Disorganized and messy refrigerators, greasy ovens, and grimy microwaves – who among us haven’t wandered into our kitchen one day only to discover that our kitchen appliances are a total mess? To no fault of our own, of course 😉
I have been cleaning professionally for almost thirty years, so I completely understand what a chore cleaning kitchen appliances can be. It is difficult, dirty work.
No wonder we put it off until we can’t stand it anymore!
I’m here to tell you that keeping a clean, well-organized kitchen doesn’t have to be a pain. With some routine maintenance, the right attitude, and a few tips from a pro, you can enjoy kitchen appliances that remain clean with minimal effort.
With that said, I know that most of us are here because we are well past that point. Our stovetop has foodstuff burnt onto its surface. Our oven stinks of something burnt to its bottom. The fridge is such a mess that we feel afraid of what we might find at the back!
So I’ve put together this guide to cleaning the most common appliances one might find in a kitchen: The stove, oven, microwave, and refrigerator. Because I’m tackling all four in one post, I will do my best to keep it concise, but if you want something a little more thorough, I have also written about each one individually! Just click the link in each section.
Without any further ado, please enjoy my essential guide to cleaning kitchen appliances!
Table of Contents:
- General Advice
- How to Clean a Microwave
- Cleaning a Stovetop
- Now Let’s Clean the Oven
- And Finally, How to Clean a Refrigerator!
General Advice for Cleaning Kitchen Appliances
I try to integrate a few core principles into every cleaning project. They will be outlined for you below, and I only ask that you give them all a fair chance before rolling your eyes. I know some of the advice may come off as hokey or naive, but it works wonders for me, and it’s made a big difference for many people I’ve worked with as well.
If you want to jump right ahead to the kitchen appliances cleaning advice, they are just a little ways down. In my experience, however, unless you find a way to incorporate these first few tips, then investing in a cleaning habit is always going to be miserable. I hope that, with this advice, you begin to experience the life-changing effects of keeping a clean home!
Make it fun!
The best way to introduce fun into your chores is to link them with something you love! While you’re cleaning your kitchen appliances, play some music that excites you. Put on an episode of your favorite show in the background. Competing against yourself for the fastest time finishing!
Whatever it is, you will begin to associate cleaning your kitchen appliances and (other chores) with things you love, and doing them will feel like much less of a headache. Find what works for you and be consistent with it!
Always start from the top and work down
You know what sucks? Cleaning your floors only to realize you haven’t cleaned the counters yet. Cleaning the counters means some debris will fall to the floor, which means you need to sweep up again!
Don’t fall into this trap! In any cleaning chore you do, including cleaning your kitchen appliances, start high and end low. With kitchen appliances, begin at the tops, work your way down the sides, and finish with the bottoms.
Maintain, maintain, maintain!
Don’t wait until your kitchen appliances become a terrible mess! That first moment you notice a tiny bit of splatter on the stovetop or an inconvenient leak in the fridge is the best moment to clean it!
These smaller messes only take minutes to fix at most, which is much easier than setting aside a half-hour or more to clean all of your kitchen appliances. The longer you wait, the more challenging it will become, and it will be that much harder to motivate yourself to clean. Dirty kitchen appliances will make your whole kitchen feel dirty, which will make your home feel gross and will make you feel lousy.
If it helps, try linking maintenance with other chores you are doing anyway. For example, I link wiping down my stovetop to doing the dishes. That’s because if I’m doing the dishes, then I probably cooked, which means the stove could probably use a wipe down. By linking one task with the other, I’ve devised a system in which my stovetop is always clean!
Use sustainable products
Do you know what is better for cleaning kitchen appliances than paper towels? Cleaning rags. I don’t mean some special, expensive rags made for cleaning. I mean cut-up old t-shirts that you were going to throw away anyway.
Do you know what is just as good as an all-purpose cleaner? White vinegar and lemon juice.
Looking for sustainable alternatives to support your cleaning work is vital for two reasons. The first is that we each have a responsibility to steward our planet as we do our homes. The more waste we can cut down, the better for everyone.
The second reason is that it saves you so much money. I will write a blog breaking down just how much you stand to save one of these days. For now, trust me that, when it comes to cleaning, choosing the sustainable option makes a huge difference on your wallet!
Celebrate your work
I know, I know. It’s another tip that sounds silly, but trust me. Being intentional about taking pride in yourself for doing your chores will make you more likely to follow through on them in the future. I get that it can feel awkward to practice this kind of self-love, but cleaning your home is already an act of self-love, so you may as well celebrate it! Take yourself out to your favorite dinner. Give yourself permission to do nothing else for the rest of the weekend. Whatever brings you joy, indulge in it – you’ve earned it!
What you will need to clean this kitchen appliance:
- White vinegar
- A microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup
- 2-3 (microfiber) cleaning rags.
Other things that will help:
- Fresh lemon juice
- An oven mitt
- A non-scratch sponge
- Dish soap
- Baking soda
Step 1: Remove the microwave turntable and turntable ring.
Later, you will wash these elements the same way you wash your dishes. Set them aside or soak them for a few minutes while preparing the cleaning solution.
Step 2: Mix the cleaning solution
Fill a microwave-safe bowl with equal parts water and white vinegar – 1/2 cup of each should be more than enough.
Step 3: Heat the cleaning solution in your microwave.
Place the solution inside your microwave and run it until the mixture hits a rolling boil and the microwave window becomes saturated with steam. 5-10 minutes should be fine, depending on the strength of your microwave.
Step 4: While the solution heats up and begins to steam, wash the turntable and turntable ring.
Wash both of these elements just as you would wash your dishes. Then, set them aside to dry while you continue.
Step 5: Safely remove the solution!
Using an oven mitt, carefully remove the bowl and set it safely out of your way. The bowl and mixture will both be scalding, so don’t take risks with your safety here! Let the bowl cool to room temperature before washing it later – this will prevent it from breaking from a sudden temperature change.
Step 6: Wipe down the inside of your microwave.
Use a warm, damp microfiber rag to clean the inside of your microwave. Don’t forget about the ceiling of the microwave, as well as the microwave door! If some stubborn gunk remains, use a non-scratch sponge damp with warm water and dish soap to scrub it away. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe dry the microwave.
Step 7: Replace the turntable and turntable ring.
Making sure they have dried completely (it may need a quick wipe-down), return these elements to your microwave.
Step 8: How to clean the outside of your microwave.
As with any electronic, make sure to consult the user manual. How you clean the exterior of your microwave will vary depending on the materials that make it up, and the programing interface may require special instructions.
In our experience, a warm, barely wet rag with just a dot of dish soap is a safe solution for most microwaves. Wipe down the exterior with this damp, soapy rag, and then immediately dry it with a clean, dry cloth.
If you notice a stubborn smell or are unhappy with the lingering smell of vinegar, fill a small bowl with baking soda and allow it to sit in your microwave overnight. The baking soda will absorb unwanted odors!
Stovetops come in various styles and materials. You are probably most familiar with the traditional gas stovetop, on which this article will focus. Whatever your stovetop, consult the owner’s manual first – they usually include a care guide that will help you avoid damaging your unit when you clean.
What you will need to clean this kitchen appliance:
- A clean, working sink or other access to warm water.
- Rags you use for cleaning. Paper towels work as well but create extra waste, which I prefer to avoid!
- Dry cleaning towels.
- Dish soap or another non-corrosive degreasing detergent. Our favorite right now is Dawn Platinum!
- A sponge
Other things that will help:
- Softscrub All-Purpose Cleanser
- A stiff, nylon toothbrush or small utility brush.
Step 1: Remove stovetop grates, burner caps, and the gas valve knobs!
Remove the metal grate and burner cap from your stovetop, as well as the knobs that activate the burners (these usually pull off easily). Leave them to soak in a sink half-full with warm, soapy water.
Step 2: Begin washing your stovetop.
Using a rag damp with warm, soapy water, scrub the stove’s surface, gently passing over the control panel. Dish soap works well! Then, rinse your rag with warm water and wipe away the soap a couple of times until the stovetop is free of it.
Avoid using so much water that it pools up. Using too much water may cause it to leak into the mechanical parts of your stove, which could damage it.
After your first pass, take stock of the areas of your stove that need extra attention. In my experience, this is usually right around the burner, where leaked food, oil, grease, and starchy water burn onto the surface of your stove. Apply a small amount of concentrated soap onto these spots, scrub, and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
Step 2: Clean the hardware we removed earlier.
Wash the grates, burner caps, and activator knobs just as you would dishes. Some of these elements may have coatings that can be damaged if scrubbed too roughly, so try to limit using abrasive sponges or scrubbers to the places with a build-up of burnt food and other gunk. Set them aside to dry.
Step 3: Finish the stovetop
Return to the stovetop and use your rag to scrub the stubborn, burnt parts that you left to soak. You may need help from an abrasive scrubber. Start small, with the scratchy side of a sponge, and if that doesn’t work, try using a stiff, nylon utility brush.
If you still have some areas that won’t get clean after all of this, apply and scrub with a small amount of Softscrub. Read the safety instructions and consider using gloves. Softscrub is not especially dangerous, but it can irritate some people’s skin.
Step 4: Replace the hardware!
It’s as simple as that. I like to run my burners on for a minute or two to help evaporate any lingering moisture.
What do I need to clean my oven?
In this writing, I will highlight my preferred method for cleaning an oven. This method uses a DIY solution of baking soda and vinegar. It is safe and sustainable, but it works best on moderate wear. On seriously nasty ovens, you may need a heavier-duty solution.
Also, you will want to time this chore well, as you will leave the cleaning solution to sit overnight.
What you will need for this kitchen appliance:
- Rubber gloves, or nitrile ones if you have a rubber sensitivity.
- Baking Soda
- White vinegar
- A medium-sized mixing bowl.
- A large mixing spoon.
- A spray bottle
- Three to four rags for cleaning. I do not recommend paper towels as substitutes, as they may tear up and stick.
- Two to three towels to place under and around the oven, to catch any leaks or drips.
Other things that will help:
- Safety goggles and a face mask.
- One or two heavy-duty, abrasive sponges.
- A large bin for soaking oven racks and trays.
- A plastic putty spatula
- Lemon juice
Step 1: Take safety precautions
Most of this work is inside a small, confined space. You will be loosening up cooked and burned food particles, grease, and oil, as well as spraying white vinegar. Gloves are essential to protect your skin.
Although the baking soda and vinegar solutions we use are sustainable and safe, consider using safety goggles and a face mask. Goggles will keep your eyes safe from unexpected splashes or crumbs. A face mask will help keep you from inhaling icky particles and make you more comfortable if you are sensitive to the strong smell of vinegar.
Step 2: Prepare the oven.
Make sure the oven is off and safe to interact with.
Remove everything from inside the oven and set them aside to clean later. Consider putting your dirty oven racks and trays into a big bin or bathtub. Dust them with baking soda, and use a spray bottle to spritz a healthy amount of white vinegar. You should see the baking soda begin to foam. Once the foaming stops, fill the bin or bathtub with enough hot water to submerge the contents and allow it to soak for 10-12 hours
I recommend using a bin, rather than just placing them in the bathtub, so that when the time comes to drain the dirty water, the bathtub hasn’t been soaking with greasy oven filth.
Step 3: Prepare and apply the baking soda solution.
In a medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with a small amount of water – two to three tablespoons should do – until you get the consistency of a spreadable paste.
While wearing gloves, use your hands or a plastic putty spatula to spread the baking soda paste evenly on all sides of the oven, including the inside of the oven door and the oven glass, covering the whole surface but prioritizing visibly dirty areas. Feel free to apply a little extra on especially filthy areas, but avoid putting any paste on the electrical or gas heating elements.
Close the oven, and allow it to sit for 10-12 hours.
Step 4: Finish cleaning the oven.
After allowing the baking soda paste to sit for 10-12 hours, wipe down the entire interior of the oven with a warm, damp rag. Don’t forget to wear your gloves for this step!
There may be some sticky, stubborn spots that fight coming off. Use an abrasive sponge or a plastic spatula to scrub or scrape them loose, wiping away the gunk once it is free.
Next, spray down the inside of your oven with the white vinegar in your spray bottle. As with the oven racks, you will see the remaining baking soda begin to foam. Once the foaming reaction ends, take a clean, warm, damp rag, and begin wiping down the oven.
Apply firm pressure and wipe in a circular motion – the sandiness of the residual baking soda will scrub up the remaining filth. Rinse the rag and repeat until you have wiped down the whole oven, taking care to clear all of the foam.
Step 5: Finish cleaning the oven racks.
Return to your soaking oven racks with an abrasive sponge and scrub until you are satisfied with the clean. Wipe down with a damp rag, and place them back into your oven. Don’t forget to empty your bathtub or bin! Make sure to clean and rinse the tub as necessary.
What you’ll need for this kitchen appliance:
- Two or three rags you use just for cleaning.
- An all-purpose or neutral cleaner of your choice.
- Dish soap.
- Access to clean, warm water.
Other things that help:
- One large cooler or a couple of medium coolers.
- A medium-sized bucket to hold soapy water.
- A toothbrush dedicated to cleaning.
- Cheap, coarse salt.
- A portable vacuum
- A friend, family member, or partner to help!
Before starting: Unplug your fridge.
If possible, I recommend unplugging your refrigerator first thing. For one thing, this makes some steps, such as cleaning your fridge coils, much safer. For another, this will help you a lot when cleaning frozen leaks or spills in places like the freezer. It will also prevent your cleaning solution from freezing as you try to clean.
Step 1: Empty your fridge.
Don’t clean around the stuff in your fridge – remove them! Start with the freezer. A cooler is an excellent tool for keeping frozen items from thawing too much, and we recommend using one for frozen items. Begin to remove items one by one, checking their expiration dates as you go. If anything looks questionable or has expired, toss it!
When you finish emptying the freezer, move on to the fridge.
While you empty your fridge and freezer, organize items into areas that go together. Group up canned beverages in one place, produce in another, condiments somewhere else. Doing this now will save you time and effort when you return them.
Next, remove shelves and drawers, placing them near the sink or even outside by a hose. These elements are much easier to clean once they are out of the fridge.
Step 2: Clean the outer refrigerator body.
With the refrigerator empty of all contents, clean its body inside and out. Using help from a friend or partner, slide the fridge out of its usual spot out to where you can easily access each of its sides.
The top of the fridge is probably very dusty. Starting there, clean thoroughly with a neutral cleaner and a rag. Move on to its sides and then its front, paying particular attention to the top & sides of the doors. Use a toothbrush with warm, soapy water to clean gunky hinges, rubber gaskets & other hardware.
Next, safely clean your refrigerator coils. Take a hand broom or similar large brush and sweep off the fridge coils. Next, use a vacuum hose to suck out all dust, cobwebs, and other debris collected in the coils.
If you want to finish cleaning your fridge coils with a damp wipe down, make sure you first unplug your fridge! Once you are certain there is no power running through it, give the fridge coils a light wipe down with a damp microfiber rag.
Step 3: Clean the inner refrigerator body.
The outside of your refrigerator is clean, and it’s time to tackle the inside.
If something wet and sticky leaked in your fridge, saturate what’s there with warm, soapy water. It may take a few passes and some elbow grease to fully clean the sticky mess.
Once big messes are gone, wipe down the rest of the fridge. Any neutral or all-purpose cleaner should work fine for this. Make sure to wipe the sides and ceiling of the refrigerator and sweep up any crumbs that have fallen through cracks and onto the fridge floor.
If you didn’t or couldn’t unplug your unit, then sprinkle some salt onto any frozen leaks. Salt lowers the freezing temperature of many liquids and can help you loosen that frozen puddle without having to thaw the whole freezer. Combined with warm, soapy water, you should see a difference. Make sure to use warm water so that it doesn’t freeze while clean!
You’ve now cleaned your fridge inside & out – safely return your fridge to its spot in the kitchen!
Step 4: Shelves & drawers.
It is much easier to clean shelves & drawers thoroughly if they are out of the fridge. Wash them like you wash dishes, dry them, and place them out of your way as you go. BE CAREFUL not to wash your glass fridge shelves with hot water immediately after removing them! Using hot water on the cold glass may cause it to shatter. Give your shelves ample time after removing them to reach room temperature and clean them with cool water for extra safety.
Once clean and dry, replace them in the fridge. Many fridges can be configured in multiple ways, and this is an excellent opportunity to reorganize in a way that suits your needs!
Step 5: How to organize your fridge
Now, return the food you removed at the beginning. Hopefully, you took time at the top to organize it all!
Consider using clear, sturdy glass containers instead of the original packaging. Using clear containers helps make everything in your fridge easy to see. Not only that, but they will make it easier for you to organize your shelves because you won’t rely on random shapes and sizes of food containers.
Speaking of making things easy to see: Many refrigerators have drawers dedicated to fruits and vegetables. If you are anything like me, you might forget about any food you put in there. Consider using these drawers for your least perishable foods instead, and keep your produce in easy view!
Conclusion: Good job cleaning your kitchen appliances!
We at Master Clean USA believe that a clean, organized home can be life-changing. We exist to improve the lives of those we serve, one clean home at a time. Keeping your kitchen appliances clean can make a significant difference, and we hope this guide helps you.
Are you interested in other helpful advice for keeping a clean home? Do you have kitchen appliances you need help cleaning? Keep an eye on our blog for more awesome tips, and call us to schedule an appointment for any of your cleaning needs!