The Fix: Even Appliances Need a Spring Cleaning

Something to think about....during the fast paced new housing market that most American families were now moving every three years. The source which I do not recall also noted that appliances today were built to last only 5 years. The business model is interesting...before the second owner moves out they replace all the appliances and sell to the third owner with appliances that are just a year old...crazy. The information below, both the New York Times and quotes from a House & Garden article may assist you in getting a little more out of your appliances now that the trend to move seems to be slowing.

Link to the Times article:
The Fix: Even Appliances Need a Spring Cleaning

An Article published in House and Garden in May 2004 by Glenn Recchia is one of my favorites.

In the article, Glenn reminds us that even the best appliances need care and will last longer with periodic cleaning. He likens this to the maintenance of your car and notes that many of today's high end kitchen appliances cost more than his car.

Below I have summarized Mr. Recchia Recommendations and they are as follows:

Refrigerator Maintenance:
If you own a Sub Zero, the condensers require regular cleanings to prevent overheating. Remove the grill every six months and dust with a gentle tool so as not to damage the aluminum fins. Then, with a soft brush attachment on your vacuum, remove the dust and finish up by cleaning the coils with a refrigerator coil brush.
For a standard refrigerator with typical coils on the back, vacuum these every six months as well.
And finally get down on the floor and look at the toe grille...yuck. Pop that off and vacuum/dust behind it and wash the grille in warm soapy water...this will insure that your appliance is getting enough air circulating around it.

Stove Tops and Range Maintenance:
By wiping up spills and overflows from pots, you will eliminate repairs. Using a fine wire brush typically found in paint stores, you can keep the little holes on gas burners functioning. Glenn recommends that "If spills occur while your are cooking, cover them with salt, both on top of the stove and in the oven, as soon as possible." This makes it easier to wipe off later. Cleaning grates with warm soapy water or in the dish washer is advised on a weekly basis.
Monthly vacuuming of the inside range is also recommended.

Dishwasher Maintenance:
Clogging is the biggest issue with dishwashers. I know many claim to clean it all off for you, but it is advised that you get the chucks off. It will prolong the life or the unit. If yours has a filter, check it often at least once a week and clean it removing any debris and brush it clean. It is recommended that you run the washer with a cup of white vinegar. Just throw it into the bottom and run the machine through one wash and rinse cycle and stop. Do not dry.

Stove Hood Maintenance:
The aluminum filters can usually be placed in the dishwasher on the pots-and-pans cycle at least once a month. It is recommended that you shut the power off to the hood first, and then wipe the fan blades behind the filters. If you really cook, you may want to consider calling in a professional to steam clean the the duct work to remove grease.

In conclusion:
Ammonia and abrasive cleansers are usually not best for the finishes so I recommend that with all of this advice that you please remember...even though it is not very popular or fun thing to the manual. That is the best way to insure you get the most out of your purchases. An you may even be surprised to learn about a feature you did not know you had.