While a camping water container is good for having a fresh supply of water wherever you go, your kitchen appliances may sometimes need your help in fighting off excess water and stains. Knowing how to take care of your dishwasher or how to clean your self-cleaning oven is a must for anybody.
The importance of daily use
Since we use our appliances pretty much every day of the week if we’re cooking for our family, it’s only natural to assume that we already know pretty much everything there is to know about them, right? Well, we think it’s safe to say that’s not always true! There are quite a lot of little tips out there that can make a lot of difference in helping your kitchen gear run better.
Even if you just know a handful of those, it may just be enough to consistently extend the life expectancy of your kitchen appliances and, therefore, save quite a bit of money in the long run. It is a win-win situation as you will be happier with the way you run your cooking place and you will remain so for a longer time.
To dishwasher or not to dishwasher?
For as long as there have been dishwashers in this world, the people have asked one very important question: should we bother to scrape off or pre-wash the dishes before we throw them in the actual machine we entrust to do the cleaning job for us?
The simple answer here would be that every machine is different so your owner’s manual can be your best friend when this situation arises. If you’re one of those types of people who will feel unsatisfied if they don’t receive an answer right here and right now, then know that if your dishwasher is older than 5 years, you should probably give it a little help with the job.
Furthermore, if you’re not going to run it after loading it with dishes it is probably recommended that you rinse them off no matter how new your machine is. Most of the dishwashers nowadays have some sort of ‘’light’’ load cycle or ‘’pre-wash’’ cycle that you can use when not starting the sequence right away.
Remember that a dishwasher actually does some of its best work when it is full. Don’t confuse ‘’full’’ with ‘’overloaded’’ though, as it’s quite important to put the right plates on the rack they are supposed to be put on, with the dirtiest of the bunch always finding themselves in the center of attention…and of the dishwasher.
When it comes to detergent, most experts recommend that you try several of them and see which one seems like it does the best work. If it pleases you, feel free to get a bargain one but remember that if it does not do the job it is supposed to do, you’ll still end up on the losing side of that bargain.
Rather than using too much detergent, try and put some vinegar in the rinse agent compartment of the machine and watch your dishes go sparkling clean again. There’s really no need to get a commercial product as vinegar will work in a pinch, especially when washing large loads.
Last but not least, keep in mind that your dishwasher can get really dirty, really fast, regardless of all the water and detergent swirling around in it. Since stinky odors can be really hard to get rid of, it wouldn’t hurt that every once in a while you give your machine a well-earned bath!
Fill the rinse agent compartment to the brim with vinegar and sprinkle your favorite brand of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher. Have it run a complete cycle, including the dry one, and open it up afterward to find it smelling better than ever!
Is a gas cooktop the top?
For many people, gas cooktops are amazing ways in which to do some cooking because they’re fast, reliable, and quite easy to use. However, you may encounter some difficulties when trying to reach that exact sweet spot for a slow and low simmer. The solution may be so simple that it will leave you wondering why you didn’t think about it in the first place: buy a heat diffuser!
This is a great item that will simply diffuse the heat from your gas burners and allow the ingredients in your favorite cooking recipient to simmer to a slow perfection.
All gas and no glass
Since many kitchens nowadays opt to go for glass cooktops and you may do that as well, we believe it’s worth mentioning that there’s a really easy way to clean it without making a fuss about it.
First, when the cooktop is cool, wipe the spills away with copious amounts of water and some mild dish liquid. If you encounter some obtuse ones that simply refuse to go away, do not (we repeat, do not!) use abrasives!
The only thing you’ll do is scratch the surface of your machine and kiss the warranty goodbye. Instead, go out and buy one of those commercial cleaners that are specially made for glass cooktops and are readily equipped to deal with the most stubborn of stains.
While natural removers like vinegar or baking soda might also work, we recommend that you do not put anything on your cooktop before you take a look inside the owner’s manual and see what it says. Furthermore, the best way to have a clean cooktop is to take care and clean up after yourself each time you’re using it!
There’s always the oven
When it comes to the oven side of things, the issue many people face is stopping spills when cooking in it. While the logical tip here may be to avoid putting anything inside the oven that can be prone to bubbling over and making a mess, sometimes it can’t be helped.
Therefore, always make sure to put something underneath the bubble-prone item that you are cooking and put the pans on a larger rimmed baking sheet after you have covered it with aluminum foil. Presto, there are all your problems going away!
For the readers who skipped a Chemistry class or two while in high school, remember that it’s not okay to put aluminum foil in the bottom of your oven where it is most exposed to heat and flame. It can catch fire or even seriously affect the floor of your oven.
If you use the advice about spills that we just gave you above, use the aluminum on the rack below what you are actually cooking and make sure to cut the foil precisely so that it’s only slightly larger than the pan and it allows for some room where the air can circulate around it.
While every once in a blue moon you may get a spill in the oven, don’t wait until you’re done cooking to deal with it. Cover it with salt immediately and you’ll find that when the oven is cool you’ll be able to wipe it away relatively easy.
What if I have a self-cleaning oven?
First of all, congratulations! That’s a nice investment to make if you have the financial means to do so. However, don’t forget that self-cleaning ovens can also get dirty so, while we don’t mean once a week, you should probably take a look at it once every few months to make sure it’s not all dirty and messy.
While some people are against using the self-cleaning cycle designed into the machine because they say it may burn out a fuse or damage the entire oven, we know of a surefire way to damage it: by scrubbing its walls by hand. Therefore, do yourself a favor and use the feature with reckless abandon.
When doing this, follow the direction from your owner’s manual to a tee to prevent any unwanted and costly repairs from having to be made. When the cleaning cycle is over and the oven has cooled down, gently wipe up any ash that is left in its bottom to obtain a crystal-clear product!
One more tip
While this is not necessarily related to kitchen appliances, we feel like it’s important to point out the fact that it’s imperative to clean your lint trap after every use of your dryer! The reason we say this is because lint is highly flammable and you may have an unwanted fire in the room before long.
Inspect and clean out the vent pipe as often as you can because when it comes to this, discretion really is the better part of valor.