Our kitchen’s give and give and give – but are we returning the love? Especially around the holidays – kitchen maintenance is so important.
This year, many of us have been spending more time in our kitchens than ever before. We’ve been home, we’ve had extra time, and it seems like the whole world has been baking bread, making cakes, and brewing designer lattes.
The upcoming holiday season will be no exception. Whether you’re celebrating with family, or social distancing with your household, there’s no doubt that kitchens everywhere will continue to work overtime.
So let’s show your kitchen some love.
Maintaining Your Fridge
If the Kitchen was a body, the fridge would be the skeleton. Keeping our food safe and protected, everything in it’s neatly assigned place. Like a skeleton, the Fridge doesn’t need much to keep running, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored.
Clean The Coils
Keeping your coils free of dust helps keep your fridge working efficiently. Coils are usually located on the bottom or on the back of the unit. Remove them by taking off a few screws and using the brush attachment on the vacuum, give them a quick clean. Once or twice a year is enough – more often if you have pets that shed lots of hair.
Maintain the Temperature
Refrigerator temperature should be between 37 and 40 fahrenheit and the freezer at 0 fahrenheit for best performance and food safety. If you suspect your fridge and freezer aren’t holding the proper temperature, purchase a fridge thermometer from your local hardware store to make sure.
Check the Gasket
The Gasket is the rubber seal around the door. If cracked or dirty, it can keep your fridge door from sealing properly – wasting energy and spoiling food. Check it often for cracks or tears, replace if noticed. Clean the gasket with soap and warm water to keep out any crumbs or dirt.
Change the Water Filters
If you have a fridge with a water dispenser, change the filters regularly. Every manufacturer has their own guidelines, but when in doubt, change the filters at least 2 times a year for fresh, clean water.
Old, stale ice can change the way your drinks taste. Ice at the bottom of the bucket can stay there for a long time, getting covered up everytime new ice is made. Every couple months, dump out all ice and start fresh. Take that time to clean out the ice bucket too.
Microwave Maintenance Tips
If ever there’s a day I need my microwave to work, it’s the day after Thanksgiving. Don’t get in the way of me enjoying my leftovers! From heating up my turkey-cranberry leftover burrito, or reheating a cup of coffee that I didn’t get to finish in the morning, my microwave is always there for me when I’m in a hurry. Which is why I schedule kitchen maintenance for my microwave often.
- Clean Inside
Cleaning the inside doesn’t have to be a chore. Place a microwave safe dish with vinegar inside, and run it for a minute or two. The vinegar solution will break down any stuck on debris, and you can easily wipe it away. A clean microwave is a safe microwave.
- Clean Outside
Wipe down the outside, including the buttons and vents, with a damp rag and warm water. Keeping the vents clean and clear will keep the microwave working efficiently and safely.
- Make sure the door closes properly
A broken gasket or door that pops open is dangerous. Food won’t cook as well, and radiation waves could be seeping out. Make sure the door is fully closed and sealed, every time you use it.
Recommended Oven Maintenance
The heart of a kitchen – your oven. Not to be overlooked when planning out your kitchen maintenance schedule. Time spent cleaning and maintaining your oven is never time wasted. Before getting started on holiday baking, deep cleaning your oven will not only ensure your food tastes how you want it, but will make sure your food is cooked perfectly as well. A dirty oven can impact the flavor, and cause uneven heating, which can ruin your dish. Avoid any extra heartache this year, and follow these tips on keeping a clean and functioning oven.
Clean Inside of Oven
Take advantage of the self-clean cycle on your oven. Check manufacturer’s guidelines for how to set up your oven in self-cleaning mode, but remember to never leave home with it on. Open the windows, and expect at least an hour or two for the cycle to finish. Wipe away any left over debris once done.
Inspect and Replace Gas Line
Inspect the gas line every couple years to look for any wear. Replace as needed. Installing a new oven? Always replace the gas line too.
Check and Clean Burners
Check on, around, and under burners regularly and clean off any left over food droppings and splatters. Regular cleaning ensures the burners stay in good condition, and reduces fire hazards due to burner shortages or crumbs catching a spark (it happens!).
The inside racks are easily forgotten. Cleaning with soap and warm water should be done every time you clean the inside of the oven, or when you notice any droppings.
Inspect Door Gasket
Check the gasket and clean or replace as needed. A poor seal around the door will waste energy and impact how well food cooks. Clean with soap and water as needed.
Clean Under and Behind Oven
Once or twice a year, slide out your oven and clean behind and under. Crumbs and dirt build up over time, and become a safety hazard. Don’t forget to check the gas line when you’re back there!
Clean a glass cooktop with vinegar and baking soda. Spray and soak with vinegar, and sprinkle baking soda over the vinegar solution and let soak. Using a warm rag, and a bit of elbow grease, wipe away burn marks and stains.
A kitchen maintenance schedule isn’t complete without giving the Dishwasher a tune-up. During the holidays, it’s not uncommon to run your dishwasher multiple times a day. When the dishwasher is in top working order, it’s such a timesaver. And when it’s not… it’s so frustrating dealing with water marks, soap buildup and stuck on food. Taking some time to show your dishwasher some love, and it will love you right back.
- Inspect and clean the spinning arms
Remove everything from the washer and take a close look at the spinning arms. With just a toothbrush and a toothpick you can brush and poke away any left over gunk from clogging up the water jets.
- Clean the edges and exterior
Give the outside a wipe down, and check the door seal for any left over soap or grime and wipe away with a damp rag. Clean the inside by running an empty load using white vinegar instead of dish soap. This will break up any stuck on food that’s lurking around.
- Unclog and clean the drain
The drain at the bottom can get clogged overtime, leaving your dishes looking not so clean. Take the drain apart (there are sometimes a few small screws that need to be removed) and using a toothbrush and a damp rag, get rid of any food bits and trapped soap scum.
Caring for Your Instapot
I have a love-hate relationship with my instapot. I love when I can use it, and I hate when I can’t! Learning how to use my Instapot has been so rewarding. Perfectly cooked chicken from frozen in twenty minutes?? Yes please! Kitchen maintenance for your favorite gadget is simple, so take some time and do it now – you won’t regret it when you’re impressing your loved ones with delicious meals cooked in minutes. Because we don’t always have hours to prepare a meal.
- Vinegar soak to get rid of mineral buildup
Notice a discoloration, cloudy look or even a rainbow sheen inside your instapot? This is a result of mineral and food buildup over time. Cover the bottom and spray the sides with vinegar and let soak for 5 minutes then rinse and wipe away any left over buildup or burn marks.
- Maintain Lid and Steam Vent
Inspect for any condensation build up or food splatter after every use. Keeping the steam vent clear is key to keeping the Instapot working safely.
- Sealing ring
Check for any cracks or wear. Replace as needed. A broken seal means the instapot has to work extra hard to get hot.
- Condensation collector
Give it a rinse after every couple uses to avoid overflow.
Maintaining Your Range Hood
There are fewer things more annoying than a smoke detector that keeps going off when you’re trying to put together a special family meal. A range hood that’s in good working order will keep the smoke away, and your day free from loud beeps and buzzes.
- Inspect the Motor
Remove the vent and take a look at the motor. You want to make sure there’s no build on grease – which can make your motor sluggish or stop working all together. Using a damp rag with dish soap, wipe away any grease. Let fully fry before using again.
- Check and Clean the Vent
The vent grill or cover can get covered with grease pretty quickly. Keeping hte vent clean makes the range vent work better, but also reduces the fire hazard of excess grease in the kitchen. Remove the vent fully and soak for 15 minutes in a solution of grease-cutting soap and water. Rinse clean. You can even run a metal vent through the dishwasher for a deep clean. Let dry and reinstall.
Sinks and Garbage Disposals Maintenance
An odorless, dripless sink and a powerful garbage disposal keeps the flow of the kitchen moving. When the sink and disposal work, we barely think of them, but when out-of-order, everything in the kitchen can come to a halt. Before getting too deep into holiday cooking, give your sink and disposal a check-up. Keep them healthy, and keep on moving.
Admit it, there are times when you sink can stink. It’s common. Food can leave behind trace odor that’s hard to get rid of. Flush out unwanted food by running ice cubes and lemon slices down the garbage disposal. The crushing of the ice
- No potato peels, eggshells or coffee grounds
These items can stick to the edges of your pipes, and cause messy and hard to remove blockages. Throw them in the trash to keep your sink and disposal flowing.
- Use regularly and with lots of water
The best thing for your disposal and sink – use regularly. Letting food sit in the pipes can cause blockages and create smells. Regular use will keep things moving and your pipes happy.
Give Some Love to Coffee Makers and Pots
Arguably, one of the most important parts of any kitchen maintenance schedule is the coffee pot. If you’re a coffee drinker, no explanation is needed for how important and loved your coffee maker is. But how often do you clean the insides, getting rid of buildup and mildew? Not only can a dirty coffee maker make your coffee taste – off – it can also make you sick if there’s mildew growing inside. Keep it clean, and enjoy your favorite drink without worry.
- Traditional: Flush the lines from mineral deposits and mildew
Fill the water tank with 50% water and 50% distilled vinegar. Brew a pot of coffee and turn the machine off once half done. This will keep the vinegar and water solution in the water lines. Let soak for 30-60 minutes then finish the brew and run at least 3-4 more brew cycles with just water to flush everything out. This should be done a few times a year – at least.
- Keurig: Flush the Lines and Clean the Water Dispenser
For single serve pod-style coffee pots, there are easy to use descale kits that work great. Follow the directions for a quick and easy cleaning of your keurig insides. Recommended to descale every 3 months.
- Clean exterior
Wipe down the outside with a damp rag to keep your coffee pot looking clean and new.
- Clean Internal Coffee Storage Cup
Dropped coffee grounds can build up over time, turning moldy, smelly, and can often drop down into your coffee. Take a toothbrush to brush off any loose grounds and wipe away with a damp rag.
Don’t Forget to Maintain Your Kitchen Pots and Pans
Clean Pots and Pans make for delicious food and a happy chef. Get rid of build up grime, stains, rust or scratches when these easy cleaning hacks.
Keep Pots and Pans Looking Good as New with these Simple Hacks
- Dryer sheets
Old and Burnt Pan Bottoms? Cover with hot water and dish soap, and add in a dryer sheet. Let soak for one hour and rinse. Easily wipe away any left over debris and your pot will look good as new.
Stuck on burn food is a huge pain. Crinkle up a ball of tin foil, and gently scrape away unsightly burn marks on glass baking pans or roasting tins.
- Vinegar and baking soda
Sprinkle burn pan bottoms with baking soda and cover with 1 cup water and 1/3c vinegar. Let soak for 15-30 minutes and rinse. Good as new!
Handyman Network – Part of Your Kitchen Maintenance Plan
We all need an extra hand now and then, especially during the busy holiday season. At Handyman Network, we’re here to help with your kitchen maintenance needs, any way we can. From installing a new appliance, to moving your appliances out of the way so you can clean behind them, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call, let’s get it done – together.
American Home Shield https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/repair-maintenance/guide-to-refrigerator-maintenance/
THOR Kitchen https://thorkitchen.com/oven-maintenance-tips/
Compact Appliance https://learn.compactappliance.com/dishwasher-cleaning-tips/
Compact Appliance https://learn.compactappliance.com/range-hood-maintenance/
Better Home and Garden https://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/tips/how-to-clean-a-coffee-maker-281474979530476/
Expert Home Tips https://experthometips.com/6-weird-cleaning-hacks-make-pot-pans-look-good-new#:~:text=Vinegar%20%26%20baking%20soda%20will%20make%20pans%20sparkle&text=These%20natural%20products%20will%20do,and%201%2F3%20cup%20vinegar.