Cleaning the refrigerator and oven is no one's favorite task, but it must be done. It's doubly important if your house is on the market, because a home inspection will include a check for appliances that are in proper working order and a prospective buyer will be scrutinizing appearances.
Before you get to work on the refrigerator and range, pull the appliances away from the wall so you can sweep and mop behind. The walls will probably need a good scrubbing, too.
Put on a pair of gloves and fill your sink with hot, soapy water. Burner caps, grates and knobs can soak in the sink while you're cleaning the cooktop. If your stove is electric, you'll want to remove the burners but not submerge them. Simply set them aside before you dip your sponge into the sink and get to scrubbing the surface of your stove.
You can save your arm from aches by using an abrasive sponge, but make sure your cooktop surface can be scoured without being scratched. When you've finished wiping away all the food stains, rinse the excess soap away with clean water and let the surface dry. By this time, you'll be able to take the smaller pieces out of the sink, rinse, dry and replace them.
Now for the inside of the oven. First, remove the racks. Refill your sink with hot, soapy water and dip the racks in for a soak. If your oven doesn't have a self-cleaning cycle, you'll need to put forth a little effort. What's baked onto the bottom of the oven can often be scraped away with a metal spatula. If that doesn't do the trick, you can spray the grime with ammonia and let it sit for at least five minutes. Afterward, a liberal sprinkle of baking soda and vinegar should get the stain to bubble up so you can easily remove it with a sponge. Rinse away all the dirt with another clean sponge.
Full-strength ammonia will also remove all the cloudiness on the inside glass. Same drill: spray the window and let it sit for at least five minutes, then wipe away the dirt with a sponge. A microfiber cloth is a good tool for drying this surface. Regular window cleaner will work on the outside.
Now you'll want to wipe down the front surface of your range and take care of the broiler. Use the above suggestions to clean the broiler drawer. The broiler pan can be scrubbed in the sink like any other dish.
Don't forget about the oven racks! Scrub, rinse and replace them after they've air-dried.
If you have the time, you can start work on your oven the night before you plan to clean it. Warm your oven, turn the heat off and set a pot of boiling water on the bottom rack. Set a cup of ammonia on the top rack, in an oven-safe dish. You can leave the oven overnight with a closed door. By morning, the ammonia vapor will have loosened much of the grease, making scrubbing a lot easier!
Now that you've finished the oven, the refrigerator will be a breeze.
You've probably cleaned the fridge before. The routine should be familiar to you: pitch any spoiled leftovers and set the rest of your food aside. Take out the racks and drawers and soak them in the sink. Use a multi-purpose spray or a soapy sponge to wipe out the surfaces inside the fridge. Scrub, rinse and dry the sink's contents. Replace the racks, drawers and food. Easy-peasy, right?
Right. That's just the inside of the fridge, though. When's the last time you gave any thought to the coils underneath the fridge? If the answer is never, be prepared for more than a handful of dust. You'll want to use a coil brush or a microfiber duster to get those coils clean. Before you do that, make sure you've unplugged the refrigerator.
Now, thank your lucky stars that freezers have been self-defrosting for ages, so no need to worry about ice buildup. Follow the same instructions for cleaning the inside of your freezer as you did the inside of your fridge.
Once you've wiped down the exterior surfaces - take care to remember the rubber seal - you're finished!