Electrical Appliance Safety: Key Items for Cleaning Success
If uncleanliness in your house is causing you stress, you’re not alone. In a survey on home cleanliness, over 60% of respondents said a dirty home causes stress. Hectic schedules, little ones in the house or a variety of other reasons can make it hard to clean up as often as we want to.
Once you finally get around to cleaning up your dwelling, one area that may not cross your mind is cleaning your appliances. However, keeping your electrical appliances clean and maintained is vital to keeping them running like new for as long as possible. Not sure what you’ll need, how to clean or how to maintain electrical appliance safety? Keep reading to learn more.
4 Keys to Electrical Appliance Cleaning
If you plan to clean anything that runs on electricity, here are a few key things to remember:
Unplug, unplug, unplug. Even if you don’t think there is a risk, it’s best to unplug appliances before cleaning them. From a toaster to your clothes dryer, make sure the device you are cleaning is disconnected. This reduces your risk of electrical shock. If you are cleaning a portable electronic, like a phone, remote or laptop, remove the battery if it’s accessible.
Use recommended cleaning techniques for your brand of appliance. If you don’t have the manual for the machine you want to clean, look for its model number online. Most devices have a digital version of the manual that gives some cleaning and care instructions.
Use the right cleaning solution. For most kitchen appliances, soap will work well to clean their surfaces and active components. For televisions or other media electronics with a screen, gently clean with isopropyl alcohol solution or a specialized spray.
Use the best cleaning instrument for the job. From microfiber cloths to bristled brushes, keeping your electrical appliances clean also requires different instruments to ensure your appliances stay in pristine condition.
Cleaning Up in the Kitchen
When you clean your kitchen appliances, a dish rag or towel with dish soap should be your go-to.
With smaller appliances, like hand mixers, toasters and blenders, unplug and disassemble for a thorough clean. You can wipe down some small appliances; others require hand or dishwashing. Only wash the removable parts of these small appliances. Don’t submerge any part of an appliance with electrical components, whether plug-in or battery operated.
For larger appliances like dishwashers, stoves and refrigerators, you may need baking soda or other strong cleaners to cut through lingering odors, food particles or grease.
To perform a deep clean on your dishwasher, you can use common household cleaners like white vinegar and baking soda or chemical tablets. After you run a cleaning cycle, make sure to clean around the edges of the washer and remove as much food as possible from the rack, walls and filter.
In most cases, there isn’t a need to disconnect your dishwasher whenever you clean it, as electrical components are sealed away from exposure.
Cleaning your oven is vital to the taste of the food you cook and preventing oven fires. Like your dishwasher, you have several options for cleaning, including oven-specific cleaning sprays and vinegar and baking soda.
Many ovens come with a self-cleaning option. While self-cleaning can be hit-or-miss depending on your oven model and how often you clean it, you will still need to do some manual cleaning after the cycle is complete. If you decide to go this route, you will want to be at home while the cycle is running to make sure a fire doesn’t start.
Cleaning your refrigerator’s coils can help it run more efficiently. To do this, remove food from the fridge and put it in an ice chest or on a side table. Then gently pull the refrigerator away from the wall without damaging the floor. Before locating the coils, disconnect the fridge from its power supply to prevent electrical shock.
Once you’ve removed the grate in front of the coils, a vacuum and brush or duster should do the trick in removing dirt and dust.
Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets are essential for kitchen, bathroom and outdoor electrical appliance safety. If your home doesn’t have GFCI outlets installed near faucets and other water sources, call your local electrician to make the switch.
Cleaning Up in the Laundry Room
It’s smart to clean the washer and dryer every few months to keep them running like new. To do this, you will need:
Chlorine bleach or a chlorine bleach alternative
A cleaning brush
Any other specialized cleaners
To clean a washer, you won’t need to unplug it, but instead, use a washing cycle with bleach to clean the interior while scrubbing the exterior components, like the rubber sealing ring.
For a dryer, you’ve probably heard about the importance of cleaning the dryer vent to reduce the risk of starting a fire. Clearing lint from the lint catcher after each load is a great start. To clean the dryer vent, you should unplug your dryer. If you feel uncomfortable unplugging it directly, you can flip the breaker to your utility room to cut off the flow of power to your dryer.
Once your dryer is unplugged, you can remove the dryer vent and clean trapped lint, dust and debris. Cleaning will require a brush kit and vacuum to get the maximum amount of debris. You need to clean the vent on the dryer connect and the home exterior of the vent.
Cleaning Up in the Living Room
Television sets, game consoles, home computer setups and other electronics in your home need a good clean from time to time.
Microfiber cloths are your best bet for cleaning. For TVs, a microfiber cloth dampened with water should do the trick to clean it up. For computer monitors and laptop screens, you can use specialized cleaners depending on the screen’s finish.
You don’t want to use the wrong chemical for the job—exercise caution when cleaning screens. TVs and monitors alike can have specialized coatings to reflect glare, which can come off if you use glass cleaner or other chemicals.
Remember to unplug and remove batteries from any devices if possible when cleaning electrical appliances in the living room.
Final Words on Electrical Appliance Safety and Cleaning: Two Things to Avoid
Don’t clean electrical appliances while they are plugged into the socket. Unless they need to run to clean, unplug your device before cleaning it to reduce the risk of electrical shock.
Don’t use an all-purpose cleaner on every appliance in your home. All-purpose cleaners may seem like a perfect, one-size-fits-all solution for electrical appliance cleaning, but they may not properly clean your devices. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual, brand website or other expert resources for cleaning instructions.