You can clean your kitchen after every meal by wiping off the table and countertops and think you have a grime-free eating space. Appearances can be deceiving, though. At some point, your appliances are going to need a little extra help to shine the way they used to.
Dust, food particles and grease can slowly build up and leave your appliances looking dingy and dirty. If you can find a little extra time in your evening or weekend, try these cleaning tips to keep your appliances looking sparkling and new.
The refrigerator is a host of spills, dust, mold, mildew and forgotten food items. Pull all the drawers out and be prepared to make some disgusting discoveries. Spray everything down with your favorite cleaning product or make your own.
Add equal parts water and vinegar to make a cleaning solution. Use this to scrub and shine the inside and outside of your refrigerator. The more you wipe up, the more grime you will discover. It will make you feel healthier, though, knowing the place where you store your food is clean as can be.
If you think your refrigerator looks dirty from the front, take a look in the back. Pull the refrigerator out so you can get behind it. Here you will find dust bunnies you never knew existed in your home.
The refrigerator pulls in air through its intricate metal coils. They get clogged and covered with dust, which almost looks like a snowfall if left too long. Wipe off as much of this stuff as you can, then use your vacuum cleaner to suck up the rest. You will notice a difference even in the sound of your refrigerator. It won’t have to work as hard to breathe.
Stove and Oven
Your oven probably has a self-cleaning feature. Use this when you notice greasy, burned-on residue throughout your oven. After that process is complete and the oven is cooled down, you’ll need to get inside and clean the old-fashioned way.
Wipe up whatever burnt debris remain from the cleaning. Use baking soda and water to work out the gunk from the hinges and on spots the cleaning function was unable to address. Finish by wiping the inside down with a vinegar and soapy water solution. For stubborn grime, you can use a commercial oven cleaner. Just be careful not to breathe in the fumes.
Soak stovetop burners and any other removable parts in hot, soapy water. Add a splash of bleach if they are extra sticky. Use a bleach-based cleaner or make your own with a 5 percent bleach to water solution. Basically, a splash inside a spray bottle will be enough.
A little bleach goes a long way. For stains that won’t seem to come off, cover them with a paper towel soaked in the bleach solution. Let that sit for a half an hour or more. Most stains will dissolve on their own this way.
You wouldn’t think the dishwasher would need your help, but it too can require some maintenance. Check the bottom and the drain area for food debris and stray forks. Wipe the gaskets, and you will be surprised at the black gunk that comes off them. Depending on how your silverware holder is configured, mold and mildew can build up in this area. Wipe it all down with a bleach-based cleaning solution. For added cleanliness, you can deodorize your dishwasher by filling a small bowl with white vinegar and placing it on your dishwasher’s top rack. Run it otherwise empty for a full cycle.
Sink and Garbage Disposal
The sink and garbage disposal can get pretty nasty, and it usually doesn’t take much effort to make them look and smell better again. The bigger issue with your sink, dishwasher and garbage disposal is that failure to maintain these items could result in major plumbing problems. You want to make sure the pipes coming in and out never get clogged, and if they do, that they are addressed immediately.
If your garbage disposal gets clogged, the first thing you should do is turn it off. Make sure no one is near the on switch when you use your hands to try to free the debris. If this does not work, take an Allen wrench and fit it into the hole under your disposal. Slowly turn the crank in either direction.
Normally you will hear the water draining after whatever was stuck is successfully removed. Try operating the disposal again, and repeat if necessary. It’s a good idea to have a matching Allen wrench under your sink at all times for situations like this.
Keep your disposal smelling fresh by grinding ice cubes and lemon peels in it every few weeks. You can also freeze vinegar into ice cubes and use those. A dash of baking soda down the drain also helps freshen it.
Keep your sink and disposal from getting clogging by using your trash can to dispose of grease, pasta, rice, potato peels, rinds and other things that can wreak havoc on your plumbing. Add a mesh filter to your drain to capture unwanted particles that can be disposed of in the trash.
If your sink gets clogged, try using baking soda and hot water to unclog it. Commercial drain cleaners work, too. Just don’t plunge your sink if you use these products. You want to avoid splashing the chemicals in your eyes.
If someone forgets to cover their food, it only takes a minute to have splatter all over the inside of your microwave oven. Repeated use without cleaning it only makes it tougher to get off later. You can spray your choice of commercial cleaner inside and let it sit 15 minutes or so before wiping it off.
If you want to avoid chemicals, try this more natural solution. Get a microwave-safe bowl and add one cup of water. Chop up a lemon, lime or orange and add it to the bowl, along with a quarter-cup of white vinegar. Microwave on the high setting for several minutes. You want the solution boiling and the door to steam up. Cool for 15 or 20 minutes, then wipe off with a sponge. You won’t have to worry about ingesting Windex with your next meal.
For the exterior, use an all-purpose degreasing cleaner. Get in the habit of spraying into your sponge or towel and never on the appliance. You don’t want the cleaning solution to get inside the electrical inner workings of the microwave.
We use our appliances several times per week, if not every day. It’s only natural that they will accumulate dust or get dirty from us touching and using them or making messes on them. They will look nicer and in some cases perform better if we take a little time out of our busy days to clean and maintain them.