If the house is to be closed for a time, or if for any other reason utensils are to be set aside, all metals should be protected from dampness by a coating of vaseline, paraffin, or un-salted fat of some kind.

Materials And Their Care

The advantages and disadvantages of the various materials used in kitchen utensils, together with their care, may be summed up as follows:

Aluminum Advantages:

1. The utensils are light.

2. They are generally seamless.

3. They hold the heat longer than do some of the other materials, even though they are somewhat slow in heating.

4. They are durable.

5. Food is less likely to burn in utensils of aluminum than in those of some other metals, and if it does burn, the kettle is generally more easily cleaned.

6. Aluminum utensils are generally made in good shapes.

7. Aluminum does not rust.

8. It does not chip.


1. Aluminum discolors easily.

2. It is expensive.

3. Acid foods should not be allowed to remain for any great length of time in aluminum. So little aluminum is dissolved in cooking the ordinary acid foods, that its use for this purpose is no longer considered a bad practice.

General care:

1. Scour aluminum with only mild abrasives, such as whiting or bon ami, since it is a soft metal and scratches easily. Steel wool may be used.

2. Wash aluminum with neutral soap and water, since an alkaline soap or cleansing substance will attack the metal. Add a small amount of ammonia water, and polish the utensil with whiting occasionally.

3. Remove dents with a wooden mallet.

4. Cook foods containing weak acids, such as sour milk, tart apples, tomatoes, or weak vinegar in aluminum utensils to remove the tarnish that appears with common use.

Special care:

1. To remove burnt food, soak the kettle in hot water, use a wooden spoon instead of metal to scrape it off, or if necessary boil water in the kettle.

2. The coarser abrasives may be used on bad stains, but the aluminum will be scratched.

3. For a kettle in very bad condition, use an oxalic acid solution in the proportion of 4 tablespoons of oxalic acid crystals (poison) to 1 gallon of water. Allow the cold solution to stand in the kettle overnight, or boil it in the kettle for not more than five minutes. Wash the kettle thoroughly with soap and water before using it. Care must be exercised in handling the solution since it is a very poisonous substance.

Copper Advantages:

1. Copper utensils are durable.

2. They are attractive in appearance.

3. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat.


1. Copper utensils are heavy.

2. They are expensive.

3. They are dangerous to use for cooking unless they are kept scrupulously clean.

4. They require much cleaning.

5. Acid foods must not be allowed to stand in copper.

General care:

1. Copper utensils should be kept clean by thorough washing in hot soapsuds.

2. They must be kept bright, because the tarnish is easily soluble in weak acids and forms a poisonous compound.

3. If not stained, copper is best brightened with rottenstone or tripoli and sweet oil.

Special care:

1. Wash the utensil with a solution of washing soda to remove grease.

2. Remove the tarnish from copper with a weak acid, such as oxalic, cream of tartar, vinegar, lemon juice, or the acid of sour milk. The acid should be completely rinsed off with water, and the utensil rubbed with whiting, since any acid remaining on it will cause it to tarnish the more quickly.

3. Scour the utensil with vinegar and salt. Wash it at once and polish it with tripoli and sweet oil.

4. Use rottenstone and oil, and follow this with dry whiting, rottenstone, or tripoli.

5. Use ammonia water, and wash it off thoroughly, since the compound formed is poisonous.

Enamelware Advantages:

1. Enamelware is light.

2. It is easily cleaned.

3. It radiates heat readily.

4. It is fairly durable.

5. It is not affected by food acids.

6. It has a clean, attractive appearance.


1. Enamelware must be handled almost as carefully as glass to prevent chipping. Granite and enamelware are made by coating sheet iron or steel utensils with an enamel or glaze.

2. It does not withstand sudden changes of temperature, such as being placed over a direct flame that gives intense heat.

3. It cannot be used for strong alkalis.

4. Some cheap enamels contain lead compounds which are soluble in vinegar and fruit acids and give rise to the danger of lead poisoning. A simple test is to let a beaten egg stand in the utensil for a few minutes. If it becomes discolored, lead is probably present.

General care:

1. Wash enamelware in hot soapsuds. Clean any seams with a wooden toothpick or skewer.

2. Remove ordinary stains with sapolio or Dutch cleanser.

3. To remove food that has been burnt on, place a small amount of fat in the dish, warm it gently, and scrape off the burned particles.

Special care:

If greasy food is so badly burned on an enamelware utensil that none of the general methods of cleaning has any effect, strong acids may be used, although enamelware should not be expected to be proof against them. Place a few drops of 25 per cent sulphuric acid in the pan and add a few drops of 25 per cent hydrochloric acid. Be exceedingly careful not to allow the acids to get on the hands or clothing. As soon as the acids begin to fume, neutralize them by adding ammonia water, pour them off, wash the utensil thoroughly, and flush the drainpipe well, rinsing it at last with boiling water.

Iron and steel Advantages:

1. Iron utensils are strong and durable.

2. They hold heat well.

3. They endure intense heat.

4. They are relatively inexpensive.

5. They become smooth with long use and are then not hard to clean.

6. They make an even heat possible and are consequently excellent for frying. Russia iron is a good sheet iron for roasting and baking.


1. Iron utensils should not be used for cooking acid foods.

2. They are heavy.

3. They rust readily.

General care:

1. Iron utensils must be kept smooth and free from rust, which means that they must be kept dry.

2. Wash them thoroughly in hot soapsuds.

3. Use a wire dish cloth to remove food that has been burnt on.

4. To preserve the temper of steel knives, avoid the practice of heating the blade on top of the stove in order to facilitate cutting fresh bread or cake. Allowing hot water to run over the blade accomplishes the same purpose without injury to the knife.

5. Never allow the cogs of an egg-beater or ice cream freezer to be covered with water, since they cannot be perfectly dried and therefore they become roughened and clogged with rust.

Special cleaning:

1. To clean iron utensils thoroughly, boil them occasionally in a solution of washing-soda made in the proportion of 6 quarts of cold water to 1 pound of washing-soda, rinse them with boiling water, and dry them thoroughly over heat before putting them away. Use some scouring powder after rinsing them, if necessary.

2. If iron utensils are to be put away for some time they should be coated with paraffin or unsalted fat.

3. If rust is not too thick it may be removed by scouring the utensil, iron or steel, with bath brick or fine emery and rubbing it with kerosene or by allowing kerosene to remain on it for some time to soften the rust and then scouring it with bath brick.

4. If a utensil is badly rusted, apply dilute hydrochloric acid, add ammonia water to neutralize the acid, wash the utensil, dry it, and oil it.

5. Scour steel knives with bath brick or some similar material after they have been washed and rinsed but not wiped. Rest the knife blade on a board, dip a moistened cork into the scouring powder, and apply it to the blade, rubbing it until the stain has disappeared. Rinse the knife thoroughly and wipe it dry.

Nickel Advantages:

1. Nickel-plated utensils are durable.

2. They are easily kept clean and bright.

3. They do not rust.


1. Nickel-plated utensils are heavy.

2. They are expensive. General care:

Wash nickel utensils in hot soapsuds and rinse them in very hot water. Special care:

1. Polish nickel with a paste made of lard and whiting.

2. Apply whiting moistened with ammonia or alcohol, and polish the utensil with soft cotton waste.