The end of a long and cold winter is an exciting time, but along with the blooming of flowers and warmer weather comes the daunting task of spring cleaning. It’s time to roll up your sleeves, crank open the windows and bring your home back to life.
In the hustle and bustle of spring cleaning, it’s important not to neglect your appliances. They never get a day off, take the most abuse, and yet probably get the least attention. Keep them clean to help them last longer and run more efficiently!
Don’t run the self-cleaning feature; it is actually very hard on the wiring and electronic components. Equally important is to never use chemical spray-on cleaners, which emit toxic fumes all through your home. All you really need is a warm cloth and dish soap. If you clean the oven when it is warm, but cool enough to touch, it should be fairly easy to remove any baked-on foods. Remove oven trays and racks and soak them in warm, soapy water to remove caked on food. (Note: if you choose to use the self-cleaning cycle, oven racks left in the oven during a self-cleaning cycle will over-heat and turn blue.) To clean your stovetop; remove the burner coils, drip trays, knobs and hood vents and use a cloth with dish soap and warm water to remove residue. For caked on mess you may want to fill your sink with hot, soapy water and soak them for a couple hours. To attack tough burnt on food, make a baking soda and water paste to gently scrub it away. Replace stained, metal drip plates beyond the help of steel wool.
The space behind your fridge is arguably the dirtiest couple of square feet in your house. It’s a meeting place for dust, water, and a host of other stuff that’s fallen behind the big guy. Pull out the refrigerator and mop up whatever you find. Clogged coils can make your refrigerator more expensive to run, so vacuum refrigerator coils behind and beneath your fridge. Doing so will prolong the life of your fridge since accumulated dust can cause the motor to overheat. Scrub the inside of the refrigerator (including racks, drawers, and walls) with warm water and vinegar to remove residue and odor. Finally, don’t forget about the drip tray under your fridge as well as the gaskets around the fridge and freezer doors. If there is anything sticky on the gaskets, it may cause them to tear.
Since your dishwasher removes food, it is prone to clogs that keep it from cleaning properly and make it run less efficiently. Remove and wash racks, then clean corners and gaskets, removing all food buildup. Read your user manual to learn how to remove the spray arms, then wash using soap and water. If your dishwasher has a filter basket, remove and empty it. Reassemble all the parts, place a dishwasher-safe cup of white vinegar on the top rack, and run a normal wash cycle to finish cleaning!
Now lets move onto two appliances people often forget to clean: the washer and dryer. Neither is hard to clean, but people tend to forget that they need to be cleaned and maintained.
To begin cleaning your washer, use an all-purpose cleaner to spray down the outside, then use a damp rag to wipe it down. After the top is clean open up the washer and wipe down around the door and the top of the bowl that holds your clothes. If possible, remove and wash bleach and fabric softener dispensers. Next fill the washer with hot water and pour in 1 cup of vinegar (you can also use bleach.) Do not use commercial cleaners since they can often ruin your washer. Vinegar or bleach in hot water is enough to flush the system and clean your washer. Let it run on a quick cycle and you are all done!
Your dryer is actually a lot easier to clean than the washer and less time consuming. Just like the washer, spray the outside of your dryer with all-purpose cleaner and wipe it down with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust. Next, empty and vacuum out the lint filter. Finish by vacuuming out the lint filter holder, trying to get a deep as possible to suck up any straggling lint clogging up the dryer. Return the lint filter and you’re done. If you want to do a more in-depth cleaning of your dryer, take the hose off the back of the dryer and vacuum out both it and the inside of the dryer. Go to your outside vent and check the opening for any lint that may have travelled up and is now blocking the opening. This in-depth cleaning should be done every year to help reduce the risk of a fire, saving your home and your life!