It's time to clean those kitchen appliances!
You don't even need fancy cleaners
With so many people at home right now due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they're trying to find all kinds of ways to use their extra time. They are cooking new recipes and singing on their balconies, and more are kicking back with the latest Netflix program.
This is also becoming the perfect time to get your spring cleaning done. I already cleaned out my bedroom closet, and will be dusting literally everything else. The kitchen cannot be ignored either. Think about the last time you cleaned any of your kitchen appliances.. Maybe you wipe down the refrigerator and stove. Perhaps you've tossed the coffee pot in to the dishwasher. But there is still plenty of cleaning that can, and should be, done!
Before we start - throw together a cleaning solution of one part water and one part white vinegar. This is going to be used on most appliances mentioned! Put it in a clean spray bottle or bowl to dip a soft cloth or sponge into.
Here is a guide to easy cleaning to keep your kitchen fresh!
*IMPORTANT* Make sure all appliances are UNPLUGGED before you clean them! *
● Coffee maker
Use your water-vinegar solution to clean a standard drip coffee maker. Fill the reservoir and let it "soak" for about twenty minutes. Then, turn your coffee maker on as if you were ready to brew (ok, so this one stays plugged in). Allow the solution to run through. Rinse out the pot, refill the reservoir with clean water only, and run through again.
If you have a Keurig or similar pod-style coffee maker, use a clean toothbrush or paint brush to scrub the tiny crevices the water solution won't get to, such as the part where you stick the pod in. It might be a good idea to wipe clean any pod holder or shelf you might have too.
● Blender and food processor
Like with the Keurig, use a small clean brush of sorts to get all the nooks and crannies of these appliances. Fill up the blender with water and a little dish soap and blend up! If your unit is able to be cleaned in the dishwasher, then go for that. Be extra cautious when handling the blades of a blender. Rinse those under hot water.
Carefully take apart your food processor and clean each part by hand with your water-vinegar solution. Plastic parts can be cleaned with soap and water. Wipe the outside of the appliance, making sure to get any dirt that has built up.
● Toaster and toaster oven
For a pop-up toaster, flip it upside down (unplugged!) over the sink and shake out all the excess crumbs. Some toasters have a small tray in the bottom which you can pull out and wipe clean.
For toaster ovens, use a soft sponge or cloth slightly dampened with the water-vinegar solution. Gently wipe the racks clean. Never use a scratchy scouring pad because you could damage your appliance. Make sure to wipe down the sides and the top inside! If your particular oven is applicable - wash the pull out tray and racks in some soapy water in the sink. Make sure everything is completely dry before returning it to the unit.
Photo by Daniel Salgado on Unsplash
● Slow cooker
Most slow cooker pots cannot be put into the dishwasher. Even if you use those plastic bags specifically made to line the pots, those don't keep it entirely clean. Remove the cooking pot and give it a good wash in a bath of soapy water.
Gunk can build up underneath the pot in the heating portion. Get that water-vinegar solution again, and using a soft towel or sponge wipe clean any food remnants from the bottom and the sides. If you want, add a little baking powder to some plain water to create a paste for any hard bits you really need to scrub off. I advise against using baking soda and vinegar together, unless you're in the mood to recreate an elementary science project.
Here's one appliance you can spend an afternoon cleaning. You do not need to unplug this one, because you want your food to stay fresh. But first things first - toss out expired food. If something smells or looks bad, it is. If your freezer does not self-defrost, now's the time to do it yourself.
Check your owner's manual or do some research online, and find out if your shelves and drawers can be removed and put into the dishwasher. If not, clean them by hand in soapy water. You can also simply wipe them clean with the water-vinegar if they can't be removed.
Get pesky fingerprints off of stainless steel exteriors using a soft cloth dampened with the same solution.
Don't forget underneath the fridge! Use a vacuum cleaner with the hose attachment to get all the dust from underneath and behind the unit. Be careful not to disturb wires.
There are tons of small parts in your kitchen to clean too! For this, you will need a good sanitizing cleaner or wipes. Wipe off frequently touched surfaces, such as refrigerator handles, knobs on the stove, cabinet handles, and the handles and faucet on the sink.
Wash out any canisters or holders you use to store utensils and cooking tools. Even if you put your clean utensils in them, you will be surprised at the dust and dirt that accumulates at the bottom.
Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash
If you have old baking sheets, those can be scrubbed with a scouring pad and dish soap to get rid of all the grime. It's never good to allow old food residue to build up on your baking sheets, because it will burn and stink when you use them! If you find your store is out of dish soap, make that paste with water and baking soda to scrub the dirt off.
For any pots and pans you keep hung up, it's time to soak them in soapy water and wash away the dust. Keep those clean frequently, so that they're always ready to use when needed.