It’s the season for cleaning up the kitchen – something that can make those holiday parties go more smoothly.
But the tips we’re offering will work for spiffing things up after Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas as well.
Here are some ways that you can deep clean your appliances to get them working in top shape for the holidays.
You can buy a bottle of dishwasher cleaner at the hardware store, open it, place it on the upper rack of the empty dishwasher, and run the machine through a cleaning cycle.
You can also use common household chemicals instead. For example, place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack and run a complete wash cycle. These treatments will help wash away grease and odors.
Another remedy: Sprinkle a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and leave overnight. In the morning, run the empty dishwasher. If you find any dirty spots, try rubbing them gently with a soft toothbrush. Once the cleaning is done, wipe off all the surfaces with clean microfiber cloths or paper towels.
Doing the refrigerator before the big celebrations is a great idea, because you can dispose of leftovers and arrange extra space for holiday dishes. Start by removing all the food so you can wash off all the walls and shelves. Use cloths dampened with a solution of two tablespoons baking soda and a quart of hot water.
To help keep the fridge running smoothly, unplug the refrigerator, remove the grill at the bottom and use a coil brush or a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove all the dirt and dust.
Here are some popular methods along with tips on making this tough job easier. And if you tidy up the oven now and then with soapy water whenever you roast or bake, the big cleaning jobs will be easier in the long run.
• Use the oven’s self-cleaning cycle: Some ovens don’t have this cycle, and some homeowners don’t want to use it even if they have it because of high heat the oven generates for cleaning. If you do use self-cleaning, remove any foil from the oven — along with pans that could be damaged by heat. Remove the oven racks or they may discolor during cleaning. Wipe up loose soil in the oven. Then follow instructions in your appliance manual to start the self-clean cycle.
• Use commercial oven cleaner: Most oven cleaning compounds are very strong and caustic but can remove heavy dirt. It’s essential to cover the floor and nearby surfaces before using them. Wear rubber gloves, goggles and old clothes for this job.
• Try the baking soda and vinegar method: Martha Stewart promotes this concept. But some homeowners say it’s hard to do this. First, mix a couple spoonfuls of baking soda with water to create a paste to spread on walls of your empty oven. Let the oven sit 12 hours; the paste may turn brown. With a wet rag or sponge, wipe up all the paste. Sponge vinegar on surfaces where baking soda gets stuck. Use the baking soda on the oven window and let it sit for 30 minutes before wiping off.