How To Clean Your Coffee Maker, Microwave & Other Small Appliances

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While washing dishes is easy, and wiping down large appliances like the stove and dishwasher are also straight forward, many small kitchen appliances are trickier to clean. Coffee makers, blenders, toasters… these all need to be kept as clean as the rest of the kitchen. Many small appliances are used and then put away dirty, but a look inside will reveal dust, grease and gunk, which is not only gross, it’s potentially unhealthy.

With all small appliances, always unplug before cleaning. Never immerse electrical parts in water. You can wipe the surface of the housing with a damp paper towel or sponge and a drop of two of liquid soap. Wipe the outer surfaces of your appliances after every use, and whenever wiping down your kitchen counters to keep them free from dust, grease or kitchen grime.

How To Clean Your Blender

Wipe the base of your blender after every use, paying particular attention to the area where the blades connect to the base. Drops of gunk often build up here, but are easy to remove with a damp paper towel and a dab of baking soda. Most blender jars are dishwasher safe, but the blades will stay sharper if washed by hand. You can often keep them clean just by rinsing right away after using the appliance. If the blades or rubber ring are gunky with stuck-on particles, clean the blender by running it for a minute or so with a mixture of several cups of warm water, a few drops of liquid soap and a tablespoon of baking soda. Rinse well after cleaning. If your blender has a rubber lid, wash it by hand with warm, soapy water. Hard plastic lids can usually go in the dishwasher.


How To Clean Your Coffee Maker

Though it is easy to clean the glass carafe of your drip coffee maker, the water chamber often builds up residue and hard water deposits, leading to sour or spoiled tasting coffee. You can remove this residue by periodically filling the water chamber with a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar. Set the machine to brew, and turn it off halfway through the cycle. Let the vinegar solution sit for an hour, then turn the machine back on and let it complete the cycle. Run two cycles of plain water through to remove any lingering vinegar before making coffee.

If your glass carafe does become stained, or develops a film of burned coffee on the bottom, you can clean it with a cup of ice, a teaspoon of lemon juice, 3 teaspoons of salt, and just enough warm water to moisten everything. Let the carafe sit until the ice melts, then swish it around, wash with hot soapy water, and rinse well.

How To Clean Your Toaster

When it comes to cleaning, toasters are frequently overlooked. Accumulated crumbs can eventually become a fire hazard, as well as give a burnt taste to your bread, so keep the toaster clean. Hold your unplugged toaster over the sink, and open the crumb tray at the bottom. Shake gently to dump crumbs, then use a dry scrub brush to remove stubborn crumbs and grit. Be careful not to damage the wire heating elements. Wipe the top and sides of the toaster with a sponge moistened with white vinegar.

How To Clean Your Microwave

Reheat a plate of spaghetti without a cover, and see how quickly you can transform your microwave into a gunky mess. Using a plastic plate cover when reheating foods is the easiest way to cut down on microwave maintenance, but it also needs regular cleaning. Wipe the outside of your microwave with a damp sponge to remove dust and grease. If food is stuck on the inside, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a mug half-full of water, then heat in the microwave for three minutes. Let sit for several minutes, then remove the mug of water, and wipe down the inside of the microwave with paper towels. If your microwave develops lingering odors, often a problem if you frequently make popcorn, you can freshen it with coffee grounds. Just set a plate of damp grounds in the oven, and let sit overnight.

How To Clean Your Electric Can Opener

The blades of an electric can opener can become positively disgusting, caked with old food and bits of paper from the can labels. Wipe the cutting edge with a wet paper towel after each use, and periodically remove the cutting wheel and wash thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Clean the base of the can opener with a dab of baking soda on a damp sponge, paying particular attention to the area where the cutting wheel attaches to the base.

How To Clean Your Coffee Grinder

Coffee grinders tend to build up residue of oil and dust, which dulls the blades and imparts a stale taste to your coffee. Prevent this by cleaning your grinder once a month or so with uncooked white rice. Just add enough rice to the grinder to cover the blades, then run the device to grind the rice. You’ll be amazed at how much old, clotted coffee comes free after doing this. Repeat the process, then dump out the rice, and grind a batch of coffee to remove any rice residue. After this, your grinder is ready to use. You can clean your spice grinder with the same method.

Your small appliances are workhorses in your kitchen, but are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning time. Keeping them clean is often as easy as wiping or rinsing after each use, so take the extra seconds to tidy up. Go a little further periodically, and give your kitchen appliances a thorough cleaning. Your kitchen will be healthier and cleaner.

Last Updated: July 23, 2012
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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