As a first-time renter, I had no idea how to care for the apartment, let alone the appliances that came with it. When envisioning this new space that was to be all my own, I had thought my biggest worry would be how I would decorate and style it to match who this new independent me wanted to be. This, however, was not the case.
Although the appliances in my apartment were not technically my own, it was still my responsibility to clean and use them properly.
The apartment came with standard appliances such as a dishwasher, range, refrigerator, microwave, and a washer and dryer set. Even though these appliances are common, the knowledge of how to clean them properly was not (at least for me). This task was not something I could simply add to my spring-cleaning list, but it was up to me to figure it out and if there is anything I am always up for, it’s a challenge.
I quickly learned that appliances needed to be cleaned more often than I had thought, which meant I needed to gather up some cleaning supplies. With so many products on the market, I was unsure of which ones to invest my time and money in. Because there were so many options, I eventually ended up using Clorox Wipes to clean everything. I later learned that this was NOT the way to clean and care for my appliances.
So, if Clorox Wipes are not the end-all be-all of kitchen appliance cleaning, then what is?
It turns out the answer is not that simple. Because appliances are all so different, most of them require individual methods and products for cleaning.
Although most appliances can develop smells over their lifetime, the refrigerator is best known for accumulating unpleasant odors. This makes complete sense as it is where a majority of our food is stored, especially the perishables. Just like with any areas in the home, the refrigerator is especially susceptible to mess and spills.
If the first thing that comes to your mind for refrigerator cleaning and odor elimination is bleach, you are gravely mistaken. Even though bleach is a staple for home cleaning, it should not find its way into your refrigerator. This is because the odor from bleach, as well as some scented soaps, have a possibility of permeating your food.
A natural alternative to chemicals is a solution of water and white distilled vinegar, which acts as both a disinfectant and odor eliminator.
In addition, keeping a container of Baking Soda in your refrigerator helps to get rid of odors continuously.
Food should be removed from the refrigerator prior to cleaning as to avoid cross-contamination as well as have access to clean the nooks and crannies.
A sought-after alternative to hand washing dishes, the dishwasher not only cleans dishes but also sanitizes and dries them. That is, if your dishwasher is cleaned regularly.
Just like the refrigerator, there are also natural methods of cleaning your dishwasher, but did you know that there are products on the market that are specifically for cleaning the interior of a dishwasher?
Dishwasher Cleaning Tablets are a great option for just that. Food and debris often get trapped in the filter, which can cause your dishwasher to have an unpleasant odor.
Cleaning out the filter every few months greatly reduces your chance of odor and can even prevent clogging.
One of the most used appliances in the kitchen, the microwave, has every opportunity to collect spills and get stuck on old food. Thankfully, the microwave is the easiest to clean out of all kitchen appliances.
All you need is a microwave-safe bowl filled with water. You could even add a little lemon juice to smell good or just to be fancy. Microwaving the water until it is boiling creates steam that should allow the caked-on food to wipe off easily. BOOM. Just like that.
Stove and Oven
Let’s not forget about the range, one of the dirtiest appliances in the kitchen. Unlike the others, the range has two separate areas to clean: the stovetop and the oven. Thankfully, most ovens come with a self-cleaning mode which heats the oven so hot that it turns whatever is in there to ash! Always make sure to remove the racks before doing this, though, otherwise, the shelves could get damaged and lose their shine.
The stovetop, however, is not quite that simple. Let’s say you have a gas range, and your burner grates are starting to get grease buildup. A simple soak in soapy water should do the trick.
Let us also not forget about the au natural miracle cleaner, white distilled vinegar. One of the many uses is to mix it with water to clean the surface area of the stovetop. This is also true for electric stovetops. Drip pans should also be soaked in hot soapy water and gently scrubbed to clean them of the cooked-on food.
Washer and Dryer
Although not all rentals come with a washer and dryer, it is important to take care of the ones that do. Unlike the other appliances, the most efficient way to keep the washer and dryer clean is by preventative measures. When it comes to laundry detergent and other smell-good additives, less is always more. Yes, it is true that detergent cleans our clothes, but when we use too much of it, it creates its own kind of mess.
In order to wash out the extra soap, the machine has to work twice as hard–meaning it is twice as likely to malfunction. This will then result in the appliance being out of commission until a repair can be made. As a tenant, not having access to your washing machine can be pretty detrimental. Laundromats are not a fun way to spend your evening or sometimes your entire day.
The most important thing to remember about keeping your dryer safe and clean is to clean out your lint filter. Not only does this keep your clothes from getting lint on them, but it also prevents the vents from clogging and starting a fire.
All in all, it is not just about keeping someone else’s appliances clean and in good condition. It is also about ensuring that we create a space we deserve to live in. I don’t know about you, but I like my home to be a reflection of myself, at least a little put together. No one wants to live in a messy home, especially with dirty appliances. Another added bonus with keeping them clean and in good condition is that you’re far more likely to get that security deposit back!
Learn more: How To Get Your Security Deposit Back