheese

You can never go wrong with mac and cheese, and the best part is that you need an instant pot to prepare this meal that guarantees warmth and fullness. The reason why this mac and cheese meal will take less time compared to other meals is that you get to cook it under a high pressure.

Like baked mac and cheese, your kids and the entire household will fall in love with this instant pot mac and cheese. The result of using a high-pressure cooker making mac and cheese is that it results in the creamiest, cheesiest, and the most delicious simple meal perfect for busy and cold weeknights or weekends. The best part is that you can have this mac and cheese as a side dish or as the main course!

The best part about preparing this meal is that instead of waiting for water to oil for you to add macaroni, the making sauce in a separate pan, you throw everything in the pot. Once you pressure cook the macaroni with butter, salt, and water, plus some dry mustard, you will have perfectly cooked macaroni. You don’t have to keep an eye on this and once cooked; you just need to add your milk and cheese.

Check out the entire recipe here:

3. Honey Teriyaki Chicken

Have you missed hearty and flavorful teriyaki chicken but you don’t want to spend your entire afternoon preparing this meal, how about a simple instant pot recipe that requires a minimum of five minutes for preparation?

The instant pot honey teriyaki chicken is full of flavors and extremely easy to make. This chicken will leave you wondering why you even eat out when you can prepare this delightful meal in few minutes and have it ready as you watch your favorite TV show.

The directions are so simple; just make the sauce, saute, add the sauce,  pressure cook, and then serve. You can have the full recipe here:

You will also love this recipe because you will realize that all the ingredients needed are most probably in your kitchen, and the whole family will love this meal whether you prepare it during weeknights or over the weekend.

Given the time it takes to prepare this chicken, it is the go-to recipe for every busy person.

4. Country Steak

Who said you need hours to prepare and serve up steak? As you think of the best ways for staying warm and healthy this winter, you better have this recipe. It is one of the simplest, fastest, and the easiest steak recipes for flavorful, tender, and filling steak.

You will also like it because it is one of those efficient freezer-to-pressure cooker recipes. It has a short preparation time, and in four steps, your steak is ready. The steps are: prepare your steak, saute, pressure cook, and release.

Beware that the cooking time will change depending on the size of the steak. Here is your full recipe:

5. Portuguese Chicken and Rice

Did you ever think that you could prepare, cook, and serve chicken and rice in less than one hour? Well, you can, once you get an instant pot.  Also, you don’t have to be Portuguese.

In under an hour, you will serve up and enjoy delicious spoonfuls of tender chicken with veggies soaked in the aromatic and colorful coconut turmeric sauce, and paired with perfectly cooked fried rice. Then, top all that with creamy melted cheese! Appetizing, isn’t it?

Well, this meal is eleven (or less) simple steps away. Just make sure to serve and start digging immediately to enjoy the flavors!

Here are the directions:


If you are still wondering about what you will do to keep warm, healthy, and how you will make this winter a little more interesting, get started with these five recipes. Keep in mind that there are many more recipes from where these came from – we hope your kitchen is stocked up!

How to Properly Store Your Wine

Do you consider yourself somewhat of a wine enthusiast? Do you often have a number of different varieties and types on-hand, ready to pair them with whatever meal or activity you’ve got planned? If that’s the case then it’s also important to think about storage. While you may be vaguely aware of the fact that the way you store wine will affect how good it tastes, did you know that if it’s not stored correctly in the right conditions and temperature, you can actually ruin it?

For those who have started to invest in better quality wine with a higher price tag, it would be a real shame to think of it going to waste simply because it wasn’t stored properly. So with that in mind it’s well worth your time to look into how to properly store your wine.

Keep the Temperature and Humidity Regulated

When choosing a place to store your wine in your home you want to be sure the wine is in an area that doesn’t get below 7 degrees and above 21 degrees. Too hot, or too cold will ruin the flavour and nose of the wine. Usually white wine is stored a little cooler, but it you have white and red that you are keeping together then you can aim for the middle at 12-13 degrees.

You also want to pick an area that has humidity of around 70%, again not allowing it to go too far above or below this mark.

What Position Should the Wine Rest In?

There is often a question as to what position to store the wine in. This depends on whether the wine has a natural cork or not. For those wines that do have a natural cork you want to be sure it is stored flat. The cork must remain moist, so lying flat ensures this.

Light Conditions

Wine should always be stored somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of light, certainly not direct sunlight. It’s also a good idea to pick a spot that doesn’t get a lot of vibration. You want the wine to be able to rest and not be moved around.

When Home Storage Isn’t Enough

If you find that you’re quickly running out of space, or you have a large variety of wine that requires completely different storage conditions, then it may be time to look at storing it in one of the professional wine cellars at a place like Octavian Vaults. Octavian Vaults allow everyday wine enthusiasts and collectors the ability to have their wine stored in a professional facility that is located 100 feet below the hills of Wiltshire. What this means is that your investment will be protected and you won’t have to worry about any of your vintages spoiling and losing their value. This is ideal for those of you that love collecting.

Protect Your Investment and Take the Proper Steps

Taking the time to look into how to properly store your wine means you’ll be protecting your investment and making sure your collection retains its value, and can be enjoyed whenever you like.

4 Signs You Need to Call an HVAC Professional Right Away

HVAC units seem to break down on the coldest and hottest days of the year. Prolonged hot or cold weather patterns can certainly cause an HVAC unit to work overtime to keep your home climate controlled. However, an HVAC unit often offers warning signs to let you know that you should consider calling a professional to service your system. Discover a few signs that indicate you need to call an HVAC professional right away.

Your Unit Isn’t Running Properly

If you or a family member is sick, you go or take the person to visit the doctor. If your car is making a strange sound, you visit the mechanic. Likewise, if your HVAC unit is demonstrating signs that it’s starting to malfunction, you need to call an HVAC professional. If your unit isn’t heating or cooling your home as it should and you don’t have obvious blockages to heat registers or air filters, you should call a professional. Contact a technician if you notice unusual sounds coming from your HVAC unit as well.

Finally — and most importantly — if you have a gas unit, you should already have installed carbon monoxide detectors. If a carbon monoxide detector alerts you to the presence of this deadly gas, contact a professional immediately.

Your DIY Actions Haven’t Resolved the Problem

Several issues related to HVAC units are simple to resolve. You can change the unit’s filter, check the thermostat, and confirm that the unit’s circuit breaker has not tripped. Such repairs are simple, inexpensive, and take only a few minutes.

You may also move draperies, furniture, and other items around your home to keep them from obstructing the air flowing through your registers. Make sure your registers are fully open to allow maximum airflow. If simple do-it-yourself HVAC system repairs such as these ones do not solve your problem, then you need to call an HVAC technician.

You Renovated Your Home

Home and garden television programs offer plenty of inspiration for renovating your home. You may find yourself planning to upsize your home to suit an expanding family or to customize your living space to meet your tastes.

When selecting floor plans, paint samples, and design touches to complete your renovation project, make sure to place “call your HVAC professional” on your must-do list. Your HVAC professional can alert you to new features to maximize your HVAC unit’s efficiency while climate controlling your new living space. HVAC professionals can also make sure that your home is as efficient as possible, including assessing your current insulation and ductwork.

Your Home Is Exceptionally Dusty

Cleaning your home may seem like a never-ending process, and your HVAC unit may make your cleaning efforts moot. Over time, dust and dirt build up on your HVAC unit’s elements; that dust and dirt then gets distributed throughout your home, landing on surfaces you just dusted. Schedule a maintenance visit with your HVAC professional to have your HVAC system thoroughly cleaned once a year. Not only will a thorough cleaning keep your whole home cleaner, but a clean HVAC system also runs more smoothly and efficiently, thus prolonging its overall life.

Don’t wait until your HVAC unit completely breaks down to call an HVAC professional. From preventative maintenance to annual cleanings, you can make sure your system keeps you comfortable year-round.