The way that you prepare your appliances for storage could mean the difference between them emerging in perfect condition and emerging so smelly that you never want to use them again. Here's a look at the right way to prepare common kitchen appliances for their time in a storage unit.
Refrigerators develop odors very easily in storage if they are not thoroughly cleaned out and dried beforehand. Start by removing all of the shelves and drawers from the fridge. Then, prepare a mild bleach solution by pouring about 1/4 cup of bleach into a bucket of warm water. Use this mixture to wipe out the entire fridge and freezer interior. If you come across any caked-on grime, use an old toothbrush to scrub it away.
Dip a cotton swab in your bleach water, and use it to clean in and around the gaskets of the fridge. These are a common hiding place for mold, which will easily spread to the middle of the fridge in storage if you don't remove it now.
Scrub the shelves and drawers separately, and rinse them in bleach water. Let them air dry completely; also leave the fridge open (and unplugged) to air dry for at least 12 hours. Put the shelves and drawers back in place. Then, place a big, opened box of baking soda inside the fridge to absorb any lingering odors. Leave this inside during storage.
You don't want to use bleach in a microwave, since it may linger and end up making your food taste like bleach. Luckily, lemons provide a safe and natural cleaning solution to remove that grime so it does not render your microwave useless after storage.
Place a half cup of water in a microwave-proof bowl. Slice a lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the water, and then toss the squeezed lemon halves into the water, too. Microwave this mixture for 3 minutes. Then, let the microwave stand for 5 minutes without opening the door. After 5 minutes, open the door; the grime should wipe away easily, having been loosened by the lemons. Leave the microwave open to dry for a day or two before placing it in storage.
Crumbs in your toaster may attract rodents, bugs, and other unwanted critters. The best way to completely clear your toaster of crumbs is to unplug it, dump out and wash the crumb tray, and then use the wand attachment of the vacuum to suck any lingering crumbs out of the toaster's interior. Then, use a simple mixture of dish soap and water (perhaps with a little bleach added) to wipe down the exterior of the toaster.
Toaster ovens can accumulate not only crumbs, but also baked-on grime. Start by unplugging the toaster oven, and use the wand attachment on your vacuum to suck up the crumbs. Then, a good way to remove the grime is with baking soda. Dip a moistened toothbrush into baking soda, and use it to scrub away at the caked-on gunk. Wipe out the interior of the toaster with plain water.
If there is gunk that won't scrub away, try filling a heat-safe pan or container with vinegar and baking it in the toaster oven for 20 - 30 minutes. Once the oven cools, the grime should be easier to remove.
Coffee pots are breeding grounds for mold. If there's the tiniest bit of moisture left in yours when you put it into storage, it won't be appealing when you pull it out. There are numerous coffee pot cleaners on the market that you can run through the pot to eliminate mold spores and bacteria. However, if you don't feel like running to the store in the midst of your packing mayhem, vinegar will work just fine.
Fill the pot with half vinegar and half water. Turn on the coffee maker, and let it run through a cycle. Throw away the vinegar mixture, and then run three separate cycles with plain water to flush out the vinegar. Finally, leave all compartments open on the coffee maker and give it a day or longer to dry before you pack it away.
By taking the time to prepare your appliances as instructed above, you'll increase your chances of finding intact, clean, rodent and bug-free appliances when you open your storage unit again. For more information about using storage units, visit http://www.getepicstorage.com.