Moving into your first home completely alters your relationship with the appliances and fixtures common in all houses. Instead of simply hoping they don’t break down during your tenure (however brief) in the rental, you become actively invested in their upkeep and functionality. The first step in properly caring for your appliances is knowing that the line between cleaning and maintaining is often very blurred. The simple act of cleaning regularly can extend the lifespan of your appliances by years. Read on for more tips on how to keep your major kitchen appliances in tiptop shape.
The hardest-working appliance in your home never gets a break. To avoid a fridge breakdown that will cost you a week of groceries, first pay attention to any strange sounds that many come from the condenser fan or evaporator fan motor. This rule of thumb applies to all appliances: a rattling, buzzing or squeaking noise can be your first clue that the appliance has a problem.
Regularly wipe down your refrigerator’s gaskets and check for tears or cracks. Maintaining the door gaskets will prevent air leaks that can result in lower-quality food storage. Applying a layer of seal conditioner or petroleum jelly helps to keep the gaskets supple.
Pulling out your refrigerator to look behind it can be mildly horrifying, but cleaning out the dust and food debris that piles up back there is entirely necessary. Use a handheld vacuum or brush to remove dust from the condenser coils; this ensures proper airflow through the fan.
Like with the refrigerator, check the door gaskets for loosening or tears. The condition of these gaskets is high stakes since they’re responsible for keeping water inside the dishwasher rather than on your kitchen floor. Also, ensure that the door lines up properly with the frame of the dishwasher when closed.
Check the filter underneath the bottom dish rack periodically for clogs. Remove the filter and rinse out food particles. Running a wash cycle with a packet of Lemonade Kool-Aid rather than detergent can help dissolve buildup due to the acidity.
Make sure that the detergent dispenser is opening during the wash cycle. If there is problem with the functionality of the dispenser, it is easy and relatively cheap to replace.
Oven and Range
Check the surface elements regularly for any buckling or other damage. If your range is a smooth top (glass or ceramic), make sure spilled food is wiped up before it has the chance to burn. If burned food does occur, you can often remove it by lightly scraping with a razorblade.
Cleaning the inside of your oven regularly may mean you can get away with using less-harsh cleaners to achieve the same result. If you clean it once a year, it will be more difficult to get it clean using natural cleaning solutions. Follow these steps for an all-natural oven cleaning:
- Sprinkle baking soda all over the floor and sides of your oven.
- Spray vinegar from a spray bottle on the baking soda to form a paste, and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Using a scrubbing pad or sponge, scrub the vinegar/ baking soda mixture until you can no longer feel grime on the oven surfaces.
Finally, don’t forget about the little guys! Your small countertop appliances such as the blender, coffeemaker and toaster need a little love at times, too. Often, a simple mixture of equal parts vinegar and water is all that’s needed to restore these to their shining glory. Pour this mixture into the reservoir of your coffeemaker and run it through the machine as you would a pot or cup of coffee. Follow up by running just water through until the vinegar smell disappears.
For your toaster, use straight vinegar on a cloth to shine the stainless steel exterior. Some toasters contain a removable tray that you can extract to eliminate crumb build-up. If not, turn your (unplugged) toaster upside down over the sink to shake out crumbs.
Maintaining your kitchen appliances is easy using (mostly) all-natural cleaning solutions, and will teach you the meaning of that elusive phrase: pride in ownership!
About Steve Ash and Fix.com
Steve Ash is a senior repairperson who has made a career from teaching people how to troubleshoot their appliances and fix things around their home. Fix.com aims to bring you expert content about anything and everything in and around your home.
Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.