How to Maintain Your Appliances
WasherIt is best to replace the washing machine with blow-proof washing machine hoses, but first clean and lubricate the washing machine shut-off valves. You should do this every spring. Dirt can accumulate on the valve stems and restrict their movement. Turning the valves once in a while throughout the year also helps make sure they are not seizing. To avoid a mess, it is a good idea to drain the hoses once they are disconnected. When connecting the new hoses, make sure each hose goes from the correct temperature valve to the correct intake nozzle on the machine. Once everything is connected, turn on the water and check for leaks. To level the washing machine (and dryer) turn the foot in the direction that adjusts it appropriately up or down. Once everything is connected, turn on the water and check for leaks.
DryerCheck and adjust the dryer vent. Find the most direct path to the outside vent, but leave some slack so there is no strain on the hose. Mark the proper length and cut off the excess with a utility knife. Vacuum the hose, the vent on the machine, and the outdoor vent before reattaching the hose. Vacuum the lint screen receptacle. Keeping lint under control is critical both for cleanliness and for household safety. Clean the lint screen after every dryer cycle. You should have your dryer professionally disassembled and cleaned out every five years to prevent dryer fires.
DishwasherRegularly cleaning and maintaining your dishwasher can keep it running smoothly and can provide you with spotless dishes every time you run it. Wash regularly One of the best ways to ensure your dishwasher is free from excess buildup is by running it regularly. Running your dishwasher frequently will keep debris from settling in the bottom of the appliance, reducing how often you will need to thoroughly clean it throughout the year. Run the dishwasher through a full cycle and empty it This allows you to have easier access to the entire dishwasher and be able to perform the necessary maintenance correctly.
Inspect and clean the spinning arms Dishwashers work by spraying water out of their spinning arms onto the dishes inside. When those arms aren’t spinning properly or the holes in them are full of buildup, they won’t thoroughly clean your dishes. Check to make sure the arms spin correctly and clean out any debris that has accumulated inside the holes with a small piece of wire, a toothpick, or small pliers. Clean the edges and exterior Many times the offending smells you may find coming from your dishwasher may actually be coming from the outside areas around the appliance. The edges around the door do not get washed during a regular cycle and can end up with lots of spills and pieces of food debris. A bit of regular household cleaner and a damp cloth should be enough to wipe up this yucky spot and can also be used to wash off all of the buttons and the exterior door of the appliance as well.
Other Parts You Should Clean:
- Under the door, on the inside.
- The flatware basket.
- The door gasket.
- The detergent dispenser.
- Unplug the dishwasher.
- Take out the screws and remove the cover.
- Protect the opening to keep debris out.
- Clean out larger pieces by hand.
- Clean out smaller deposits with a brush or cloth.
- Reassemble in the reverse order.
- White vinegar
- Lemon juice
RefrigeratorCheck the door seals The seals on the doors of your fridge and freezer make sure the cold air stays inside. If warm outside air is seeping into the unit, it has to work harder to keep the internal temperatures low. Make sure the seals are clean using an old toothbrush and a mixture of baking soda and water. You can also rub petroleum jelly on the seal to prolong its life. Every time you open and close the door, the seal loses some of its elasticity. If it is cracked or not adhering, you might have to replace it. You can try the “dollar bill test”: close the door with a dollar bill half in and half out. If it slips out easily while the door is closed, the seals need to be replaced.
Make sure it’s level If the fridge or freezer isn’t level, the doors may not seal correctly and eventually warp out of place. Use a carpenter’s level on top of the unit to measure. If it is not level, you can adjust the appliance’s feet using a hand wrench. Change the water filter If your refrigerator has an icemaker, it probably has a water filter that needs to be replaced. You should replace the filter every six months, or however often the owner’s manual recommends. Keep in mind that water that goes through a dirty filter is often filthier than it was before it was “filtered!” Clean the condenser coils The condenser coils are what allow a fridge or freezer to control its temperature, so it’s crucial to keep them clean to ensure the unit is running efficiently and doesn’t overheat. Over time, dust, hair, and other grime builds up on the coils. With the appliance unplugged, clean the coils using a vacuum cleaner and a coil brush every three months. Your owner’s manual should again help you locate and clean this area. General cleaning It’s important to keep the inside and outside of your appliances clean, since buildup can affect the quality of food and other items you keep in the refrigerator. Remove all stored items, then use a clean cloth to wipe down the inside, making sure you reach every area by removing the shelves and drawers. You can use vinegar to keep mildew from growing. Set the right temperature A refrigerator should normally be set between 37-40 degrees Fahrenheit. A freezer should be set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep it full Refrigerators need “thermal mass” (stuff inside) to help maintain low temperatures. Cold food and liquids absorb warm air when the door is opened. If you keep your fridge nearly empty, store some water jugs in it.
Ice MachineAs ice forms on an ice machine evaporator plate, a separation occurs. Minerals separate from the water and form scale which sticks to the surfaces of the water system components. This scale will be more visible when the surfaces are dry. The color of the scale will vary due to the type of minerals in the local water supply. As an example, lime or calcium scale will be off-white in color while iron scale will turn a rusty red color. Algae or slime growth may also occur in some locations. This is due to air or water-borne bacteria which can settle in the wet areas and grow. The scale sticks to the inside of the barrel and causes low production and poor quality ice. The scale build-up must be removed. This is accomplished by circulating a mild phosphoric acid solution throughout the water system.
Cleaning instructions are generally included in the instruction manual shipped with the unit. For quick reference, most icemaker models provide a cleaning label on the inside of the front panel. To avoid damage to the unit, always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Use the correct type of mixing solution for the cleaner. Units that have plated evaporators require the use of a nickel safe cleaner. Nickel safe cleaner has a weaker acidic solution to protect the plating surface. Any available commercial ice machine cleaner can be used on Hoshizaki’s stainless steel evaporator plates as long as the cleaner has 30% or less phosphoric acid as recommended. Once the cleaning process is complete, the unit should be sanitized. Follow the sanitizing instructions using a commercial ice machine sanitizer or 5% sodium hypochlorite solution, such as household bleach. This is especially important if algae or slime is present. The sanitizer will eliminate any bacteria present and retard further growth. You should not exceed the recommend mixing solution and should rinse the system thoroughly after sanitizing. You should also clean and sanitize the storage bin at this time. Thoroughly flush the water system and bin before putting the unit back into operation. This will ensure your customer has clean, fresh ice. Clean and Inspect While you are waiting for the cleaning solution to do its job during the cleaning process, you can clean the condenser coils. You may have to remove a cover in the back or the front to access them. A coil brush and a vacuum are the best tools for the job. Check your manual for specific instructions if you can’t find them.
OvenRegular wipe downs It may sound simple, but regularly wiping down the exterior of your oven is one of the simplest and best ways to keep it looking shiny and new. Everyone wipes down their worktops when they become dirty, so why not incorporate the front and top of the cooker into this? Travis County and easy, yet so very effective. Use baking trays to catch spillages Spillages are the cause of most stains in your oven, so why not take a pre-emptive approach and catch them before they hit the oven floor? Placing a baking tray at the bottom of the oven is a great way to do this. Remember to put a baking sheet covered in foil over the tray, but make sure the foil isn’t touching any heating elements that could melt it.
Loosen grease with steam One of the most effective ways of budging oven grease is with steam. By placing a bowl of hot water in the oven for 20 minutes at a high temperature, the steam created will loosen the dirt and make it much easier for you to wipe away using your cleaning product. Don’t forget the racks Oven racks will build up their fair share of dirt, so don’t forget to give them a good clean along with the rest of the oven. Simply placing them in the dishwasher should do the trick, but leaving them to soak in cleaning solution before using an abrasive pad will also suffice.
MicrowaveKeep the inside clean By regularly wiping out the inside of your microwave, you cut down on bad smells and keep spots and corrosion from developing. Food and liquid left in the oven will continue to cook each time it’s used and will absorb the energy meant to heat up your current meal, making it less efficient. Clean any spills and splatters right away, and do a full wipe-down with a mild detergent once a week to once a month, depending on your usage. Keep the outside clean Dust, grease, and other residues can build up on the outside of your microwave, especially on the controls. Old stains are harder to clean than new messes, so keep your microwave looking brand new by wiping it down regularly. This includes the areas around the microwave such as the countertop or cabinet.
Use microwaveable containers Non-microwaveable plastic containers can melt and even leave toxic particles in your food. Make sure you use containers that are specifically labeled as microwave-safe. These are often made of ceramic, glass, or tougher plastic. Cover your food Use a microwave-safe plastic cover over your dishes or use the lids on your microwave-safe food containers. Splashes happen during the microwaving process as the liquid heats up, and preventing them from hitting the walls of the microwave makes cleanup easier and protects the paint and metal of the oven. Never put metal in your microwave The microwaves emitted from the oven bounce off of metallic materials, so metal in the oven will cause the interior to heat up unevenly and can cause damage. This includes aluminum. Make sure the door closes properly If the door is damaged or the seal is cracked, food won’t cook evenly and radiation can escape.
- Remove the cooking grates and soak them in hot, soapy water.
- Remove the barrier and do the same to them.
- Thoroughly brush out the interior of the grill. Leave the greasy accumulation as a protective layer on the metal.
- With everything out of the way, fire up the grill just long enough to look at how the flame is coming from the burners.
- If the flames are uneven, you need to clean out the burners. To do this, remove the affected burners from the grill and, with a pipe cleaner or small wire, push through the ports (holes along the side). Then gently tap the burners, open end down, on the ground to displace any debris from inside the burner. Once cleaned out, replace the burners and fire it up again. If the flame is even, continue. If not, repeat this step.
- Clean out or replace the grease drip pan.
- While the grates and barrier are soaking, close up the grill and give the exterior a wash, much like you would your car (if you have one).
- Wash off the grates and barrier and put your grill back together.
- Fire up the grill and allow it to heat up, drying all the internal parts.
- If you really are packing your grill away for the season, close and disconnect the gas supply. Remove the propane tank from the grill and place it in a safe, ventilated area. Cover the grill and put it in a sheltered location.
CooktopUse warm soapy water and a sponge to collect all easily scrubbed off debris Make sure your stove is completely cool before starting the cleaning process. Once you’re certain your stove is cool, wipe down the entire stovetop with a sponge and warm soapy water. Gently scrub off as much of the visible grime and loose pieces of food as you can. Dry your stovetop with a clean towel Using a soft and clean towel, wipe down your stovetop so it’s no longer soapy and wet.
Apply the glass cooktop cleaner liberally and begin to scrub with a sponge Use the harsh side of the sponge and make circular motions until the entire stovetop is covered with cleanser. Continue to scrub. You will feel certain areas that are rougher than others. This is where grease has built up. Use your scraper to remove difficult grease build up Gently scrape the areas of the stove that feel rough to the touch. Once you scrape them, scrub over them again with the cleanser and the sponge. You will feel a big difference. The rough areas will become smooth. (I didn’t have a scraper on hand, so I improvised and used a serving spatula. It did the job, but next time I’m going to get something I’m certain won’t scratch the glass.) Remove the cleanser from the stovetop Using either a paper towel or a soft cloth, gently buff away the cleanser. I used circular motions just like I put it on. Think of it like waxing a car. You are buffing it and trying to get it to shine. Once you have wiped down and buffed up your stovetop, you are done! You should be able to see your reflection in it once again!