-- if you have any leather furniture, I recommend cleaning and conditioning the hides at least quarterly. I use Restoration Hardware's Leather CPR that both cleans and conditions the leather. Cleaning and conditioning the leather removes dirt and stuck-on debris, and prevents cracking and fading. I massage a generous amount of product and massage it into the leather, allowing it to dry for an hour or so. I love how soft the leather feels after application, and try to do so every 3-4 months.
-- if you have any wood products in your kitchen, it's so important to condition and clean them at least quarterly with a good wood cleaner / cream. When wood dries out, it chips, cracks, and stains easily. I use John Boos' board cream. It's a mixture of natural bees wax + food grade mineral oil. I treat my wooden cutting boards, butch block counter tops, spatula handles, and dining table and chairs quarterly. Make sure your wood products are free of any debris, and then slather the board cream all over, allowing it to soak in for at least an hour or two. Using the board cream will leave a silky, glossy barrier and lock in the wood's natural moisture and prevent chipping, cracking, and unwanted bleaching. If you have any surface scratches, chances are the board cream will drastically minimize their appearance, especially when treated quickly after damage.
-- if you have an electric toothbrush, take it apart at least once a month and give the parts a thorough cleaning. I know I gag every time I dismantle my Sonicare toothbrush for cleaning, and can't imagine how foul and malodorous it would be if I didn't regularly clean it. Do yourself a favor - and clean the cracks and crevices of your dental appliances regularly.
-- caring for your kitchen cutlery will not only extend their life, but will also optimize their regular use. Here are a few tips:
- always hand wash and dry your cutlery straight away. Never put them in the dishwasher - the constant heating and cooling of the dishwasher will cause the metal to constantly expand and contract, cracking the handles and compromising the integrity of the blades.
- hone your knifes. If cutting your finger nails is like sharpening your knives, filing your nails is like honing your knives; it creates a smooth edge and makes for effortless cutting. most knife sets come with a honing steel. I recommend honing regularly. If you're not comfortable, or need more information, take a look at Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer giving some tips and tricks:
- sharpen your knives. Most better knife manufacturers offer complimentary professional sharpening. I love Shun's cutlery, and love their complimentary sharpening services. It's also important to care for other cutting devices - sewing scissors, lawn mowing blades, etc. Sharp tools make for efficient, longer lasting tools.
When you invest in great things, it's important to care for them. What're some tips and tricks you have discovered?