Cleaning Tips for Common Appliances

A woman cleans a stove.

Your appliances do a lot of hard work every day, whether it’s cleaning dishes or cooking your food. Give them some love and care to keep them shiny and working their best. Here are some cleaning and maintenance tips for everyday appliances in your home.

Disinfect Appliance Surfaces

Vinegar can be an effective and safe way to disinfect and remove gunk from any surface like stoves, microwaves, and refrigerators. Dip a microfiber cloth in hot vinegar water and wipe away any grease or caked on food and eliminate water spots. You can add lemon for extra freshness. Run an empty cycle with a vinegar solution through the dishwasher or coffee maker to get rid of stains and smells. You can also put a bowl of vinegar water in the microwave or on a pan in the oven on low heat to steam away grime.

Vacuum Under the Fridge and Stove

A stove in a kitchen.

Your refrigerator will run better if the condenser coils are vacuumed regularly to keep the dust from accumulating. Move the fridge, unplug the cords and find the coils. Newer models may be self-cleaning, though it’s still a good idea to sweep or vacuum underneath.

Your stove is a little trickier so take caution when cleaning behind this appliance. Try taking out the bottom drawer to allow access to the floor. If the drawer does not come out, you may have to shimmy the stove forward and remove the electrical cord. If you have a gas stove be extra cautious with the gas line connected to the back. The line is somewhat flexible, but it’s better to minimize movement. It’s also a good time to check for any kinks or issues, especially if you smell gas. This only needs to be done once or twice a year.

Keep Washing Machines Fresh

A washing machine in a laundry room.

These hard-working appliances will need a thorough cleaning every few months to keep them at their best. Once again, a white vinegar solution can be all you need to keep them fresh and mold-free. Add vinegar to the compartment you normally put detergent in on front-loaders or into the hot water on top-loaders. Baking soda works as a clothes softener and a cleaning agent for your machine. For really smelly machines or if you see mold, add two cups of hydrogen peroxide to an empty hot cycle. Wipe down drums, gaskets, and doors with cloths soaked in vinegar before running the machine.

Clean a Dryer's Lint Trap

An open dryer.

Always clean out the lint trap after every cycle as clogged lint is a common culprit in malfunctioning dryers. Equally as important is cleaning out the dryer exhaust vent that runs outside. You should do this every two years with a vacuum. Take the time to check the exhaust cap regularly for lint build-up as well. Wash the lint trap in hot water and detergent every few months and wipe down the inside of the dryer drum with a microfiber cloth to remove small particles and residue.

The majority of appliance issues stem from not cleaning them on a regular basis. Try to get on a schedule or consider making it a part of your fall and spring-cleaning routine. Your hard-working machines will thank you.