Appliance Cleaning Tips To Help You Prepare For The Holidays

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, most folks will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen preparing family dinners and desserts. To make cooking, baking and meal cleanup run smoothly, invest an hour or two cleaning your stove, oven, cooktop and refrigerator. Cleaning and maintaining your appliances eliminates cooking glitches. A clean, well-cared-for appliance lasts longer and saves you money in the long run.

Cleaning a Glass Smoothtop Cooktop

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Clean a Smoothtop Cooktop
Glass cooktops require special care when cleaning to avoid scratches.

Disconnect the cooktop from any power source. Fill a bowl with soapy water (dishwashing liquid is fine). Sprinkle baking soda (not baking powder) onto the glass cooktop. Take a cleaning rag and submerge it in the soapy water. Wring it out and then place it on top of the cooktop, letting it stay for 15 minutes. When the time is up, wipe the cooktop with the rag. The baking soda acts as a soft scrub. Dry the surface with a clean cloth, making sure all traces of soap and baking soda have disappeared.

Cleaning a Range Stovetop

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Clean a Range
Finish off stainless steel range surfaces with a micro-fiber rag.

Cleaning a stovetop of a built-in or freestanding range differs according to the type of stovetop material. Use the directions for cleaning a smoothop cooktop if you have a glass stovetop. For a gas stovetop, use a damp sponge or cloth with a mixture of baking soda and mild detergent. Use a pot scrubber or plastic scraper to remove tough, baked-on stains. Take the grates off and soak them in a detergent and baking soda mixture in the sink. Rinse, dry and fit grates back on stovetop after you’ve cleaned the enamel surface. You can also use vinegar as a gentle, natural cleaner instead of baking soda.

Cleaning an Oven

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Clean an Oven
Refresh your oven interior by cleaning with a product like Easy-Off.

Check the oven manufacturer’s directions to ensure you have a manual clean oven.

Turn the oven off and remove the racks. Place the racks in soapy water in a large utility sink or the bathtub. Scrub off stains with a soap-filled pad or bristle brush. Clean oven walls with plastic scouring pads and a mildly abrasive spray-on oven cleaner. Easy-Off is the best-known brand. Check the cleaning product directions before using, and always wear Playtex or other protective latex gloves while cleaning. Most spray-on oven cleaners must remain in the oven interior for about 15 minutes before you can wipe grim off the walls. Remember to clean the broiler pan as well. Remove it and spray it with oven cleaner outside or in a well-ventilated area, then wipe off with a sponge before sliding it back in the range or oven unit.

Clean a Refrigerator

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Clean Refrigerator Interior
Remove refrigerators drawers and soak for best results.

Conducting a thorough cleaning of your fridge before the holidays (or any time of year) can really help to keep your holiday meals organized. Unplug the unit and remove all the food. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes for the entire process; most food and drinks will keep for that long on the counter or wherever you choose to temporarily store it. Go through the contents and throw out expired or unusable food. Remove produce or storage drawers and soak them in soapy water in the sink. Wipe with a sponge, and use a plastic bristle brush or soap filled pad for tough stains. Rinse with clear water and let air dry. Clean the interior walls with a multi-surface spray and wipe down. Remove tough stains in crevices with a small bristle brush or old toothbrush.

Glass Shelves

Clean Glass Refrigerator Shelves
Allow glass shelves to air dry before putting them back to avoid spots.

Clean glass shelves by first lifting the glass out by the front and sliding it off its metal tracks. Pull the shelf out and let it adjust to room temperature before cleaning. Use a mild detergent diluted with water to clean the glass, and use a plastic bristled brush to scrub. Spray warm water using a faucet attachment to rinse off soap. Let the shelves air dry, (or use a soft cloth to dry), before reattaching hooks into the metal tracks and lowering the glass into place.

Defrost Pan

Clean Refrigerator Defrost Pan
Often neglected, the drip pan behind your refrigerator’s kick plate may need periodic cleaning.

Prevent water from overflowing onto your floor from the defrost pan with occasional cleaning. Remove screws holding the kickplate to the unit. Pull out the defrost plan and empty excess water. Wipe it clean with a sponge, using a mild detergent if necessary. Rinse the pan with clean water, dry and slide it back into place. Screw the kickplate back into place.


Clean Stainless Steel Refrigerator
Get that brand-new stainless steel shine by using specialized stainless steel cleaner.

For an enameled steel exterior, clean with a multipurpose spray cleaner and wipe dry with a paper towel. Use a damp microfiber cloth and white vinegar or a gentle, eco-friendly cleanser on stainless steel exteriors. Any stainless steel appliance can also be cleaned with warm water and a cloth or water and a mild detergent. There are products made specifically for use on all stainless steel appliances, including stoves and refrigerators. Although more expensive than water and detergent, they minimize scratches and polish surfaces to a shine.

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