Spring cleaning season is here, which means that you'll need to hit the refresh button for your appliances. Not only do items like your microwave, oven, washer/dryer, fridge and garbage disposal get used quite often, but when appliances are fresh and clean, they tend to run more efficiently, saving you money on utility bills. What renter doesn't want that?
To make the most of your spring cleaning ritual, be sure to give your appliances some TLC. Here are some great tips to do so.
The Garbage Disposal
Winter meals were full of hearty soups and stews cooked from scratch--sounds delicious, right? Well, over the past few months, a lot of dirty dishes likely made their way into the sink, and your garbage disposal was working overtime. There's a good chance it's probably not the freshest it could be right now, but that's OK.
There's a quick fix for this often stinky problem, and usually, it won't cost you a penny. For starters, peel some citrus fruit (lemon, orange, grapefruit or lime--whatever you have in your fridge), toss the peel into the disposal, turn on the faucet and let the power of Mother Nature do its work. After a few seconds, your whole kitchen will be engulfed in the scent of fresh citrus.
Let's face it, nobody enjoys this chore. It usually requires a lot of elbow grease (and real grease) on your end. There's no way to make cleaning the oven fun, but you can make it easier. Baking soda and vinegar are usually all you'll need for a natural oven cleaner, along with a dishrag and a nylon pan scraper.
First, use the scraper to get all of the big bits of dried food out - this will make things less messy later. Disperse baking soda all over the oven floor, then use a spray bottle of vinegar and spray over the baking soda. After you've let the concoction bubble for a little while, take the scraper again and remove the rest of the debris, then finish wiping up any stains with the dishrag.
Microwaves can get quite dirty--so don't overlook this appliance during your spring cleaning sessions. Take this handy trick to clean it in no time: First, take a heatproof container and fill it with a cup or two of water mixed with one tablespoon of white vinegar.
Microwave the mixture until half of the liquid has evaporated, then turn off the microwave and keep the door closed for about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl and then take a wet sponge or dishrag and start scrubbing the interior surface until it looks like new.
When you remove the container, be sure to wear oven mitts because it will still be hot!
Start by throwing out anything that might be old or moldy--including those condiments that have been sitting there for longer than you can remember. Then, check the temperature of the fridge and make sure your freezer is less than 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and the fridge is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
Then, take an all-purpose cleaner and wipe down the interior walls, shelves and rubber gaskets (sprinkle some baking soda on those tougher stains along with your cleaning solution).
Detergent residue and mold are common issues for washers and dryers, so be sure to clean these appliances thoroughly. Wash detergent and fabric softener dispensers with soapy water, then run the washer on hot with one cup of bleach on a lengthy cycle.
Add two cups of vinegar and run the liquid under the same cycle. For dryers, remove the lint trap and vacuum out any dirt or debris that might have made its way inside. Using a gentle all-purpose cleaner and dishrag, wipe down the interior of the dryer as well. Then, use the same rag and solution to wipe down the exterior of the washer/dryer to have it looking like new.