Surfaces You May Be Forgetting to Clean After Cooking

 

If you love to cook, you’re probably aware of the not so fun cleanup afterward. No one loves to clean up from cooking, but it’s a necessary evil to prevent germs and annoying pests like kitchen ants from taking over your kitchen. Even the most obsessive neat freaks may be missing some essential areas to clean after cooking a big meal. Here are some surfaces you may be forgetting to clean after cooking.

 

Underneath Cabinets

If you have kitchen cabinets above any of your cooking surfaces, or even nearby, check the underside of them. Be prepared to be grossed out. Grease and oil from cooking on your stovetop has a pretty wide splatter range, and a favorite spot it likes to hit is the nooks and crannies of your cabinets. Using an antibacterial wipe or a washcloth soaked in hot soapy water, wipe down and dry all cabinets, including the undersides, after cooking.

 

The Inside of Your Oven

You may clean your oven monthly or even weekly, but the truth is, it should be cleaned more often than that. If you notice that some liquid or food has spilled over onto the bottom of the oven after use, wiping it up right then will save you from a smoky mess next time you use it. Dried up spills can cause smoke and even fires when using your oven, so cleaning up messes as they happen is the best way to go.

 

Oven Dials and Buttons

Grease and oil can splatter and drip down underneath your oven’s buttons and dials, causing them to stick or not work correctly. If you have oven dials you can pull off, remove them and soak in soapy water. While the dials are soaking, wipe down the surfaces under the dials, removing any built-up grime around the indentations.

 

Have a broken appliance due to built-up dirt and grime? Call Express Appliance Service today.

Are Icemakers in Fridges Worth the Cost (and the issues)

Most models of refrigerators come equipped with an icemaker. Icemakers are convenient and helpful, especially with large families, but they do come with some disadvantages.  It leads us to wonder, is this fancy feature worth the cost?

Space

Ice makers take up space in your fridge and freezer. The larger models take up quite a deal of space. If your refrigerator has french style doors, the ice maker will take up a large portion of one entire door. If you have a larger family, or just happen to always have a lot of food in your fridge, this may put a damper on your storage ability. If you’re shopping for a fridge and don’t want to give up your icemaker, look for slim or compact icemaker models.

Water Quality

If you have low-quality water or just don’t prefer to drink your tap water, you’ll need to consider a filter system for your icemaker. Filter systems can be purchased and added to your refrigerator at any time, so do your research and be sure to call a professional for installation.

Maintenance

Keep in mind that if your fridge has an icemaker or water dispenser, it’s going to require some maintenance. Filters will need to be changed, components will need to be cleaned, and possible repairs may be needed.

Professional Installation Required

An ice maker in your fridge means you’ll have to have an available water line and a professional installation after purchase. Having a water line placed will require the service of a plumber, so remember to factor that into your budget when shopping for a new fridge.

Ice makers can be a convenient addition to your kitchen, just be prepared to care for it like any other feature of your appliances. If you’re having issues with your icemaker or any other appliance in your home, call the pros at Express Appliance Service today!

Advice to Protect Your Electric Stovetop from Wear and Tear

Your stovetop gets a lot of use in your home, especially if you enjoy cooking. With heat and food, things can get a little messy. If you own an electric stovetop, it’s important to care for it properly. Here’s some helpful advice to protect your electric stovetop from wear and tear.

Clean After Every Use

After using your stovetop, be sure to clean off any spills or food debris as soon as it completely cools. Leaving messes can cause them to harden which can damage the surface when you try to remove them later on.

Use Cookware Wisely

Certain types of cookware can be very rough on smooth electric stovetops. Cast iron and stone pots and pans, in particular, are known to scratch electric stovetops, so avoid these types of cookware if you can.

Avoid Abrasive Cleaning Products

Brillo pads, rough sponges and chemical cleaners can easily scratch or damage your stovetop. Use gentle, natural cleaning sprays with a simple soft sponge or cloth. Usually, most messes on your electric stovetop can be cleaned using a warm washcloth.

Avoid Placing Utensils on Your Stovetop

Although spoon rests are popular and can seem convenient, placing anything on your stovetop while you’re cooking is a bad idea. Anything placed on your stovetop could shift, melt or burn while cooking, causing a mess that may be impossible to clean.

Don’t Leave Casserole Dishes or Cookie Sheets on Your Stovetop

It may take some getting used to if you’ve become accustomed to using a gas stove, but you should never take anything out of the oven and leave it on the stovetop to cool. Different types of materials can be abrasive to your stovetop and can scratch or damage it as it moves. Have a separate cooling area on your countertop ready for when you need to remove something from the oven.

Having problems with your electric stovetop? The experts at Express Appliance Service are standing by to assist you with all your appliance needs. Give us a call today!

How to Clean Your Dishwasher for Optimal Performance

Are you cleaning your dishwasher? If the answer is no, you may not be getting the best out of the most important appliance in your kitchen. Cleaning your dishwasher can troubleshoot most performance issues, but it should also be part of your routine. Here’s how to clean your dishwasher for optimal performance.

Clean Food Debris from the Bottom

After a while, solid bits of food can build up at the bottom of your dishwasher, near the circular coil. Every week or so, take a washcloth and wipe the bottom of the dishwasher making sure to scrub off any hardened messes with a sponge.

Clean the Filter

Most dishwasher models have a small circular filter located at the base. Carefully turn the filter and lift it out. Using soap and warm water, gently scrub the mesh lining and rinse out any debris. You should be cleaning your dishwasher filter at least once a month. A dirty filter can prevent your dishwasher from washing properly.

Clean the Vent

The dishwasher vent is usually located near the top of its door. After time, dirt and debris can build up in the vent and prevent it from drying your dishes thoroughly. Most vents are easily removed by prying it out gently. Read your appliance’s manual for more detailed instructions. Scrub the vent with dish soap and water, using baking soda on any stubborn buildup.

Clean the Spray Arm

The spray arm on your dishwasher is located at the bottom. There are small holes where water sprays out during the wash cycle. Using a q-tip or a thin brush, clean each hole to remove any buildup and make sure it can rotate without any sticking or obstructions.

Cleaning your dishwasher regularly will prolong its life and ensure you’re getting a clean load of dishes every time. Most common dishwasher issues can be resolved by a thorough cleaning, but if you still have any problems, give Express Appliance Service a call!

Sounds of the Fridge – Which Ones Are Normal and Which Ones are Concerning

Appliances can be noisy. Some noises they make alert us to problems and mechanical failures, but some noises are perfectly normal. When it comes to your refrigerator, which noises are deemed ‘normal’ and which should be checked out? Let’s take a closer look.

“Whirring” Sounds

A whirring sound, like one a fan makes, is normal to hear when your open or shut your fridge door. When the door is open or closed, temperature changes cause the fan to turn on or abruptly shut off.

Tic Toc Sounds

A sound similar to a ticking clock can be heard from your refrigerator when the defrost timer clicks on or off.

Gurgling Sounds

A soft gurgling or boiling sound is heard while your refrigerator is running. The refrigerant is being cycled through the unit resulting in the sound of liquid moving.

Tapping Sounds

While a tapping sound that is brief is usually normal, a consistent tapping that doesn’t let up could be a sign of a damaged fan blade or an obstruction in the fan itself. If you hear a tapping coming from your fridge and can’t find the source, contact an appliance repair company right away.

Buzzing Sounds from Underneath

A buzzing, whirring or quiet tapping sound, like when a card hits the spokes of a bicycle, coming from underneath your fridge could be a sign of an issue with the condenser fan. Unplug your refrigerator and carefully move it away from the wall. Removing the cover on the back near the bottom of the refrigerator, being careful not to lose the screws you remove, will give you access to the fan blades. Check for debris that may have gotten stuck, like small pieces of paper or trash. If this doesn’t stop the sound, contact an appliance repair company.

If you’ve heard a sound coming from your fridge that isn’t on this list, it never hurts to get advice from the professionals. Contact Express Appliance Service right away.

Features to Consider When Purchasing an Oven

Buying a new appliance can be both exciting and overwhelming. Modern ovens have so many new features that it can be confusing to find one that’s right for you. Let’s take a look at some features to consider when purchasing a new oven.

Dual Capacity

An oven with dual cooking chambers could be handy if you often cook multiple things at the same time that require different temperatures. Big holiday meals are made a lot easier if you can bake the pumpkin pie and the turkey at the same time while having space for other dishes. But if you’re only the occasional cook, this may not be a necessary feature.

Delayed Start

A delayed start feature on an oven is convenient for the cook that loves to plan. Have a casserole from the fridge that’s all set to go, but you’d like it to reach room temp before cooking? A delayed start will allow you to set a specific time for your oven to turn on and start cooking while food is already inside.

Self-Cleaning

An oven with a self-cleaning feature doesn’t actually “clean” itself. It heats up to around 1,000 degrees while locking the door, which causes all the food and debris in the inside of the oven to burn off. People with self-cleaning often don’t use them which can cause the feature to break and need repairs. Decide if this is something that is important to you.

Safety

Safety precautions are an important feature of any oven, especially if you have small children at home. You want to look for an oven with a locking mechanism on the door.

Parts

When searching for a new oven, you want to look for one that will be easy to service. A rare or specialty oven may be difficult to find parts for, making repairs more expensive and time-consuming.

Any questions about oven features? Ask the experts at Express Appliance Service.

Best Detergents and Dryer Sheets for Sensitive Skin

Detergents and soaps can contain a lot of chemicals and ingredients that irritate the skin. If you or anyone in your family tend to get rashes or skin problems from common household products, you may want to think about switching to hypoallergenic laundry detergent. Here are the best detergents and dryer sheets for sensitive skin.

Free and Clear

The main culprits in dry itchy skin caused by detergents are dye and fragrances. Buying a detergent that is made free from dyes and artificial scents is the best way to avoid irritated skin. These detergents still wash and clean thoroughly, although you may have to use an additional product for stain removal. Almost all major laundry detergent brands, like All, Gain and Tide make free and clear versions of their products.

Organic Baby Detergents

If you’ve tried free and clear products and they just don’t work for you, try an organic baby detergent. Baby products are already made for sensitive baby skin, and organic brands tend to take it a step further. Choose a fragrance-free baby detergent for best results. Most brands also make a natural dryer sheet product as well, so look for those.

Natural Soap Powder

There a few different companies that make a natural powdered detergent that is free from most allergens. If you usually use liquid detergents, it may take some time getting used to how much powder to use per load, but this can be a very smart option for those with sensitive skin. Powdered natural detergents can be a little pricey, so do your research and shop around before deciding on a brand.

DIY Dryer Sheets

You can make your dryer sheets using a blend of vinegar and essential oils placed on a soft cloth. Some essential oils can be irritants to sensitive skin, so opt for a gentle scent like lavender or citrus.

Finding laundry detergent that’s safe for your family’s sensitive skin is possible with a little research.

Different Cleaning Agents to Use in Your Dishwasher

Dishwashers make kitchen chores a whole lot easier. But when it comes to all the different kinds of detergent to use with your dishwasher, the choices can be overwhelming. All dishwasher detergents have mostly the same ingredients, just different formulas. Here’s a closer look at all your options, and the pros and cons of each.

Powder Detergent

The one ingredient that powder detergent contains that gel does not is bleach. This makes for sparkling white dishes, yet it sometimes isn’t able to get starchy stains, like potato or flour, off of larger dishes like a casserole dish or a large mixing bowl. Since powder does contain bleach, it’s the best at getting rid of musty and unpleasant odors that can sometimes occur in a dishwasher that hasn’t been run in a few days. If you have hard water in your home, powder detergent will clean much better than gels and pods.

Gel Detergent

Gel detergents seem to have a slight edge on powder in the popularity department, probably because it resembles liquid dish soap, which we all know has strong dish cleaning power. Gels contain enzymes instead of bleach. Enzymes can wipe out those tough filmy stains on dishes that rich, starchy foods leave behind.

Pods

Pods are quickly becoming the most purchased dishwasher detergent. These small convenient packs cut out the need to measure out portions and contain just the right amount of detergent for the job. They also can contain both powder and gel, which give the consumer peace of mind that they’re getting the best cleaning experience and the best of both worlds.

No matter which detergent you choose for your dishwasher, you can be sure it’s formulated to clean and sanitize your dishes properly. If you’re having any issues with your dishwasher not washing correctly, it could be a problem with your machine. Call Express Appliance Service for an appointment right away.

The Importance of Appliance Recalls

Over 3 million appliances are recalled every year, so it’s essential for every homeowner to be aware and act quickly when a recall is issued. Let’s take a closer look at appliance recalls.

Why do appliances get recalled?

An appliance recall happens for one of two reasons. Either the appliance has a design flaw that prevents it from working correctly or it has a defect that makes it dangerous to use. Once an appliance is recalled, it can no longer be sold, and owners must discontinue use immediately.

What are the different types of recalls?

Six different agencies in the US are responsible for protecting consumers. The largest, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), regulates more than 15 million different products and works with manufacturers when there is a recall. There are two different kinds of recalls. Let’s take a closer look at both.

  • Voluntary: Voluntary recalls are issued willingly by the manufacturer while they work with agencies to get the word across to customers.
  • Compulsory: Compulsory recalls are when the government orders a company to take a product off the market due to safety concerns. These are very rare for appliances. In fact, there hasn’t been a compulsory appliance recall since 2001.

How can I be aware of appliance recalls?

When you purchase a new appliance, be sure to fill out the registration card and mail it right away. The manufacturer will use your contact information to contact you if there are any recalls on your appliance. You can also check company websites for recalls or visit the Consumer Reports website which keeps a comprehensive list of current recalls.

What should I do if I own a recalled appliance?

If you own an appliance that has been recalled, don’t panic. Unplug the power source and discontinue use immediately. Contact the manufacturer and they will guide you through the process of repairing or replacing your appliance. You’ll soon have a properly working appliance again.

Tips to Reduce or Get Rid of Fridge Odors

Have you ever opened up your fridge for a snack only to be greeted by a musty or unpleasant smell? Unfortunately, refrigerators can develop nasty odors from time to time, but the good news is that they’re usually very easy to get rid of. Here are some ways to reduce or get rid of fridge odors.

Try the Obvious First

Most of the time a gross odor coming from your fridge is caused by a rotting piece of food you didn’t realize was still inside. Try cleaning out your refrigerator first before you try anything else. Since the vegetable drawers are usually the culprit, start there. Throw out any decomposing fruits or veggies and give each drawer a thorough cleaning with soap and water. Remove everything from the shelves and wipe each one down. If you still smell something, try the next tip.

Vinegar Will do the Trick

To be extra vigilant on fridge odors, try mixing equal parts of white vinegar, baking soda and dish soap till it forms a thick paste and wipe down every part of the inside of your fridge. Then rinse with water and dry. The vinegar smell will be strong at first, but as it dissipates, you’ll be left with an odor-free refrigerator.

Jar of Baking Soda

Once you’ve given your fridge a deep clean, fill a small mason jar with about a 1/4 cup of baking soda. You can add a few drops of citrus essential oils as well. Place the jar uncovered in the back of the top shelf. After a few hours, the bad odors should be absorbed and you’ll be left with a fresh, clean scent which will prevent future odors.

If you’ve tried all of this and still detect an odor coming from your fridge, there could be something wrong causing your food to spoil early. Call Express Appliance Service right away and we’ll get your refrigerator working, and smelling fresh, in no time.