I think the best lesson my Dad ever taught me was to take care of everything I bought. Meticulous cleaning and proper care have pretty much made everything I own last a long time. Investing money for new appliances for your home certainly can cost a lot. However, if you take care of the appliances, perform some basic yearly maintenance, and keep them clean, they’ll last for quite some time.
Below are a few kitchen appliance maintenance tips! Plus who wants to use an appliance that’s caked in dirt, dust, and old food? Not me. That’s gross.
Make sure to unplug the appliances before you clean them!
Keeping the condenser coils clean is the most important part of maintaining your refrigerator. Located usually at the back or bottom of the fridge, you can sweep off the dust and dirt with a broom. Also make sure to clean your fridge at least once a week to get out old food so it doesn’t generate a mold colony from old food. Lastly, use a tablespoon of baking soda to a half quart of water to clean the closures and gaskets that seal the fridge. Not only does this also prevent mold from growing, but it also helps keep the seals in proper shape.
If your microwave has food particles all over the inside that seem impossible to scrub off, try heating a cup of water for about three minutes. Let the cup sit in the microwave a few minutes more to let the steam permeate. Then using either a sponge or paper towel, wipe the inside out. To make sure you got everything, wipe out the inside with a bit of soapy water. To keep it clean, use a paper towel or microwave-safe top to cover up your food and keep it from splattering all over your nice clean microwave.
If there’s more than a ½ inch of ice built up in your freezer, it’s time to clean it out. Usually I try to do this in the early spring. While my freezer ice melts off I can keep my food outside in coolers overnight without worrying about spoilage. You can also do this in the fall when the nights get cooler. Place a few deep aluminum pans on each shelf in your freezer to collect the water and ice, and then unplug it. In a few hours, all the ice will be gone. Check all the shelves to make sure they aren’t damaged from the ice buildup, wipe it out, and then plug the freezer back in. Don’t forget to put the food back in there, too!
- Stove or Oven
Remember that casserole that overflowed the dish a few months ago? It’s more than likely burned on to the bottom of your stove. Most ovens have self-cleaning cycles on them. After two hours, a ton of smoke, and your house temperature scorching, it’s done! Or you can avoid that by purchasing some oven cleaner from the store. Follow the directions on the bottle and make sure to wear protective gloves and a mask. That stuff is intense. If you have an electric stove top, use a basic class cleaner to clean the top. If you have a gas stove, take the burners apart and wash all of the components off.
- Garbage Disposal
Whatever you do, do not stick any hard object or your hand down the disposal to clean it! You risk damaging the disposal or worse you could cause harm to yourself. The only way I’ve been able to clean it out has been by filling the sink with hot, soapy water, then letting the water flush out the disposal. After that, I’ll cut a lemon in to halves and put it down the disposal drain and run the unit until both halves of the lemon are gone.
I try to clean our toaster out weekly so our house doesn’t smell like burning bread when the bread in it isn’t even toasted. Most toasters have a crumb tray that you can take out and wipe off. Also make sure to shake the toaster out over the sink or trash to get excess crumbs out.
- Coffee Maker
I don’t think our coffee maker has been cleaned since we got it at Christmas, but yours really should be done about every month. In the coffee pot, mix 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water then pour the mixture into the water tank of the coffee maker. Place a filter in the basket and turn your coffee maker on. Once the brew process is complete, run at least 2-3 more pots of plain water to flush the vinegar out of the coffee maker. If not, your first two pots of coffee might taste a bit weird—not that I’d know or anything…
For more information or a schedule on when you should be cleaning your other appliances, visit Repair Clinic’s website. In addition to what to maintain in your kitchen, they also have tips to clean washers, dryers, and air conditioners. Make your appliances last by taking a few minutes to take care of them!