Small appliance maintenance can keep items like toasters, garbage disposers and can openers running properly and as long as possible. While repair of small appliances is generally not cost effective (unless the appliance is under warranty) small appliance maintenance will help extend their life.
To keep small appliances running properly, keep these tips in mind:
Electric Can Openers: First, always remember to unplug an electric can opener before cleaning it. Wipe it down after each use, using a damp sponge and liquid dish washing detergent. Don't immerse it in water. Several times a year, you can remove the cutting wheel and lid holder and soak them in hot sudsy water. Scrub dried on food with a toothbrush, rinse, dry and replace the parts.
Garbage Disposers: Garbage disposers are self-cleaning, but they can get smelly, especially if you let food sit in them for any length of time. To avoid repair and keep your garbage disposer odorless and running smoothly, operate it with a full stream of running cold water. Flush the garbage disposal for a few seconds after turning it off to ensure that all debris is washed away. Never put metal, wood, glass, paper, or plastic objects in your disposal. Don't use it to grind really tough foods like artichoke leaves and corn husks. And never attempt to unclog a disposal with caustic drain cleaners. If your disposal smells like last night's dinner, you can tear up the peels from citrus fruit and grind up under a stream of cold water. Or sprinkle baking soda over ice cubes and grind them in the disposal.
Toasters: Clean your toaster oven or toaster regularly. Don't let crumbs collect that could pose a fire hazard. Don't leave drippings long or they will become a dried on mess that is difficult to clean. Check the cord for fraying. Unplug when not in use. Remove the lower panel of your toaster for extreme cleaning. Avoid using abrasives on the toaster's exterior to maintain a shiny finish. Grease can accumulate on your toaster, but it can easily be wiped off with a degreaser.
Taking on some small appliance maintenance now will avoid repair and ensure longer life of these kitchen essentials.