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8 appliances you never clean, but should

Keep these appliances clean and they will keep working for you.

Alina Bradford
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
1 of 14 Josh Miller/CNET

The hidden messes

You typically do a decent job sweeping, mopping, dusting and generally keeping your house clean. 

Are you making sure your appliances get the same TLC? Here are the appliances in your home that need your attention and how to get them clean.

2 of 14 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Vacuum cleaner

Your vacuum needs special care at least once a month so it can keep sucking. To start, check to make sure no hoses are clogged using these tips. Then check the brush and wheels and cut away any strings or hairs that's wound around them. 

Finally, remove the sponge-like filter (check your manual for the location). Wash it with warm water and only one drop of dishwashing liquid. Rinse the filter well and let it air-dry completely before putting it back into the vacuum. Check out our guide to maintaining your vacuum.

3 of 14 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Robot vacuums

Yes, robot vacuums need love, too. Like big vacuums, remove any strings or hairs tied around the bristles, wheels and main brush. Wipe down the wheels with a cloth moistened with warm water if they look sticky or grimy. 

If the side brushes are bent at odd angles, use these directions to straighten them out.

4 of 14 Alina Bradford/CNET

Deep fryer

A filthy deep fryer makes your food taste weird. Scrub it inside and out with balls of newspaper, which will soak up any residual grease. 

Then, fill the fryer with hot water and add two drops of dishwashing liquid. Let it sit for around 30 minutes and then scrub the inside with a sponge. 

Pour the water out, and then refill the fryer with clean warm water and empty it again to rinse. Let it dry completely before using again. Here's more tips for getting your deep fryer extra clean.

5 of 14 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Coffee maker

Like your deep fryer, a dirty coffee maker can taint the taste of the finished product. 

Beyond just wiping it down and cleaning the pot, you need to deep clean the insides to get rid of mineral buildup. 

6 of 14 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Removing minerals

With most coffee makers, all you need to do is run the machine with its water reservoir filled with equal parts filtered water and distilled vinegar. 

Run the machine again with just filtered water to rinse.

7 of 14 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Cleaning a Keurig

If you have a Keurig instead of a traditional coffee maker, you clean it in a similar way. Just fill the tank with 100 percent white vinegar instead of half a tank of water. Taylor Martin has the details, here.

8 of 14 CNET


You would think that the dishwasher would wash itself while doing dishes. While that may be true about the racks, the filter, seal, latches and sprayer don't get the care they need. 

Here's your guide to making your dishwasher smell better, work better and last longer.

9 of 14 Alina Bradford/CNET

Blow dryer

I've had a blow dryer catch fire while in my hands, so I know the value of making sure it's clean! It's simple to do. 

Just wipe out the air grate on the back of the appliance to clear it of hair and lint. I use a makeup sponge because it doesn't leave behind lint like a paper towel does. 

10 of 14 Ry Crist/CNET


Most of us clean a toaster by holding it upside-down and giving it a good shake, but it needs a little more care than that. 

Unplug your toaster, then shake out any crumbs to start. Wash the crumb tray with a warm water and dish soap. Then wipe down the inside with an old toothbrush or cloth dampened with white vinegar. Finally, rinse it by wiping it down with a damp, clean cloth.

Here are some more tips for cleaning your toaster.

11 of 14 Martin LaMonica/CNET

AC units

For your AC unit to work properly, it needs good airflow. Dust and dirt in the vent can make air flow sluggish (not to mention bother your allergies). 

The easiest way I've found to clean the grates is to wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. The cloth will trap the grime so you're not just spreading it around.

12 of 14 Alina Bradford/CNET

AC filter

Also, don't forget to change the filter. The general rule of thumb with unit filters and central air filters is to replace it if you can't see light shining through it.

13 of 14 CNET

Dryer vents

When you're cleaning a dryer vent system, there are two areas you need to focus on. On the inside, there is the hole coming out of the wall in your laundry room. On the outside of your home is a vent with a cover that looks like a shutter. 

Remove your dryer from the inside vent and snap the shutter off of the outside vent.

14 of 14 Chris Monroe/CNET

Cleaning the dryer vent

Next, brush out both holes using a dryer vent cleaning kit

For more details, Brian Bennett has the scoop.

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