Tips & Tricks for Cleaning Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen appliances are some of the most used items in your home. However, it's likely that they get overlooked when it comes to your cleaning routine. Kitchen appliances are often expensive to repair or replace, but regular cleaning can keep them functioning for longer, saving you money in the long-term. A clean, pleasant kitchen is also one you’re more likely to spend time cooking in, rather than opting for easy options such as microwave meals or having to deal with the daunting mess of cleaning kitchen appliances before you've even started cooking.

As a general rule, cleaning kitchen appliances becomes much easier if you tackle the mess as it happens by wiping up spills and cleaning up as much food residue as possible before it has time to congeal and stick. Most items can be cleaned simply and cheaply using a solution of baking soda and water and a sponge, or a solution of soapy warm water. This combined with more infrequent deep cleans will help keep your kitchen appliances in optimal condition for longer. The difficulty for many of us is finding the time to clean each kitchen appliance effectively, so we've come up with this easy to follow guide to give you a helping hand.

Cleaning Kitchen Appliances Step By Step

The fridge

The fridge is among the first kitchen appliance you’ll notice if you forget to clean it - it quickly becomes obvious when the smell hits you on opening the door! While this may often be the food content itself, sometimes it can be the actual fridge if you haven't cleaned it for a while. Here are a few quick ways to keep on top of it:

  • Give the fridge a clear out and basic wipe down weekly before you go to the shops, so it's ready for the week’s groceries.
  • The fridge shelves and drawers can be taken out and wiped down with a sponge soaked in baking soda and water to clean them off.
  • If your fridge has an ice maker, make sure to clean it at least once a month to avoid ice cubes scented with refrigerator perfume.

Don’t forget to wash the door seals, as these can wear out fast if not looked after. Use soapy water and a cloth. To make them last longer, a layer of petroleum jelly can act as a protectant. Another often overlooked spot is the exterior handle, which you touch multiple times daily.

  • To keep the fridge odour free, check it regularly for expired items and throw out anything that’s passed its expiry date or starting to smell.
  • If you’re in need of a fix, leave a box or bowl of baking soda on one of the shelves. It’ll soak up odours and bring the fridge back to a bearable state.

The freezer

Make sure you have a cool bag or spare freezer on hand before you tackle cleaning this appliance! You’ll need to empty out everything in the freezer so you can defrost it.

  • Once this is done, you can clean the interior with a simple solution of a cup of water mixed with a splash of white vinegar and a spoonful of washing up liquid.
  • Pop it into a spray bottle and give the freezer a good spray down and wipe with a sponge.
  • You can then dry it with paper towels, refill the freezer with your items and turn it back on.

The extractor fan

It’s easy to miss the extractor fan hood when you’re cleaning kitchen appliances, as often you can't see or rarely notice it. It's important to remember, though, that fan filters should be removed and cleaned every couple of months to ensure they keep working correctly. They can get clogged with grease very quickly.

  • Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for your particular appliance to correctly remove the filters and soak them for at least ten minutes with hot soapy water before scrubbing with a non-abrasive brush.
  • Don’t replace them until they’ve dried completely.

The hob

Which cleaning method you use will depend on which type of hob you have - the most common are either gas or electric.

Smooth hobs - often electric

If you have a glass ceramic hob with no exposed burners, you can clean it directly using baking soda, which does a great job of removing burnt on food.

  • Wet the entire surface using a non-abrasive sponge and sprinkle on a layer of plain baking soda.
  • Rub it in, then cover with a layer of damp paper towels or a wet cloth.
  • Leave it for 20 minutes to loosen the toughest stains, and scrub clean using the sponge.
  • You can then wipe any residue with a damp cloth and polish it up to a shine with a micro-fibre cloth. If any stains still remain you can try removing them with a hob scraper.

Hobs with exposed burners

These hobs can be cleaned simply using a sponge and soapy, warm water. You’ll need to unscrew the burners first. Gas burners and electric coil burners can be scoured with warm soapy water.

  • Never submerge electric elements in water, or get the electrical connection wet.

Don’t forget to wipe down the front surface of the hob including the control knobs, as chances are these are common dirty spots. Some stoves feature removable dials, which can be scrubbed in soapy water, dried and replaced.

The oven

Oven cleaning is an often dreaded task but it doesn’t have to be quite so horrifying. If you do a lot of baking and roasting, your oven probably needs cleaning every month. Once it starts smoking when you heat it up, it’s well overdue for a clean!

  • Start off by taking out the oven shelves and soaking them in soapy water.
  • Scrub them using a scouring pad and dishwashing liquid or dishwasher granules dissolved in a small amount of water.
  • Rinse off then leave them to dry.

A spreadable paste made of one part salt to three parts baking soda and one part water will create a natural and nontoxic cleaner for the inside of the oven, and can also be used for cleaning kitchen appliances such as the microwave. If it’s a little runny, add more baking soda.

  • Wearing rubber gloves, apply a layer of it on any stained or crusted-on surfaces and leave for at least an hour. If the oven’s really disgusting you can leave the paste overnight.
  • Scrub everything down with a scourer, scraping at any stubborn spots with a pallet knife or similar implement.
  • To remove the baking soda residue you can spray with a vinegar and water solution, and then rinse with a wet cloth and dry the oven with paper towels.

The dishwasher

Doesn’t this one clean itself? Not quite. Left unattended to for a while, dishwashers can begin to get clogged with grease, soap scum and unappetising leftovers. You can fix this in a few simple steps.

  • Take out the dishwasher filter and clean it by hand in soapy water. Soak it for 10 minutes to ensure it’s clean, then put it back.
  • Next, take a cup of white vinegar and pour it into the bottom of the dishwasher while empty. Run the dishwasher through one cycle.
  • If it’s still smelly and looking stained, powder it with baking soda and leave this overnight to loosen up stains and stubborn food scraps. Then run it through a cycle to rinse off.

The microwave

If you’ve ever neglected your microwave for more than a couple of weeks you’ll be familiar with the problem of crusted on, near impossible to remove food. There’s an easy fix - microwave a bowl of water for 2 minutes to re-hydrate and loosen the mess.

  • You can then go in with a cloth and wipe it clean with hot water and soap.
  • For an extra burst of freshness, add lemon to the water.
  • Oily stains can be removed with your mixture of water and baking soda. Dot some onto a sponge and scrub, watch the stain vanish.

Cleaning kitchen appliances is an ongoing process made more manageable if you keep on top of it little and often. It can be much more difficult if dirt and grime are left to build up, only to find yourself having to dedicate an entire weekend of your life to it!