From the microwave to the coffee maker, appliances do a lot of work around the kitchen. These machines, both big and small, simplify our lives – so we should take care of them by making sure they get clean in the greenest way possible. Follow these tips for making your appliances shine while using inexpensive and non-toxic ingredients.

Sponge: We use sponges to clean just about all our appliances, so make sure your cleaning tool is fresh before you start. Put a wet sponge in the microwave on HIGH for one minute to kill bacteria. Be careful removing it, as it will be very hot.

Microwave: Fill a large cup or medium-size bowl with water and add a few slices of lemon. Put it in the microwave on HIGH for 3 to 4 minutes. The steam will loosen particles on the inside so you can easily wipe down the appliance with a sponge.

Oven: Sprinkle crusted spots with baking soda and spritz with water. Let these areas soak for about 15 minutes then scrub with a sponge. In hard-to-reach places such as hinges, try scrubbing with a toothbrush.

Dishwasher: Instead of putting detergent in the door cup, fill it with white vinegar. Run the empty dishwasher through a cycle.

Washing machine: Add 2 cups of white vinegar to the drum, and add a mixture of ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup water where you would normally add detergent. Turn the washing machine to the hot-water setting and let it run through a cycle. When it’s done, be sure to wipe around the rim with a clean sponge.

Refrigerator: Use a sponge soaked in a mixture of one part baking soda and three parts water to scrub and wipe the shelves and drawers. Be sure to sanitize the sponge in the microwave after cleaning the refrigerator, especially if you're cleaning up spills from uncooked meat or poultry.

Coffee maker: Add equal parts vinegar and water to fill the reservoir. Also put in a clean filter. Brew about half the liquid, turn off the coffee maker for half an hour, then turn it back on to finish brewing. Empty out the pot, add a new filter and brew through two pots of water to remove any vinegar flavor.

Wood cutting board: Sprinkle a little salt on the board, then scrub with half a lemon. This will clean out all the grooves made from the knife cuts.

Disposal: After you've used the lemons for cleaning, throw the rinds in the disposal along with some ice cubes and a handful of kosher salt. These will clean the disposal and blades, and leave the sink smelling fresh.

When you choose to clean your kitchen appliances with simple, non-toxic ingredients, both your household and the environment win. Look for more home cleaning tips here.

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