---- — Spring has finally arrived and thoughts have turned to the annual spring cleaning that makes all things fresh and new. Most people think about cleaning their appliances like refrigerators, stoves and microwaves. But what about cleaning those appliances you use to clean with? Here are a few tips on getting your cleaning giants in tip top shape for their big season!Washing Machine:• Wipe the outside of your washer with a soft cloth and a mild solution of soap. This is especially important if you use the washer lid as a landing station for your laundry.• Whenever a load of wash is extremely dirty and leaves a bit of residue on the interior or inner tub of your washer, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe it clean.• If your washer is equipped with a lint filter, remove all lint accumulation on a regular basis such as once a week.• Clean the bleach and fabric softener dispensers as soon as they show any sign of dirt or residue. Avoid using laundry detergent to clean the fabric softener dispenser since it may interact with the fabric softener the next time you use it.• If your washing machine is set up to drain into a laundry tub, you should have a strainer placed in the drain to gather all traces of lint and larger particles of dirt. Placing an old nylon (knee-high or pantyhose) over the end of your drain pipe will catch debris before it can clog your drain.• Clean the washing machine about once a month by running a hot water cycle with bleach. Be sure that you do not use more than the recommended dosage of bleach for your washer. This information may be visible on the bleach dispenser or in the washer’s manual.• Clean underneath the lid of the washer using a soft cloth or sponge and clean water or a mild soap solution. While you are at it, clean the top of the washer that sits beneath the lid as well.• If you have hard water and mineral deposits have appeared on your machine, refer to your manual for removal instructions. If you do not have the manual, you can search online for possible suggestions. Certain types of materials may not react well to specific cleaning methods; therefore, it is essential that you check before you use anything such as vinegar or a cleaning agent that includes vinegar.
Vacuums:• Unplug the Vacuum Cleaner and Empty the Dirt Container. To avoid electric shock, you must remember to unplug any electrical equipment before cleaning it. A vacuum cleaner generally has either a dirt bag or a container in which the vacuumed dirt and debris are collected. If you have a bagged vacuum cleaner, remove the bag and dispose it of in the trash can. If you have a bagless vacuum cleaner, it is best to take it outside and empty the container, or else the dust may billow around in your home. Take the vacuum cleaner close to a trash can, or to the garage and empty out the dirt container. If according to the user manual you can use water to clean the dirt container, wash it with a soapy solution and dry it thoroughly. When replacing the container or bag, make sure it is thoroughly secure, or else the vacuumed dirt may travel to the motor, causing serious damage.• Step 2 – Clean the Filters. Most vacuum cleaners have single or multiple filters, which clean up the vacuumed air and segregate the dirt and dust. Remove the filters and clean them thoroughly. Refer to your user manual for cleaning instructions. Some filters must be replaced, whereas others can be reused after cleaning. Ensure that it is safe to clean your vacuum filter with a soap solution. If it is not, just use an old brush to remove out the clogged dirt. If it is safe to wash your vacuum filter, soak it in a solution of mild soapy water and clean it thoroughly. Air dry the filter, or wipe it clean before replacing it in the vacuum cleaner. Never replace wet or moist parts in the vacuum cleaner. In addition to the risk of electric shock, there is a great chance the mold and bacteria may grow in the moist, enclosed space.• Step 3 – Clean the Attachments. Most vacuum cleaners have several attachments that make access easy. Any removable parts can be washed in a soapy solution, after referring to the user manual. Never wet any parts or hoses that have wiring, or are permanently attached to the vacuum cleaner. Replace the attachments only when they are completely dry.• Step 4 – Clean the Vacuum Brush. If you have an upright vacuum cleaner, lay it on the floor so that you can easily access the lower parts. Check the vacuum brush, beater bar and roller. Remove any clogged debris, hair, or strings that may be entangled. If necessary, use a pair of scissors to carefully cut out any entangled parts. With a damp soft cloth, wipe down the body of the vacuum cleaner. Wipe the electric cord and make sure there are no cuts or signs of damage to the cord.
Garbage Disposal and Sink Drains• Pour one half cup of baking soda down the kitchen drain. Carefully pour one cup of white vinegar down the drain on top of the baking soda. Place the drain stopper in the sink to close off the drain. If you have a double sink, you should do this for both of them. The mixture will fizz and make a bit of noise. Allow this to work its magic for a few minutes while you boil some hot water. Pour a full pan of boiling water down each drain.• Maintaining a clean garbage disposal using the above method will help to keep it smelling fresh and odor free. You can also clean the cutting blades by placing several ice cubes in the drain and grinding them. If you want to add a little bit of scent to the area, you can add rinds from any of the citrus fruits in the drain with the ice cubes.
Dishwashers:• Start with an empty dishwasher.• Fill one side of kitchen sink with distilled white vinegar water. (I just dump, but I would say 1-2 cups of vinegar with a half-full sink of water.)• Remove the utensil holders and racks. Wipe them down checking for stuck-on food bits and debris in the bottom of washer.• Remove and disassemble the arm and grate and filter, if you have one, from the floor of the dishwasher (I remove all parts that I can remove by hand). Place in sink to wipe down with damp rag and vinegar water. Make sure the holes that spray the water out on the blades are clear of tiny bits of food; you can use a toothpick to clear them if necessary.• Using paper towels, remove debris and food gunk.• Use a damp rag that’s been wet with vinegar water to wipe down inside and door, use a toothbrush or q-tip to get in tiny places. If you are having trouble removing some gunk, try using a soft toothbrush and a baking soda paste.• Reassemble and replace all parts.• Add 2 cups of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher and turn it on to Energy or Low Wash. Stop the machine in mid-wash, so the vinegar can set on the bottom and work. Let it stand for about 20 minutes, then turn on to finish cycle.• When done, wipe out the inside with dry paper towels.• Don’t forget to wipe down the outside while you’re at it. Depending on the type of dishwasher you have, spray the front of your dishwasher with a mild spray cleaner or stainless steel cleaner.
Now enjoy the fresh smelling appliances and know that your cleaning appliances will be getting things really clean!