Spilled milk can make a mess, especially if it drips into cracks or under things. Luckily there are ways to clean it out these areas. Credit: Julia Bayly / BDN

If you drink milk, odds are you have spilled some. When the spill is confined to a puddle on your counter or floor, it’s easily wiped up with a cloth or paper towel. But when the milk drips, flows or otherwise finds its way into cracks, crevices and other hard to reach places, the cleanup gets trickier.

It will take more than a swipe of a cloth to get up that spill.

“What you can do really depends on the kind of crevices the milk has spilled in,” said Kimberly Stewart, owner of the cleaning service Sweep & Slate in Bangor. “But there are ways to get at it.”

Here are four ways you can clean up milk from hard-to-reach spaces.

Cloth and cleaner

If you have something small or narrow enough to reach into the cracks and crevices, you can wrap a thin cloth dipped in cleanser around it. Then you can reach in to wipe up the milk while it is still liquid. Wipe, rinse your cloth and repeat as many times as necessary until the cloth emerges clean.

Items like pencils, rulers, meat skewers or dowels work well for this method. It also works well for getting at spilled milk that has seeped under an appliance or cabinet.

Gel

Cleaning gel has been around for a while. It’s a soft, malleable ball much like the slime children play with. Originally marketed toward cleaning out hard-to-reach spaces in a car’s interior like vents or cupholders, Stewart said it can also work well to remove milk from cracks or crevices.

“You have to let the milk dry until it’s flakey,” she said. “Then you can roll it into the crack and it will pull out the gunk.”

No cleaning gel on hand? You can use your kids’ Play-Doh in much the same way, Stewart said.

Keyboard blower

Used to blow dust out of computer keyboards and other electronics, these are basically containers that blow forced air. Let the milk dry so you are not blowing droplets of milk all over the place. Then, once it’s dried and you’ve blown it out of the crack or crevice, wipe, sweep or vacuum all the particles up.

Spin brush

Stewart describes a spin brush as an industrial electric toothbrush. These battery-powered devices are also called hurricane scrubbers and drill brushes. With its tiny bristles and rotating or vibrating head, a spin brush can reach into tiny spaces to loosen and pull dried milk out. You can find spin brushes online or in the bed/bath departments in most major retail stores.

That smell

Even when you have wiped up every last drop of liquid milk or flake of dried milk, there could still be residue. In time that residue will start to give off the unmistakable and unpleasant smell of sour milk. Before that happens, take the extra step to wipe down the area or cracks one final time.

“I like to use white vinegar for eliminating bad smells,” Stewart said. “It’s something most people have on hand and it won’t hurt you if you don’t get it all wiped up.”

A solution of baking soda and water is another non-chemical recipe you can use to wipe over an area that has had milk spilled over it. Afterwards, wipe it again with a clean, damp rag to remove any residual baking soda mixture. If you are going to use a store-bought cleanser, make sure to read the label and that it is safe for the surface on which you plan to wipe it.

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.