Design: JQ Ong

Among the small kitchen appliances that see a great deal of use every day, these three top the list. Here’s how to clean the hardworking machines in five steps.



Situation: Grime and hardened food on the inside surfaces.

How to clean: Steam-clean.

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of water in a large microwave-safe bowl, and add several tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice (put the squeezed rinds in the water as well).
  2. Place the bowl inside the microwave and run it on high for three to five minutes, or until the window is steamy. When the time is up, let it stand for 5 minutes without opening the door so it can steam some more.
  3. Take out the bowl (be careful, it’s hot!) and the glass turntable. Then use a sponge to scrub down the inside of your microwave, from the ceiling to the sides.
  4. Don’t forget to clean the door and the window. Wash also the turntable and wipe it dry.
  5. For stubborn spots that won’t easily wipe away, dip the sponge in the water-lemon/vinegar mixture and scrub until the spot comes away.



Situation: Grime on the outside of the cooker, and rice remnants inside.

How to clean: Use a sponge and cloth

  1. Unplug the rice cooker and give it at least 30 minutes to cool down.
  2. If the lid is detachable, you can wash it with soapy water. If it can’t be detached, use a sponge soaked in hot soapy water to remove any residue and stains.
  3. Go back over it with a rinse cloth, being careful not to get the inside of the cooker wet. Then take a damp cloth and wipe the exterior of the rice cooker until it’s free of dirt and oily stains.
  4. Remove any bits of rice left on the hot plate. The longer they sit, the more they are baked on and the harder they will be to remove.
  5. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the hot plate. Take care not to soak the hot plate in water or get any cleaning solution inside because it can ruin the electronics. Make sure every part is completely dry before you plug the cooker back in for the next use.



Situation: Brewed coffee starts to taste bitter and funky, or it takes longer for the coffee to drip.

How to clean: Brew water and vinegar

  1. Empty and rinse the carafe, and remove any coffee grounds left in the filter. Fill the carafe to its full capacity with equal parts water and vinegar, and place a new paper filter.
  2. Brew halfway, then turn off the coffeemaker and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the machine back on, finish brewing and dump the vinegar-water solution.
  4. Run a new brew cycle with fresh water and clean paper filter. Repeat two more times, allowing your coffee maker to cool slightly between brews.
  5. Wash the carafe and filter basket with warm, soapy water and sponge, and rinse well. Remember also to wipe down the exterior of your coffeemaker with a damp cloth.



The electric cords of your small appliances accumulate dirt, too. Moisten a cloth with a solution of water and non-abrasive cleaning liquid, and pull the cord through the cloth several times.