Cleaning household appliances: tips for new parents
We've compiled a list of tips to help you clean and maintain your basic home appliances, your best friends and assistants in housekeeping!
Having a complete kitchen with the best in home appliances is the dream. Of course, just having appliances is totally different from having a fully-functional and safe kitchen. To make sure that they will last, cleaning household appliances should be a must in learning how to keep your home.
Every parent needs to be armed with the basics of how to keep home appliances clean and the knowledge of how to make them last. So let’s begin!
Tips for Cleaning Household Appliances
1. Rice Cooker
The workhorse of every Philippine home should be kept in tip-top shape at all times. So if you’re cleaning household appliances, treat this one with care.
- All electrical parts of any appliance should never be exposed to water, so keep the base of the rice cooker dry all the time.
- The hot plate inside the rice cooker may get dirty from time to time so clean it every now and then – but only if it’s cool.
- If rice ever ends up inside your rice cooker, always remove the hardened rice bits. Just always remember to let it cool for 30 minutes or more before you attempt to clean it.
- You can use cleaning solutions to clean the rice cooker’s exterior but under no circumstances should you use any cleaning solution in its interior, as the chemicals will leech into the rice the next time you cook.
- For the inside of the rice cooker, it’s best to use a moist rag instead. Then, apply just a bit of our favorite homemade cleaning solution, like baking soda and vinegar. Avoid using abrasive sponges or anything that will scratch any of the parts in the rice cooker, except perhaps the hot plate.
- For hard to clean stain, boil water inside the cooker. Just be careful when draining it of water as it’s still hot when it’s done.
Keep a cleaning schedule for your refrigerator. We advise doing it monthly if you live in a busy household with small children. But the best way to approach cleaning your fridge is to avoid making a mess in the first place. Because cleaning household appliances like this one is really tedious.
- Remove all food and start the defrosting process before cleaning your fridge. This will get rid of ice that has accumulated in the freezer, and allow you to clean all of its nooks and crannies.
- Remove the fridge drawers and shelves and clean them with a mixture of warm water and dishwashing liquid. You can also use the baking soda/vinegar mixture to clean hard stains.
- Avoid strong kitchen cleaners, like bleach. These cleaners have fumes that might remain in the fridge long after you’ve put your food back in. And this might cause contamination and food poisoning. Dishwashing liquid and warm water should be enough.
- Check the expiry date of every item in the fridge. You don’t want to be greeted with the foul smell of black-green fungi growing in a can in the back of your fridge. Horrifying.
3. Clothes Iron
Cleaning household appliances like this one is a delicate task, because once you mess it up, you might not be able to use it again.
- If you’re using tap water to fill your iron’s water tank, chances are mineral deposits have accumulated near its steam vents. So the best way to approach this problem is to use distilled water instead of tap water.
- To clean the mineral deposits, mix one tablespoon of distilled water and two tablespoons baking soda until it becomes a paste, and then apply the paste on the iron. Spread the paste on the iron plate, coating the areas with mineral deposits. Wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
- To clean the steam holes, dip a cotton bud in distilled water, insert it into the steam vents, and clean. Refill the water reservoir one third full with ¾ cup of water and ¼ cup of vinegar, turn on iron’s highest steam setting and steam-iron a clean cloth for a few minutes in order to flush out any deposits on the vent. Then turn it off and pour it any remaining water. Always remember to empty it out after every ironing session to prevent minerals from building up.
Cleaning stove tops is probably one of the worst kitchen chores. Stove tops are prone to food spillage and the spillage often dries to a tough, impossible-to-clean residue because of the stove’s heat. So cleaning household appliances like this one can be a real challenge once it’s really messy.
- Once again we’ll rely on the good old baking soda/vinegar mixture. Turn the magic formula into a sort of paste, apply to the stubborn mess, and scrub away. Those old used toothbrushes come in handy too.
- Avoid spillage altogether. Clean any spills immediately so they won’t dry up and solidify. Be careful of hot surfaces.
5. Microwave Ovens
Ah, the microwave oven – the lazy cook’s best friend and enemy of the careless cook.
It’s easy to fall into a false sense of security with the convenience microwave ovens offer, so beware of what you put inside. Many people still make the all-too-common mistake of putting things inside microwave ovens that shouldn’t be inside them at all.
- No metals. Don’t put metal utensils or aluminum foil in the microwave oven when it’s on if you don’t want to cause a fire.
- No paper. Microwaves can set paper on fire. Printed paper and wax paper emit toxic fumes.
- No plastics. They melt and warp if they’re not microwave safe. Even if plastics are microwave-safe, there’s a limited amount of times you can microwave them. If you can, heat them only once. Repeated heating might cause plastics to leech into your food (like bisphenol A (BPA) which disrupts hormone production in the body).
- No styrofoam. It’s plastic and it will melt.
- No eggs. Microwaves excite the molecules in food, generating a lot of steam in the egg. Because eggs are covered in a membrane, the steam has nowhere to go, causing the egg to explode into a hot, burning mess.
- Don’t defrost without the turntable built into your oven. Without the turntable, heating frozen/cold foods would be uneven, raising the risk of getting food poisoning from certain foods.
- Don’t microwave fresh fruits and vegetables. Just like eggs, grapes explode as well. Meanwhile, microwaving spicy peppers vaporizes capsaicin, the chemical that gives it its spice. This chemical is released into the air once you open the oven door. It’s like having pepper spray go off on your face and into the whole room you’re in.
- Don’t microwave nothing. Without food, microwaves just bounce around inside the oven instead of being absorbed by food. The magnetron, which emits the microwaves, along with the whole oven itself, ends up absorbing the microwaves instead. This damages the oven. If you keep this up long enough, the worst that could happen is you could start a fire.
6. Vacuum Cleaners
- If you have a vacuum cleaner that contains a bag to keep the dust in, don’t wait for the bag to get full. Replace or empty it when it’s about ⅔ full. A full bag of dirt will only block the air’s path inside it, making the cleaner less effective. It may even strain the machine and ruin it.
- If the vacuum cleaner contains receptacles, clean them with a damp cloth. If they are removable, use soap and water. The same goes for the vacuum’s filter.
- Also check the various brush tools for any accumulated dust and clean them every now and then. Depending on your frequency of use, you can have your cleaner serviced every six months to a year. Take care of your vacuum cleaner and it will be your cleaning partner for a lifetime.
Cleaning ovens can be complicated and tiring. Many people use detergents or chemical oven cleaners to make the job easier. Others prefer homemade, natural solutions, like the tried and tested baking soda paste (½ cup baking soda and a few tablespoons of water).
- First off, remove the racks and anything else inside the oven. Apply the paste using a rug or a brush over the interior surfaces except the heating parts. Pay special attention to the surfaces with dirt on them. Leave the solution to sit for around 12 hours.
- While you wait, clean the racks. Look for a wide shallow bucket where your racks can fit. Your bathtub is an option, but you’ll need to cover it with rags or towels to avoid scratching the porcelain. Fill the tub or bucket with hot water until the racks are submerged. Put a half cup of dishwashing liquid in the water and let the racks sit in the solution for four hours. Use a sponge to remove grease and other stains.
- Go back to the oven and spray vinegar on the applied surfaces once the baking soda solution is dry. Watch as the baking soda and vinegar mixture foam and react, starting the cleaning process. After a while, you can wipe the resulting mixture with a moist cloth. When clean, put the racks back inside.
8. Food Processors and Blenders
- Consider using disinfectant to thoroughly rid these appliances of bacteria and other organisms that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Just make sure they are safe for your food processors.
- Another inexpensive option is to create your own disinfectant such as the baking soda/vinegar combo we mentioned above. Mixing a tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach with a gallon of water, to be applied with a clean cloth, can also work wonders.
The dishwasher is every busy parent’s best friend, so it deserves some tender loving care. The hassle of taking the care to use it properly is much better than having it stop working when you need it most.
- Don’t place anything with leftover food in the dishwasher. Bits of food can clog the drain, and with nowhere to go, these bits will just coat everything in the dishwasher with a soapy food gunk – the opposite of what the dishwasher is supposed to do.
- Don’t overload it. Without room for the water to move around in, the utensils will end up chipping or breaking the ceramic ware.
- Don’t use dishwashing liquid. This produces bubbles and the machine works by agitating water so you’ll just end up with a flooded floor.
- Remove items from the bottom rack first. Because water tends to pool inside dinnerware on the top rack, taking them out will just spill water on the already clean bottom rack.
- Don’t stack spoons in a nesting position. The water won’t reach every surface of the spoons if you do. Place them in alternating positions.
- Lastly, always clean the food trap!
Cleaning household appliances is important
Cleaning household appliances isn’t just about making sure you have them for a long time. It’s also about making sure that your family is safe while using them. When it comes to cleaning household appliances, sanitation and safety should be our number 1 concern.
You can also read: Make your household chores fun with these great ideas!