Kitchen Maintenance

by Matt Myers

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The kitchen is one of the most often used rooms in the house, and if you are someone who loves to cook, then your kitchen may need a little more or more frequent maintenance. While many look at the term "maintenance" as chores, if it helps it run & look better, use less energy, and save you money, then it won't seem like punishment at all.

Refrigerator/Freezer Maintenance
The refrigerator is the most overlooked spot in the kitchen. No one really notices the fridge until it stops making ice or turns warm. As a result, refrigerator/freezers are often neglected until something goes wrong.

  • Pull the refrigerator out and vacuum the condenser coils on the back or on bottom. The dust that magnetizes itself to the coil can slow the efficiency and cause it to run poorly. If you have hardwood floors (thus a dustier home), do this at least once a month.
  • If the frost in the freezer is more than an inch thick, defrost the freezer or chip out the ice.

    Smart Dishwasher Tips
    To clean your dishwasher, run it empty with Tang or a similar product in the detergent reservoir. This will remove water stains and emerging mold.

    Only run your dishwasher with a full load. This will save water, energy, and money.

    Range Hood Cleaning
    If you have a hood above your range or stove, pull out the filter and clean it at least once a month. Clean it more often if you use your stovetop frequently.

    Garbage Disposal
    Often the garbage disposal can begin to smell awful after constant use. Sometimes homeowners will notice an odor in the kitchen and can't identify the source. The garbage disposal is most likely the culprit. Drop some orange, lime, or lemon peels into the disposal and run it through. This will do the trick.

    Microwave Cleaning
    Washing the tray and the walls of the microwave needs to be done every so often to keep it presentable. This takes only a few minutes.

    Kitchen Cabinet Maintenance
    If you have some pesky squeaks or a door that isn't hung properly, fix it before it gets to the point where you have to call someone in. For those annoying squeaks, hold a ratty towel up to the noisy hinge and cover the area surrounding the hinge. Spray some WD-40 in the hinge and open and close the door until it soaks in. Wipe down any excess.

    Kitchen Counter Maintenance
    Depending on how you utilize your kitchen counters, you might just need to remove all the magazines and bills you've allowed to pile up. Find some place to put those things. Otherwise, take a minute to make sure that the counters are in proper shape. If you have laminate, make sure the edges aren't sticking up and likely to be pulled off. File the edges down if they are too high. If they have extensive damage--cracks, scratches, burns from pans--you might need to get a professional out to do the maintenance and repairs. Most other kitchen counters require very little maintenance, so they might only need a quick cleaning.

    Final Thoughts
    The kitchen is where everybody usually ends up at parties or when the kids are home from school. Keeping it clean is one thing, while having it run optimally will not only preserve the life of the appliances and materials, but it will also lessen the energy bills in the process. None of these items take very long, maybe thirty minutes to do every item on this list, so take a little time to save a bundle of money.

    Kitchen Remodeling Project Guide
    If you enjoyed this article, check out our free Kitchen Remodeling Guide, which features expert advice, design & material comparisons, and custom price estimates for your remodeling project.
    Matt Myers is a freelance writer for the home maintenance and remodeling industry. Formerly a contractor specializing in deck building and casework, Matt has written over 500 articles for both homeowners and contractors.