Kitchen spring cleaning – part 2

Cleaning your appliances.

In Kitchen spring cleaning – part 1, I discussed cleaning the kitchen cupboards, counters, drawers and floor. We are now to the point of cleaning our appliances. Every kitchen has different appliances, but this article will cover basic.

Coffeemakers – No doubt, throughout the year you run vinegar through your coffeemaker to get rid of deposits that make it run slowly. If you haven’t done this, spring cleaning is a great time to do so. If you have stains in your carafe that are stubborn, place some powdered dishwasher detergent into the pot and run plain water through the coffeemaker. Let the detergent and hot water work and after an hour, pour down the sink. The pot will have to be rinsed with clean water until any trace of detergent is gone.

Dishwashers – If your dishwasher isn’t working as well as you want it to, smells bad, leaves deposits on your dishes or has mold and you’ve followed the manufacturer’s directions for maintenance, there are simple tricks you can use.

  • For increased effectiveness, place a cup of vinegar, baking soda or both on the top rack and run it through a cycle.
  • For odors in your dishwasher, use your regular detergent, but add two cups of vinegar to the machine’s base. It should alleviate the problem.
  • For deposits from hard water, you can use a powdered lemonade mix instead of detergent in an empty load. Citric acid in the lemonade will go to work for you.

Microwave – Vinegar works wonders in a microwave, especially one with baked on grime. Put one-quarter cup of vinegar inside the microwave and boil for three minutes. When finished, the microwave will be wet with condensation that can simply be wiped away. If your microwave has an odor problem, leave a small dish of vinegar in it overnight. Repeat as necessary until the odor is gone.

Ovens – There are three separate types of ovens, and each has a different way to clean.

  • For self-cleaning ovens, follow your manufacturer’s directions and use the self-cleaning function on a cool day, as it can heat the kitchen.
  • Continuous clean ovens absorb splatters and drips after a time. You should clean large drips immediately so the finish isn’t damaged.
  • For “old-fashioned” ovens, use a commercial oven cleaner following the directions on the can. These cleaners can have dangerous fumes and you should wear rubber gloves and eye protection. If you want to clean without the chemicals, you can make a paste out of baking soda and water and spread it onto the oven. Let it set overnight and wipe clean with a wet sponge. If there are stubborn spots, steel wool can be used.

Refrigerators – If you don’t have a self-defrosting freezer, defrost before the frost gets more than one-half an inch. Unplug the unit and take everything out of the freezer and place it in a cooler. Wipe the interior out with a gentle cleaner like baking soda and water. The next step is to tackle the refrigerator. Take the contents out, checking expiration dates. Throw out anything that is spoiled or too old. Use the same gentle cleaner for the walls of the refrigerator, taking out shelves and drawers to wash thoroughly. When the entire appliance is clean and dry, put food back. Remember to clean out the drip tray on the bottom and return.

At least twice a year, Michigan State University Extension recommends the coils be vacuumed. Pull out your refrigerator and dust the back of the unit. Use a vacuum wand to clean the coils underneath – this will keep it running efficiently. When you are finished cleaning the coils, freezer and inside, shine up the front using a mild detergent, paying special attention to the handle.

Your kitchen is now ready for business! Congratulations on finishing your spring cleaning and getting your kitchen clean and sanitized. If you would like more information about keeping your family safe from foodborne illness, contact your local MSU Extension office or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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