Chances are, you spend a lot of time in your kitchen. It’s where your family sorts the groceries, prepares meals and spends time talking about everyone’s day. The silent partners in the room, your appliances, can go relatively unnoticed—unless they emanate a foul odor.
With some routine maintenance and a little elbow grease, you can keep things smelling pleasant. Here are some basic ways to clean your most-used kitchen appliances.
If your kitchen sink gets smelly or backs up from time to time, the garbage disposal is a likely culprit. Plug your sink and run hot water until a few inches have accumulated. Add some dish soap, unplug the sink and then run the disposal until the water has flushed through.
Once all debris is clear from the disposal, try grinding citrus peels (lemon, lime or orange will work). Cut the peels into small strips, insert them into the disposal and then turn it on with the water running. The citric acid in the peels will help eliminate residual odor.
You can also achieve a better-smelling disposal by pouring half a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Allow the mix to bubble and fizz for about 10 minutes before running the disposal with hot water.
To ensure that your dishwasher is really getting your dishes clean, you’ll need to make sure it gets cleaned as well. Food scraps, stickers and labels from jars can easily become lodged in the small crevices in your dishwasher, restricting the flow of water and causing a stink.
When your dishwasher is empty, remove the racks and utensil baskets. Check the filter for debris, and use a toothbrush and baking soda to scrub it clean. Wipe the inside and seals with a cloth soaked in white vinegar and lemon juice.
For persistent hard-water stains or calcium buildup, you can run one hot water cycle of the dishwasher with 2–3 cups of white vinegar (pour it in the bottom). Repeat the cycle with one cup of baking soda and your dishwasher will be free of grease, smells and stains!
You’ll be more tempted to eat the food you’ve bought if it comes from a clean, non-stinky refrigerator. Every month or two, remove all the food items from your fridge and pull out the shelves and bins. This is a great opportunity to trash any old food that might be lurking unseen.
Handwash the shelves, bins and inside walls of the refrigerator with warm, soapy water. Wipe down the inside of the fridge (don’t forget the door) with a cloth soaked in clean water. For stubborn stains, scrub some baking soda in with a toothbrush and then wipe with a clean cloth soaked in water. Be sure to properly dry the shelves and bins before replacing them.