How to Clean 12 of the Most Common Small Appliances in Your Kitchen

KitchenAid Custom Stand Mixer
Courtesy of KitchenAid

The small appliances you keep in your kitchen reveal the kinds of cooking and baking that most entice you; those who leave blenders on countertops love whipping up smoothies, while others whose air fryers are front and center prioritize quick, easy meals. All to say, these tiny machines have a major impact on how we cook and eat—and, if you treat and clean them correctly, they can be enduring investments. In general, you can wipe down most appliances with a damp cloth and dish soap, and dry everything off with a soft cloth or paper towel. Baking soda is also an excellent all-purpose cleanser when you need a little something extra.

No matter what, always mind the manufacturer's instructions and keep them somewhere safe so you can refer to them when you're ready to give your appliances a once-over, says Jessica Ek, the senior director of digital communications from the American Cleaning Institute. "The manufacturer will usually have care instructions in there or on their website, which will include cleaning methods," she adds. Other helpful rules of thumb to follow? Before you clean any small electric appliance with a cord, unplug it, notes Ek. And if the appliances are hot or were just recently in use, let them cool first. And, whatever you do, don't get electrical components wet.

After a thorough cleaning, make sure each piece of your appliance has completely dried before you reassemble them and plug a machine back in. And always be mindful of your cleaning supplies: "Whenever you are using cleaning products, read the label for safe and effective use information," notes Ek, who explains that not every appliance actually needs a cleaning agent (soap and water should do the trick!). If you're looking for specific steps to clean the most popular small appliances around your kitchen, from instant pots and air fryers to coffee machines and toasters, stay tuned. Discover our expert-approved cleaning advice, ahead, and learn how to restore all of your go-to appliances to their former glory.

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vitamix turboblend blender on counter
Courtesy of Vitamix

Make your blender sparkle again by taking out its removable pieces and washing them separately, either by hand with soap and water or in the dishwasher. Jessica Ek, the senior director of digital communications from the American Cleaning Institute, shares that the top part, including the lid, can usually be removed and is typically dishwasher safe. She suggests washing the more delicate pieces, like the gasket, by hand; wipe down the base with a clean cloth dampened with soap and water. Then, wipe it again with a clean cloth and let everything dry before reassembling the blender.

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Auto-Drip Coffeemaker

Ratio Eight "Cobalt" Coffee Maker and Thermal Carafe
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

If you use your auto-drip coffeemaker regularly, but don't clean it often, you'll want to follow these instructions. Start off by taking the removable pieces out and sponging them down with soap and water. "Using water and a dash of soap, wipe down the base with a clean, damp cloth. Wipe it again with a damp cloth and let it dry before reassembling," notes Ek. For a deep cleaning of the machine's internal workings, run the coffee maker with equal parts water and vinegar before running it again with water, she adds.

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Spice and Coffee Grinder

OXO Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
Courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond

Cleaning a spice or coffee grinder requires just two (water-free) steps, which work better if you stay consistent: Simply wipe out the grinder with a clean cloth or paper towel after each use. Add some baking powder and turn on the grinder to eliminate any odors.

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Food Processor or Blender

KitchenAid 7-Cup Contour Silver Food Processor with Locking Lid
Courtesy of The Home Depot

Hoping to clean your food processor? Ek says to take out the removable pieces to wash separately, either by hand with soap and water or in the dishwasher. If you are taking the wash-by-hand route, be mindful of the blade, which can be hazardous to wash. Wipe down the base with a clean cloth moistened with warm water and soap—and wipe it again with a damp cloth before letting it dry and reassembling.

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Standing Electric Mixer

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Wiping down your mixer each time you use it, and periodically between uses, will keep it in tip-top shape—but when you're ready to give it a deep clean, heed these tips. First, wash the beaters by hand unless they are stainless. (Automatic dishwashers can discolor brushed aluminum.) Then, polish the base with a damp cloth or sponge. If a vent is clogged, loosen the dirt with a toothpick.

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Smeg 2-Slice Toaster, white
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

First things first: Pull out the crumb tray and shake remnants into the trash. If your toaster doesn't have this piece, simply flip it upside down to dispose of the morsels. "Hand wash the crumb tray with soap, water and a sponge, then rinse it and let it dry before reinserting," Ek says. "Wipe down the outside with a clean cloth dampened with some warm water and a little bit of soap." Make sure it is completely dry before you use it again.

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Waffle Iron

waffle iron kitchen counter
Armando Mejía / EyeEm / Getty Images

Rid your waffle iron of excess batter, crumbs, and oil with a dry paper towel. From there, wipe down the waffle maker with a cloth that has—you guessed it!—warm water and and dish soap. Wipe it down again to remove your soapy solution and leave it open to dry it. If you notice any particularly stubborn spots? Use a soft brush to release any stuck-on food.

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Instant Pot

instant pot cooker on kitchen counter
MihailDechev / Getty Images

Put the inner bowl of your instant pot in the dishwasher—after soaking it in warm soapy water to remove food residue, if needed—to get it thoroughly clean. "Take off the parts of the lid that are easily removable and wash all pieces gently by hand, with soap, water, and a sponge or brush," Ek says, noting that this includes removing and hand washing the sealing ring. "Wipe down the base with a clean cloth dampened with soap and water." As with most of the appliances on this list, wiping the machine down and putting all the pieces back together are the last two steps.

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Air Fryer

ARIA 7-Quart Ceramic Family-Size Air Fryer with Accessories
Courtesy of The Home Depot

An air fryer is one of the most time-saving appliances on this list, but it can be tricky to clean. Ek suggests taking out the removable pieces and hand washing them with dish soap, water, and a sponge. "Soak them to remove any food that is stuck on; using a toothpick can help remove anything trapped in one of the grates," she says, noting to wipe down the base with a damp cloth, as well.

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Le Creuset Pans Sale
Courtesy of Le Creuset

To clean a griddle, scrape excess food off with a rubber spatula. According to Ek, apply and circulate a warm, soapy water mixture before it away with a damp cloth. As for her best pro tip? Be careful not to use anything abrasive, like a metal spatula or chemical cleaner; doing so will damage the griddle's surface.

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Slow Cooker

All-Clad Cast Iron 5-Quart Dutch Oven Slow Cooker
Courtesy of All-Clad

Take the removable pieces of your slow cooker out and wash them separately, either by hand with soap and water or in the dishwasher. "The pot may need to be soaked first in warm, soapy water, but then it and its lid can usually go in the dishwasher," Ek notes, adding to wipe down the base with a damp cloth as well (this conductive part should never be submerged in water).

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Toaster Oven

breville compact smart mini toaster oven
Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

When it's time to clean your toaster oven, take away the removable parts, like the racks and crumb tray, and wash them separately by hand, Ek advises, adding that soap, water, and a sponge will come in handy during this part of the task. (If you notice tough food is stuck onto any piece, soak it first until it is easy to rinse off.). Finally, using a damp cloth, buff away any finger prints or food stains on the machine's exterior.

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