Dishwashers

  • Use only automatic dishwasher detergent.  Dish detergent for hand washing dishes will cause suds or foam in the dishwasher.
  • Additional automatic dishwasher detergent and higher water temperature will activate the defoaming agents in the detergent.
  • Too much detergent will cause the glasses to etch and become foggy, which cannot be undone.
  • Keep the pump screen clear of food and debris.

Garbage Disposals

  • To deodorize the disposal, take some orange or lemon rinds and grind them up in the disposal or take about a dozen ice cubes sprinkled with a generous amount of household scouring powder and grind them up in the disposal without running the water.  Flush the disposal for one minute to allow any debris to be expelled into the drain.
  • Allow the cold water to flow for a minimum of 15 seconds after grinding food waste.
  • Never use chemicals or solvent drain compounds because they can damage the disposal.
  • Use the disposal daily to flush the lines.

Washers

  • Place clothes evenly into the washer basket and do not overload the washer.
  • Make sure to place small items, like baby socks or hosiery, in a zippered mesh laundry bag to avoid them getting stuck in the drain hose.
  • Make sure the feet or leveling legs on the washer are set properly so that the washer does not teeter-totter.

Dryers

  • Remove lint from dryer lint screen after each load.  Accumulated lint can become a fire hazard.
  • The exhaust duct and exhaust hood should be inspected periodically and cleaned, if necessary (at least annually).
  • For gas dryers, the gas burner assembly should be inspected and cleaned annually.  The dryer gas line should also be inspected and checked for gas leaks yearly or sooner if you suspect a gas leak.

Ranges and Ovens

  • Never use a range to heat the home--it is not designed for that.
  • Keep the cooking area clean of spills and grease.
  • Do not use flammable liquids near a cooking appliance.
  • Never use aluminum foil to line drip bowls because it can cause an electrical shock or become a fire hazard.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of mishaps that might lead to a fire.
  • The range, oven, or cooktop can be cleaned with warm water, mild detergent, and a soft cloth on all cleanable parts.  Never use scouring pads, except where recommended in your use and care manual.  Never use abrasive cleaners that are not specifically recommended by the manufacturer.
  • On glass surfaces, you can use a glass cleaner to clean any soil stains.  Stubborn stains can be removed with a paste of baking soda and water.  Never use abrasive cleaners on glass surfaces.
  • Never clean the heating elements; when you turn on the elements, the soil will burn off.
  • On self-cleaning models, never use oven cleaners to clean the oven cavity.  This will cause hazardous fumes when the oven is in the cleaning cycle.  After the oven cavity is cooled, use only soap and water to clean small spills on the inside of the cavity.

Microwaves

  • Do not operate the microwave if the glass in the door is broken or if the door hinges or door assembly is loose.
  • Never run the microwave oven with the oven capacity empty.  This may damage the microwave oven.
  • Do not use metal pots, pans, or bakeware, dishes with metallic trim, or metal twist ties in the microwave oven.
  • Do not use non-heat resistant glass, non-microwave-safe plastics, recycled paper products, brown paper bags, or food storage bags.
  • Use glass ceramic manufactured out of PyroCeram (such as CorningWare), Pyrex heat-resistant glass, paper plates, paper towels, wax paper, and pottery that has "microwave-safe" stamped on it.
  • Keep the interior and exterior clean.  Make sure that the air vents are clear of debris for proper ventilation.  The interior can be cleaned with a damp cloth and a mild detergent.  Food allowed to collect in the oven cavity, on the stirrer blade or cover, or wave guide, can cause arcing and damage to the components.
  • Clean the control panel with a damp cloth only.  Do not use a spray cleaner or harsh chemical on the touch panel.
  • Inspect the service cord and outlet, and check the prongs of the plug for a tight fit.  A loose connection can cause the service cord to heat up and short out.
  • To remove cooking odors from the microwave, combine one cup of water, grated lemon peels, lemon juice, and several slices of lemon.  Stir and place in a microwave-approved glass container.  Cook on high power, and let the mixture boil for several minutes.  When the oven shuts off, let the mixture cool, remove the container from the oven, and wipe the interior with a damp cloth.

Refrigerators and Freezers

  • To reduce the compressor run time, vacuum the condenser coils on the back of the refrigerator at least twice a year--more often if you have pets.
  • Keep your freezer at least three-fourths full--use partially filled water jugs to fill any large empty space.
  • The inside of the cabinet should be cleaned at least once a month to help prevent odors from building up.  Wipe up any spills immediately.  Wash all removable parts by hand with warm water and a mild detergent, and then rinse and dry the parts.  The inside walls of the cabinet, the door liners, and the gaskets should also be washed with warm water and a mild detergent, rinsed, and dried.  Never use cleaning waxes, concentrated detergents, bleaches, or cleansers containing petroleum products on plastic parts.  On the outside of the cabinet, use a sponge with warm water and a mild detergent and then rinse off and dry thoroughly.
  • Test the door gaskets for proper sealing by placing a dollar bill between the gasket and the flange of the outer cabinet.  Pull on the dollar bill.  You should feel some tension as the bill is gripped.  If the gasket fails this test, replace the gasket.
  • For the doors to close and seal properly, the refrigerator should tilt backwards 1/4".  This is accomplished by raising the front legs.
  • To check that the gasket seals against the flange properly, slide a penny (which is about 3/4" diameter) from the top hinge to the bottom hinge.  If the penny does not slide evenly from top to bottom, the door should be adjusted.
  • Chest freezers should be defrosted once or twice a year to remove the ice buildup from the inside.

Room Air Conditioners

  • It is preferable that the room air conditioner unit be plugged into its own receptacle on its own circuit breaker to avoid overloading the circuit.
  • Inspect the air filters monthly during the summer and clean it if necessary by rinsing with water and then air drying.  Also vacuum the discharge grille area to remove dust build-up.