Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

By Linda Williams

Between hectic 9-to-5s, newly-implemented homeschooling routines, and more extracurricular activities than you can shake a stick at, deep cleaning household appliances may be the last task on your lengthy to-do list. After all, dishwashers and washing machines are self-cleaning, right? Wrong.

Look beyond crystal-clear glassware and freshly sanitized bath towels, and you’ll likely find a buildup of dirt and grime that will have you wondering how clean your possessions really are.

Slowing the spread of bacteria and germs is especially important during a global pandemic. Fortunately, maintaining high hygienic standards for yourself and your appliances is one way to regain control, stay safe, and maintain optimal health in your freshly-cleaned home.

Stop avoiding the inevitable, and get your hands dirty. With a little extra elbow grease and these easy-to-follow deep-cleaning tips and tricks, you can increase the efficiency and lifespan of your well-loved household appliances.

Your dishwasher

Dishwashers are life-saving time-savers. These well-oiled, sudsy machines give 1950s homemakers a run for their money, as soapy water glides over and washes days’ worth of dishes in one sitting. Take a load off your appliance by learning how to clean a dishwasher and implementing a simple, monthly cleaning regimen to eliminate built-up grime and bacteria lurking on the outskirts of your seemingly-spotless dishware.

As a first step, empty your dishwasher, inspect the drain for leaks, hand wash filters and detachments, and dispose of left-behind food debris. Next, set a small bowl filled with distilled white vinegar right-side-up on the top rack. Then, run a high-heat empty cycle to remove grime, sanitize thoroughly, and dissolve pesky mineral deposits and hard water stains. Once you hear the finishing buzzer, wrap up this simple task by sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda over the dishwasher floor, run another short, high-heat load, and Voilà! You’ve successfully prolonged the lifespan of your dishwasher.

Your washing machine

Bacteria and mildew buildup in washing machines are more common than you might think. Between forgetful children who close the washer door, trapping in mildew odors, and one-too-many soggy, forgotten loads, your washing machine may be desperate for some extra TLC.

To give your washing machine the attention it deserves, consider spending some quality time in your household’s laundry room. As a responsible homeowner, you should also pencil in a monthly deep-cleaning session to ensure maximum freshness and deter harmful bacteria. Toss in some baking soda and distilled white vinegar to break down build-ups, run an empty, warm-water cycle, sit back, and relax as old reliable takes the wheel.

Your refrigerator

Have you ever opened your fridge to pungent, mystery smells and wondered: How did I end up here?  If so, you’re far from alone. Luckily, you can tackle these odor invasions with consistent, quick clean-ups and vigilant rot-watch. Neglected refrigerators are some of the more dangerous appliances to leave unchecked due to rotting food, bacteria buildup, unattended spills, leaving fresh food in danger of cross-contamination.

Despite popular belief (and those homeowners who groan at the thought of dumping out two-week-old leftovers), maintaining fridge hygiene is easy. Quickly and frequently wipe down surfaces, dispose of expired or rotting food, and tend to spills to make monthly deep-cleans a breeze. When it’s time for the big guns, empty your fridge, fill a small container with warm water and baking soda, spray down surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner. Let this solution sit before using your baking-soda solution to wipe away built-up gunk and grime.

Your microwave

Frequently used and often neglected, microwaves are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and germs. Picture your communal employee microwave—months of overflows and splatters paint the walls of this now-haunted appliance.

Ensure your personal microwave avoids a similar fate by cleaning spills immediately and implementing monthly inspections. For the unavoidable tough stains, loosen buildup by sticking a few lemon slices in a water bowl, microwave for 3-5 minutes, and scrub away every particle of messy evidence.

Vacuum

Attempting to use a clogged vacuum is as ineffective as mopping with a dirt-filled sponge. Ignoring matted brushes and overflowing dust compartments could leave you with a broken or defective vacuum and an explosion of dust bigger than the original mess. Keep your vacuum running at max capacity by consistently emptying the dust bin, cutting away tangled hair from wheels and bottom brushes, and spraying off internal filters.

Conclusion

When it comes to appliance maintenance and cleanliness, consistency is vital. Stay up to date with regular, simple clean-ups to avoid nightmare messes and keep your household running smoothly.

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