The cost of remodeling a small kitchen is around $25,800, on average, with the average cost of a refrigerator amounting to between $1,000 and $2,000, while a new oven can set homeowners back by around $2,000. Of course, high-end appliances can bring your costs up to over $15,000 for a fully equipped kitchen, which indicates the extent to which regular cleaning and maintenance of your kitchen equipment is key. If you want to extend the life of your purchases and reduce expenditure on repairs, keep the following tips in mind.
Extending the Lifespan of an Oven
Ovens are often the longest-living appliance in a home, as it can serve a family for up to 15 years without a hitch. The first step towards long-lasting appliances is cleanliness. This isn’t one task you should leave to a monthly or seasonal basis. Because an oven can accumulate drips and grease stains easily compared to other pieces of kitchen equipment, it is important to clean as you go, starting with the oven racks. Soak the latter in warm soapy water or spray with an oven cleaner, then work at them with a sponge until they are gleaming. You should also tackle the inside surfaces and oven door glass. In general, with all kitchen appliances (including microwaves), you should aim to use gentle cleaning products when cleaning the interiors. DIY solutions made of baking soda and vinegar can tackle grease and are more appropriate than toxic degreasers, which you should aim to keep far from your food. Give your cleaning solutions enough time to soften built-up grease and grime so you do not need to use abrasive tools to tackle them.
Tackling Your Dishwasher
Because dishwashers have such a tough job in kitchens (tackling dirt and bacteria), most manufacturers suggest that you check this appliance after every use to spot any dirt that needs removal. Food can often get stuck beneath the bottom rack, for instance, and this can become moldy and slimy, creating an unhygienic environment in your dishwasher. Every six months or so, give your dishwasher a good clean out by running it on a hot water cycle with vinegar. Just fill a bowl with one cup of white vinegar, and place it on the lower part of the empty dishwasher. For an extra clean appliance, immediately after, run a short cycle with baking soda, simply sprinkling a cup and a half of baking soda onto the bottom of the dishwasher. To clean the outside of appliances such as dishwashers and ovens, use a cleaner that is appropriate. A glass cleaner, for instance, will differ in ingredients and strength from a cleaner for stainless steel.
Creating a Hygienic Environment in Your Refrigerator
Germs in one particular dish kept in a fridge can spread to shelves and other uncovered dishes, so when it comes to maintaining a clean fridge environment, prevention, such as keeping food in sealed containers, is key. Cleaning your fridge at regular intervals should also be a priority. Every week or so, check the trays for any items that have expired or that aren’t looking their best. Leave an open box of baking soda in a discreet area of your fridge, replacing it every couple of months. Give your fridge a good deep clean around four times a year, completely emptying the fridge of items that you no longer use or that are expired, and give trays a good wash with warm, soapy water. Tackle the interiors of doors and shelves with a clean, warm rag, making sure surfaces are completely free of stains and dirt. Twice a year, vacuum and brush away any dust and hair that can gather at the bottom of the fridge. This will improve airflow and thus, boost the efficiency of your appliance.
Keeping Your Microwave Spotless
Microwave ovens are used almost on a daily basis in most kitchens, and because they are so small and light, they are easy to keep in spotless condition. There are many safe products you can use to tackle food-caused dirt in a microwave – including vinegar, lemon, and window glass cleaner. One of the simplest methods, of course, is the use of soap. Simply take a bowl filled with warm water, add a little dishwashing liquid, and use a soft sponge to make suds in your solution. Use the sponge to tackle dirty interiors, tackling the turntable, sides, bottom, and top of the microwave, as well as the door, sides, and other parts of the exterior.
Make sure to avoid getting soap into the vents. Use a paper towel or absorbent rag to dry up the machine. For an even easier clean, simply fill a microwave-safe bowl with warm water and dishwashing liquid, and add around a quarter cup of baking soda to your solution. Place it in the microwave and run on high for five minutes. Allow to cool down, then repeat. Once the interiors are cool enough to touch, remove the turntable and clean it with a damp sponge, drying it afterwards with a paper towel. Do the same with the interiors then place the turntable inside the microwave and your work is done.
The cost of replacing crucial kitchen equipment can run into thousands of dollars. In order to extend the life of microwaves, ovens, dishwashers, and refrigerators, regular cleaning is key. So, too, are small yet efficient hacks – such as leaving an open baking soda container in a fridge so as to absorb extra moisture.
The general rule when it comes to keeping kitchen appliances looking as new is to keep them sparkling clean while also using gentle tools and (if possible) natural solutions that won’t scratch or otherwise damage metals and other surfaces. Before cleaning any appliance, invest time in reading the manufacturers’ suggestions and warnings regarding cleaning and maintenance. Maintain the same philosophy for smaller appliances (including food mixers, hand beaters, and coffee machines). Cleaning all these pieces of equipment regularly will help you avoid more laborious maintenance measures, and help you avoid the cost of professional maintenance services.