Regular appliance maintenance: What you need to know

Nov 2022

Regular appliance maintenance is easy to neglect but keeping up to date pays off in both the short and long run. For example, a properly operating oven door gasket ensures maximum cooking efficiency while vacuuming your refrigerator coils can help extend the life of this expensive appliance. Here’s how to maintain eight household appliances, including how to use vinegar for a lot of your cleaning.


Running the filter under the tap once a month keeps your dishwasher running properly and prevents problems like unpleasant odours from decomposing food. Every few months, put a cup of white vinegar on the bottom rack of your empty dishwasher and run it with hot water on the short cycle to break down grease, soap scum and other undesirables. For a periodic deep cleaning, check here.

Clothes washer

Built-up grime, mould and detergent can make your washer smell badly and, in the long run, operate less efficiently. Once every 30 loads, use a commercial washer cleaner like Affresher or, even better, go green with old-fashioned vinegar as described here. Leaving the door open for an hour after washing dries the machine and helps control mould.

Clothes dryer

Improperly maintained and used dryers are not only less efficient and repair-prone, they can cause a fire. Check this website for tips on dryer safety. Along with cleaning the lint screen after every use, watch this video on how to clean the dryer hose and exterior vent at least once a year:

Coffee maker

A clean coffee maker not only controls germs, which can accumulate in the machine’s warm, moist environment, it also makes a tastier cup of coffee. Cleaning depends on the type of equipment, so first check your owner’s manual, which you can find online if you’ve misplaced it.  Vinegar does a good job on coffee makers: for Keurig and similar machines, check here; for drip machines, check here.

Instant pot

An Ottawa invention, the Instant Pot is beloved by many owners for its versatility. But it needs maintenance to avoid staining, odours and other problems. Some, but not all parts of an Instant Pot can go in the dishwasher. Check the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations and watch this video:


Your fridge’s condenser coils are a key part of the appliance’s cooling and freezing system but when they get covered with dirt, dust and other common household materials they can’t operate efficiently. That’s why they should be cleaned twice a year, especially if you have pets that shed a lot. Depending on your fridge, you can easily access the coils from either the front or back and clean them using a vacuum cleaner:


Winter, when you can temporarily store your food in the garage or other cold spot, is the perfect time to clean and organize your freezer and, if necessary, defrost it. Here’s what you need to know about doing the job properly with basic products like vinegar, dishwashing liquid and warm water.


Cleaning your microwave regularly avoids hardened gunk inside the appliance. If you need to clean the caked-on stuff, heat a bowl of water and lemon or water and vinegar in the microwave; it softens the gunk so you can wipe it off easily.


Don’t have a self-cleaning oven or don’t like using harsh chemical cleaners? Vinegar and baking soda may do the trick, especially if you keep the gunk level down with regular cleaning. Learn more here.

Tip: While you’re cleaning the oven, check the condition of the door gasket, which keeps the heat in the oven instead of letting it leak into the kitchen (especially important with Christmas baking and meals just around the corner). Is the gasket worn and in need of replacement? Other signs of a worn gasket: an oven that won’t heat to the correct temperature, cooks food unevenly or takes longer to cook than it should. This video explains how to replace a worn oven gasket.