From The Straits Times    |

VACUUM CLEANER
Empty the dust bag when it is half-full. With a fuller dust bag, the machine has to work harder to push the air through all the collected dust, says technician Amin Sabtu.

Clean attachments and brushes after every use to get rid of debris; this keeps the air flow unobstructed and doesn’t slow the machine down, which will otherwise cause the belt or engine to wear out faster. 

CONVENTIONAL OVEN
Remove stains and grease with a paste made with equal amounts of baking soda and water after each use. Baked-on grease can catch fire and may cause the thermostat to malfunction, says technician Billy Tan.

Never spray cleaning solutions near the heating element or on a hot and unprotected oven light – they may shatter. 

TELEVISION SET
Wipe the back of your goggle box with a moist microfibre cloth every week. Dust can cause the TV set to overheat and reduce its lifespan.

If you’re going to be away from the telly for more than 30 minutes, switch it off completely, rather than put it on standby mode. This allows the set to cool down, preventing it from overheating.

AIR CONDITIONER
Clean the filters monthly by washing or wiping them with a damp cloth. Dirty filters impede air flow, forcing the system to use more energy, and making it cool less efficiently. “This is a drain on the system and will shorten its lifespan,” says Amin.

Once a month, hose down the condenser coils, hidden behind the metal fins on the condenser unit, which is usually placed outside of the home, to get rid of accumulated dust and debris. If you live in an apartment, do this on a rainy day so you don’t incur the wrath of your neighbours on the floors below you. 

DRYER
Check the dryer vent (located at the back or side) at least once a year and remove any lint around it, says Amin. “A clogged vent can cut down the air supply and make the dryer work overtime to expel moisture from clothes,” he adds. The lint can also build up behind the tumbler, where the heating element is, and may catch fire. 

REFRIGERATOR
Clean the condenser coils, usually at the back of the fridge, every three to six months – dust and dirt reduce the fridge’s efficiency, making it work harder and wear down faster, says Billy. Unplug and pull out the fridge, then vacuum the coils; or call in a serviceman for help.

Don’t forget to clean the condenser coils under your fridge, too. 

FOOD PROCESSOR
Try not to process foods like hard spices and coffee beans, as they can damage the plastic bowl. Sometimes, even common nosh like nuts can do damage – over time, they may even break the blades.

To clean your food processor, try reader Anita Devan’s tip: Pour some water and vinegar into the bowl, and power it on for a couple of seconds. This cleans every point under the blade. Flush the blade and bowl with clean water. 

WASHING MACHINE
Check clothes pockets. Coins and other hard objects can damage the drum. “A damaged drum could cause the washing machine to stop spinning completely, leaving you with sopping wet clothes,” says Amin.

Don’t overload the unit. It puts a strain on the motor and causes it to wear out faster. When the drum is filled, pat the clothes down lightly to ensure there’s a palm-sized space between the top of your clothes and the drum. If it’s a tight squeeze, take some clothes out. 

This article was originally published in Simply Her March 2012.