Kitchen Patrol | Overworked Appliances Need a Break
No matter the season, many of us simply need our warm up of coffee or tea in the morning. It gives us that jolt to get moving and address the busy day. Those small kitchen appliances that work overtime for us when we’re bleary-eyed never get noticed until the coffee tastes bitter or your eye catches the side of the toaster that’s covered with smears and fingerprints. The spills the blender takes from smoothies and the coffee stains in the carafe build up over time until the coffee gets cloudy and the blender gears strain from the gunk.
It doesn’t take much to make sticky appliances sparkle like the day you brought them home. A good clean will make them last longer and everything taste better. Your efforts will reward you with a kitchen that smells good and shines.
The best way to clean these small appliances is simple. You will need:
- Clean rags and sponges
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
- Dishwashing liquid (Dawn is a great degreaser)
Fill one side of the kitchen sink with hot water and add dish detergent. Fill a large bowl with hot water and vinegar (two parts vinegar to one part hot water for best results). Next, unplug each appliance you want to clean.
Coffee Makers and Tea Kettles
If you use a traditional coffee pot, make sure the filter is removed and there are no coffee grounds in the basket. Put the empty coffee basket in the soap mixture to soak. Fill the coffee pot water reservoir with white vinegar, place the carafe in the unit, and turn on the pot. The vinegar will heat and run through the machine into the glass carafe. Your kitchen will smell fresh and clean! Let the hot vinegar sit in the glass pot for a few minutes. Meanwhile, rinse the coffee basket and place it on a clean kitchen towel to dry. Pour the hot vinegar from the carafe down the sink and run a cycle of plain water through the coffee maker. Wipe the coffee maker sides down with a sponge dipped in your hot water and dishwashing soap. Clean the top and leave the reservoir open to dry. Now take another sponge and dip it in the vinegar water. Clean the outside of the coffee maker and buff with a clean rag.
For single-pod coffee makers, open the top and remove the small basket unit that looks like a funnel. Carefully separate the top and bottom pieces and place both in the soapy dishwater. Fill the water reservoir with vinegar, place a ceramic cup below, and run the vinegar through in batches of one cup at a time. Once the vinegar is gone, fill the water reservoir with water and run it through the same process until the machine is empty.
Wash the small pod basket that’s soaking in the soapy water and allow it to dry.
Clean the outside of the unit with soapy water, then vinegar water, and replace the pod basket in the machine. Fill the water reservoir with fresh water and you are ready to brew delicious coffee again.
For tea drinkers, your kettle needs a good deep clean once in awhile too. Fill your tea kettle with white vinegar, place it on your stove and turn on the heat. Once the vinegar boils and the kettle whistles, put some baking soda in the kitchen sink drain and pour in the hot vinegar from your tea kettle. It will bubble and foam as it cleans the drain of grease and old residue—a two for one chore! Rinse the tea kettle with warm water and wipe down the sides with white vinegar and hot water on a rag. If there are lots of smudges, use the hot soapy mixture first, then follow with a vinegar wipe-down so your kettle shines.
Toasters and Toaster Ovens
For most of us, it has been awhile since we emptied the crumbs from the bottom catch tray in our toaster or toaster oven. Once they are clear, soak them in the soapy water mixture, then use a sponge to scrub the trays. Rinse in hot water and dry with a rag; reinsert the trays in the slot. Wipe down outside of the toaster or toaster oven with the soap and hot water to remove grease and smudges, then buff with your solution of vinegar and hot water. If there is a glass door to the toaster oven, rubbing alcohol on a paper towel will clean off the cooking haze.
Blenders by nature are messy and suffer from food spills—so they need some attention. Gears in the base unit can be wiped carefully with rubbing alcohol on a rag to remove residue. This takes patience as the grime comes off slowly. Once the inside of the base is spotless, remove the top of the blender and take it apart. Wash the glass pitcher and the top pieces in the hot soap solution. Rinse with hot water and allow them to dry on a dishtowel. Clean the outside of the blender base with hot soapy water on a sponge. If the base is chrome, follow with the vinegar solution to make it shine. Now reassemble the unit and it’s ready for tomorrow morning’s juices and smoothies.
Just a few simple steps, and each appliance is prepared for the next morning. All this cleaning deserves a rest and a cup of tea or java. Reward yourself!