How to Maintain Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen appliances are essential tools that make meal preparation easier and more efficient. However, like any equipment, appliances require proper care and maintenance to ensure they continue functioning at their best. Knowing how to maintain kitchen appliances will extend their lifespan, improve performance, and prevent costly repairs or replacements down the line. This comprehensive guide covers maintenance tips for common kitchen appliances, from refrigerators and dishwashers to ovens and microwaves. Follow these simple steps to keep appliances in optimal condition.

Clean and Organize the Refrigerator Regularly

The refrigerator is one of the most frequently used appliances in the kitchen. Food spills, drips, and crumbs can quickly accumulate both inside and out. Make refrigerator cleaning a weekly habit.

Inside the Refrigerator

  • Remove all food and shelves. Wash shelves, drawers, and bins in warm soapy water. Rinse and dry thoroughly before replacing.
  • Clean inside walls and door with a baking soda paste. Mix 3 tablespoons baking soda with 1 quart warm water. Scrub surfaces with a sponge or soft cloth soaked in the baking soda solution. Rinse and dry. The baking soda will deodorize as it cleans.
  • Door gaskets should be cleaned regularly to prevent mold buildup. Wipe gaskets down with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
  • Vacuum the condenser coil cover every 3 months. This component is usually located behind the refrigerator. A buildup of dust and pet hair can reduce efficiency.
  • Check for expired or spoiled food weekly. Toss anything that’s gone bad.

Outside the Refrigerator

  • Wipe exterior surfaces with a soft, damp microfiber cloth and gentle cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  • For stubborn spots, use a bit of baking soda on a damp sponge. Rinse and dry.
  • Pull refrigerator out from the wall every few months to clean back and floors underneath. Vacuum dust buildup.

Other Refrigerator Maintenance Tips

  • Keep refrigerator reasonably full, but not overpacked. Air needs to circulate properly.
  • Set temperature between 35-38°F. Use an appliance thermometer to monitor.
  • Replace water filters every 6 months for optimum performance.
  • Lubricate door gaskets annually with petroleum jelly to keep flexible.
  • Have refrigerator professionally serviced per the manufacturer’s recommendations, generally every 2-3 years.

Taking time for regular cleaning and checks will optimize refrigerator efficiency.

Prevent Clogged Drains in the Dishwasher

Dishwashers conveniently wash dishes, but the drain can easily get clogged with food debris. Take these steps to prevent clogs:

  • Scrape plates and dishware before loading. Remove large food scraps and bones.
  • Use a dishwasher strainer to catch food particles during the wash cycle. Empty after each load.
  • Put detergent in the main wash compartment, not the prewash compartment. This allows food residues to be washed away before the main wash.
  • Don’t overload. Water needs to properly circulate to clean.
  • Run appliance empty monthly with 2 cups vinegar on heated dry cycle. The vinegar dissolves grease and limescale.
  • Disconnect and inspect hoses annually. Clean out any debris trapped inside.
  • Use a wire coat hanger every few months to loosen debris in the drain. Don’t scratch surfaces.
  • Avoid putting non-dishwasher safe items in the appliance. Stick to dishware rated as dishwasher safe.

Taking a bit of time for basic care and maintenance will ensure freely flowing drains.

Keep the Oven Clean for Optimal Performance

Regular oven cleaning keeps it looking like new, prevents odors, and also optimizes cooking performance. Follow these oven cleaning tips:

Inside the Oven

  • Wipe up spills immediately after use. Baked-on foods are harder to remove.
  • For light soils, spray oven cleaner onto cool surfaces. Avoid cleaners with harsh fumes. Follow product instructions.
  • Soap and water can tackle many messes in the oven cavity. Use non-abrasive scouring pads on really stuck-on grime.
  • For heavier-duty cleaning, try a baking soda paste. Spread thick paste onto oven surfaces. Allow to sit overnight. Wipe clean the next day.
  • Remove oven racks and wash by hand or self-clean cycle. Soak racks in hot, soapy water if heavily soiled.
  • Use the self-clean cycle for a deep clean. This high heat turns soils to ash which can be wiped out later. Remove racks and prep oven first.

Outside the Oven

  • When oven is completely cool, wipe down outside surfaces with a soft cloth and mild detergent. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scouring pads on exteriors.
  • Glass doors can be cleaned with glass cleaner. Rinse any drips immediately so cleaner doesn’t drip into oven cavity.
  • For stubborn spots on porcelain enamel surfaces, use a mild abrasive cleaner like Soft Scrub. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Clean control panel grease and grime with a pencil eraser. Avoid excessive moisture near controls. Dry immediately.

Regular cleaning keeps oven surfaces shining and removes baked-on residues for better cooking results.

Microwave Maintenance to Prevent Problems

Microwaves make reheating or defrosting food quick and convenient. Follow these tips to keep your microwave running right:

Inside the Microwave

  • Keep inside clean by putting a microwave-safe cover over foods before cooking. This prevents splatters.
  • Wipe down walls, turn table, and inside of the door with a microwave-safe cleaner after each use. This prevents buildup.
  • For stubborn dried-on stains, boil a cup of water in the microwave until steam softens residue. Then wipe out with a cloth.
  • Use diluted vinegar, lemon juice, or baking soda for deodorizing. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until boiling. Cool before wiping interior.
  • Avoid metal scouring pads or abrasive cleaners which can damage interior surfaces.

Outside the Microwave

  • Wipe down outer case, handle, and control panel frequently using a clean damp cloth. Don’t allow grease or food splatters to linger.
  • For tough spots, dip cloth in a mild detergent and wring out well before wiping. Avoid excess water near vents or controls.
  • Glass turntables should be removed and washed regularly. Check the owner’s manual on frequency. Use mild dish soap and water.

Microwave Maintenance Tips

  • Replace charcoal filters as recommended by manufacturer, usually every 6-12 months, to keep odors and grease in check.
  • Use microwave-safe cookware only. Metal can damage the interior.
  • Cover foods while cooking and allow heat to release after cooking to prevent steam buildup.
  • Have a technician check over microwave seals, latches, and other components annually. Catch minor problems before they become major.
  • Don’t run the microwave empty. The energy needs something to absorb it.
  • Stop the appliance immediately if you smell burning or see arcing. Unplug and have serviced.

Basic microwave care goes a long way in extending the appliance lifespan.

Clean Range Hoods and Exhaust Fans Regularly

Range hoods and overhead exhaust fans suck up cooking fumes, grease, and odors. Regular cleaning prevents grease buildup and optimizes airflow:

  • Filter screens should be washed monthly in hot soapy water or run through the dishwasher. Rinse and dry fully before replacing
  • Use a degreaser on filter housing and fan blades every 3-6 months. Spray on and let sit before scrubbing clean with a non-abrasive scouring pad.
  • Wipe down surfaces frequently with a microfiber cloth and warm soapy water. Rinse and dry.
  • Use stainless steel cleaner on any stainless steel hoods to restore shine. Avoid products with chlorine bleach.
  • Adjust or tighten light bulbs as needed. LED bulbs last the longest.
  • Check ductwork behind filters annually and clean as needed. Hire a professional if difficult to access ducts.

Proper functioning exhaust hoods remove grease, humidity, and odors from cooking. Stay on top of care for clean air.

Garbage Disposal Care for Odor-Free Performance

Garbage disposals grind up sink scraps but require regular cleaning to prevent problems and optimize function:

  • Remove sink strainer and clean underside area frequently where waste can accumulate. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Deodorize by grinding up citrus fruit peels, ice cubes, or baking soda periodically.
  • Use caution with chemicals or commercial cleaners as some can damage parts. Many can be abrasive.
  • Dispose eggshells carefully over time. Large quantities can stick to blades.
  • Run cold water before, during, and after use to flush away waste. Avoid overuse of hot water.
  • Don’t grind non-food items like glass, metal, paper, or plastic which can jam the disposal.
  • Inspect splash guard for leaks or cracks regularly. Have replaced if damaged.
  • Listen for grinding noises, humming, or trouble turning which can indicate issues. Have inspected and repaired by a professional.
  • Use a hex wrench to rotate blades regularly and release stuck particles. Unplug first!

Proper garbage disposal maintenance keeps sink drains flowing freely and eliminates odors.

Deep Clean a Greasy Range Top with a Degreasing Cleaner

Range tops get coated in baked-on oils, grease, and grime from cooking. A deep clean with a heavy-duty degreaser can restore it. Here’s how:

Supplies Needed

  • Heavy-duty degreasing cleaner formulated for cooktops. Avoid harsh abrasives.
  • Non-abrasive scrub pads and scrub brushes.
  • Microfiber cloths, paper towels
  • Rubber gloves and eye protection

Cleaning Steps

  • Remove grates and soak in a degreaser solution to loosen residue. Use a plastic scrub brush.
  • Remove all loose debris from range top surface with paper towels.
  • Apply a generous amount of degreasing cleaner to the range top. Avoid controls.
  • Let the cleaner dwell for 10-20 minutes before scrubbing with a non-abrasive pad.
  • Use a scrub brush for stuck-on debris around burner areas.
  • Wipe up excess cleaner with microfiber cloths. Repeat application if needed.
  • Rinse thoroughly and wipe away all cleaner residue.
  • Replace grates once fully cleaned and dry.
  • Give range top a final wipe down with glass cleaner for added shine.

Regular deep cleaning keeps range tops sparkling and residue-free for healthier cooking.

Clean a Greasy Oven Vent Hood with Degreaser

Like range tops, oven vent hoods attract layers of sticky grease. Here is a safe grease-cutting method using degreaser:


  • Degreasing cleaner specifically for vent hoods
  • Old toothbrush or other small scrub brush
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Rubber gloves, eye protection

Cleaning Steps

  • Remove metal filters from underside of hood. Place in sink with hot water and degreaser to soak if heavily soiled.
  • Spray degreaser generously over interior fan compartment and blade surfaces. Avoid electronics.
  • Allow degreaser to penetrate for 10-20 minutes before scrubbing with brush.
  • Scrub stubborn areas with an old toothbrush. Take care around wiring.
  • Wipe cleaned surfaces with microfiber cloths to remove grease and degreaser residue.
  • Rinse metal filters thoroughly before replacing once hood is cleaned. Screw back into place.
  • Give exterior surfaces of hood a wipe down with glass cleaner for added shine.
  • Run fan briefly to check for any remaining odors and determine if additional cleaning is needed.

Monthly grease removal keeps oven hoods working efficiently for cleaner kitchen air.

Clean a Coffee Maker to Remove Mineral Buildup

Coffee makers are prone to limescale and mineral buildup that can affect performance and taste over time. Here is how to clean thoroughly:


  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Small brush (optional)
  • Microfiber cloths

Cleaning Steps

  • Fill water reservoir 3⁄4 with undiluted vinegar. Run a brew cycle and allow vinegar to flow into pot and sit for an hour.
  • Run 2-3 cycles with plain water to rinse vinegar from all components.
  • Remove any washable parts, like carafe, filter basket, or water reservoir. Wash in sink with mild detergent.
  • Wipe down exterior with a microfiber cloth dipped in equal parts vinegar and water.
  • Mix 2 teaspoons baking soda with 1 cup water. Dip cloth to make cleaning paste. Scrub mineral deposits inside reservoir or pot.
  • Small brush can help remove stubborn buildup on heating element or other narrow spaces.
  • Rinse all cleaned components and wipe dry before reassembling.
  • Run a final brew cycle with clean water to remove any residue.

This should renew coffee taste by removing limescale and buildup inside the maker.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar to Clean Kitchen Sinks

For non-porous materials like stainless steel or porcelain sinks, baking soda and vinegar make an effective natural cleaner:


  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Clean microfiber cloths

Cleaning Steps

  • Remove sink strainer and stopper. Set aside to clean separately.
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over sink basin surface. Avoid abrasive scouring powders.
  • Spray vinegar over baking soda. Allow to fizz for 2-3 minutes which helps break up residue.
  • Scrub basin surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth and baking soda paste that forms.
  • Rinse sink thoroughly with warm water to remove all cleaner residue.
  • Wipe fixtures dry with a fresh microfiber cloth to prevent water spots.
  • For stubborn stains in grooves, fill with baking soda and douse with vinegar. Let sit before scrubbing.
  • Clean stopper and strainer in sink or dishwasher. Rinse and dry fully.

The chemical reaction of vinegar and baking soda dissolve tough grime for sparkling sinks.

Frequently Asked Questions About Maintaining Kitchen Appliances

1. How often should I deep clean the oven?

  • Do a deep clean of the oven 2-4 times per year depending on frequency of use. When oven surfaces start getting visibly dirty, it’s time for a thorough cleaning.

2. What’s the best way to clean a greasy stovetop?

  • Use a degreasing cleaner made for cooktops to break up baked-on oils and foods. Apply, let sit, then scrub with a non-abrasive pad. Avoid harsh abrasives.

3. Why does my dishwasher have a bad smell?

  • Odors in the dishwasher typically come from hidden food debris or hard water mineral buildup. Run appliance empty with vinegar or dishwasher cleaner to sanitize and remove buildup.

4. How do I unclog a kitchen sink drain?

  • Pour 1⁄2 cup baking soda down drain followed by 1⁄2 cup vinegar. Cover and let fizz 15 minutes. Rinse with hot water. Use a snake or wire coat hanger if still clogged.

5. What’s the best way to clean the microwave?

  • Wipe interior with microwave-safe cleaner after each use. For stubborn grime, boil water in microwave to steam food splatters, then wipe clean. Avoid metal scouring pads.

6. Why does my refrigerator have a bad odor?

  • Clean refrigerator thoroughly inside including shelves, bins, and gaskets. Check for expired or spoiled foods. Place open box of baking soda or activated charcoal inside to absorb odors.


Regular cleaning and maintenance make kitchen appliances more sanitary, optimize performance, and extend their lifespan. Set aside time each week or month to tackle cleaning tasks. Invest in quality degreasers, scrub brushes, microfiber cloths, and other useful supplies. Be diligent about wiping up food spills, emptying strainers or filters, and doing deep cleaning cycles. Well maintained appliances support fast, enjoyable cooking for years to come.