Thursday, June 11, 2009

Appliance Series Small Appliance Maintenance

I was planning to do an entire post on just microwaves but as I dug around I began to discover that many of the cleaning products and maintenance tips I would be suggesting for it also worked with other small appliances in the home. When it comes to small appliances such as the microwave, coffee maker, toaster or other counter top units there is one universal theme for proper maintenance and increased life -- keep them clean!

The microwave is such a popular small appliance that it can quickly become grungy and grimy. Suggestions for cleaning this piece are:
► Unplug it.
► Remove the glass tray and ring and either hand wash with soapy water or put in the dishwasher when running the vinegar cycle.
► To remove hard to get splatters and eliminate odors, put two - four tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl full of water and run on high for 5 - 7 minutes. As the water boils the steam will help to loosen stuck on food and vapors from the lemon will mitigate yucky smells. Be sure to use a soft cloth that will not scratch the inside. Old torn up T-shirts made into rags are perfect for this!
► Just like all other appliances, using a warm, soapy water wash around the door seal will ensure a proper fit and eliminate gaps. That soapy water will make the outside sparkle as well. Be sure to thoroughly clean off any soap residue from the inside prior to cooking.
► The soft bristle toothbrush we used on other appliances is an excellent item for cleaning out air vents to ensure energy efficiency.
► Check interior light and replace the bulb when it burns out

Coffee Maker
I personally feel that coffee is one of the best inventions on the planet but even though the grounds and filter (if unbleached) may be good for a compost pile, the stains or clogs they can leave behind are not good for the machine that brews it. I suggest:
► Unplug it.
► Fill the 12 cup carafe to eleven cups water. Add one cup white vinegar. Run this through the machine twice then follow with a cycle of plain water.
► Sometimes the vinegar taste can linger past one clear water cycle so lemon juice is an alternative to vinegar (it will not be as effective at cutting stains)
► Run the carafe and coffee basket through the dishwasher when running the vinegar cycle for a good cleaning or soak in a mixture of a half carafe’s worth of water, ¼ cup lemon juice and 2 scoops of baking soda. Let it sit about a half hour (longer if heavily stained) scrub with a sponge and rinse clean. It is good to clean the machine and accessories about every two months (more for heavy coffee drinkers).

Toaster Oven
An awesome addition to any kitchen is the toaster oven. On a hot summer night when the oven is too much or simply to put a nice brown crust on a piece of bread, this compact little wonder will get the job done. But with all that bread comes crumbs and the high heat will cause baking on. For cleaning this machine:
► Unplug it.
► Pull out the crumb tray on the bottom and dump it then clean in warm, soapy water to remove any caked on food. If the model does not have a removable tray shake the crumbs out into the sink or trash can.
► Get the toothbrush back out and use it to gently remove any baked on food from the metal protection plate that sits over the bottom heater lamps as well as anywhere else inside the machine. It is also ideal for cleaning dust and grime from the air vents and scrubbing the glass window door.
► Vinegar will cut through stains on the glass like crazy!
► Be sure the machine is completely dry prior to plugging back in and using.
► Only plug in when in use to avoid drawing phantom power

Tune in Saturday for the final installment of the Appliance Maintenance Series -- The Stove / Oven.

But for now, take a break from cleaning tomorrow and prepare to enjoy Eco-Fashion Friday with featured designer Marang97 who uses upcycled T-shirts in very creative ways.


Judi FitzPatrick said...

I'll have to go back and catch up on the earlier articles in this series; very enlightening.

I'd also remind everyone that phantom power draw can also come from microwave or coffee maker, especially if a digital clock is included. I personally try to keep my microwave unplugged anytime I am not using it.

Thanks again.

Peace, Judi

kim* said...

these are sweet tips

ecogeneration said...

I clean my kitchen appliances whenever I use them, so that I don't have to spend extra time cleaning them all at once. It seems so much easier when you spot clean every time than to accumulate the cleaning for all at once. Kinda like ironing.......which I hate to do. Appliance cleaning is up there on the "things-I-hate-to-do-around-the-house" scale.

Great series Jenn!