Chore 36: Cleaning small kitchen appliances

cleaning small kitchen appliances stainless annual household chore system

September is turning into the weekend projects that weren’t: a front door that appears to need (another) coat of white paint before it’s finished, a plastic toy tub that needs (another) soaking in vegetable oil before it’s stupidly adhesive label will come off and make way for a cuter, custom one.

So, while I wait for paint to dry and glue to unstick, I decided it was a sign I needed to get some household chores marked off the to-do list. Or moved in my household chore card file, as it were.

Cleaning my small kitchen appliances is something that sounds tedious and time-consuming, but really isn’t. Not only does it go a long way in making the kitchen feel cleaner, but it also keeps things more hygienic and, I’ve noticed, when done consistently, make cleaning them the next time go even faster, since the grime build-up is at a minimum. I’ve made it a monthly chore (blue card in my file).

My instructions are a hodge-podge of cleaning books, household blog tips, Pinterest finds, Google answers and some common sense. Take with a grain of salt (and always consult your appliance’s manufacturer instructions).

cleaning small kitchen appliances stainless microwave household chore system


Pour 1 c. hot tap water into a glass measuring cup; add 1 c. distilled white vinegar. Mix in several drops of lemon juice — enough to notice the scent. Place in microwave and heat for 10 minutes. Using pot holders or oven mitts, remove the cup and dispose of liquid. Remove turn plate and ring, if present — run the plate through a normal dishwasher cycle and hand-wash the ring. While the microwave is still warm, wipe down inside with a wet rag; use a dry rag to finish. For a stainless microwave, pour rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and use it like Windex on the outside. Wipe with a dry cloth.

cleaning small kitchen appliances stainless toaster household chore system


Remove crumb trays and hand-wash; let dry completely before replacing. Vigorously shake out crumbs over the sink (if you have a disposal) or over the garbage. Use a long-handled Q-Tip to force crumbs off sides and bottom. Wet an old toothbrush and use it to clean the coils. For the exterior, mix together 1 Tbsp. cream of tartar and 1/2 Tbsp. water (give or take) to make a paste. Spread on outside of toaster, let sit 5 minutes, then wipe clean with a wet rag. Let dry completely before plugging in and/or using.

cleaning small kitchen appliances stainless KitchenAid mixer household chore system


Remove bowl and attachments; unplug. Spray well all over with a nontoxic cleaner (I love Mrs. Meyer’s.). If very soiled, let sit 5 minutes. Wipe clean with a wet rag, being sure to tilt the top back and get in between crevices. Use old toothbrush if necessary to get underneath stirring mechanism. Dry well.

cleaning small kitchen appliances stainless garbage disposal household chore system


Pour 2 c. ice cubes, followed by 1 c. white vinegar, down disposal; run for 5-10 seconds. Plug drain and fill sink with two to four inches of water. Remove plug and run disposal again. Deodorize with citrus peels. I keep meaning to make a jar of DIY disposal cubes — I’ve used the Plinko lemon kind before but these would be much cheaper and last longer (and probably be more noticeable).

cleaning small kitchen appliances stainless Keurig coffee maker household chore system


We have (and love) a Keurig, so we pretty much follow the package directions when it comes to cleaning. Empty water reservoir and fill with white vinegar; run brewing cycle on largest size until “Add Water” sign flashes. I use a 4-cup glass measuring cup and empty it once in between cycles. Let sit, on, for 4 hours. Meanwhile, hand-wash the water reservoir and lid, and run the bottom tray, tray lid, and inner plastic cup (it has a white triangle on it and can be popped out) through the dishwasher. Clean exit needle with bent paper clip. Spray unit with nontoxic cleaner, then wipe clean with wet rag. Dry thoroughly. Fill water reservoir with plain water; run brewing cycle on largest size until “Add Water” sign flashes to remove vinegar scent.

Since I’m moving these appliances off and around my counter anyway, it’s easy to wipe off my kitchen counters (Chore 10: Clean kitchen) at the same time. Multitasking at its finest.

Now I need to go see if that stupid label is finally ready to come off.


3 thoughts on “Chore 36: Cleaning small kitchen appliances

  1. You can also use baking soda & vinegar on the disposal. The vinegar makes the baking soda foam– let it set for a few minutes, then run the disposal with hot water and citrus peels for scent. I stole my parents’ food processor and I need to give it a good scrub… another thing for the to-do list!


      • Yup, you can also use the baking soda & vinegar followed by boiling water as a pipe cleaner. Personally, I don’t think it works quite as well as the chemical stuff, but it is cheaper and you don’t have to feel guilty about putting it down the drain!


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