Clean and maintain large appliances for better efficiency

Clean and maintain large appliances for better efficiency

Private Property South Africa
Sarah-Jane Meyer

Keeping your home clean is good for your health and makes you feel comfortable. In addition to general household cleanliness, though, your appliances need special attention.

Household appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, tumble driers, ovens, microwaves, food processors and vacuum cleaners need to be cleaned and maintained regularly to keep them working efficiently for longer.

Home appliances that are clean are much more pleasant to use and give better results. For example, a microwave that contains bacteria caused by old food deposits can affect the taste of your food and your health. Likewise, a mouldy washing machine won’t wash properly, and clothes won’t feel or smell fresh.

There is little doubt that you will be pleasantly surprised at the results of a regular appliance cleaning routine. Here are some of them:


Domestic appliances are used to prepare food, wash dishes and clothes and clean floors and carpets. This makes them prone to contamination from bacteria, parasites, and fungi that can carry various diseases. Regular cleaning of appliances prevents the growth of bacteria and mould, keeping food safe and dishes, clothes and carpets smelling fresh.


Dirty or clogged appliances cannot function correctly, making them less efficient and can even be a fire hazard. You need to keep hoses, nozzles and seals clean and free from dust and sludge. Then, your refrigerator will be able to run at the desired temperatures, and your vacuum cleaner will suck up dust and dirt in record time.

Clean, well-maintained appliances also consume less energy, which will lower your electricity bills.


Deposits of hidden dust, oil and other materials can build up over time, which will reduce the overall durability of the appliance. Pockets of corrosion gradually form rust, and in a surprisingly short time, the appliance will need to be replaced. Regular cleaning will extend the useful lifespan of your appliances, saving you money in the long term.

Cleaning tips

Applying a mild detergent or vinegar with a soft clean cloth is generally safe for most appliances, but there may be exceptions. It’s essential to check the instructions in your owner’s manual before you start cleaning.

Dishwasher. In addition to keeping the salt and rinse aid topped up, you need to deep clean your dishwasher once every few weeks.

  • Place a large glass jug filled with about 500ml of vinegar on the top rack, then run the machine through a complete wash cycle without dishes or detergent.
  • Clean the spray arm holes. These can usually be removed for a general clean up and to flush out debris that can cause the small spray holes to become blocked. Take care not to damage the spray arms.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub away build-up dirt on filters and door seals.

Washing machine. After every wash, dry the detergent and fabric softener dispensers to prevent build-up. Once every few weeks, clean the filters and deep clean the machine as follows:

  • Pour two cups of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser.
  • Run the machine through a complete hot cycle.
  • Add half a cup of bicarbonate of soda to the drum and run the longest cycle at the highest temperature.
  • When the cycle has completed, wipe the drum with a damp cloth.

Tumble drier. After each load, take out the lint filter and remove any lint before replacing the filter. - With condenser driers, drain the condenser after each load to prevent mould and unpleasant smells. - Once a month, thoroughly clean any additional filters as well as hoses and seals.

Microwave. Always wipe up spills immediately and make sure the turntable is turning freely before using the oven.

  • Once a month, place a large glass jug filled with around 500 ml of water and half a cup of vinegar in the oven.

  • Microwave on high until the water boils.

  • When the water has cooled, remove the jug and wipe the inside walls with a soft cloth.

  • Wash the turntable and turning plate in hot soapy water. Dry thoroughly before replacing.

Prevention is always better than cure, so make it a point of regularly cleaning your appliances before something goes wrong.


Found this content useful?

Get the best of Private Property's latest news and advice delivered straight to your inbox each week

Related Articles

Braai rooms maintenance guidelines
Braai rooms can be maintained and upgraded with ease by following simple guidelines. What works and what doesn't?
How to organise your garage makeover
You can organise your garage space with upgraded storage options and new flooring.
Go from “for sale” to “sold” in one clean sweep
According to a recent survey conducted by OLX on Facebook in South Africa, 37% of people say they cannot park cars in their garage because it is “full of stuff” and 85% say that most of the space in their garage is being taken ...