Gas and Electricity
The most important thing to remember about appliances is where their energy comes from. Appliances are powered by either gas or electricity. In each case, you must respect and care for the basic energy source, because misuse can waste needless energy dollars and even cause bodily harm.
Cleaning is Job One
Cleaning your appliances doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Just a few simple household ingredients and a little elbow grease from time to time keeps your appliances sparkling, operating efficiently, and often one step ahead of the repairman.
Use our All-Purpose, Handy Dandy Cleaner for day-to-day surface cleaning and our D-I-Y Cleanser Scrub for tougher cooked-on spills. When food spills occur, immediately sprinkle them with table salt, which absorbs the moisture and makes them easy to clean up later when the stove top cools.
Aside from saving you embarrassment when company comes calling, a clean range will operate more efficiently by providing more even heating. A dirty range can also prevent the door from sealing properly, which allows heat and smoke to escape.
The range hood has an important job: it removes excess moisture and smoke that is produced when cooking. The most important aspect of range hood maintenance is cleaning.
If your microwave oven is over 15 years old, it should be checked for output efficiency as well as leakage. For 600- to 1000-watt microwave ovens, place an 8-ounce cup of water in the oven and operate the unit on high for three minutes. The water should reach a rolling boil. If not, take the microwave to a service shop for inspection.
The single most important aspect to dishwasher maintenance is to keep the interior clean. Doing so keeps all the hoses and passages clear, which, in turn, lets the machine operate freely and ultimately washes your dishes better.
Refrigerators and Freezers
The most important thing for any refrigerator is to keep the condenser coils clean. Air passing over these coils is what cools the refrigerator, and if they are dirty, the unit has to work harder to do its job.
Clean your disposal by putting ice cubes and 1/4 cup of white vinegar into the unit and operating it with no running water. As the blades grind up the ice, it removes food particles and gooey build-ups. When it sounds like the cubes are all gone, start a slow trickle of cold water.
Only compact dry trash, not banana or potato peels or anything else that contains moisture. If you do, the compactor squishes out juices that ride up on top of the wiper (the rubber flap that surrounds the ram) and get into the inner workings of the ram. The result is nasty odors and unwanted insects.
If you have rust stains inside the tub, try a professionally installed plastic tub liner before considering replacement. Temporary patch-ups on small nicks in the porcelain where rusting occurs can be made with a dab or two of enamel paint or clear nail polish -- but these are very temporary solutions, at best.
Electric and Gas Clothes Dryers
Clean the lint screen thoroughly after every load. If it's filled and clogged with lint, the air won't circulate, the clothes won't dry, and the dryer runs far longer, which wears it out faster and wastes lots of energy dollars in the process.