You probably clean your oven, fridge, and freezer on a fairly regular basis. But what about all those small home appliances you use nearly every day? Here are some quick tips for cleaning frequently used small home appliances:
Toaster. Unplug and use a toothbrush (or a brush similarly small) to loosen any burnt bits clinging to the wire mechanism that holds your bread, bagels, crumpets, waffles, and pop-tarts in place. If there is one, remove, wash, and dry the toaster’s crumb tray. Next, flip the toaster upside down over a sink or trash bin and shake out any remaining crumbs inside. Clean and buff up the outside with a damp cloth and a few drops of ordinary dishwashing liquid.
Coffee maker. Fill the tank with half water, half white vinegar. Run. Then repeat, re-using the same water and vinegar solution. Wash all removable parts in hot, soapy water. Replace, and then run several more times with just cold water to remove all traces of the vinegar. For heavy mineral buildups, consider using a commercial descaling solution in lieu of vinegar.
Standing mixer. Susceptible to splashes and big poof clouds of flour and sugar, it’s best to wipe down a standing mixer thoroughly after each use. Failing that, use a warm, wet cloth to soak and soften hardened food stains. Avoid scratchy cleaners and scrubbing pads as these can damage the decorative enamel. For gunk set into tiny grooves and crevices, gently scrape with the pointy end of a wooden skewer or toothpick.
Blender/food processor. Unscrew the glass or plastic carafe from blade assembly and either hand wash all pieces in warm, soapy water or run through a dishwasher. For the motorized base and cord, a soft, damp cloth with a few drops of dishwashing liquid will usually do the trick. A small brush can be used to clean spatters that may be lurking in and around the blender’s buttons and controls.
Microwave. If possible, remove the revolving glass plate and plastic gasket and wash in the sink with warm, soapy water. Use a soft cloth with regular mild dishwashing liquid to clean inside. Don’t forget to inspect the ceiling for food splatters. Avoid abrasive tools and cleaners, which can scratch the finish and/or heavily scented cleaners, which can affect food taste.
Ceiling fan. Place a drop cloth on the floor beneath the fan and consider using a mask to protect your airways from flying dust. Using an extendable microfiber duster (a PRO favorite), which has a negative charge to bind with dust rather than launching it into the air, carefully dust both the top and bottom of each blade and the motor housing. If you can safely reach the fan using a small step ladder, an old pillow case is another a great way to wipe and trap dust as you remove it from ceiling-fan blades.
Portable/standing fan. Most contemporary portable fans can be safely disassembled for easy cleaning. Clean plastic/metal blades and grills with warm soapy water in a sink or tub, being careful to trap large globs of dust before they run down and potentially clog the drain. Use a damp cloth to remove accumulated dust from the fan’s motor housing, stand, and cord.
Hair dryer. A handheld hair dryer needs cleaning if and when the air flow seems blocked; it doesn’t heat as well as it should; or gives off a burning-hair smell when used. Use a small brush to loosen any debris that may be clogging the air filter, then vacuum to lift any loosened debris away. If that doesn’t solve the problem, unscrew and disassemble the hair dryer (if possible to do safely), then use your brush to gently loosen and then then vacuum away any crusted debris inside.