How To Properly Maintain All of Your Household Appliances
Updated: May 24
We use appliances on a daily basis, but yet we always seem to forget that we have to actually maintain them. Today I will be showing you how to maintain ALL of your household appliances and keep them lasting for years.
In the old days, appliances would last your entire childhood, but now it seems things break constantly. I have come to find out that most of the time it is because people are simply unaware of how to properly maintain and care for the appliances they use regularly. Following these care tips will ensure that your appliances last a long time and work as good as new throughout their lifespan. This will save you money (a lot of it!), time, and stress when you do not have to worry about your fridge constantly breaking down.
You will also see that most of these tips are simple to do and do not usually require a lot of time and effort.
Cleaning the fridge is one of those tasks that we seem to push off until it starts smelling of rotten food, sticky jam is on the door, and we cannot remember the last time we cleaned it.
I have made it a priority to clean my refrigerator every month. This may seem excessive, but I have found that it only takes me 15-20 minutes a month to immaculately clean it, as opposed to spending an hour or two every six months to a year to sort of clean it. This also ensures that my fridge will always be clean, smell good, and have no expired food tossed in the back, which, to me, is very much worth the 15-20 minutes a month.
To properly maintain your fridge, clean it every 1-3 months. You can stretch that number to as much as six months if you keep up on expired food and give it a quick wipe down every now and then.
Another thing you need to do to maintain your fridge is to vacuum the coils that are in either the back or front bottom grill of your fridge. These coils get quite dusty, but you only need to spend about 5-10 minutes every six months to a year to keep them clean.
Tip: Keep some baking soda in a jar in your fridge. This will absorb odors so that it keeps your fridge smelling fresh and clean all the time. Make sure to change out the baking soda every 1-3 months or when your fridge starts to smell.
Whether you have an electric or gas stove, regular cleaning is key to ensuring many years of usage. DO NOT use the self-clean feature that a lot of ovens come with. As weird as that may sound, the self-clean option will actually do more harm than good to your oven. The self-cleaning feature works by heating up your oven to extremely high temperatures, which then causes the food, grease, and grime to practically fall off, making it easy to wipe up. Although it sounds nice, the high temperature is often too much for the oven to handle, causing damage, especially if you use it often. And, if you have a propane oven, the self-clean feature uses up a LOT of propane, which actually ends up costing you a lot more money than some vinegar, baking soda, and a little elbow grease.
I recommend cleaning your oven every 1-2 months for best performance.
To clean the stovetop:
Soak the grates, burner covers, (gas stove) and/or drip bowls (electric stove) in vinegar and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
Remove the knobs and give them a good wipedown.
Wipe down the entire stovetop with baking soda, dish soap, and vinegar. Make sure to wipe off all of the soap.
Scrub the grates, burner covers, (gas stove) and/or drip bowls (electric stove) with baking soda and a scrub brush. Wipe clean and dry thoroughly.
Reassemble the stovetop "accessories."
You can scrub the inside with baking soda and vinegar as well.
Make sure to pop the stovetop up if you have an electric oven and clean the inside.
Make sure to wipe down your range hood on a regular basis (at least once a month) and clean your vent and air filter every 1-3 months.
You should deep-clean your dishwasher once a month. You can use an Affresh tablet for this or you can make your own. We do not own a dishwasher, so I cannot give you any cleaner recipe, but I am sure vinegar and baking soda would work fine.
Also, make sure to research what types of dishes go in what rack and section of your dishwasher.
You should clean your garbage disposal every 1-2 weeks. You can crush some ice cubes and lemon wedges (or frozen lemon wedges) and then flush it with cold water and vinegar. This will help keep the blades sharp, clean, and odor free.
And, surprisingly, you should run your garbage disposal once a day at least, flushing down cold water. Doing this will prevent the blades from rusting out.
There is not much to maintaining a microwave other than cleaning it regularly. My husband and I got rid of our microwave recently, but when I did have it, I chose to clean it once a week. We hardly ever got it too dirty, but cleaning it once a week took me 30 seconds to do and ensured I would have a clean microwave all the time.
Make sure to not bang the door, and always be gentle with any appliance, as these days, they are usually NOT built to last.
Toaster / Toaster Oven
As with most kitchen appliances, it is almost always best to unplug it after every use. My toaster oven is a good example of that, as there have been reports of toasters and toaster ovens catching fire due to being plugged in all the time. This is not a major concern as it is pretty rare for that to happen, but still, taking the extra time to unplug your kitchen appliances gives you peace of mind and can also make the space a little more aesthetically pleasing. This goes for coffee makers, mixers, blenders, and microwaves as well.
Besides that, you also should clean your toaster/toaster oven regularly, as most of the time, little bread crumbs have a way of falling down and burning, causing a bad smell to arise. Again, I choose to clean mine once a week, as it only takes me a few minutes, which I thought was decent considering my husband and I use that thing literally every day.
Coffee makers should be cleaned once a month using vinegar and/or sliced lemons. Some people like to use a mix of water, vinegar, and/or lemons, but I usually just use vinegar.
Simply pour your vinegar, lemons (if using), and some water (if using) into the water container on your coffee machine and run a full pot (without adding any coffee, of course).
After it is done, dump out the vinegar/water mixture. I like to sprinkle baking soda in my kitchen drains and add the vinegar mixture as a way to deep-clean and refresh them.
Refill the water container with plain water. Run a pot 2-3 times using clean water, dumping the water out after each cycle. You should not smell any vinegar after that.
I recommend washing your washer once a month to keep it from smelling musty and getting dirty. You can use Affresh tablets, or you can use baking soda and vinegar to make an all-natural, DIY washing machine cleaner.
Simply add 1 cup of baking soda and 3 cups of white vinegar to your machine, and choose the hottest and longest cycle you have on your machine. When it is done, take a rag or a few paper towels and wipe down the inside.
Make sure to always wipe down the inside of the agitator (if you have one) that is in the middle of your machine. This is usually where you add the fabric softener, and it can get quite dirty if you do not take the top off and wipe it down.
All of that dark stuff on the bottom of my agitator in the second photo above is all DIRT.
After washing your washer, I recommend giving it a good wipe down on the outside with an all-purpose cleaner. This will get all of that lint, dust, and grime off.
Tip: Leave the door of your washing machine open after a load to let the air dry out the water and prevent any odors from forming.
Every 1-3 months, I like to take the lint screen out and give it a good wash in the sink. The lint screen gets surprisingly dirty because the dryer sheets leave a film on it that prevents it from doing an efficient job. Make sure to air-dry it thoroughly before putting it back.
Also, make sure to clean the lint off the screen after every load.
And, every 3-4 months, it is good to use a thin vacuum attachment to suck out all of the lint that gets stuck in the trap. This will help prevent a fire.
Every six months to a year, you can either get a dryer cleaning kit (this gets the lint out of the hose) or you can hire a company to do so for you. Getting this done by a professional cost us less than $100, and I feel safer knowing that he knows what he is doing, so that is why my husband and I do not risk doing this ourselves.
I also like to wipe down the outside when I do my weekly dusting; this keeps the lint and dust from accumulating.
Make sure to replace your air filter every 1-3 months. Set a reminder, write it down, just do what you gotta do to not forget because leaving a dirty air filter in there is one of the quickest ways to damage the efficiency and lifespan of your furnace.
It is also a good idea to get your HVAC system serviced twice a year; once in the spring and once in the fall. This is something that should be done by professionals, but it does not cost all that much, and it is worth it to have a furnace that works at max efficiency, which ultimately saves you money on your electric and/or gas bill.
You should also get your air ducts/vents cleaned out once every 3-5 years. This makes them work better and also drastically improves the air quality of your home.
All water heaters (gas, electric, and tankless) need to be flushed out every 6-12 months. I know, this was news to me too.
It is pretty easy, as you simply call a professional, and he will get it done quickly. There are ways to do this yourself, but I always recommend having the pros do it, as it is much safer, and they will also be able to check and see if there are any issues with your water tank that you were unaware of.
I wrote an entire article on how to clean a vacuum, which you can check out here.
Ideally, you should clean it every 1-3 months, but depending on how often you use it, if you have pets, if you have a small home, etc., you may be able to get by with cleaning it every six months.
You should change the filter and the belt every 3-6 months as well. This is essential to ensuring your vacuum has a good, long lifespan.
And, make sure to always empty out the canister after each use or every couple of uses. You do not want it to fill up completely, as this puts stress on the vacuum, making it work harder.
I do hope this article helped you, and I do wish that you understand the
importance of maintaining your appliances, as this will save you money, time, and a big headache.
If you have any other maintenance tips, do let me know in the comments below.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this article, and while you are here, check out the other articles that we have on various and sundry topics!
See you next Wednesday!