MicrowaveStep 1: Fill a coffee mug with water and a few slices of lemon; put it in the microwave. Cook on a high setting for three minutes, suggests San Francisco Chronicle cleaning columnist Tara Aronson.
Step 2: Leave the mug inside for another three minutes. The steam will soften food spills, and the hot lemon will give that lingering pasta-sauce odor the boot.
Step 3: Take out the mug. Wipe down the walls with warm, soapy water to remove residue and food. Rinse and dry with a clean cloth.
CoffeemakerStep 1: Empty and clean the filter. Pour three cups of water and the same amount of white vinegar into the water chamber, then switch on the brew cycle.
Step 2: Halfway through the cycle, turn the machine off and let the solution sit for an hour. Switch the coffeemaker back on to complete the cycle.
Step 3: Run at least one cycle of clear water (two to be on the safe side) through the machine to rinse out any residual vinegar.
RefrigeratorStep 1: Unplug it or turn it off before cleaning. Remove all the shelves and drawers; they get their own wash-down. Add two tablespoons of baking soda or dish soap to a quart of warm water and wash all inside surfaces. Rinse them with clear water and dry with a clean cloth.
Step 2: Wash the drawers and shelves in the sink with warm water and dish soap, then wipe dry. Use the same solution to clean the door gasket (the rubber bumper that seals the refrigerator shut).
Step 3: Add a tablespoon of dishwashing soap to a quart of water and disinfect the door handles with the solution. No need to rinse―the solution will dissipate on its own, taking germs with it.
Stovetop & HoodStep 1: Soak a gas stove’s burner grates in warm water and dishwashing liquid for five minutes. Use a soft dish brush to scrub away cooked-on food, then rinse.
Step 2: Dry grates with a clean cloth. Be vigilant with cast iron, which can rust if it’s not completely dry when put back in place.
Step 3: Place the hood’s air filter in the bottom rack of the dishwasher; or soak it in dish soap and hot water for at least 10 minutes, then rinse and dry. Degrease the hood with hot, soapy water, then rinse.
OvenStep 1: Remove racks (and detachable steel side supports) and soak them in the sink or the tub in dish soap and warm water. Use a soft brush or a white (low-abrasion) SOS pad to remove built-up food.
Step 2: If your oven is self-cleaning, activate the cleaning cycle. If not, apply oven cleaner, following the directions carefully.
Step 3: When the self-cleaning cycle is finished, use a soft cloth to sweep the ashes out of the oven. Make a final pass with a damp rag to get every last bit.