Spring is an in between time, where the old moves out and the new ushers in. Everything is getting spruced up to begin again. The fallow season of winter has ended and new green is beginning to sprout. Look around the neighborhood and you will notice the lime green tips of evergreens decorating the ends of pine tree boughs. People are raking up the last bits of leaves, clearing the old dead growth off the vegetable garden and planting seeds and new color for the summer months ahead.
Spring can also be a really rainy season, driving people indoors. You can make the best of the rain by sprucing up your appliances and making them like new again.
Appliances need a little care to keep them in good working order. There is nothing like having an appliance break right in the middle of using it. Last Spring, I was preheating the oven to prepare for my husband’s birthday dinner, when the oven caught fire. I had to beg and borrow neighbors’ ovens to be ready and was out of an oven for a week waiting for a part. No one likes to be put out like that. If I had known how to care for my oven, I could have avoided the fire and hassle in the first place.
Cleaning your appliances regularly keeps them in good condition. Cleaning your appliances regularly means something different depending on the frequency of use. If you use your appliance every day, then cleaning it once a year is grossly inappropriate, but if you use it a few times a month, then a once a year cleaning is appropriate.
For more specific tips on specific appliances continue reading below.
Vacuum the cover and coils 1-2 times a year.
It takes a minimal amount of time and increases your refrigerators efficiency at keeping food cool. This short video clips demonstrates how to do it.
- Washing machines need to be cleaned once a month.
- Clean the dispenser drawer (the place you put the detergent if you don’t pour detergent directly onto the dirty wash).
- Wipe the rubber seal.
- Washing machines also need maintenance to keep them mold free.
- Remove the wash as soon as it is finished washing.
- Wipe the lid and drum (the part that holds the laundry) so that moisture doesn’t sit.
- Leave the machine door open between loads, to allow air to circulate.
- Be careful not to overload the washer.
- Clean the lint out of the lint drawer! It is a fire hazard to allow lint to build up.
- Make sure the lint trap is in place before you dry your laundry.
- Dry one load at a time: be careful not to overload the dryer.
- Load the dishwasher back to front.
- Don’t overload the dishwasher.
- Look to see where the sprayer is in the dishwasher, and be careful not to put a bowl or Tupperware in that spot when loading the dishwasher. Places dishes over the sprayer will prevent the sprayer from being able to reach all the dishes.
- Wash full loads of dishes, not one or two. Remember you want your dishwasher to last and overusing it will increase its wear and tear.
- Clean your oven two times a year, or once every couple of months depending on how often you use your oven.
You can use the self-cleaning option (don’t leave the house while this is on) and wipe down the oven after it cools (be sure to unplug it while you wipe it down). If you are using store bought oven cleaner while you do this, be sure to wear gloves and avoid making contact with the cleaning solution and your skin. It can cause a pretty serious chemical burn. If you want a more natural option, you can use baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap. To purchase baking soda follow this link to amazon: baking soda
- Check the element in your oven. We have had two oven fires, and both were due to broken elements. The element is the thing in your oven that turns bright orange or red. It heats the oven.
- When the oven is on, look to see if there are any brighter spots than the rest of the element. These brighter spots are an indication that you need a new element.
- To order a new element, you need the appliance’s model number which is listed on your oven. It can be found around the door, under the cooktop, or on the vent duct for models that have down draft venting. Follow this link to order one. oven element
- Click this link for instructions on how to change the element.
- Use an extra baking pan, when baking pies, cakes, or casseroles. This pan catches the drips and reduces the amount of grime in your oven.
- Clean your racks.
- Check the gaskets (The rubber around the door) to see if it is showing wear. If it is, then replace it. They are really cheap but responsible for keeping the heat in the oven. Follow this link to order one: gasket
If you take a little extra time during the rainy season this Spring cleaning up your appliances, they will be more reliable and time spent waiting on repair services when it is actually nice out should be minimal.
American Home Shield, 2022, July 8. Getting the Most Out of Your Household Appliances https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/repair-maintenance/get-the-most-out-of-your-household-appliances/
Garrity, Amanda. Good Housekeeping. 2022, February 23. How to Clean a Washing Machine.
Good Housekeeping, 2022, July 8. How To Load A Dishwasher Properly
Kitchen, Thor 2020, February 20. 10 Oven Maintenance Tips to Take Care of Your Oven