Now that we’re past the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving dinner, of Christmas get-togethers and New Year’s parties, it’s time to give your kitchen appliances a little TLC.
It’s not just the first push of spring cleaning. Unexpected appliance problems can put a damper on your budget.
The typical cost to repair a major appliance is about $254 to $275, including labor and parts, according to HomeWyse.com.
For smaller gadgets, like microwaves and blenders, it may be more cost-effective to replace rather than repair—although that’s not cheap, either.
With that in mind, it’s a smart idea to do what you can to keep your kitchen gear in tip-top shape, so it’ll function longer.
It doesn’t take much. Some staples from your fridge and pantry may be all you need.
Some tricks to try:
DIY Network recommends soaking the spinning arm in vinegar and water to help dislodge any food bits.
You can also run the dishwasher on a short cycle with just lemon juice or white vinegar to help de-scale it. Put a cup of either liquid right-side up on the top rack.
Blenders and Food Processors
“If you haven’t had time to do the dishes and dried-on food gets stuck in the blades of your blender or food processor, baking soda can help,” says Bruce Lubin, author of Who Knew: 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems.
Mix a tablespoon of it with one cup warm water; blend for 10 seconds or so and then wash as usual.
Every once in a while, run your machine with a cup each of vinegar and water to de-scale the machine.
Then run again with just water, as a rinse.
A warm wash of green tea can help remove food residue inside and out.
Another option: Heat lemon juice and water in the microwave to create a fragrant steam. Then wipe down the interior.
Scrubbing with a paste of baking soda and water can help remove baked on food and other stains, according to TheKitchn.com.
“Cleaning your garbage disposal is as easy as throwing a few ice cubes down your drain,” says Lubin.
“Run the disposal until you no longer hear grinding…The cold cubes will congeal any grease in the drain, allowing your disposal to break it up,” he continues.
Running through a citrus peel can also help remove any lingering odors.
Use a mix of vinegar and baking soda to clear out kitchen pipes. (Just beware the volcano effect.)
Follow with warm water.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.