How To Use DIY Natural Cleaners On Your Home Appliances

Written by Melissa Maker
How To Use DIY Natural Cleaners On Your Home Appliances

Photo by Victor Torres

Here, non-toxic cleaning expert Melissa Maker shares the most effective ways to deep clean some of the peskiest surfaces in the home using gentle-yet-powerful ingredients you probably already have laying around. You're going to want to bookmark this one.

Dishwasher

You should clean your dishwasher every 3-6 months, depending on how often it's running. Once you notice dishes aren’t coming out as sparkly or are starting to smell funny, it's time!

Simply sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the base of your empty dishwasher. Close the door and leave it overnight. The next morning, fill a cup with white vinegar and put it upright on the top rack of the dishwasher. Then set your dishwasher to a hot cycle and run it. This will allow the baking soda to scrub away odor-causing food particles as the vinegar helps to neutralize smells and break down hard water and mineral deposits. Once done, wipe everything down with a clean cloth.

Remember to leave the door cracked open when your dishwasher isn't in use between washes too.

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Oven

If your food starts to taste off when it comes out of the oven or you start see smoke buildup, it's definitely time for a clean. Thankfully, many ovens have self-clean features, so read your manual and follow the rules exactly. (Most recommend removing the racks and anything on top of the stove, or anything in the warming drawer before running.) If you don’t have a self-cleaning feature, you can clean your oven using baking soda. Simply combine 1 cup baking soda, ¼ cup dish soap, ½ cup vinegar (add slowly), and 15 drops sweet orange essential oil into a heavy paste. Apply a thin layer of your paste to the inside of the oven and leave for several hours or overnight. Wipe up with water.

Racks should be cleaned separately, and the easiest way to do so is in the bathtub. Start by laying some old towels along the bottom of your tub to protect the surface from getting scratched. Place the racks on top of the towels, plug the drain, and start filling the tub with the hottest water possible. Let the tub fill until the water completely covers the racks. Take a cup of powdered laundry detergent and dissolve it in hot water in a mason jar, then add that mixture to the tub. Now let the detergent do its thing for the next 6 to 10 hours. Finally, drain the tub and give the racks a quick wipe and dry before putting them back in the oven.

Washing Machine

Consider cleaning your washing machine once a month if you are a heavy user, and a couple times a year otherwise. Cleaning your machine regularly will make it last longer and eliminate moldy smells caused by stale soap and fabric softener buildup.

To do so, add 2 cups of baking soda directly to an empty machine and run a hot water cycle. Then, add 2 cups of plain white vinegar and 10 drops of the essential oil of your choosing and run another hot water cycle. Once both cycles are complete, wipe down the interior of your machine with a cloth dipped in water and white vinegar. Do the same for the exterior. (If you have a front-load washer, pay special attention to the rubber seal around the machine's window.) Here's a more detailed, step-by-step guide to making your DIY washing machine cleaner.

To help maintain your machine, always leave the door open when you are done with your washing. This lets the remaining moisture evaporate and protects against mold and mildew growth.

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Fridge

You should be doing a weekly clean-out of your fridge to use up leftover food, and give it a deeper clean about once a month. That means removing anything expired, off, or unused. Make sure to get in the veggie and deli drawers, too. Finish by giving any exposed areas a wipe down with an all-purpose cleaner. Your fridge can become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria if leaks, spills, and old food are left unattended for too long.

Once every three months, it’s time for a more thorough clean: Pull everything out, including your fridge's shelves and drawers. Give the interior a thorough spray of DIY all-purpose cleaner and allow it to sit before wiping down and drying. Hand wash all the shelves and drawers in the sink with soap and warm water. Dry well and replace. Put everything back in the fridge, giving each item a quick wipe as it goes back in.

Blender

Blenders should be cleaned immediately after each use and the simplest, most effective way to do so is by filling yours about halfway with hot water and a few drops of dish soap, putting the lid on, and running the blender for about 10 seconds. Then rinse, wipe down and let dry. Pro tip: If you have food stuck in the blender, add about ¼, cup of rice to the water before you run the machine. This will help to agitate the walls of the blender and loosen the food.

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Coffee maker

If your coffee isn’t tasting so fresh, you know it’s time for a cleaning! A good rule of thumb is to clean every 3-6 months. The cleaning routine for a Keurig machine is a bit different, but for a drip machine you'll want to fill the water tank halfway with white vinegar and the rest of the way with water. Run the machine to brew the largest pot or cup of coffee. Do this as many times as needed to empty the tank. Then refill the tank with clean water and run through again until empty.

Remove any parts that can be washed by hand and do so with warm, soapy water. Dry and put back into the machine. Water is pretty much always sitting in the machine, so it is important to keep it clean to squash any mold or mildew that could be growing!

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