Cleaning Hacks

An Easy 7-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Favorite Kitchen Appliances

Kara Jillian Brown

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Photo: Stocksy / MOSUNO

Okay, so maybe I’m just lazy, but I can’t tell you how many times I put off making smoothie just because I dreaded the thought of cleaning my blender afterward. Appliances make food prep and cooking so much easier. But you can’t just toss your air fryer (or your oven) in the dishwasher, which makes cleanup a daunting process. And the smaller the appliances get, the more pieces they have to clean.

As annoying as it is to clean your appliances, it must be done. Especially when it’s got little grooves and rings that can easily hide old food and debris. Below, you’ll find tips on how to get all of your beloved appliances squeaky clean.

How to clean kitchen appliances

1. Coffee maker

There are two ways to clean your coffee pot: with descaling powder and with a vinegar solution.

If you’re using a descaling powder, take a product like the Urnex Coffee Machine Cleaning Powder ($8) and dissolve the cleaning powder into a liter of lukewarm water. Then pour the water into your coffee maker’s water reservoir and brew the full tank without coffee grounds. After dumping out the brewed cleaning solution, refill the water tank with fresh water and brew the entire tank again. To ensure all the cleaning solution is gone, repeat the third step two more times.

For vinegar, fill your coffee maker’s water reservoir with one part water to one part vinegar. Brew the full tank of water without coffee grounds, allowing the vinegar to deep-clean your coffee maker. Once it’s finished, dump out the water and repeat the second step one more time. If there’s a vinegar odor or taste, repeat the rinse once more with a scoop of coffee grounds.

2. Instant Pot

Cleaning your Instant Pot is pretty simple. But, the part you’re likely missing—the hidden silicone ring hidden in the lid—is a bit more complicated. The ring helps lock heat into the pot which is essential for cooking, but it can also absorb the smells of your food, sometimes affecting the taste of later meals. To prevent this, just pop out the ring and soak it in vinegar for a few minutes or overnight. Rinse and wash it with soap and water, then let it air-dry before popping it back into your Instant Pot. To clean the pot and the ring together, the makers of the Instant Pot suggest putting two cups of vinegar inside your pot, closing, and turning on the “steam” function for two minutes. You can also run it through the dishwasher if you have one.

3. Blender

To dissolve those hard-to-reach icky bits in your blender, all you need is some vinegar. Just put equals parts water and vinegar in your blender and mix it up.

4. Oven

Although most foods don’t come in direct contact with the inside of the oven spilled food and crumbs can lead to odors and smokiness that can cloud your kitchen and possibly affect the taste of your food.

Angela Bell, a grove guide at Grove Collaborative, tells Well+Good that cleaning the oven takes some time. “It requires a time-lapsed cleaning solution that works away at cooked-on food matter. Save this task for overnight,” she says. “Spread an oven cleaner over the entire interior and let it sit for 10 to 12 hours. The cleaner will break down caked-on food and grime, making it easy to wipe away.”

5. Air fryer

All the nooks and crannies in air fryers make them hard to clean. If you’ve got a dishwasher and your air fryer is dishwasher safe, just throw it on in and let the dishwasher do the work. But if you don’t, or your model isn’t dishwasher safe (be sure to read to manual!) you’ll have to do it by hand. One Redditor discovered that apple cider vinegar was everything their crusty air fryer needed. “So, today, after cooking fried chicken, I put some apple cider vinegar in the basket (the main one, not the insert) right after making the chicken. Scrubbed it with a dish brush and it’s as clean as it’s been since the first time I’ve used. Smells good, too,” they said. Additionally, you can keep it simple and scrub it with soap and water.

6. Dishwasher

Becky Rapinchuk, the voice behind Clean Mama and author of Simply Clean, tells Well+Good that you should clean your dishwasher at least once every three months. Use a rag or towel to wipe the edges of the door and rubber seal with white vinegar or your favorite all-purpose cleaner. Remove the bottom rack, checking for any leftover pieces of food or blockages in the drain and removing them with a toothpick. “If your dishwasher has a filter, remove it and rinse it under warm water, scrubbing with an old toothbrush if necessary,” says Rapinchuk. Pour a cup of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a hot sanitizing cycle to rinse away any remaining mineral build-up. When the cycle is over, use a towel to dry your dishwasher.

7. Microwave

Bell says that your microwave should be cleaned frequently to avoid build-up. “Use a sponge with hot, soapy water to wipe out the interior, and be sure to wash down the microwave plate and let it dry completely before reassembling. Leave the microwave door open ajar to let odors air out.”

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