Let’s face it, household appliances aren’t cheap. And replacing them often can add up to some major expenses that not many of us want to incur in today’s economy. There’s a lot more to appliance care than people think. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution—if you maintain and care for your appliances, they can last for many years. We’ve gathered several tips along this line to help you make sure that you get the most out of your appliances.
Stainless Steel: Over the past few years, stainless steel has become increasingly popular, and with good reason: it’s attractive, modern-looking and matches almost any décor. But cleaning it can be a challenge. If you have stainless steel appliances in your home, you know that they easily show just about any kind of stains, from water and fingerprints to dust and dirt. While there are several products out on the market that claim to be effective, we’ve found that Sheila Shine works the best. The one drawback is that it is strong smelling and can be unpleasant to sensitive noses. If you find that Sheila Shine doesn’t work for you, we recommend one of the cream-based cleaners, such as Franke’s Inox Crème, which works great as an appliance care tool.
Refrigerators: When it comes to refrigerators, it takes more than cleaning the outside or the inside surfaces to keep these appliances cared for. Remember to vacuum out your refrigerator’s compressor and coil compartments to keep them running efficiently.
Freezers: Appliance care for freezers is limited. If you place your freezer in direct sunlight or close to some other heat source, you’ll end up making the unit work harder than it needs to, which might limit its useful life. Be sure to place the freezer in an area where it’s not exposed to direct heat or sunlight.
Smooth-Top Electric Ranges: It’s easy to see why smooth glass-top electric ranges have gained popularity over the last few years. Not only are they sleek-looking, but they’re also much easier to clean than the traditional-style range-top burners. But these glass tops can be susceptible to scratches and damages if you’re not careful. Avoid using cast iron pots or other rough-bottom cookware on these stove tops since they can scratch the surface and make it harder to care for your appliances. And don’t use abrasive cleaners—instead, choose a cream cleaner designed for this purpose.
Traditional Range Tops: If you have a traditional-style range-top burners, remember to clean them often. This is particularly important for gas ranges, where 90 percent of burner issues are due to dirt accumulating in the jets. If you don’t have the time or motivation to use good old-fashioned elbow grease to clean your burners, try soaking them in warm, soapy water for a few hours, then popping them into the dishwasher.
Ovens: If you have a self-cleaning oven, follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully to clean the unit. Most self-cleaning ovens work by leaving the oven on for a certain amount of time at extremely high heat, which turns any burned-on food to ash that can be easily wiped away. It’s a good idea to leave a window in the kitchen open slightly to let out any smoke that may accumulate during the cleaning process.
If you have a continuous-cleaning oven, it should clean itself with each use by gradually burning off any spills. All you should need to do is wipe out the oven from time to time.
If you don’t have a self-cleaning or continuous-cleaning oven, choose a good oven-cleaning product and follow the label directions. There are several of them on the market that are effective. But remember to avoid using foam oven cleaners if you have a self-cleaning or continuous-cleaning oven.
Dishwashers: If you have hard water, use some type of dishwasher salt to soften your water. If you don’t, the hard water might damage your dishwater’s internal components. And only run your dishwasher when it’s completely full to save wear and tear on the unit, not to mention the energy it takes to run a cleaning cycle.
Washing Machines: It’s important not to overload your washing machine. You’ll run the risk of your clothes not getting as clean as they could be, and you’ll wear out the belt in the unit much faster with larger loads.
Dryers: It’s a common tip, but a very important one—remove lint from the lint filter each and every time you use your dryer. And, just as with washing machines, don’t overload your dryer. If you do, you’ll wear out the belt that turns the drum. Not only that, but a larger load takes longer to dry than multiple smaller loads, so you’ll save energy and money with smaller loads.
Garbage Disposals: Remember to always use cold water while your unit is running, and continue to let the water run for a minute or so afterward. Grinding lemon, lime or orange peel in a disposal from time to time will make it fresher smelling.
One of the most important things you can do to maintain any household appliance is to use it and use it often. Belts and seals can become dry and cracked when appliances sit unused for too long, which can lead to costly repairs. To make the most out of your investments, appliance care is essential. Use them and clean them often.