Coffee makers, blenders, slow cookers, spiralizers and toasters, and let’s not forget food steamers, processors and dehydrators… Who doesn’t love small kitchen appliances?! They make our lives easier while taking up minimal counter space, and naturally we want them to last for as long as possible.
But your go-to kitchen gadgets simply can’t care for themselves. If you want to avoid repairs and replacement parts and extend the life of your small kitchen appliances (possibly past that of your current kitchen!), always follow the care instructions outlined in their product manuals—and apply the following tips for cleaning, maintaining and optimizing the performance of these tiny yet powerful kitchen tools.
Stainless steel 101
Stainless steel is a popular finish for modern kitchen appliances—big and small. But the sleek, shiny surface is a magnet for smudges, streaks and fingerprints.
Want to keep your small, stainless-steel kitchen appliances looking radiant? Simply wipe them down with a soft, damp cloth, following the direction of the grain. To eliminate heavy grease and residue, reach for a mild detergent and a nylon scrubber. To maintain stainless-steel appliances over time, spray them occasionally with stainless-steel polish. Note: never use abrasive materials (e.g., steel brush or wool) or chlorine bleach to clean stainless-steel surfaces.
Frayed and faulty electric cords can present a safety risk. To avoid damaging the cords—and having to replace your small appliances—leave them plugged in, in one location, whenever possible. To conserve electricity, consider using a power strip, and make sure it’s turned off when your small appliances aren’t in use.
If you must plug and unplug your small appliances frequently (e.g., counter space is at a premium), take great care not to damage the cords. Bundle them loosely and secure them in place with a twist tie.
To prolong the life of your small appliances, try to clean them during or immediately after use. For example, you can easily wipe tomato sauce from your mixer right after a splatter occurs. But if you allow the sauce time to set and dry (yuck!), you will have to scrub fairly hard to remove it. Repeated scrubbing can damage the surface of some small appliances.
General care guidelines
Following are eight tips for cleaning and storing small kitchen appliances:
- Always unplug your small appliance before cleaning it.
- Make sure your small appliance is cool to the touch (e.g., coffee maker) before handling it.
- Never submerge your small appliance in water.
- Handwashing is optimal for most small appliances; be sure parts are dishwater safe before putting them in dishwasher.
- If knobs and/or handles are removable, take them off to achieve a more thorough cleaning.
- Remove any sharp blades from small appliances before handling/cleaning them, if possible.
- Try using a clean toothbrush to remove food and residue from small, hard-to-reach areas of your small appliance.
- If you cannot leave your small appliance on the counter (see above), store it in its original box inside a cabinet and avoid placing heavy items (e.g., pots, pans, glass bakeware) on top of it.
Looking for more tips? Check out our top 5 must-have kitchen tools for making Instagram-worthy salads! Follow us on Insta for even more @vitacost.