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This month, we’re going to be walking you through the best way to clean and organize each of those problem areas in your home. The 7-part series will include:

  1. Closets,
  2. Garage,
  3. Kitchen,
  4. Windows,
  5. Surfaces,
  6. Bathrooms, and
  7. Appliances.

Part 7: Appliances!

I use my washer and dryer everyday which is why it is extremely important that I have a regular cleaning routine for these appliances.  I have a front loader washer which is more susceptible to mold and mildew because of the rubber gasket which lines the door to prevent leakage and the detergent residue build up. And of course, the refrigerator and oven/stove are used daily, but cleaning them seems like such a huge undertaking that it’s daunting.

But fear the appliances no more! Here is a basic breakdown of how to deep-clean each of these machines that you rely on so much:

Cleaning the washer:

  • All you need is two microfiber cloths and a spray bottle with a mix of equal parts of liquid dish soap and warm water.
  • Start by spraying the rubber gasket and wiping it down with a damp microfiber cloth.  Be sure to pull back the rubber gasket to clean inside since this is where most of the grime piles up.  If you notice a little black mold, spritz it with a mix of vinegar, water, and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Grab an old toothbrush and gently scrub along the inside of the gasket.  Rinse and wipe clean.
  • Next, run the machine through a complete wash cycle at a hot setting adding two cups of vinegar.  Since the manual states never to run an empty load, I put a few towels in the washer.
  • Remove the detergent dispenser and clean with a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and water.  Make sure you wipe down the inside of the washing machine as well where the detergent dispenser goes.
  • Lastly, clean the inside of the door with your vinegar/water solution and a microfiber cloth.  Pay extra attention to the bottom part of the door where the water might pool.
  • Quick tips to clean your washer every time you run a load of laundry:
  • After each load of laundry, check the rubber gaskets for any small clothing items.  Wipe gaskets down quickly with a dry microfiber cloth to get rid of any excess water.
  • Leave the washing machine door slightly open to prevent the growth of mold and mildew by allowing the air to circulate.
  • Remove wet clothes as soon as you can.  Check inside the corners of the washer for clothes that may be hidden on the sides.
  • Try to clean your washer once a month.  If there is no visible mold, wipe the washer down with a damp microfiber cloth and a spritz of your vinegar/water solution to keep the soap residue at bay.
  • Don’t use a lot of detergent.   Adding more detergent can lead to more residue build-up and actually decrease your machine’s cleaning efficiency.
  • Add some vinegar to your detergent.   Vinegar is great for removing odors from both your clothes and your washing machine and will also help to soften your clothes.  Use this in place of fabric softener.  It is cheaper, will not leave behind a residue, and does not have any added chemical ingredients.  Add about ½ to 1 cup of vinegar per load.

Cleaning the dryer:

Regular maintenance of your dryer will help to improve the drying speed of your clothing, reduce energy usage, and reduce the risk of dryer fires.

  • Unplug dryer and pull the dryer out away from the wall.  Pull it our far enough so you can get into the vent on the back of the dryer.
  • Remove and clean the lint trap.  Get into the habit of cleaning the lint trap after each load of laundry.  A more thorough cleaning of the lint trap should be done at least twice a year.  Clean the lint trap in your sink with liquid dish soap and warm water.  Clean the corners of the lint trap with an old toothbrush.  Make sure the lint trap is dried well.
  • Next, remove the lint trap cover using a screw driver.  Using a HEPA filter vacuum hose attachment, vacuum up as much lint as possible from inside and around the vent, being careful not to force the nozzle down the vent.  Clean the remaining debris along the outside of the vent with a dry microfiber cloth and your vinegar/water solution.  Replace the cover and lint trap.
  • Using a screw driver, remove the vent clamp in the back of the dryer and slide the dryer duct off the dryer.  Reach in the hole and remove any large clumps of lint.  Use the hose attachment and vacuum as much as you can.  Re-attach the vent securely with the clamp.
  • Next, vacuum up any loose debris around the floor near the washer and dryer.  Mop the floor with your microfiber mop and a solution of liquid dish soap and warm water.  Quickly dry the floor with an old towel.  Plug your machine back in and slide it back into position.
  • Using a damp microfiber cloth and your vinegar/water solution, wipe down the inside of the dryer.  Dry thoroughly.  Clean the inside of the door.  Take a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol and clean the moisture sensor electrodes located inside the dryer below the door opening.
  • Lastly, wipe down the outside of the machine with your vinegar/water solution and a damp microfiber cloth.

Cleaning the refrigerator:

Believe it or not, refrigerators can run inefficiently because of dust build-up on coils.  This same dust build-up mixes with moisture and causes a grimy film on your floor.

  • To clean this dusty mess, pull out the refrigerator just enough so you can walk behind it.  If you have an ice maker, shut off the water supply.  Unplug appliance.
  • Use a coil brush to loosen the dust around coils, and gently vacuum them using a HEPA filter brush attachment.
  • Wipe down the walls, the back of the refrigerator and freezer, and the sides with a damp microfiber cloth and some liquid dish soap.
  • Vacuum the floor thoroughly.  Mop the floor using your microfiber mop and a solution of liquid dish soap and warm water.
  • After the floor is completely dry, plug in the refrigerator and freezer and slide it into place. Turn water supply back on.
  • Try and clean behind your refrigerator and freezer twice a year.
  • To clean the inside of the refrigerator and freezer, wipe the shelves with equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and a damp microfiber cloth.

Cleaning the stove:

  • To clean the inside of the oven, coat the oven surfaces in a paste made of baking soda and water.  Let it sit overnight.  The next day, scrub off with a damp microfiber cloth.  Rinse well.
  • For a quicker oven cleaning, combine two tablespoons liquid dish soap, two teaspoons borax, and warm water in a spray bottle.  Spray in oven.  Let solution soak in the oven for about one hour.  Wipe off with a damp microfiber cloth.
  • For baked on messes, spray a few drops of citrus or tea tree essential oil, one cup vinegar, and one cup warm water on burnt food stains.  Let it sit for two hours and wipe off with warm water and a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Clean stove top and handles with liquid dish soap, warm water and a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Use covers when cooking and lower temperatures to prevent splatter.
  • To help catch spills, place a couple of layers of aluminum foil shiny side up on the floor of the oven underneath but not touching the heating element.
  • To slow down grease build-up, wipe out your oven with a spritz of vinegar and water and wipe with a damp microfiber cloth.

Cleaning your A/C vents:

To keep your indoor air clean, replace your filters every three months.  Vacuum the front of the vents using the nozzle attachment on your HEPA filter vacuum.  Wipe vents down with liquid dish soap, warm water and a damp microfiber cloth.

 

And that’s it! That’s all for Part 7 and for Marie’s Guide to Spring Cleaning. Be sure to re-visit previous posts for problem areas you may have missed, and check back later this week to see the guide in a downloadable eBook form!