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How to clean common kitchen appliances, tools, and utensils

The list of reasons why you need to keep a clean kitchen is extensive. First and foremost, you must eliminate bacteria to keep from contracting food poisoning. Stray food particles can invite bugs and rodents to take up permanent residence in your home. Cleaning kitchen utensils and appliances helps ensure that they function properly and last a long time.

Unfortunately, most people consider a quick rinse or wipe down cleaning. It's not. A quick rinse or wipe down is merely the step you do before you start the actual cleaning. Following is a guide on how to clean the kitchen tools and equipment that you use most at home.

Important safety tip: Wear gloves and do not mix chemicals. While most of us have been told not to mix bleach and ammonia, it is also dangerous to mix bleach and vinegar, rubbing alcohol and bleach, and vinegar and peroxide. In general, do not mix any two chemicals. If you are cleaning in multiple stages using two chemicals, clean thoroughly with water before using a second chemical.

How to clean kitchen surfaces

Germs thrive on surfaces. All you have to do is touch a countertop and you leave behind something nasty, pick up something nasty, or accomplish both at the same time. Because of this, all surfaces in the kitchen need to be routinely cleaned. After brushing off crumbs and other dry debris, use a combination of warm water and soap to get rid of grime and sticky spills. To disinfect, three teaspoons of bleach in one gallon of water will do the trick. Let it sit for up to five minutes before rinsing and drying.

How to clean a coffee maker

You probably use your coffee maker more than nearly any other appliance in your kitchen. Because of that, it builds up stains, grime, bacteria, yeast, and even mold very quickly. Some studies put it at one of the germiest places in your home. Without proper cleaning, your coffee won't just taste bitter — it can make you sick.

To clean your coffee maker, fill the reservoir with a mixture of half water, half distilled white vinegar. Insert a filter and run the coffee maker through half a brewing cycle. Let it sit for at least half an hour before finishing the brewing process. Run fresh water through the brewing cycle to remove the vinegar scent.

How to clean a microwave

It's easy to ignore cleaning the microwave, but it only takes a few extra seconds of cooking to splatter the entire inside with a goo that eventually hardens and becomes more than a little disgusting. To clean the microwave, bring a microwave-safe bowl of water with three tablespoons of distilled white vinegar to a boil inside the microwave and let it sit so the steam can soften any caked-on mess. 

After a few minutes, open the door and remove the bowl using pot holders so you don't accidentally burn yourself. Thoroughly wipe out the inside with a damp cloth. When you've finished, dry the microwave with a fresh cloth. Don't forget to remove the turntable and wash it in the sink.

How to clean an oven

Cleaning your oven without harsh chemicals is an important chore that, when done right, is rather labor-intensive — but worth it. After clearing out your oven and making sure that it is off, mix up a paste using a half cup of baking soda and approximately three tablespoons of water. Coat the entire inside of your oven with the paste and let it sit for at least 12 hours.

Use a damp cloth to clean away the baking soda. Follow up using a spray bottle filled with distilled white vinegar and a soft cloth to clean up any remaining baking soda spots. Repeat until there is no foam created when spraying vinegar. You can also give the inside one final wipe down with a damp cloth before replacing the racks (which you should clean while letting the baking soda paste do its job).

The oven racks can be cleaned in your bathtub. First, lay a large towel down so the oven racks will not damage the tub. Plug the drain and add enough hot water to completely cover the oven racks. Add a cup of laundry detergent and let the racks soak for six hours. After six hours, scrub the oven racks with a cleaning toothbrush and rinse clean.

How to clean a blender

Cleaning a blender involves two processes: cleaning the blender and cleaning the base. To clean the blender, mix up one of these solutions: the juice of a lemon, three tablespoons of baking soda, and water; three-fourths of a cup of distilled white vinegar, one-fourth of a cup of baking soda, and a little water; or a mixture of detergent and water. Run the blender on high for 10 seconds. Rinse and scrub with a non-scratch sponge, then dry.

Before cleaning the base, make sure the blender is turned off and unplugged. Spray your favorite all-purpose cleaner onto a soft cloth and simply wipe down the base. If you have any stubborn areas, use a cleaning toothbrush to get the grime out. Finish by wiping the entire base down with a soft cloth.

How to clean a cast iron skillet

Many people are hesitant to clean their cast iron skillet because they are afraid they may ruin it. The truth is, a cast iron skillet is fairly durable and can be safely cleaned in a number of ways. Using hot water and a soft-bristled brush or scouring with salt and a paper towel are the two top methods. Steel wool is not recommended unless you have a particularly stubborn area, but soap and water are fine (if your cast iron skillet has been properly seasoned). The most important aspect of cleaning your cast iron skillet is making sure you completely dry it. Use a soft, absorbent towel and get every drop of water off or you will wind up with rust stains.

How to clean a toaster

Although the outside may look pristine, the inside of a toaster can quickly build up piles of crumbs, which become a fire hazard. Once a week, unplug your toaster, let it cool, turn it upside down, and shake out all the crumbs that you can over a trash can. Then, use a pastry brush to loosen up any crumbs that you didn't get on the first shake and repeat the shaking. 

If you have a toaster tray, remove that and brush it off over the trash can as well. While removed, it is a good idea to clean the tray using warm water and a degreasing dishwashing liquid. 

Also, the outside of your toaster really isn't pristine, so be sure to wipe that down with a damp soapy towel, paying particular attention to any areas where the grime has built up. When finished, wipe the outside down with a clean damp cloth and dry.

How to clean a wood cutting board

The secret to keeping your wood cutting board clean is to wash it as soon as you are done using it. This way, nothing gets a chance to be absorbed into the wood and dry. To clean, simply turn the hot water fully on in your sink. Grab a stiff cleaning brush and some antibacterial dish soap and give the board a good scrubbing. 

Be sure to clean both sides and the edges — where meat juice might have dripped. When you are finished with the scrubbing, thoroughly rinse the cutting board to get all the soap off. Dry it completely. For a deeper clean, consider soaking your wood cutting board in a solution that is one part distilled white vinegar to four parts water for a few minutes — not too long because you don't want your cutting board to warp or crack — and dry it off completely.

How to clean a dishwasher

Contrary to what you might be thinking, the inside of your dishwasher is not always clean. Large food particles can clog the drain and begin to rot, causing drainage problems as well as offensive odors. After every use, while unloading, take a minute to make sure nothing is clogging the drain. Beyond that, all you need to do to keep your dishwasher clean is to place a cup of distilled white vinegar in the upper rack and run the machine through a hot water cycle. Do this once every two to three weeks to effortlessly keep your machine clean.


Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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