Keep Your Appliances and Your Wallet Healthy: Small Appliance Care Tips

Here are some tips for your small appliances in the kitchen and laundry as well as a few tips and tricks on cleaning.
Do you rely on coffee in the morning to get you going? I sure do, and if the coffee maker broke down I’d probably go look for a 24 hour convenience store so I could have my 6am charge. We tend to take our appliances for granted until they break. However, a coffee maker just declines gradually until we wonder why it takes so long to brew, or the coffee tastes bitter. You guessed it – it’s time to clean it! What happens is that the sediment and scale build up in the lines, vents, and tank. To get rid of this build-up, run the coffee maker through a cycle with a vinegar solution comprised of one part white vinegar and two parts water. Now turn off the unit and let it sit for 30 minutes. Next, empty the solution down the drain or put it in a spray bottle and use it as a cleaner in the first round of some of your dirtier jobs (vinegar is a terrific cleaner, and gentle on the environment). Now run two cycles of water through the machine. Wipe the outside with the vinegar water solution and dry. You’ll think you have a brand new coffee maker. Some sources say to do this every week – but unless you’re running a boarding house, every few months should do it.
What else can you clean with vinegar? The possibilities are endless, given vinegar’s acidic and naturally antibacterial cleaning power and it’s relative chemical safety. In fact, those of you who know how to keep your air conditioner’s condensate line unclogged with bleach – switch to vinegar and it works just as well, and is much more environmentally friendly. All of the HVAC (heating and cooling) techs I have spoken to have now gone to vinegar, saying it is not as rough on the equipment.
Is your steam iron slowing down? Fill the water chamber with equal parts of white distilled vinegar and water. Set it upright on a safe surface and let it steam for 5 minutes. Let the iron cool. Now refill the iron and shake it in an old towel. Next time you fire it up, make sure you iron an old cloth for a few minutes to exit the rest of any remaining vinegar before moving on to your clothes.
To see hundreds of other uses for vinegar, just type “cleaning with vinegar” into your favorite internet search engine, and see the endless advice that comes up.
Luckily, most of our kitchen appliances keep going with no maintenance or help on our part. So keeping them clean is probably the most we need to do, along with following safety tips. One of the things most us resist is reading the manual that came with the device. “No time!” we exclaim, but then wonder why the device is not doing what we want it to do. Then we actually waste more time looking for the manual than it would take to have read it in the first place. So, do yourself a favor, grit your teeth and READ the first few pages of that manual, and then put it in a drawer or box with ALL the other manuals. Admit it – I will – all the manuals are NOT in one drawer, they are scattered all over the house – in the strangest of places, like the bills drawer or the magazine drawer, or the tools drawer; the garage, the attic, even in the car. If we all start now, we might be organized by Christmas 2050.

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