Like hearing the call of a rooster or taking the first sip of fresh-brewed coffee, hearing the pop of perfectly toasted bread is one of many morning rituals at the cottage. The toaster is a frequently-used appliance that deserves to be treated as such, but we’re all a little guilty of waiting until the crumbs pile up before diving in for the official ‘deep clean’. Same with our poor, overworked coffee machines, ovens and dishwashers.
No worries, most kitchen appliances only need a thorough clean every month or so (at the very least, seasonally) and with these swift tips, the whole ordeal can be pretty painless.
As always, make sure the appliance is turned off and unplugged. Remove the crumb tray— it sits at the bottom and usually comes all the way out or can open a bit with a gentle pull—and dump the contents. Vinegar is a chemical-free magic substance that you almost always have on hand and can effectively be used to clean basically any surface. Combine one part vinegar and one part warm water for your solution. Clean the tray and all surface areas using a rag or sponge, and a toothbrush (don’t use a harsh brush if it’s stainless steel) for the tough spots. For the final step, turn the toaster over the garbage can to remove leftover buildup. Voila!
Cleaning the coffee maker is an easy task that shows how far an everyday wipe-down and rinse can go. On a monthly basis, brew a full pot of half vinegar, half water. Directly after, run two pots of plain water and wipe down the outside with a wet cloth.
It seems weird to clean an appliance whose sole purpose is to clean things, but it must be done. Similarly to how you would clean a washing machine by running vinegar through an empty load in place of soap, do the same with your dishwasher. First, depending on your model, you can either remove the piece at the bottom under the sprayer and completely rinse it or wipe it down with a towel. This is the only semi-gross part where all the bits of food and random debris stick behind. After that, you can either throw a cup of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher before starting a load, or place a (dishwasher safe) measuring cup—upright and full of vinegar—on the top shelf. Once the cycle is complete, take a wet cloth and wipe down the seals in the door. This can all be done on a monthly basis.
The fridge is a pretty self-explanatory, simple clean. Take everything out, including any removable drawers or shelf pieces and soak them in warm soapy water. Dip a warm washcloth in the water and wipe the interior, again using a toothbrush for any tricky spots. The exterior can get the same treatment. (For stainless steel, use vinegar and a soft cloth.)
Make sure the appliance is off and unplugged. Remove the blades and all removable parts and soak them (dish soap and warm water). Hand wash all pieces, and simply wipe down the base.
Stick a mug of water and a couple lemon slices in the microwave for two minutes to loosen any food remnants, encourage moisture and cover smells. Wipe down the inside walls with warm soapy water, removing the turntable (if applicable) and doing the same. An old toothbrush can be used for hard-to-reach spots, and the exterior can be wiped down with a typical household cleaner or our trusty half-vinegar-half-water combination.
Unplug the appliance. Remove and empty the crumb tray. Remove the inner racks and outer knobs and let them sit in warm, soapy water until any leftover food or debris is softened. Wash the inside of the oven with a warm, wet cloth and get any tough spots with a toothbrush. The exterior can simply be wiped down.