A big thanks to Sears for sponsoring this post!
We use our appliances almost every day so we should know all there is about them and how to use them… right? Well, not really! There are tons of little tips to help our appliances work better! And if we use just a handful of them, we could extend the life of our appliances! This is a win win! You will be happier with how your appliances work and your appliance can work at their optimum best! So, here are 10 best tips for using our appliance and getting the best from them!
Along with the tips I’m including some family friendly teachable moments!
Again, I’d like to thank Sears for sponsoring this post!
Let’s start with our dishwashers!
My dishwasher is to the right side of the sink. It gets a workout!
Should dishes be scraped off or prewashed before they go in the dishwasher?
This question has been asked as long as there have been dishwashers. The simple answer is to consult your owner’s manual. The long answer is… If your dishwasher is over 5 years old you should probably prewash or at least scrape off loose food and soak stuck on pieces.
If you are not going to run the dishwasher right after loading it it’s a good idea to rinse dishes off no matter how new your dishwasher is. I have a “light” load cycle and I run that if I’m not washing dishes right away. Our old dishwasher had a “prewash” cycle.
Teachable moments: This is one activity you can get everyone in you family involved in! Let kids scrape off their plates and teach them where their dishes go in a dishwasher!
When should a dishwasher be run?
Surprisingly, when it is full, Dishwashers actually clean better when they are full but not overloaded! Remember to put the right dinnerware on the right rack! And keep the dirtiest dishes towards the center of the dishwasher!
Teachable moment: Teaching older children to run the dishwasher can be a huge help to the entire family!
What is the best dishwashing detergent to use?
Another great question. Here’s what experts recommend. Use several different dish washer detergents and find the one that works best with your dishwasher. A bargain dishwasher detergent is not a bargain if it does not clean your dishes! If your dishes are not being washed properly it may be that you are using too much detergent. This is the number one reason for streaked, spots and ugly film on dishes! Go easy on the dish detergent!
Here’s another great tip! Did you know you can get sparkling clean dishes by putting vinegar in the rinse agent compartment of your dishwasher. You don’t need to use a commercial sheeting agent. Vinegar works especially well when running a large load of dishes!
Teachable moments: Remember to keep dishwashing liquids away from the reach of little ones! However it’s a good idea to teach them that these products, if ingested, can hurt them.
Teachable moment: Make putting clean dishes away a family activity. Even little ones can put spoons or plastic cups on a kitchen counter.
Did you know that your dishwasher can get dirty?
Even though there is lots of water and detergent swirling around in a dishwasher it can get clogged with built up detergent and hold on to stinky odors! So every once in awhile give your dishwasher a bath! Make sure the rinse agent compartment is filled with vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your dishwasher and run it through a complete cycle including the dry cycle without dishes in it!
You will have a sparkling clean and nice smelling dishwasher!
Teachable moment: Let your kids help you by pouring the baking soda into the bottom of the dishwasher… under supervision of course. I love these teachable moments!
Teachable moments: Teach children that care of household things is everyones responsibility. Every member of a family can contribute!
Now let’s turn our attention to our stoves, cooktops and ovens…
Teachable moments: When it come to these appliances it’s best to teach the little ones to STAY AWAY!
Can a slow simmer be achieved on a gas cooktop?
Gas cooktops are fabulous ways to cook! But they are not that great for finding that sweet spot for a slow and low simmer. The solution is so easy! Buy a heat diffuser! A heat diffuser is a handy gadget that will diffuse the direst heat from gas burners and let the ingredients in your pots simmer very slowly!
Teachable moments: Teach older children that can use a stove to keep the handle of pot to the outside of the stove top so the handle does not get bumped or pulled off the burner.
What is the best way to clean a glass cooktop?
Many cooks have glass cooktops today! Keep your cooktops clean and pretty with this 4 step method. When the cooktop is cool wipe up spills right away with lots of water and mild dish liquid. If there is any stuck on mess DO NOT use abrasives! They will scratch the surface of your glass top. Use a commercial cleaner made for glass cooktops. Vinegar or baking soda might work too. But before you put anything on your cooktop consult the owner’s manual!
The best way to have a clean glass cooktop is to clean up after every use!
Is there a way to stop spills in the oven?
YES!!! Don’t put anything in the oven that can bubble over and create a messy spill without something under it. Put pans on a larger rimmed baking sheet that has been covered with aluminum foil . This is such an easy fix!!!!
DO NOT put aluminum foil in the bottom of your oven. It can catch on fire, or damage the floor of your oven. If you use aluminum foil to catch spills, use it on the rack below what you are cooking and only cut the foil slightly larger than the pan you are using so air can circulate around it!
If you do get a spill in the oven, don’t wait until you are done cooking. Cover it with salt. When the oven cools you can wipe the spill away quite easily!
How often should I clean my self cleaning oven.
The right answer is… when it gets dirty! We are not talking once a week, but maybe once every few months. Some say that you should never use the self cleaning cycle of a self cleaning oven because it can burn out a fuse or hurt the oven. But, did you know that you can damage the walls of an oven by scrubbing them? Use your self cleaning feature!
When you want to clean your oven follow the directions for your make and model. When the cleaning cycle is done and the oven is cool you can wipe up any ash in the bottom of the oven.
Let’s move to the laundry room…
Sorry, no pictures of the laundry room… It is under construction! So I’ll show you more of my kitchen!
Where does that stinky smell in a front loading washer come and does it go away?
Front loading washers are superior to top loading washers in so many ways! Because they do not fill up with water and only use enough water to cover the bottom of the washer often times detergent and softeners are not completely washed away. They end up coating the inside of a washer and will mix with dirt and other types of debris. Now add hot water and a damp environment… and it’s like a breeding ground for mildew, mold and bacteria. That is why a front loading washer can be smelly!
Now, let’s conquer that smell and all the invisible little nasties that create it! Here’s an easy one-two-punch way to get rid of that smell for good! Start with baking soda. Add equal amount of baking soda and water to the detergent compartment of your washing machine. Pour two cups of vinegar right into the drum of the washer. Do not add any clothes. Select the hottest wash on your machine and run the washer through a large wash cycle.
You should also mix a little vinegar with warm water and wash the outside of the washing machine. When the cycle is over, clean the laundry detergent, bleach and softener compartments with vinegar water and an old toothbrush.
Ta-Da! Sparkling clean and no smell!
Teachable moments: You can teach kids to sort laundry. It’s a good idea to let high school age children do their own laundry! It’s a life skill they will use the rest of their lives!
What one thing should I be doing every time I use my dryer?
Clean your lint trap every time you use your dryer! Lint is highly flammable! Keep that lint trap clean!!! Use a snake made for cleaning out the vent pipe and give that a good cleaning often.
Teachable moment: teach children to clean out the lint trap and throw the lint into the proper trash can.
Let’s move to the refrigerator for this bonus tips!
Is there an easy way to keep refrigerator shelves clean?
Yes, great question. I just had to scrape stuck on blood from raw hamburger off the shelf of my refrigerator. YUCK!!!! You can make inexpensive and fun shelf liners from plastic placemats. Cut them to fit each shelf and drawer. Next time you have a spill you can take out the liners and wipe them up! Easy-peasy!!!!
Teachable moment: This is a great activity to do with children!
There you go! 10… er, 11 tips for optimizing your appliances and lots of teachable moments for families!
WHAT’S YOUR BEST APPLIANCE TIP? PLEASE SHARE!!!
You might want to see KEEPING APPLIANCES IN TIP TOP SHAPE OVER THE HOLIDAYS
You might like to follow me on Pinterest and see all the great things I’m finding to pin every day HERE.
I want to thank Sears for sponsoring this fun post!