Microwave: Steam away messes
Don’t waste elbow grease on the crusted messes in your microwave—just let them steam clean. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a microwave-safe bowl. Add the lemon pieces to the bowl, along with 1/2 cup of water. Nuke the water and lemon for three minutes on high, or until the liquid starts to boil. Without opening the door, let the lemon water stand for five minutes. The lemony steam will help break down the gunk, making it easy to wipe off after you remove the bowl. Take out the turntable to clean it, then wipe down the top, bottom, sides, and door of the microwave before putting it back.
Blender: Let it self-clean
Hate the idea of scrubbing every inch of the blade? Let your blender do all the dirty work. Fill the pitcher with hot water as soon as you’re done using it, add a couple drops of soap, and run the blender like you would for a recipe. Rinse it out and it will be ready for your next concoction. Just make sure you take the blender apart and give it a hands-on scrub every now and then for a deep clean.
Coffee maker: Clean out with vinegar
Coffee maker reservoirs are among the most germy items in the kitchen and have even more germs than bathroom door knobs, according to a small study by public health organization NSF. To keep yours clean, wash the removable pieces of the machine after every use—most parts can easily be thrown in the dishwasher. But about once a month, give it a deep clean by attacking the buildup on the inside of the appliance. Put a paper filter in place, then fill the water chamber with equal parts vinegar and water. Start the machine, then turn it off when it’s halfway through the brew cycle. Let the solution sit for half an hour, then finish the brew cycle. Pour out the vinegar solution, and replace the paper filter, then run the brew cycle with a full pot of water. Repeat the process with one more full pot of water. For a single-cup machine, fill the reservoir with the vinegar-water solution, then run the brew cycle without a K-Cup one mugful at a time. Repeat with plain water.
Garbage disposal: Use lemon for a fresh scent
If your disposal is starting to smell funky, it’s time for a thorough cleaning. Get rid of grime in the grinding mechanics by pouring half a cup of baking soda into the disposal, followed by a cup of white vinegar, two cups of ice, and one cup of salt. With the cold water running, turn on the garbage disposal until the ice is gone. To freshen the odor, cut a lemon and grind the pieces one at a time in the disposal.
Slow cooker: Deep clean with baking soda
A slow cooker makes food preparation easy, but the cleanup? Not so much. When your appliance has a mess that can’t be wiped away after a presoak, it’s time for a deep clean. Add ¼ cup of baking soda and a squirt of dish soap, then fill with water. Put the lid on, then turn the machine on high for two to four hours.
Stand mixer: Use a wet rag
Place a wet rag over areas with built-on food residue to loosen it. After a few minutes, the dried gunk should be softer and easier to wipe away. When cleaning the beater, let the attachment soak in water to help dissolve the mess before scrubbing it clean.
Toaster: Target the crumb tray
Don’t forget about that crumb tray, if your toaster has one. Slide it out and shake off the crumbs, or turn the whole machine upside down and shake lightly if it doesn’t have a removable tray. Wash and dry the tray before putting it back to get rid of any caked-on food. To clean out the inner corners of your toaster, reach in with a pastry or basting brush. Finish by wiping the outside with a damp cloth and mild detergent, or a bit of vinegar if it’s stainless steel.
Stove burners: Try different tactics for gas vs. electric
For a gas burner, unclog the port with a pin or unfolded paper clip. Then take off the removable parts of the cooktop and soak them in hot, soapy water. Scrub them clean, then rinse thoroughly. Wipe the cooktop with a damp, not wet, cloth to prevent water from leaking into the burner. Electric burners should never be submerged in water, so it can be hard to break down burnt spills, especially when dish soap isn’t strong enough. Combine baking soda and water until it has a paste consistency, then use the mixture to scrub the mess.