Maintaining Your Washer and Dryer

December 10, 2015

Have you ever had funny smells coming from your washer, or even have your clothing come out smelling funny after a wash?  Some simple steps can help you keep your washer and dryer from not only developing funny smells, but also can extend the life of your machine!


Prevent Mold Buildup in Your Washer

The moist dark environment inside washers is the perfect habitat for mold.  Not only are front load HE washers are extremely susceptible to mold, but top load washers can also have the same problems although you may not visually see them as easily.  Follow these steps to keep mold from attacking your washer and performing its best.

  • Use less detergent
    • img_3314.jpgNew energy efficient washers use much less water than older washers.  Because of this they require MUCH less detergent.  You should not need more than a tablespoon for soft water, or 2 tablespoons for hard water.  This will clean your clothing great and ensure soap scum and residue are not left behind destroying the components in your washer.
  • Run a clean cycle once a month
    • Add in a cleaning tablet like Affresh and run a HOT cycle without any clothing.  Optionally instead of using a cleaning tablet like Affresh, you could add a half cup of white vinegar into the tub instead (use 2 cups for a top load washer.)
  • Keep your door open after running a load
    • This will allow your washer to dry out after a load much more quickly, making it harder for bacteria and mold to grow.
  • Wipe down the rubber gasket on front load washers once a week with a wet cloth, or white vinegar.

Clean your lint filter

MDryer-Vent-Cleaning.jpgake sure to clean the lint filter on your dryer after EVERY load.  Not only does this allow for proper airflow and drying, but cleaning it regularly prevents the lint from building up in other parts of your machine or the venting.  Buildup of lint in the machine is the #1 cause of dryer fires.

You will also want to clean your lint filter further once a month by washing it with warm water, soap and a scrub brush.  Very small pieces of lint will end up clogging the small holes in the lint filter.  You will notice that before you clean it, the lint filter may hold water not allowing it to pass through, but after water will pass through the lint filter and will not hold any water.  Another option is to just wash it in your dishwasher!

Replace your washer hoses

Stainless-Steel-Washing-Machine-HosesBursting washer hoses can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your home.  Most hoses are only rated to last 5 years.  Make sure you are replacing your washer hoses every 3-5 years to prevent any leaks and water damage to your home.

Clean your Dryer Venting

dryerventimage1.jpgDryer venting can get clogged up with lint over time.  Make sure you either call a professional dryer vent cleaner, or at a minimum pull the dryer vent off the dryer once a year and vacuum out any buildup that may be inside.  If you see a significant amount, this could be indication of a larger problem in which you will want to have your venting professionally cleaned.

This is also a good time to make sure that your venting is in fact metal venting.  If there is anything besides metal venting, replace it immediately as plastic venting is not safe!

Posted in: Uncategorized

Why don’t they make dishwashers the way they used too?

February 20, 2015

We often get complaints from customers who buy brand new units, saying that their dishwasher does not clean like their old one.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but basically it boils down into three different reasons.  These are:

  • New units operate differently due to new regulations
  • Change of ingredients in new detergents
  • Consumer use has not changed along with the new way dishwasher operate, resulting in improper use

We will explore each of these in more detail, giving some tips on how to make sure you are getting the best operation out of your dishwasher!  Some of this is very detailed, so if you just want to know the best practices… be sure to read the tips at the end to make sure you are following each of them.

New units operate differently due to new regulations

For the most part, new dishwashers have to meet very strict energy and water consumption guidelines.  They guidelines are set by the government.  Modern dishwashers must use significantly less water, and less energy as well.  As a result dishes are not allowed to “soak” in lots of water like in old dishwashers, and also the heaters are not allowed to stay on as long.  Also, many new units sense dirt particles in the water and adjust the wash based in this information.  If dishes are not very dirty, the unit may not run long enough to get your dishes looking the way you like.  Basically, manufacturers are not allowed to build dishwashers in the same way they did in the past.

Change of ingredients in new detergents

In 2010 new regulations were put in place by lawmakers removing all phosphates from detergents.  Phosphates were one of the main cleaning ingredients in detergents.  Because these were removed, new detergents now contain oxidizers, surfacants, and enzyme additives that work together to break down and remove dirt from dishes.

  • Enzymes – break down and eat proteins and starches in foods and stains.  These are water activated and begin working at the beginning of the cycle.  They also take longer to to work than the old phosphates, so short wash cycles and hinder performance.  They also work best around 120 degrees, and die above 130 degrees.  Too hot of water at the beginning of cycle and reduce performance.
  • Oxidizers – break down non-protein stains and work to sterilize dishes.  These are most active after the enzymes have done their job, later in the cycle around 122 degrees to 158 degrees.
  • Surfacants – these work to rinse the chemicals and minerals from the dishes at the end of the cycle.

These detergents work significantly different and believe it or not have a shelf life.  Also, these additives react with each other and can destroy each other.  They all activate at different temperatures, so too hot of temperature at the beginning of cycle can hinder performance.  Improper temperature of water, too short of a wash cycle,  not enough “dirt,” and old detergent will all greatly affect the performance of the dishwasher’s ability to clean.

Consumer use has not changed along with the new way dishwasher operate, resulting in improper use

Because of all these changes, many old habits you have used for years may actually hurt your dishwasher’s performance.  Here are some tips to get the best performance out of your dishwasher


  • Use Rinse Aid/Jet Dry
    • Using rinse aid is extremely important. Because new units can not use as much energy and , they dry dishes much differently.  Rinse aid allows water to “slide” off of dishes and dry much better, preventing from water marks/stains and spotting
  • Do not pre-rinse dishes
    • Scrape your dishes off, but to not pre-rinse.  If there is not enough food particles the detergents do not activate to do their job, and also some dishwashers will measure soil level of water, and could shorten the cycle too much.
  • Do not run your faucet before starting the dishwasher
    • Many people run their hot water in their sink to make sure the dishwasher is getting as hot of water as possible to clean dishes.  Because detergents work differently, and certain ingredients work best at lower temperatures… too much hot water at the beginning of the cycle can cause the detergent not to work.
  •   Use the proper detergent!
    • Last, but not least… make sure you are using the best detergent!  Enzymes in detergents will degrade over time.  Aged detergents can actually go bad and not work well.  Because of these we do not recommend buying any detergent in bulk.  Fresh detergent should appear shiny and not dull, also if you were to squeeze in your hand, you should feel it warm up.
    • Recommended Types:
      • Layered/Compartment Packs – these are like Finish Power Ball, Cascade Action Packs, etc.  We have always been getting reports that these are constantly the BEST performing detergents.  Many customer also find that placing these in the silverware rack (or similar area) allows the detergent to work right away and get better results.  If you find these not completely dissolving, cut them in half and just use half of a tab.
      • Dry Detergents – these are like Cascade, or Finish that you would pour out of a box.  These work well, but because the ingredients do not release activate with contact of water, they are often times working against each other, and not necessarily working at best efficiency.  Also it is easy to use too much.  With the softness of water in the Northwest, you should never use more than one tablespoon.
      • Liquid Detergents – not recommended.  The ingredients in these are already in liquid form and are destroying each other before ever even opened.  These go bad quickly and are the lowest performing detergents.
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Tips on Cleaning your Barbecue Grill

March 30, 2013



Cleaning your grill is essential to not only keeping your food tasting wonderful,  but also to increasing the longevity of your grill.  Here are some tips that will make cleaning your grill easier.

Regular Cleaning

First off, you should already be cleaning your grates between each use with a wire brush.  The best time to do this is while the grill is still warm preventing the food particles from hardening to the grates.  A best practice would be to scrape the grates shortly after using your grill, and then next time you use your grill turn the unit on high for about 5-10 minutes and scrape with a wire brush again.

Major Cleaning

Depending on how much use your grill gets, you also will need to give your grill a major cleaning 1-2 times a year.

If you have a self-cleaning oven, one trick many people use to cleaning the grates is to put them in the oven while running a self clean cycle.  After that, it makes all of the rest of the steps below much easier, but is not necessary.

  1. Remove all of the grates and let them soak in warm water for 15-20 minutes.
  2. For gas grills there are often metal plates under the grates called flame spreaders, or lava rocks.  Remove these and soak them in warm water as well.
  3. Once the grates a flame spreaders are out, you should now be able to see the burners and the bottom of the grill.  Using warm water, a scouring pad, and a wire brush gently scrub the burners clean.  If you notice any cracks or holes in the burner, do not use the grill and have the burner replaced.
  4. Use a scouring pad and wire brush to scrub the inside of the grill walls with warm soapy water.
  5. Next remove the grates and flame spreaders or lava rock from soaking and scrub them clean with a wire brush and scouring pad.  Rinse clean with water.
  6. For any tough residue use a degreaser such as Easy-Off to clean.
  7. Once all parts are clean, use cooking oil our spray to coat all the surfaces.  This will make it much easier to clean in the future.
  8. Replace all the parts and allow the unit to air dry.
  9. Finally clean the outside of the grill with warm soapy water.  If you have a stainless steel grill, check out our tips on cleaning stainless steel!

Remember regular cleaning will keep the cleaning easy, increase the longevity of your grill, and keep your food cooking to perfection!

Also take a look at this great video courtesy of Lowe’s on cleaning your grill.

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ARH Christmas Giving Drive

November 27, 2012

ImageWe have been very fortunate to be able to provide service to so many in the Northwest in 2012.  We live and work in a beautiful area, and have served many new and returning people this year.  As we celebrate Christmas and the holiday season, we want to give to others by providing needed items and gifts to the children served by Boys and Girls Aid Society again this year like we did last year.  They have sent us a wish list with items specifically for individual children at Christmas, and with items they need throughout the year.  We will be collecting these unwrapped gifts through Christmas.  Feel free to drop these gifts off at our office, or you can give them to your technician when he is working on your appliance.  We can also arrange pickup when we are in your area, just give us a call at 888-281-0041.  We will be collecting gifts through December 24, 2012.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and for sharing with kids in difficult circumstances.  


Boys and Girls Aid Society Holiday Wishlist


Gifts are for children 10-18 years of age.


  • Bath towels
  • Sports/ Car posters
  • Decals for the walls (inspirational quotes, designs)
  • Fun throw pillows
  • Cute trash cans for bedrooms
  • Fleece Blankets
  • Bright colorful blankets
  • Twin comforters (teen patterns and colors)
  • Twin size bed sheets (Boys/Girls colors)
  • Bean bag chairs
  • Bathroom radio
  • Bathroom mats
  • Earring organizers
  • Jewelry boxes
  • Workout balls
  • Medium size teddy bears
  • Shower curtain liners and rings (sets of 4 in one color)
  • Mirrors
  • Radio for the house with CD player


  • Oil pastels
  • Glitter Glue
  • Coloring Books
  • Stickers
  • Art paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Crafting Scissors
  • Puff paints
  • Tye die kit
  • Scrapbook materials
  • Painting canvases
  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles
  • Beads
  • Shrinky dinks
  • Gimp bracelet materials
  • Markers
  • Paint brushes
  • Crochet hooks
  • Fusion beads
  • Hemp string
  • Wrapping paper and gift bags
  • tissue paper, ribbon
  • Blank greeting cards
  • Large poster board for collages
  • Photo Albums


  • Backpacks for teens
  • 2013 calendars (cats, dogs, sports teams)
  • Calculators (Scientific-Texas Instruments)
  • Gel pens
  • Folders for teen boys and girls
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Magnets for white board
  • Dry erase markers
  • 2013 planners
  • Journals (gender neutral)
  • Photo paper for printer
  • Glue sticks
  • Pencil pouches


Women’s Clothing (Teen Girls S-XL)

  • Raincoats
  • Scarves
  • Athletic pants
  • Winter Coats
  • PJ bottoms
  • Cute socks
  • Hooded sweatshirts
  • Earrings (peace signs, feathers,hoops)
  • Winter coats
  • Gloves
  • Jeans (Teen Women size 8-14)
  • Bras (A-D 32-38)
  • Swimsuits
  • Yoga pants
  • Leggings
  • Tank tops
  • Knee high socks
  • Bathrobes

Women’s Shoes (Teen Girls Size 6-9)

  • Tennis Shoes
  • Rain boots
  • Toms shoes
  • Boots
  • Flip flops

Men’s Clothing (Teen Men’s S-XXL)

  • Pants
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Shorts
  • Sweats
  • Stud Earrings
  • Varsity Jackets
  • Duffle bags
  • Sports team shirts(Blazers, UO, OSU)
  • Men’s sunglasses
  • High Nike socks
  • Wallets
  • Lanyards
  • Swim trunks
  • Athletic pants

Men’s Shoes (Teen Men’s 9-13)

  • Athletic shoes (Nike’s, Adidas, Etc.)

Gift Certificates

  • Ross
  • Target
  • Journey’s Shoes
  • Foot Locker
  • Old Navy


  • Volleyball
  • Footballs
  • Soccer balls
  • Mini foldable goal
  • Basketballs
  • Ball pump
  • Jump ropes
  • Outdoor bench
  • Hula hoops
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Outdoor storage for balls and equipment
  • Jump ropes
  • Kites
  • Bad mitten set
  • Ping pong table/ ping pong
  • Paddles
  • Air hockey table
  • Hacky Sacks
  • Free Weights set
  • Weight bench
  • Boxing pads
  • Yoga mats


  • Pots & pans (non-stick)
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Glass baking dish
  • Cookie sheets (non-stick)
  • Loaf pan
  • Muffin pan
  • Blender
  • Magic bullet
  • Griddle
  • Microwaveable plates/dinnerware
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Large travel cups
  • Cutlery sets
  • Crockpot
  • Dish sets
  • Cutting boards
  • Toaster
  • Microwave


  • Playstation 2
  • Wii gaming system
  • Decks of cards
  • Mp3 Players (no cameras or internet access)
  • Discmen
  • “Skull Candy” brand headphones
  • Stop watch
  • Xbox Connect
  • Small LEGO sets
  • Handheld electronic games
  • Scrabble
  • Uno
  • Monopoly
  • Cranium for Kids
  • Movie Passes
  • Nintendo DS
  • iTunes Gift Card for Music

Wii Games

  • Any Zumba Wii games
  • Just Dance 1- 4
  • Rock Band


  • Glee Seasons 1-3
  • Pretty Little Liars box set
  • Zumba videos
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Heroes the TV show
  • Star Wars movies
  • Yoga Videos
  • Workout videos


  • Hunger Games series
  • The Lightning Thief series
  • Car Magazine, Sports Magazines
  • Cookbook: Clueless in the Kitchen
  • Eat Fresh Food: Awesome recipes for Teen Chefs
  • Cooking books for teens
  • Cook Books on a budget
  • College Prep Books (How to prepare, Dorm life, Etc.)


  • Did My First Mother Love Me? by Kathryn Miller
  • All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell
  • The Day We Met You by Phoebe Koehler
  • Little Miss Spider by David Kirk
  • One Wonderful You by Francis Portnoy
  • We See the Moon by Carrie Kitze
  • Let’s Talk about Race by Julius Lester
  • The Mulberry Bird by Anne Braff Brodzinsky
  • The Ocean Within by V. M. Caldwell
  • The People Could Fly: American
  • Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton
  • Under Our Skin: Kids Talk about
  • Race by Barbara Bridsey
  • One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dad by Johnny Valentine
  • All Families are Special by Norma Simon
  • Barnes & Noble Gift Certificates
  • Puzzles for ages 5-10
  • Knowledge/Learning games for 4-5 year olds
  • Stroller/Carseat hook toys
  • iPad to assist children with developmental disabilities
  • Blocks


  • Flat irons
  • Hair dryer
  • Curling iron
  • Shampoo and Conditioners for all ethnic types
  • Hair brushes
  • Face masks
  • Nail polish
  • Lip Gloss
  • Maybelline “Baby Lips”
  • Nail Decals
  • Nice lotions
  • Hair gel
  • Razors
  • Shaving Cream
  • Loofahs
  • Pummus stone
  • Bath bubbles
  • Eyeliner
  • Eye shadow
  • Mascara (Black, Brown, or Blue)
  • Nice face wash
  • Aerosol free hairspray
  • Axe shower gel
  • Men’s cologne
  • Men’s deodorant
  • Men’s hair gel
  • Men’s hygiene products
  • Acne cream
  • Men’s lotion/ aftershave
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush


  • Visa card to help continue Martial Arts class for client
  • Individual stacking lockers for clients to keep items in
  • Laundry Baskets
  • Ironing board
  • General cleaning supplies (Windex, all-purpose cleaner, sponges, etc.)
  • Dusters
  • Gift Cards for gas or groceries
  • Small Gift Cards to Subway or Starbucks
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Carbon Monoxide detectors
  • Twin mattress protectors (bed bug proof )
  • Fire extinguishers (class 2A-10BC)


*Please donate only new items, preferably in their original packaging.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Honoring a Legend

August 29, 2012

For more than two decades Appliance & Refrigeration Hospital was served and led by a remarkable duo, Bill & Nancy Sehorn.  Many of our current team members were privileged to have worked with them before they retired in 2001.  Bill & Nancy were like parents and grandparents to the ARH team, and like best friends to customers.  We have all been the recipients of the goodwill they generated. 

Bill Sehorn has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and is dealing with all the struggles this includes. Our desire is to support him and his family in all the ways we can, and one way is to participate in Sole Support for Parkinson’s.  ARH will be participating in a walk and fundraising event on September 23 at Willamette Park at 1:30.  We encourage all of you to join our team and registering to walk with us, or support our team by donating here.  Below is a picture of Bill and his grandson on an earlier Sole Support Walk. 


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Getting Rid of Pesky Refrigerator Odors

August 11, 2012

Everyone knows that bad odors in your refrigerator or freezer can be difficult to get rid of and are not appetizing.  Not only is the odor unsanitary, but it also can permeate the food in the refrigerator, and also your ice cubes!!!  We will examine some ways of getting rid of these poor odors, but first we will go over some of the main causes.

It is also important to remember that most refrigerator/freezer share air back and forth between compartments, so a foul odor in your refrigerator can also contaminate food and ice in the freezer as well.  Keep this in mind when trying to find the cause of an odor.


  1. Freezer Burn – Food that is freezer burned not only changes the taste of the food, but can also cause a smell in your freezer.
  2. Spoiled Food – Remember that spoiled food in your refrigerator can affect food in the freezer, and vice versa. 
  3. Drip Pan – there is a drip pan under your refrigerator that collects water and lets the water evaporate, sometimes this can get dirty and cause foul odors to linger.Image
  4. Icemaker – All of the small crevices in an icemaker make this a great place for bacteria to grow.  Cleaning the icemaker regularly will keep your ice tasting fresh and freezer odor free.Image
  5. Ice/Frost Build-up – Ice and frost can trap odors in your freezer.  If you have any ice or frost build-up it is important to defrost your freezer.  This not only will help your refrigerator smell better, but will also improve performance and reduce your energy usage!Image


  1. First dispose of any questionable food.
  2. If there is any ice build-up be sure to defrost your freezer.
  3. Remove all shelves and clean everything with hot water mixed a teaspoon of bleach (per gallon of water.)  Don’t forget to clean the door and door gasket!
  4.  Wipe down the inside of the unit with equal parts vinegar and warm water.

If the odor persists…

  1. Place baking soda, or coffee grounds in a large shallow container at the bottom of the refrigerator and freezer.  Leave for 3 days.  Repeat 2-3 times as necessary. This will absorb any odors left in the refrigerator.  Or you can use on of our commercial deodorizers!  

    Refrigerator Deodorizer


    Freezer Deodorizer


  2. Place imitation vanilla in a shallow bowl same as the baking soda and leave for 3 days.
  3. Unplug unit and empty all the food.  Stuff the unit full of crumpled newspaper and close the doors.  Leave for several days.  Once complete, wipe the unit down with vinegar and water.  The newspaper will absorb the odors.


If all of the above did not work, then the odor could have penetrated the liner and insulation.  This is very uncommon and is not a repairable problem.  


Posted in: Uncategorized

Refrigerator Condenser Cleaning

May 24, 2012

A Quick How-To Video on Cleaning Your Refrigerator Condenser

As warm weather approaches, it is important to keep your refrigerator performing to its highest standards.  Cleaning your condenser is an easy way to prolong the life of your appliance and reduce energy consumption.  The video above is a quick guide on how to clean most types of condensers.  Your owners manual will have detailed instructions on how to clean your condenser as well.  Feel free to contact us with any questions you have, or we can perform this cleaning for you!

Tools required:

  1. Screwdriver or Nut-driver depending on your model
  2. Condenser Cleaning Brush (sold at any appliance parts store OR by a local servicer such as Appliance Hospital!)
Posted in: Uncategorized

Easter is coming! Candy Stain Removal Tricks and Tips!

April 3, 2012

With Easter just around the corner, we figured it would be great to share some quick candy stain removal tricks with you.  Most all candy stains will be handled the same, except for chocolate.  Chocolate stains will require some extra special attention because of its oil and dye based properties.  As with all stains, you will not want to dry the item until the stain is completely removed or you are convinced the stain will never come out.  Once an item is put through a dryer it will cause the stain to set in and will most likely never come out.   Also remember to test any cleaners/chemicals you are going to use on an inconspicuous area first before treating the stain and check for colorfastness, etc.


Chocolate Stains

  • Try to remove any excess chocolate by using a dull knife or a spoon.  Be careful not to spread or rub the chocolate into the clean parts of the clothing.

  • Rinse the item FROM THE BACK with cold water. Rinsing the back of the stained area will allow the stain to travel through the least amount of fabric possible.

  • Gently rub liquid detergent into the chocolate stain and then let sit for 5 minutes. Next, soak the clothing for 15 minutes in cold water, Every 3-5 minutes, rub the stained area between your fingers and thumb to loosen the stain. Rinse thoroughly. Continue until no more stain can be removed.

  • If an oily stain remains, try using a stain remover stick, gel, or spray. Wash normally.


You also may be interested in watching Tide’s video on chocolate removal!


Candy Stains

  • Pre-soak item in warm sudsy water for 30 minutes.  If cleaning carpet remove excess candy first with a dull knife or spoon and use a sponge to soak.
  • Wash garment in washing machine. 
  • If stain still persists, soak again for 30 minutes, adding a few drops of ammonia to the solution.
  • Next rinse, then soak item again in a solution of 1 quart warm water to one tablespoon of white vinegar for about an hour.  Rinse well. 
  • Blot Dry
If stain still persists:
  • Mix one teaspoon of a mild ph balanced detergent (a mild non alkaline non bleaching detergent) with a cup of lukewarm water
  • Blot
  • Mix one third cup of white household vinegar with two thirds cup of water
  • Blot.
  • Mix one teaspoon of a mild ph balanced detergent (a mild non alkaline non bleaching detergent) with a cup of lukewarm water
  • Blot
  • Sponge with clean water
  • Blot dry


We hope you find this information useful.  From all the Doctors and Nurses at Appliance Hospital, 

Happy Easter!




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Proper Care and Cleaning of Stainless Appliances

February 28, 2012

While stainless steel appliances are very beautiful, many times it can be difficult to keep these appliance clean and looking their best.  Below we have outlined several tips to keeping your appliances looking their best.

Using the Proper Cleaner

 Cleaning your appliance with plain water and a clean cloth may prove adequate at times, but this usually leaves behind water spots and staining after time.   Using glass cleaner works very good for removing fingerprints and smudges, but does not usually remove staining can can sometimes leave streaks in the stainless.

We recommend washing the appliance with warm soapy water and then using an actual stainless steel cleaner.  These cleaners are designed to not only clean stains, brighten stainless, and polish, but also will leave a protective film to prevent dulling the stainless to keep it looking like new.

 When using these cleaners it is VERY important to read the directions before using.  The main thing to pay attention to is to always clean the appliance using long strokes and going WITH the direction of the grain in the stainless.   You should be able to see lines in the stainless (usually horizontally) and this is the grain that you want to follow.  The reason is that many of these cleaners contain abrazives and polish which can scratch the stainless if used improperly.  There are many types of stainless cleaners available and you can pick them up at most grocery stores or appliance repair companies and dealers.  Below are a few examples of types of cleaners we sell.

Preventing Rust on Stainless

The main cause of rusting has been due to the types of cleaners used on the stainless appliances.  Below is a perfect example of a Chlorinated Cleaner being used on a stainless steel surface.

Lately there has been a big push of cleaners containing bleach.  The sample photo below is the Clorox brand but there are many others brands using chlorine as an active ingredient.

These types of cleaners are not safe to use on steel surfaces.  The manufacturer of the cleaning agent may say it’s safe for SS appliances but almost all appliances manufacturers advise against using chlorine or harsh chemical cleaners. Chlorine is an oxidizer and the use of it on stainless steel surfaces used for most appliances, 304 (non magnetic) and 430 (magnetic), will cause an accelerated oxidation of the metal surface.  We would not recommend it on a painted surface either as the chorine can penetrate a thin coating of paint or slight scratch and cause accelerated oxidation in that area.  We sometime get the question of how come bleach can be used on a stainless steel sink?  Most sinks are made with a different grade of stainless ( a higher nickel &  molybdenum content) which makes them more chemical resistant.
We never recommend the use of harsh chemicals for cleaning stainless surfaces on appliances.  Most owners manuals recommend warm soapy water and a stainless steel polish.  The soapy water cleans the spots and the SS polish treats the metal.  In most SS polishes the main ingredient is Mineral Oil.  Mineral oil does a fantastic job of sealing and protecting the stainless steel surface.  It also reduces fingerprinting and makes the surface easier to clean since it also performs as a semi non-stick surface.

Do not use abrasive cleaners that will scratch the surface.

Depending on the surface finish of your stainless steel, abrasive cleaners can cause scratching. Duller finishes probably won’t show scratching as much as mirror or highly polished finishes. When in doubt, test in a hidden spot, and also work from the least risky type of cleaning, (ie water) to the heavy duty stuff.

Do not forget to rinse.

Gritty or dirty water, or residue from cleaning solutions left on a stainless steel surface can stain or damage the finish.

Do not use cleaners containing chlorine.

While it may be second nature to bleach everything, stainless steel and chlorine don’t mix. Stay away from the bleach when you clean stainless steel.

Do not use steel wool or steel brushes.

These products leave little particles in the surface of the steel and inevitably these particles begin rusting and staining the surface of the steel. They also can excessively scratch the surface of your stainless steel.

Do not assume it’s the cleaner.

If you do have some spotting or staining, and you’ve followed all of the rules, it may not be the cleaner. Water, especially hard water, can leave spotting and staining on stainless steel surfaces. Towel dry after rinsing can end the problem.

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