Spring cleaning tips for your appliances

We’re all spending a lot of time at home this spring, and that means our appliances are getting more use than normal.

To keep those hardworking machines in tip-top shape, it’s important to give them a good spring cleaning.

To learn more, we talked to Geek Squad Agent Jonathon Sprague, who has more than 14 years of experience helping customers with all their appliance needs.

“Thoroughly cleaning your appliances will extend their life and ensure they are running most efficiently,” Agent Sprague said. “However, it’s really important to be safe when performing any maintenance. Be sure to unplug appliances before you remove any parts and review the owner’s manual.”

Here are a few tips from Agent Sprague on how to deep-clean your kitchen and laundry appliances.

Refrigerator

  • Clean the coils: Dirt, dust and hair can clog up the refrigerator’s condenser fan and coils, and restricted air flow will cause the refrigerator to work harder to keep cool. Use a vacuum to clean the coils and remove any loose particles.
  • Make your own cleaning solution: First, remove all the food and shelves from the refrigerator. Next, wash the inside surfaces and shelves with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water (it’s cheaper than store-bought cleaners and better for the environment, too). Lastly, wipe down packaged food with a 50/50 solution of lemon juice and water before loading everything back in.
  • Ditch the smell: Make sure to swap out ice because it can absorb taste and odors from nearby food. Place a ball of newspaper on each shelf, adding a drop of vanilla extract. And don’t forget to put an open box of baking soda in both the refrigerator and freezer.

Range and Oven

  • No chemicals needed: For a deep-clean inside your oven, combine a quarter cup of vinegar, two cups of hot water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray the inside of the oven, sprinkle baking soda on top and leave overnight. Wipe clean the next day with a damp sponge.
  • Clean the vent: You may forget about your range hood fan, but if you’re cooking a lot, it’s getting a workout. Be sure to replace the filter or clean it out according to the owner’s manual.
  • Check the seal: Without a good seal, your oven can lose more than 20% of its heat, resulting in undercooked or unevenly cook food. To check the seal’s condition, open the oven door and locate the rubber or fiberglass seal around the perimeter of the door. Feel for any broken, torn or hardened areas, then close the door to see if you can find any leaks. If you do, have an expert replace the seal.

Dishwasher

  • Rinse first: Get into the habit of rinsing off your plates, cups and silverware before putting it in your dishwasher. It will help reduce lingering residues.
  • Run a vinegar cycle: If you don’t want to use a store-bought cleaning tablet, place a glass filled with white vinegar on the top rack, and run a normal cycle with no other dishes or detergent.
  • Don’t forget the filter: You may not realize that your dishwasher has a filter. Typically located beneath the spray arm, unlock and remove the filter. Rinse with hot water and use a toothbrush to gently clean it out before replacing.

Washer and Dryer

  • Wipe the rubber: The rubber seal on a front-load washer is a magnet for dirt and grime buildup. Use a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water to wipe it down.  
  • Run a vinegar cycle: For a front-load washer, fill the detergent dispenser with white vinegar and run a cycle with hot water and no clothing. Run an additional rinse cycle, then wipe down the inside with a dry rag. For a top-load washer, start the hottest cycle and add 4 cups of vinegar once the water fills up. Close the lid and let it run for 5 minutes. Then, pause the machine for an hour to let the vinegar loosen the dirt. Finish the cycle and wipe down the inside. 
  • Lose the lint: Lint stuck in the exhaust hose not only reduces the efficiency but is also a fire hazard. To clean, loosen the clamp and remove the hose from the back of the dryer, then vacuum it out and reattach.

Don’t forget about cleaning your smaller appliances as well. Your coffeemaker and microwave can be cleaned using that same vinegar solution.

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