Appliances can be a significant investment in the home, often costing thousands of dollars at initial purchase. Not only can the purchase price be high, the price to run appliances is often a noticeable part of your monthly budget. Maintaining appliances carefully can pay you back in both the long and the short term.
The U.S. Fire Administration offers compelling reasons to maintain appliances, in addition to budgeting costs. Poorly maintained appliances may even be a fire safety hazard in the home. Your clothes dryer and kitchen range, for example, require regular cleaning to ensure that they stay in proper working order.
With some handy tricks to clean appliances, you can be sure that your investments will operate safely and efficiently in your home for many years.
1.Chemical-Free, Homemade Cleaners
While you could load your cleaning cupboard with a variety of strong chemicals that might get the job done, you also have chemical-free options that can clean effectively without some of the potential side effects of using chemicals. Another benefit of homemade cleaners – they are generally less expensive than cleaners you purchase in the store. Sprinkle straight baking soda liberally over sinks, counters and tubs and use it as a natural scouring powder. Combine baking soda and white vinegar to use as a scrubbing and scouring solution that will eliminate grease and cut through mildew. Lemon juice is another natural cleaner that can eliminate bacteria.
The microwave oven often receives frequent use in a home, so it’s important to keep it free of spills and debris. Fill a microwave-safe cup with water and place it in the microwave. Heat the water for about two minutes and then leave the cup undisturbed in the microwave oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. After this standing time elapses, remove the cup from the microwave. You should find the interior of the microwave damp from steam. Immediately use a damp cloth to clean the interior of the microwave. Any debris and food stuck inside the microwave should wipe off easily.
Stainless steel appliances and sinks can quickly become host to smudges and fingerprints. Keep stainless steel shiny and clean by using a window-or glass-cleaning solution. You can also make your own solution with ammonia. Spray your cleaner of choice over the stainless steel and wipe it off quickly with a soft, dry cloth to shine the surface.
4.Oven and Stove
Your oven and stove require frequent maintenance and cleaning to ensure that they stay safe and attractive. Always clean off the stove surface to remove food particles and stains, which can mar the surface of your stove and create a fire hazard. Check the oven regularly to ensure that it stays clean and free of debris and grease. When the oven becomes dirty, use a self-cleaning setting on the oven (if available) or clean it with a cleaner designed for ovens.
The refrigerator often receives intense use in the home, storing food products and leftovers. Once each week, wipe down the outer surface of the refrigerator to remove food debris and fingerprints. Inside the refrigerator, wipe the surfaces with a mild detergent to remove spills and debris. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall and use your vacuum cleaner brush attachment to vacuum the coils at the back of the refrigerator once or twice each year. Regular cleaning keeps your refrigerator sparkling, reduces the maintenance work and lengthens its life.
Depending on your freezer, you may experience ice building up inside the unit over time. Twice a year, turn off the power to the freezer, empty it and allow it to warm to room temperature. Defrost the inside of the freezer and wipe down the surfaces with a cloth soaked in mild detergent to clean them. Replace the items in the freezer after checking each item to ensure it isn’t past expiration.
The washing machine is another tough appliance that receives hard use in the home. With the constant grime that moves through the washing machine, it’s important to keep it clean for the best efficiency. To clean a top-loading washing machine, fill it with hot water and add 1 quart of chlorine bleach to the water. Allow the bleachy water to agitate for approximately one minute and then turn the washer off, allowing it to sit for 60 minutes. Turn the washer back on and allow it to pass through the wash cycle. Repeat the same process again, this time with white vinegar. To clean a front-loading washing machine, set the washing machine to a large load setting and fill it with hot water. Add 2 cups of white vinegar to the detergent dispenser and allow it to progress completely through the cycle. Repeat the same process again, this time with 2 cups of chlorine bleach.
The lint filter that slides in and out of your dryer traps lint that falls off your items as you dry them in the dryer. If you operate the dryer without the lint filter, the lint may clog the vents attached to your dryer, causing a fire hazard. Always clean the lint filter before using the dryer. Once or twice each year, clean the drum area around the lint filter to remove lint that escapes the filter. Check the vent pipe that leads from the dryer to the outside once each year to remove lint that can reduce the drying power of the dryer and could become a fire hazard.
To maintain an air-conditioning unit, you must clean it at least twice during the cooling season. Turn off power to the unit and use a garden hose to spray off the coils, starting at the top of the unit and working your way down. You can also use a toothbrush to get into cracks and crevices. Hire an expert to provide annual maintenance to your unit before you begin using it at the beginning of the summer.
Your barbecue grill may receive tough use during the summer season. To maintain it for safe use, perform deep cleaning once or twice each year. Disconnect the propane tank from the grill and remove all grates from the grill. Soak the grates in soapy water and use a grill brush to clean the interior of the grill, including the heating elements. Scrub the grates with the grill brush after soaking them for about 30 minutes. Clean the exterior of the grill with soapy water and a cloth. Reassemble the grill.
Although your appliances do require maintenance, the time spent to keep them clean and sparkling will extend their useful life and protect your investment. Swing by the Red Beacon website for more helpful cleaning advice, too.
Combine baking soda and white vinegar to use as a scrubbing and scouring solution that will eliminate grease and cut through mildew.