Cleaning Your Kitchen Appliances the Easy Way

Before and after replacment drip pans were installedImage: Libby Walker for HouseLogic

If Mr. Clean isn’t magically popping into your kitchen to make it sparkle, you still can get that clean satisfaction with these easy appliance cleaning tips.

Nothing makes a kitchen sparkle like clean appliances.

So show your appliances a little cleaning love, and they’ll thank you by looking and performing better.

Your Refrigerator

The space behind your refrigerator is arguably the dirtiest couple of square feet in your house. It’s a meeting place for dust, gunk, and a host of other stuff that’s fallen behind the big guy. 

To clean, pull out the refrigerator and mop up whatever you find. Then, vacuum refrigerator coils behind or beneath your fridge, which will put less stress on the fridge’s motor and prolong its life. 

Replace loose door gaskets — check your owner’s manual for replacement part numbers and find new gaskets at home improvement centers or by searching online. You’ll get the added benefit of saving energy with a tighter seal. Monthly, wipe gaskets down with warm, soapy water; rinse and dry.

A little soapy water or a 50-50 solution of water and white vinegar will clean and shine the inside and outside of your fridge. Wipe down shelves and crispers weekly, or whenever you spot a spill. Remove fingerprints on stainless steel exteriors with a damp cloth. 

Related: How to Organize Your Refrigerator

Your Stovetop and Oven

Most ovens have self-cleaning options. We heartily recommend letting the oven do the work for you. But there are a few spots the self-clean option doesn’t reach, such as the gunk around door hinges and frames, and the crumb-catching space between double ovens. You can wipe them up with vinegar or soapy water.

Baked on crud comes off with a little baking soda on a sponge, or a spritz of commercial oven cleaner. (Make sure you open a window before your spray, so you don’t choke on fumes.) Make a habit of wiping spills quickly after using the oven, and you may never have to scrub it again.

To clean your stovetop:

  • Fill your sink with hot, soapy water; soak burners, knobs, and hood vents (if they fit) for a couple of hours; then scrub. Repeat if necessary.
  • Replace stained metal drip plates if they’re beyond the help of steel wool.
  • Vacuum crumbs that have fallen in cracks between the stovetop and counter. Use the sofa attachment on your vacuum to get into those cracks.

Your Dishwasher

You’d think you wouldn’t need to clean your dishwasher because it cleans itself every time you use it. But you should check the drain in the bottom of the machine for debris, and wipe the gaskets around the door to ensure a tight seal.

Once each week, deodorize it by placing a bowl of white vinegar on the top rack and running it, empty, for a full cycle.

Related: Which Homemade Dishwasher Recipe is the Best?

Your Microwave

The best way to remove baked-on food is to fill a microwave-safe container with water, microwave it until the water boils, and let it sit for a few minutes while steam loosens any gunk. Wipe clean. 

Your Toaster

Unplug your toaster, pull out and wash its crumb catcher, and shake the machine over the sink to get rid of food. Dry thoroughly before plugging back in.

Your Coffee Machine

To remove mineral deposits that can clog your machine, pour a solution of two parts water and one part white vinegar into the water chamber, insert a coffee filter, and run the solution through the machine. Then run clear water through twice to remove the vinegary taste.

One old-timey way to remove stains from your glass coffee pot — or any vase, pitcher, etc., with stains — is to cover the bottom with table salt, add ice cubes, and, when they start to melt, swish around for a couple of minutes. Then rinse.