The Science of an Appliance: Cleaning Tips for Your Domestic Essentials
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A clean home is a happy home, and there's nothing like a good old fashioned spring clean to get those domestic appliances shiny and sparkling. Even more than the bathroom, the kitchen is more vulnerable to hosting a flesh-crawling variety of germs, mould, dust and general filthy unpleasantness.
Giving your appliances a regular vigorous and thorough scrubbing, then, is crucial to keep those nasty microbes at bay and maintain a satisfying level of harmonious domestic bliss. So if you're agonising over how to get the gunk out your blender or how to give your microwave a total cleaning blitz, look no further.
As far as comprehensive spring cleans go, they don't get much better than this.
These are particularly tricky to clean because they're often made up of many detachable parts and tricky-to-reach areas.
Wipe the hotplate surface clean and hand-wash the filter tray. Run one part vinegar, one part water mixture through the machine (obviously without any coffee in it). You can also buy detergents especially made for cleaning out and running through coffee makers.
Another good tip is to fill the pot with a water-baking powder solution and let it sit overnight, to remove odours and bitter flavours.
If you own a stainless steel washing machine, get some special stainless steel cleaner and wipe down the exterior. For enamel coatings, you can scrub the outside with regular household cleaner.
When it comes to the interior of your dishwasher, good practice is to run an empty cycle on the most powerful setting, preferably on the sanitize programme – just make sure you remove and clean the filter beforehand.
Any unpleasant pongs can be easy remedied with our top selling dishwasher detergent and limescale remover, which you place into an otherwise empty wash cycle.
When it comes to a good clean, refrigerators need perhaps more determined elbow grease than any other appliance.
Mix up a solution of water and baking soda and use a sponge to clean out the trays, vegetable drawers and gaskets. Refrigerators often contain removable components, so slide these out and give them a thorough wash too.
Recent studies have revealed that the vegetable drawer is perhaps the filthiest, most germ-ridden place in your entire home, so, on the basis of this evidence, it goes without saying you clean it with all the determined, relentless vigour you can muster.
You can wipe down the exterior of the refrigerator with traditional cleaner, or stainless steel cleaner if you have a stainless steel fridge.
The condenser coil at the back of the fridge can also be susceptible to a build-up of dust, dirt and grime which was diminish it efficiency. Unplug the fridge and, if possible, remove the coil, dust the coil then vacuum the area around it to completely remove any particularly stubborn dirt.
Despite the fact freezers make those pesky germs almost impossible to live, some nevertheless do survive. If left unimpeded for too long, they'll generate sufficient levels of bacteria to contaminate your food.
Unfortunately the only way to combat a bacteria build-up is to completely defrost the freezer. Unplug the machine and leave the door open, placing towels around the bottom to soak up the melting ice. (Just make sure you wash the towels afterwards so you don't end up wiping your dishes in a germ-infested towel).
Blenders and Food Processors
Even though some blenders say they can be dishwasher-cleaned, very often they're still inclined to crack. Instead, fill the blender with a mix of hot water and detergent and run it through its most powerful setting for 15 seconds or so. Rinse it out with cold water and let it dry.
Cutting boards – in particular, wooden ones – are havens for all sorts of unpleasant germs and bacteria. Rather than using the same board for all types of food, it's better and more hygienic to use a different board for specific foods (meat on plastic, vegetables on wood).
Of course this isn't always practical, so if you do only use one board for everything then hand-wash it thoroughly each time. A mix of water and bleach (approximately 10% bleach) is an effective way to disinfect the board, or – if you don't like the idea of bleach – a general disinfectant will do.
When storing chopping boards, prop them on their sides to expose the sides to plenty of air and limit the amount of water accumulation.
Unplug the machine, remove the turntable and wash it with basic household cleaner or detergent.
Scrub and rinse each side of the interior with a damp towel doused with hot water, making sure to wipe away any stains. You can use a standard detergent to clean the exterior of the appliance.
If you smell an unpleasant odour, leave a bowl of baking soda or lemon juice in the microwave overnight to dissipate the smell.
Sinks are the receptacles of much flotsam and jetsam, but unless yours runs the risk of becoming some kind of unapproachable biohazard, you'll find that a good scrub with a non-abrasive sponge and toothbrush with disinfectant will suffice.
If you've got a stainless steel sink, use a stainless steel cleanser making sure to scrub in the direction of the finish. Make sure you clean the taps and handles too, then rinse away the detergent, dry the sink and polish it with a dry cloth.
Depending on the type of oven you've got, cleaning them can be a tricky affair. If you have a self-cleaning oven this obviously the easiest way, although it's also the smelliest, so make sure to ventilate the kitchen before you engage this function. Use a damp cloth after the self-clean to wipe off any leftover residue.
The majority of us, however, have to engage in a spot of hard graft, so use a damp, hot towel to wipe up any build-up of dirt and spills. You can loosen any tough stains and grease by putting half a cup of cloudy ammonia a warm oven, turning off the heat, closing the door and leaving it for a few hours, wiping out the interior with hot water and detergent afterwards. You can also clean the oven with one of the many professional oven cleaners on the market.
If you've got a stove then it's just a question of being thorough. For gas stoves, remove the heat plates and scrub the surface area around the ignition element. Remove the dials and rinse them through the dishwasher. You can scrub down the surface with a vinegar solution or detergent. You can get to those harder-to-reach spots around the heating plates or coils with a toothbrush.
The outside of a kettle can be easily cleaned with detergent and hot water, while the inside can be cleaned with a mixture of white vinegar and water, bringing it to the boil and leaving it overnight. It's not most agreeable of smells, but it gets the job done.
It might seem bizarre recommending you clean an appliance whose main function is to clean something, but washing machines get pretty dirty, which actually isn't that surprising when you consider it has to deal with stains, fluff, filthy clothes, sticky patches and other such sartorial grimness.
Every now and again, run a hot cycle with no clothes in it using our professional cleaner to remove limescale, scum and unpleasant odours from inside the washing machine.
Use a hot, damp cloth to clean out the gunk created by the powder and liquid in the detergent drawer, and a toothbrush to get into those trickier crevices.
Also make sure you empty the filter and clean it to remove the fluff and germs. After every other wash, check the seal for mould and, if you spot some, wash it off before a battalion of bacteria start to invade.
And when the machine's not feverishly spinning away to clean a basketful of pants and socks for the following week, leave the door open to let the air circulate to prevent mould growing.
At Ransom Spares we have a huge stock of spare parts for all the major domestic appliances.
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