By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon – Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
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.
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. Most fridges today have wheels that make it easy to push and pull the fridge, but if yours doesn’t, try some furniture moving discs. Vacuum refrigerator coils behind or beneath your fridge. Doing so will prolong the life of your fridge.
For heaven’s sake, toss that bag of frozen artichoke hearts that’s been in your freezer since forever. Think like it’s your closet: if you haven’t eaten it in a year, or don’t know what the heck it is, throw it out or add it to your compost pile.
Replace door gaskets that have loosened because their inner magnets have lost their pull. You’ll get the added benefit of saving energy, too, with a tighter seal.
Your stovetop and oven
Most ovens have self-cleaning options. We heartily recommend letting the oven do the work for you. But there are 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.
Once you get those clean, make a habit of wiping them down 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 and soak burners, knobs, and hood vents for a couple of hours, then clean. Repeat if necessary.
Replace stained, metal drip plates beyond the help of steel wool. Use your vacuum to get crumbs that have fallen in cracks.
You think you wouldn’t need to clean your dishwasher since it’s cleaned every time you use it. But you should check the drain in the bottom of the machine for debris, and clean gaskets around the machine. Deodorize it by placing a bowl of white vinegar on the top rack, and run for a full cycle.
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 sit for a few minutes more while steam to loosens particles. Wipe clean. Ta-da!
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 2:1 water: white vinegar solution 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.
Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL