Complete these important but quick and easy kitchen maintenance tasks
Regular cleaning of your kitchen surfaces and appliances will make maintenance projects easier and required less often.
The suggestions below will help to keep your kitchen and its appliances running smoothly.
A dirty and stinky refrigerator can kill any appetite.
First, empty the contents into an ice chest. Then disconnect the power from the fridge and the water supply. This will most likely require the fridge to be moved. Place a mat or cardboard underneath to make moving easier and protect the flooring. Clean the empty floor space from any grime collected over the years.
Inspect the door seals for signs of damage. They should be cleaned periodically to keep them in good shape. Place a piece of paper half in and half out of the door. If the paper is held by the doors, the seal is good. If not, replace the seal.
Remove the shelves and bins before cleaning the interior. We recommend using a mild cleaning solution paired with a microfiber cloth. This is an ideal time to replace the light and water filter. It’s good practice to replace the water filter every six months.
Locate the condensate line and make sure that it is clear. This article will show you how.
The coils may be the most important part to maintain, as the damage caused when they are neglected can be quite expensive. Dirty coils reduce efficiency and force the compressor to work harder. Locate the coils by referring to the owner’s manual because some may be found on the back, while others may be underneath. Use a vacuum to then clean the coils. We strongly suggest doing this at least twice a year.
A dirty dishwasher can’t thoroughly clean the dishes.
Remove the racks and spray down the interior with your preferred cleaner. (Refer to your owner’s manual for any recommendations or cautions.). Inspect the racks while they are removed. If they show signs of degradation, such as rust, they will need to be replaced. Most models will have replacement racks available online.
Examine the trap and filter at the bottom to ensure it is not clogged or damaged. Clean the trap and filter by pouring two cups of vinegar and one teaspoon of baking soda into the bottom. Run the dishwasher on a high-temperature cycle.
Keep an eye out for food particles after the cycle. If you find them, there is an issue with the drain loop, which keeps disposal water from entering the dishwasher. Use this method to fix the problem:
Elevate a section of the dishwasher drain hose above the garbage disposal inlet or drain inlet into the sink. This will prevent dirty water from “back-flowing” into the dishwasher barrel. Screw a drywall screw gently into the cabinetry near the countertop (not going more than a quarter-inch deep), and secure with a zip-tie both the screw and the drain hose.
A poorly maintained garbage disposal can be a source of unpleasant and constant odors. To clean the disposal, run one teaspoon of baking soda and one-half cup vinegar through it at least once a month. This will clean the disposal and rid it of any remaining odors. There are some good commercial cleaners listed here as well.
Be sure to clean the underside of the gasket in the sink leading to the disposal as this is a bacteria and odor breeding ground. Some gaskets are removable making it an easy job. If yours is not removable, proceed with caution ensuring that the disposal is off.
Use cold water when disposing of food waste. Hot water will melt grease and coat the insides of the pipes. Run the disposal for at least 60 seconds rather than a brief spin while disposing of food. Let the cold water run for at least 30 seconds to ensure all the waste has been flushed.
To keep the blades sharp, place ice cubes down the disposal from time to time. Never put eggshells, coffee grinds, or anything stringy like celery or carrot shavings down the disposal.
The oven warrants a thorough inspection of its interior, especially if it’s been a year or more since it was last cleaned. Over time food can leave deposits that can slowly build up. Most ovens have a self-cleaning feature, essentially turning any debris into a fine powder.
It should be noted that overuse of this function can cause excessive wear and tear. Chemical cleaners can be used in place of a self-clean function. Simply spray and wipe away the debris.
Warning: Some cleaners can be very corrosive. If you prefer a greener method, soak the oven racks in hot water and vinegar before rinsing. The longer they soak, the better. A mix of baking soda and water can be made into a paste before spreading into the oven’s interior. We suggest letting the paste sit overnight before wiping it down.
Because of Arizona’s hard water, it’s a good idea to clean the kitchen sink faucets periodically. To remove mineral deposits, fill a small plastic bag halfway with white vinegar.
Attach the bag over the faucet with a rubber band and let it sit for a few hours. Remove the bag and gently scrub away the residue. For cleaning not due to mineral deposits, commercial cleaners can be used. Though be warned, some may damage certain finishes. Read the product’s label before applying. We prefer JAWS Kitchen Cleaner-Degreaser. It is a catch-all cleaner.
Who hasn’t forgotten to cover the food in the microwave, thus leaving an explosion of sauce? The microwave needs a little TLC, too. For stuck-on, hardened debris, microwave a bowl of water with equal parts vinegar for a few minutes. It will soften the buildup. Follow up with a cloth and wipe away the gunk.
You may need to repeat the process. Be sure to clean the glass plate as well. Take it out and wash it with dish soap in the sink.
Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email mailto:[email protected] Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions and comments.