Green Cleaning Your Appliances

In order to extend the life of your major kitchen appliances, it is best to perform regular cleaning.  If you are consistent you can eliminate dirt and grime before it has a chance to build up and cause damage.

As you probably already know, there are special cleaners for just about every appliance you could possibly own.  Unfortunately, most of these special cleaners are chemical-based and very toxic.  Oven cleaners, for example, are extremely corrosive and can actually destroy your appliances.  These types of corrosive cleaners  often contain benzene and sodium hydroxide, which can cause blindness.  They can also do irreparable damage to your skin and throat.  Luckily there are green cleaning options for every appliance in the kitchen.

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Tackling the Fridge
At least once a season, remove all of the food from your refrigerator to prepare for a deep clean.  Wipe down the entire interior with a solution of castile soap and water.  If there are tough spots, just let the solution sit for a few minutes and then wipe it clean.  Wash each removable component in the sink and dry thoroughly before replacing.  After everything is clean, place an open box of baking soda inside to absorb odors.  Change out the baking soda every three months for best results.

Dishwasher Do’s and Don’ts
If your dishwasher is performing inefficiently, it is probably time for a deep cleaning.  DON’T buy a bunch of harsh chemicals to try to sanitize and clean it.  These chemicals are very powerful, but they are also extremely bad to breath in.  They can also create a residue that sticks to your dishes and may eventually get ingested.  DO use warm, soapy water to scrub the interior of the appliance.  You can use an old toothbrush to reach any tight spots.  Be sure to remove the bottom rack so you can have access to the drain area.  To disinfect and cut grease, run the rinse cycle with 1 cup of vinegar.  This is an effective way to green clean your dishwasher.

Making the Oven Spotless
If your oven is smoking, you should clean it immediately.  If it is working fine, you probably do not need to worry about it too much.  To clean the racks, simply soak them overnight in some sudsy water.  If your oven is self-cleaning, you can run the cleaning mode and then wipe out the interior with a damp cloth.  If you have some tough grime to get rid of, make a paste out of 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt, and 1/4 cup water.  Apply the paste to coat the interior and let it stand over night.  Use a scraper to remove the tough spots, and then wipe clean with a damp cloth. 

A Stove Top Recipe
Most stove tops can be cleaned with a simple all-purpose cleaner and a sponge or cloth.  Some glass stove tops have a special coating that requires a special cleaner.  You can use a solution of equal parts water and vinegar for this type of stove top.  Remove the burner plates once a month and hand wash to keep them clean.  The most important part of keeping your stove top clean is to wipe up spills as soon as they happen.  If you do this, you will never have to spend a lot of time making it shine.

Rather than using harsh chemicals to clean your appliances, please use the techniques mentioned above.  By using these and the cleaning features on the appliance, you can spare yourself exposure to some of the nastiest toxins out there.  Clean smart, clean often, and most importantly…clean green!