Had a little kitchen fire earlier this evening…well, we could call it “last night,” the hour now coming onto 1:00 a.m. I managed to carbonize an entire potful of buttered popcorn by failing to notice that I’d turned on the burner. This is why old ladies shouldn’t be allowed around stoves.
At any rate, the ruined pan—my cool Ikea stockpot!—now resides in the backyard, awaiting the light of day to be carried out to the alley garbage can. The smoke saturated the cabinetry around the stovetop, not helped by my stupidly turning on the microwave exhaust fan without thinking that such a fan “exhausts” by recirculating the air (read “smoke”) right back into the room. Ugh!
It’s possible the microwave is ruined—nice timing, a couple weeks after I changed the insurance deductible from $250 to $2500 by way of saving all of nine bucks a month. I took apart the metal exhaust fan filters and put them in the dishwasher, but I couldn’t discombobulate the whole arrangement, so some very stinky parts are still in place and couldn’t be cleaned. Nor, of course, can the microwave’s innards.
Then I was faced with a mighty stink from the cabinetry itself. In just the few moments before I noticed the burning food, smoke soaked into the woodwork. I tried cleaning the cabinets with Murphy’s Oil Soap. Didn’t work. Tried rubbing them down with lemon oil. Nothing.
Then I remembered that some time back I discovered that the grease and dirt accumulated along the ledge created by the cabinet’s trim came off quickly and neatly with a Q-tip soaked in baby oil. Could it be?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained: the cabinets already appeared to be ruined. Couldn’t ruin them any worse. The stuff is really nothing more than mineral oil with some sort of stinkum added.
So I rubbed the smelly areas with a paper towel soaked in baby oil and then wiped them dry with a clean microfiber rag.
Well! It made quite a difference. Don’t know that it worked 100%…baby oil is pretty heavily perfumed, and it may be that Johnson’s industrial perfume just covered up the smoke stench. I don’t much care for the scent of baby oil, but I’d sure rather have the parfum de l’huile pour les derrières des enfants around me than l’aire du popcorn brulé.
[dambola! the dog just caught the grasshopper that invited itself into the house while I was trying to air the joint out and carried the critter into the bedroom. argh! can life get any more amusing?]
Anyway, a little acrid smoke odor lingers in the kitchen, but I think it’s mostly coming out of the microwave. The whole house stank for three hours after the fact, but after throwing open every window and door and running the house fan, all the overhead fans, and all the table fans, most of the rooms are cleared out.
Baby oil. Kitchen cabinetry. Good combination. It really cleans varnished woodwork and is neither poisonous nor carcinogenic.