How to Clean Big Appliances

Grab your rubber gloves and that bucket of cleaning surprise! It’s time to show those kitchen appliances that you mean clean!

Refrigerator
Start by emptying and unplugging the refrigerator. While you’re working, a partner or kids can sort through the food items and toss anything that’s past its prime. If you’re working alone don’t worry about the food spoiling—the whole process will only take about twenty minutes.

First use a coil brush to sweep all the dust from under the kick plate at the bottom and front of the fridge. Then remove the shelves and drawers and scrub them with warm, soapy water. Use a paste of baking soda and lemon juice to scrub the inside clean, then wipe clean. You may need to use a small brush to get inside seams if they’re grimy.

Replace your clean drawers and shelves inside and restock food items. Pop a box of baking soda inside to combat odors. Wipe down the exterior of the unit with a soft cloth and a multi-surface cleaner (for enameled units) or a vinegar and water solution (for stainless).

Dishwasher
Dip a microfiber cloth into baking soda and gently wipe away smudges from the exterior of your machine. To remove stains on the inside, set a bowl of vinegar on the bottom shelf and run the machine for a cycle. Then pour a packet of powdered lemonade mix into the detergent dispenser and run the machine empty again.

The vinegar should help eliminate any odors, but if not, try sprinkling 3-4 tablespoons of baking soda into the bottom of the dishwasher and allowing it to sit overnight. The baking soda will absorb the odors and disappear the next time you run a load of dishes.

Oven/range
There are several types of stovetops, so find your type below before you get started (and you may want gloves!).

Gas: Remove all the caps, knobs, and grates and soak them in hot, soapy water. Use that same water to scrub down the stovetop with a sponge. Once the soaking parts are clean (they may need a little help, so grab an old toothbrush!), rinse and dry them before replacing.

Coil: Go ahead and soak your drip pans and knobs in warm, soapy water, but don’t submerge your coils! Allowing water into the connecting unit can create an electric shock when you plug the coils back in. Instead, place them on a clean towel and drizzle a mild liquid detergent with a grease-fighting agent onto a sponge. Gently scrub the coils and then wipe them down with a clean, damp sponge to rinse. Allow the coils to air dry before replacing them. Once all parts are clean and dry, reassemble the burners and knobs.

Smooth: Gently buff with a microfiber rag and cooktop cleaner. Wipe down the top and the knobs with a damp sponge to finish.

To clean the oven itself, the self-cleaning feature is your best bet. But if you don’t have time or prefer to do it yourself, chip off baked-on drippings with a spatula and wipe the oven clean with a damp sponge or cloth. For tougher spots, sprinkle with baking soda and a few drops of vinegar. Allow it to bubble for a few minutes and then wipe clean, using your spatula for further loosening if necessary. Glass windows can be cleaned with ammonia, sprayed on and left to soak for several minutes, and a sponge or gentle cloth to wipe it down.

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