Rid your kitchen of harmful bacteria and germs by regularly cleaning appliances. We'll tell you how often you should be cleaning each of these common kitchen tools, plus we'll offer tips for getting the job done.
Whether it's for heating up a cup of soup or defrosting dinner, chances are you use your microwave every day. Over time, food spills and splatters can lead to funky smells and unsanitary conditions. Stay ahead of future problems by cleaning your microwave once a week and wiping up any spills as soon as they happen. To clean your microwave, simply heat up a combination of water, vinegar, and lemon slices for a few minutes. The steam will loosen any stuck-on gunk, making it easier to scrub off. Finish the job by washing the turntable with a wet sponge.
Frequency: Wipe up spills as they happen; deep clean once a week.
Although a dishwasher is designed to clean other items, the appliance itself still needs to be cleaned every few weeks. Aim for a monthly schedule that includes wiping down the door, sanitizing the tub, and washing any accessories. Dishwasher maintenance is important not only for sanitary purposes but also to keep the appliance running smoothly. A buildup of food debris, rust stains, and other grime could compromise your dishwasher's performance.
Frequency: Clean once a month.
Every season is cookie baking season, so make sure your stand mixer is up to speed. Obviously you wash the bowl and attachments after every use, but a deep clean every 10 uses can prolong the life of your appliance. Start by washing all of the bowls and attachments. Then unplug the mixer and clean it with a damp rag and small brush to get rid of any food grime and buildup, especially near the motor head. Let all pieces dry thoroughly before reassembling.
Frequency: Clean bowl and paddle after every use; deep clean every 10 uses.
Nothing's worse than heating up your oven to cook dinner, only to be met with the stinky fumes and trace of smoke that signify burned-on food. Prevent this smelly situation by regularly cleaning your oven. After each use, look for food remnants on the oven floor, sides, and grates. Always use a baking sheet, and be especially careful when cooking drip-prone foods, such as pies. To deep clean your oven, use heat to loosen up the debris. Then attack the remains with baking soda, vinegar, and soapy water.
Frequency: Wipe up spills as they happen; deep clean every 6 months.
Blenders are wonderfully versatile kitchen tools. They're ideal for mixing up smoothies, dessert fillings, dressings, and more. But eventually, all of the different ingredients tossed in a blender will catch up with it. Sometimes, even after washing, you can still smell the garlic from last night's chimichurri sauce when you go to make your morning smoothie. Solve this problem by deep cleaning your blender after every 3–4 uses. You still need to wash your blender with soap and water after each use, but deep cleaning will help combat developing smells and stains.
Frequency: Clean after each use; deep clean every 3–4 uses.
When left untreated, a dirty toaster can become a fire hazard. To protect your appliance (and the rest of your home!), clean your toaster regularly. Most toasters have slide-out drawers that catch crumbs. Unplug the toaster, remove the drawers, dump any debris in the trash, then wash and dry them thoroughly. You can also tip your toaster upside down and give it a few light taps to clear out any remaining crumbs. How often you need to clean your toaster depends on how often you use it. If you're a daily toaster, empty the crumb trays once a week. If you use it less frequently, opt for a monthly cleaning.
Frequency: Clean weekly or monthly, depending on use.
Your refrigerator might be the most important appliance in your kitchen. Keep it in tip-top shape with frequent cleanings. Aim for weekly wipe-downs of both the interior and exterior, then give it a deep clean every month. To make the job easier, focus on preventative measures. Don't leave sticky, leaking, or sloppy containers in your fridge. Wrap raw meats and produce in plastic wrap. And keep odor under control with a box of baking soda.
Frequency: Wipe down every week; deep clean once a month.
Slow cookers are magical. They can create a warm, filling meal with little effort. The only downfall of slow cookers is that they're a pain to clean. Sure, you can use a plastic liner, but they don't always fully protect. And scrubbing at stuck-on food debris is not only time-consuming—it also risks scratching the slow cooker's surface. Your best bet is this deep cleaning hack that uses water, vinegar, baking soda, and time to make your slow cooker look like new. Use it any time you can't get your slow cooker clean with just soap and water.
Frequency: Clean after each use; deep clean as needed.
Keep your morning cup of joe tasting fresh with a well-cleaned coffee maker. Wash the key parts every day, then deep clean the machine once a month with vinegar and water. Deep cleaning instructions will vary depending on the type of coffee maker you own. A single-serve maker, for example, will differ in how it needs to be cleaned from a traditional carafe coffee maker. Consult your owner's manual for advice.
Frequency: Clean removable parts daily; deep clean machine monthly.