Yikes is an understatement.

By Patricia Shannon

Even the cleanest home on the block still has a few dirt, dust, and grime traps. You know, those hard-to-see places where all the stuff we care not to imagine lives. Oftentimes it’s out of view, but not necessarily out of mind. Lurking behind our sparkling kitchen is a dirty little secret that we just can’t escape. That is, until now. It’s time to clean up those not-so-pretty places once and for all. Here’s how to clean under all your big kitchen appliances—and it’s not as bad as you think.

How To Clean Behind and Under a Refrigerator

Before you get started, turn off your ice maker if you have one. Then shut off the waterline to the refrigerator. This might be located in your basement, crawl space, or under the kitchen sink.

  1. Gently pull the refrigerator out far enough to unplug. Lucky you if your refrigerator is on wheels, which makes the process a whole lot easier.
  2. If your refrigerator has a grille in front of the condenser coils remove it. Use a refrigerator coil brush to gently brush pet hair, dirt, dust, etc. from the coils. Then use the vacuum brush attachment to remove any leftover debris. It’s important to regularly clean condenser coils in order to ensure they continue to work efficiently.
  3. Use a mild cleaning solution to clean the sides of the refrigerator and surrounding walls and/or cabinets.
  4. Vacuum the floor then clean with a floor cleaner designed for your floor type. Allow to dry completely.
  5. Plug refrigerator back in, turn on waterline, and turn on ice maker.
  6. Gently slide refrigerator back into place.
  7. Ideally follow this process for twice-yearly cleaning.

How To Clean Under an Oven

It’s a tricky business to pull your oven out and is a task that’s best left to the professionals in most cases. We understand it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to remove your oven for routine cleaning so, for that reason, we’re focusing on a hack method that gets the job done without requiring a professional.

  1. The easiest way to clean under your oven is a cheat method that involves removing the warming drawer or storage drawer at the base of your oven. Once you do, you’ll be able to use the extender attachment on your vacuum to clear up pet fur, dust, crumbs, etc.
  2. In addition to cleaning under your oven, you should regularly clean the space between your oven and countertop, it’s a trap for food, dirt, and grime. Use the tip of a dull knife (a butter knife or even a cheese spreader are good options) and gently scrape out the crevice. Wet a cloth or paper towel with a multipurpose cleaner and wipe clean. Repeat as many times as necessary to completely clean the gap.

How To Clean Behind and Under a Dishwasher

Your dishwasher is another appliance that is going to be a bit more involved than just unplugging and rolling it out of the way. If you can get away with cleaning around your dishwasher, using the method outlined below, we highly recommend it. Otherwise it’s best to call in a professional or someone who has experience installing dishwashers.

  1. Many dishwashers are securely installed into their space, which means debris will have a hard time making its way behind the seal surrounding the machine. For this reason, a crevice tool attachment for your vacuum might be the only equipment required. Use it to suck up any dirt, grime, crumbs, etc. that are wedged at the base of the appliance.
  2. If you have space on either side of your washing machine, use either a duster attachment or a vacuum extender (once again, with the crevice tool attached) to clear out anything that might be trapped between.

The kitchen is full of hard-to-reach and sometimes even harder-to-clean spaces. The trick is setting aside the time to do it. Add it to your list of seasonal to-dos and knock it out when the right time arises. We guarantee the sense of accomplishment will be well worth the effort.