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How to Actually Clean Your Appliances: Oven, Fridge, Dishwasher, and More

By Goedekershomelife @goedekers

Who says that it needs to be spring to give your home appliances a good scrub? Getting started with a regular cleaning routine for your major home appliances is crucial to maintaining them properly, and it can help achieve the following:

  • Boost the longevity of your appliances.
  • Maximize their performance.
  • Improve safety for the entire family.
  • Make all your kitchen appliances gleam.
  • Cut down on clutter.
Actually Clean Your Appliances: Oven, Fridge, Dishwasher, More

So, how do you actually clean your appliances? We can tell you right now that while there are a few secrets that the pros use to make their appliances spiffy-looking again, it mostly comes down to good old-fashioned elbow grease.

Ready to begin? Let's dive right into it.

How to Clean an Oven Range

Oven range, kitchen stove, stove oven-whatever you prefer to call it, the oven range is a key fixture in any home. It has your back every Thanksgiving and Christmas, helping you cook up tasty meals for the entire family. Now, it's time to show your oven range some love with a good cleaning.

Step 1: Use the self-cleaning mode.

Most modern oven ranges have a self-cleaning feature that you should absolutely take advantage of after major spills and messes. To use it, you'll first want to remove the metal shelves inside the oven, as well as any pots and pans in the bottom drawer. Turn on the self-cleaning mode and let it run for a few hours.

The extremely high heat should turn the baked-on debris inside your oven to ash. Wait a few hours to allow the oven to cool down before sweeping the ash out of the oven.

Note: To be safe, always remain at home for the entirety of the self-cleaning cycle.

Step 2: Spray with an oven cleaner.

If your oven doesn't have a self-cleaning feature or you just want to be extra thorough with your cleaning, you can use oven cleaner products to loosen food debris and grease. Simply spray it on, let it sit for a few minutes, and wipe up with a paper towel.

Just make sure to check the manual of your oven range to make sure that the cleaning product is safe to use on your oven.

Step 3: Clean the outside of your oven with mild detergent and a towel.

The outside of your oven can be cleaned with soap and water or another mild detergent and then gently wiped off with a paper towel. Before you begin, unplug the appliance from the power supply to reduce the risk of electric shock.

If you have stainless steel kitchen appliances, you need to take extra precautions with your cleaning methods. Make sure that you purchase an oven cleaning product formulated specifically for cleaning stainless steel before cleaning the outside of a stainless steel oven.

Actually Clean Your Appliances: Oven, Fridge, Dishwasher, More

Step 4. Scrub your cooktop with dish soap and water.

Cleaning a ceramic glass cooktop is easy. Just use dish soap, water and a sponge to get rid of caked-on debris. Again, make sure to unplug the appliance first.

If you have a gas range, take off the burner grates and soak them in soap and warm water. Dry them off with a towel and reinstall them.

How to Clean a Refrigerator

Most families open their refrigerator several times a day, making it easily one of the most used kitchen appliances in any household. It needs to be cleaned regularly (about once every month or so) to prevent icky odors and bacteria from contaminating your food.

Actually Clean Your Appliances: Oven, Fridge, Dishwasher, More

Step 1: Remove all your food items.

Although the first step in cleaning your refrigerator is the most tedious, we promise that it's worth it. First, remove all the items from your fridge.

To be safe, put your food items in a cooler; according to the United States Department of Agriculture, food can spoil in less than two hours when left out at room temperature.

Step 2: Remove the shelves and drawers.

Next, take out the shelves and drawers, taking care to place them in a safe location. You can soak the drawers and shelves in warm water and dish soap to loosen stubborn food debris.

Step 3: Wipe down the interior with soap or baking soda and water.

Dip a sponge in warm, soapy water and wipe the interior of the fridge. Start from the top and work your way down. Dry with a clean paper towel.

Step 4: Put everything back inside the fridge.

Dry off your shelves and drawers with a towel and reinstall them back into your refrigerator. Before you put all your food and drinks back in the fridge, check the bottoms and sides of each container for any sticky messes. This will prevent you from undoing all your hard work by spreading messes in your sparkling clean fridge.

Step 5: Clean the condenser coils.

If you have furry animals in the house, don't forget to clean your condenser oils behind the fridge to maximize its efficiency. To do this, unplug the refrigerator from the power supply and carefully pull it out from the wall. Use a coil brush to wipe the dirt, pet hair and debris from the condenser coils located on the back of your fridge.

If the condenser coils are located on the bottom of the refrigerator, unplug the refrigerator and simply remove the base grill to reach the condenser oils. Use your coil brush to loosen debris and use the brush attachment on your vacuum to get into the crevice and suck up the dirt and grime.

How to Clean a Dishwasher

Although it might clean your dishes, don't be fooled into thinking that your dishwasher itself doesn't need to be cleaned. Over time, food debris and soap scum can build up in the machine, causing unpleasant odors and hindering your dishwasher's performance.

Whether you have a smart dishwasher or a standard model, it's important to clean out the filter and drain regularly. Here's how to do exactly that:

Step 1: Fill your sink with warm water and vinegar.

Plug your kitchen sink drain and fill it halfway with warm water. Add two cups of vinegar to the sink. This will be used to soak your dish racks and utensil tray.

Step 2: Remove the dish rack and utensil tray.

Next, remove both the dish racks and utensil tray from your dishwasher. Place them in your sink mixture and allow them to soak while you're cleaning the rest of your dishwasher.

Step 3: Clean the interior.

Dip a rag or sponge into your vinegar solution and wipe down the interior of your dishwasher. Remove the filter that is located in the bottom of your dishwasher and let it soak in your sink. Be sure to clean under the door's gasket. You'd be surprised what's lurking there.

While you're cleaning, carefully inspect the drain to ensure that food debris isn't clogging the tiny holes. You can use a toothpick to clear blockages that might be restricting water flow.

Step 4: Put vinegar in your dishwasher.

Wash your dish rack and utensil tray off and put them back in your dishwasher. Then, fill an eight-ounce glass cup with vinegar and place it in the top rack of your machine. Run your dishwasher on the hottest cycle to eliminate musty odors and grime.

How to Clean a Washing Machine

The washing machine is yet another home appliance that you might think is self-cleaning. Unfortunately, your washing machine can harbor dirt, germs, and grime that can eventually make your clothes smell funky even after they've been cleaned.

Whether you have a front-loading washing machine or a top-loading unit, you should aim to clean it once every six months or as needed. By doing so, you can get rid of funky smells in your clothes and increase the lifespan of your machine.

Step 1: Remove debris from the gasket.

If you have a front-loading washing machine, the gasket (the rubber seal in front of the machine) can get filthy--fast. Hair, lint, and debris can get trapped in the seal. Additionally, mold and mildew can grow if you don't leave the door open to dry between loads.

To clean the gasket, soak a rag in a white vinegar solution and wring it dry. Then, pull back the gasket and scrub away.

Step 2: Clean the drum.

If your clothes are beginning to stink, the drum is likely to blame. You can clean the drum by adding two cups of vinegar to the detergent dispenser and setting your washing machine to the highest-temperature setting. Once the cycle is finished, add one cup baking soda and run your washer again.

Step 3. Remove the agitator from a top-loading washer.

If you have a top-loading washing machine, make sure to unplug your appliance before cleaning your agitator. Next, remove the fabric softener dispenser from the top of the agitator and use a socket wrench to unscrew the agitator bolt and lift the component out of the machine.

Step 4. Clean the agitator.

Create a solution of two cups vinegar, one-quarter cup baking soda, and one-quarter cup water. Dip a scrub brush in this solution and scrub the agitator, fabric softener dispenser, and the drum.

Step 5. Put the parts back inside and run the machine.

Reinstall the agitator and fabric softener dispenser, plug the machine back into the power source, and run it on the hottest cycle. Wait for the water to fill up before pausing the machine and adding four cups of white vinegar to the water.

Allow the machine to agitate for a few minutes before pausing it again and adding ½ cup baking soda. Let the mixture sit for an hour to loosen debris and kill bacteria in your machine before resuming the cycle.

How to Clean a Clothes Dryer

When it comes to cleaning a clothes dryer, most of us know to remove the lint from the filter after each load. However, lint can still build up in the dryer vent. To maximize your dryer's performance and safety, here is what you need to do:

Step 1: Unplug your dryer.

Always unplug your clothes dryer before cleaning your dryer vents. If you have a gas dryer, turn off the gas while you work to prevent gas leaks.

Step 2: Disconnect the duct and clean the exhaust duct.

Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the duct from the back of the dryer. Use a dryer vent cleaning brush to loosen up debris in the exhaust duct before vacuuming out the lint. Be sure to do this to the dryer vent located outside your home too. Don't forget to connect the duct back to the dryer after cleaning, and plug the machine back in for the next step.

Step 3: Wipe down the dryer drum.

Wipe down the dryer drum with a microfiber cloth dipped in a mild detergent and warm water. Then, rinse off any remaining detergent with a wet towel. Wipe dry or tumble a load of laundry to dry the drum.

How to Clean a Microwave Oven

Compared to your other kitchen appliances, cleaning a microwave oven is a total breeze. Even with remnants of last night's meal splattered on the interior, you can easily get your microwave to sparkle like new again with the following steps:

Step 1: Fill a bowl with a vinegar mixture.

Pour ½ cup of white vinegar and ½ cup water into a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and turn it on high for five minutes. This will loosen the food debris inside the microwave, making it easier for you to wipe down.

Step 2: Clean the microwave.

After allowing the mixture to sit and cool down, remove the bowl from the microwave. Use a paper towel to wipe down the interior of your microwave. Everything should come off easily, but, in case you're left with stubborn gunk, simply dip a sponge into your vinegar mixture and give it a good scrubbing.

Making Your Home Appliances Brand New Again

With a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule, you can make your home appliances sparkle like new again and keep funky smells at bay. Just remember to always consult the instruction manual with each of your appliances. Although vinegar and other mild detergents are generally safe on appliances, there are always some exceptions to the rule.

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