Cleaning is part of almost everyone’s routine on a weekly, or even a daily, basis, but there are many parts of a home that are rarely cleaned. Some of the commonly missed spots are those that are intended to make home life easier or keep a household safe. Failing to clean these forgotten spots may result in unintentional risks. To help ensure that your home is as safe as can be, follow the cleaning tips below.
Your dishwasher is an endlessly useful household appliance, saving you from hours of scrubbing and drying. It’s not uncommon for this tool to receive a lot of use and little attention in the cleaning department. Since this is an electrical appliance, keeping it clean not only ensures it runs efficiently, but it also aids in preventing potential issues and safety hazards. Plus, cleaning it helps kill any buildup of germs.
This cleaning task is easy to perform and should be done on a monthly basis. To clean your dishwasher, pour distilled white vinegar into a cup that’s safe to place in the appliance, such as a measuring cup. Place this cup upright in the top rack of the dishwasher. With nothing else in the machine, run a full cycle, being sure to use the hot water setting. The next step is to deodorize the dishwasher by sprinkling a cup of baking soda along the bottom of the tub. Now, run the dishwasher on a half-cycle, again using hot water. The final step is to leave the dishwasher door open for a few hours — or overnight — to let it air out.
Washing Machine and Dryer
Surprisingly, washing machines are a prime spot for salmonella to breed, posing a health risk to your family. Although your machine cleans itself whenever you run a cycle that washes clothes in hot water, it’s still a good practice to run an empty load using hot water once a month. This “run” should include a cup of distilled white vinegar, which works to sanitize the basin and kill germs.
As for your dryer, a failure to clean the lint filter and its holder poses a major fire hazard. Bi-annually or more frequently, use a gentle soap and warm water to clean your lint filter. Let the filter dry completely before you put it back in the machine. While the filter is out of the machine, vacuum the filter holder.
The lint filter in your dryer vent is an important feature to clean just as often. Disconnect the dryer vent hose, removing visible lint from the hose and machine manually. Vacuum these components for optimal performance and safety.
Regular fridge cleanings are very important to the safety of the food stored inside. This should be done at least once each season. To complete this task, remove everything from the fridge and wipe down the inside. This is a great time to check for expired food and condiments and dispose of them. Wipe the entirety of the fridge down using a mix of warm water and baking soda (one tablespoon of baking soda to each quart of water). For electrical safety, pull your fridge away from the wall to vacuum up dust and dirt.
There is an art to reloading your fridge for optimal food safety. First, don’t overstuff the fridge, as it’s necessary that there be ample room to let cool air circulate to keep food at a safe temperature for consumption. However, this is a tricky balance, as a refrigerator that is too empty won’t be able to maintain low temperatures. Items like soft drinks and fruit juices should be stored on the top shelf of the fridge. The coldest spot of your fridge is the bottom shelf, so this is where items such as meat or anything with dairy should be kept. Right in the middle, store items that keep well in a consistent temperature. This includes eggs and jarred foods. Along the door, keep products that are high in salt, sugar, and vinegar such as condiments. Fridge drawers are designed to store produce. Vegetables go in the high humidity drawer and fruits go in the low humidity drawer.
Although these cleaning tasks are a bit tedious to carry out, they’re necessary for a safe home as well as for the peace of mind you crave for you and your family. Complete them as necessary to maintain the safest and most efficient performance of these vital home appliances.