6 Tools and Appliances You Think Are Self-Cleaning but Aren’t

Alyssa Longobucco Alyssa Longobucco CONTRIBUTORAlyssa is an independent writer, stylist, and editor based in New York. When she’s not dipping into the latest trends in food or interior design, she’s working on restoring one of the 1820s homes in Hudson Valley alongside her husband and son.

A word of caution before diving into this blog: I’m far from being your favorite person after reading this. After all, passing along advice that puts additional items on your likely-already-very-long house cleaning list won’t precisely raise me to the BFF level. I can understand it. I’m okay with it!

But here’s the deal: your home can only be as tidy as the tools you employ to clean it. If those tools are filthy themselves, and you don’t know why, then you’ll see where I’m heading with this. It’s easy to believe that many things you have around your house are self-cleaning. Things like soap dispensers or dishwashers, design, are to clean… using soap… and what happens when they get dirty? Yes, they can.

“We’ve all learned at some point that when you take care of your things, they last longer and work better, and the same rings true for items in your home that you wouldn’t expect,” says Jessica Haizman, who shares cleaning and organizing tips along with 1.2 million users who follow her on TikTok. “Your dishwasher was built to be clean therefore why do you need to clean it? A lot of people live their life without ever having to clean an item that needs to be cleaned however, they are those who complain about their dirty dishes, phoning for help from the technician, or changing their appliances often. If you can schedule some time to keep track of the appliances you use and ensure they are functioning smoothly, you’ll face less headaches over the long haul.”

Below, we look at six items of cleaning that require an annual scrub time and the best techniques to keep them performing as well as new.

Your Vacuum

“This is an item that you can’t get around having to give a clean every once in a while,” says Haizman. “Hair dust, dirt, and debris will clog the tank, and clog your tubes, and you’ll need to find ways to wrap them in any moving object. For the typical family, I recommend cleaning your vacuum every month, or more often in the case of dogs (or children) or children, and less often when you don’t utilize the vacuum.”

How to Clean It

The obvious point is that if you have an upright vacuum, it’s important to empty it after each use, according to Becky Rapinchuk, founder of Clean Mama. Do you have bags? Replace it once it’s complete.

However, regardless of the type of vacuum you’ve got, “Remove every part that can be removed and wash with hot, soapy water,” Rapinchuk advises. Rapinchuk. Allow it to dry completely before reassembling the machine. Removing the beater bar (the part of the vacuum that spins within the head to gather dirt) is also necessary. If your vacuum has one, and it’s possible, you can cut any hair or other debris off using scissors or a seam ripper, Rapinchuk says.

Your Dishwasher

“Your dishwasher gets hard water and food built up in it,” says Sarah McAllister, founder of Go Clean Go and Bleach Pray Love. “We prefer to refer to this as swamp water. And if you don’t regularly clean it the dishes aren’t being cleaned. There are so many dirty dishwashersand they smell!”

How to Clean It

“Remove the filter (not all dishwashers are built the same, but most have a removable filter inside on the bottom under your rack), unscrew it, and rinse it well in the sink,” McAllister says. McAllister.

Haizman suggests cleaning “any lining/seal that typically doesn’t get exposed to water.” She recommends using a multi-purpose cloth and vinegar to do this. After that, ” add a glass full of vinegar to the top rack of your machine, close it up, and run it on the hottest and longest cycle you can,” she states. “This will kill the bacteria and nasty smells and leave your dishwasher sparkling clean.” She also says, “If you find any kind of mold then soak a clean towel in hydrogen peroxide, and let it rest for around 10 minutes. Take the cloth off and scrub clean.”

Your Soap Dispenser

Yes, soap is a part of it. Regular cleaning ensures that the pump and dispenser function well and eliminates buildup and gunk, in the words of Rapinchuk.

How to Clean It

“If it is yucky, you can use some Bar Keepers Friend to buff it off (if the iron is metal), and then wipe it with a warm water cloth to rinse well,” advises McAllister. “Wipe longer than you believe, so that there’s no trace. Vinegar can also be used here, but be sure not to get it soaked!”

“Your laundry products are hard on the machines!” Haizman says. Haizman. “Detergents are able to create a film on your machine, the filters as well as your clothes which causes each wash to run less effectively and more slowly. This is not even mentioning the other nasty gunk that accumulates in crevices, or the excessive volume of water that creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. This is why I strongly recommend making the effort to clean your machine at least once per month.”

A top-loader: “Start by setting your washer to the hottest temperature, highest capacity, and longest cycle,” advises Rapinchuk. “Add the white vinegar in four cups to hot water, seal the lid, and allow it to stir for a few minutes. Close the lid, or pause/stop the machine and let it stand for about an hour, allowing the vinegar to complete its job of getting rid of mold, bacteria, and mildew from those hoses. If your machine has an unclean cycle, add 4 cups of vinegar and start through the process.”

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