When hosting for the holidays, everything centers around the kitchen, and it’s tempting to want everything to be perfect. Though perfection is an unrealistic goal, making sure your kitchen is running smoothly in time for the big day is not. Appliance repair is a fact of life, but you can take steps to gain at least some control over when it happens. No host wants to struggle with oven repair right before the biggest meal of the year.
The holidays are coming soon, and whether you plan on entertaining large groups of friends and extended family or expect to keep it low-key at home this year with only a few of your immediate loved ones, you want to take care of kitchen appliance repairs long before planning any meals. Take the following steps to prepare your kitchen appliances for holiday entertaining, and you’ll be in the best shape possible to celebrate without worry of disappointing breakdowns or delays.
Begin by cleaning
Our most popular appliances get put through the ringer over the holidays in your kitchen. Increased demand from additional household guests plus all the extra food and dishes mean extended work for all of them. You probably spent some considerable time selecting the perfect appliances for your kitchen — after all, most guests tend to gather or linger in this busiest of rooms — so you’ll want to invest the time for pre-holiday cleaning and testing to make sure all your major kitchen appliances are in working order and ready for the task. Shouldn’t it look inviting, too? Start by doing general cleaning throughout your kitchen. Get rid of clutter, dust bunnies and anything else that doesn’t need to be there. Make sure your cooking and prep surfaces are clean, as well as backsplashes, cabinets and the floors.
Clean and test your oven
These days, most smart kitchen appliances have fancy features, and that includes a self-cleaning option for ovens, even if they’re not all that smart. However, you are smart enough to know that there are better times of year to experiment with that self-cleaning feature, and here’s why. It’s handy, but it takes hours, heats up the room, might start to stink or smoke, and is an extra workout your oven doesn’t need right before holiday entertaining. Just scrape out any crusty junk from inside your cool, dry oven with the edge of a wooden or plastic spatula, and then move along with a normal cleaning using mildly abrasive sponges, vinegar and maybe a little baking soda.
Once it’s all clean and dry, test the temperature by placing an in-oven meat thermometer (the old-school ones designed to stay in a turkey while it cooks, not the new digital ones that you poke food with) to be sure your oven is cooking at the temperature it claims. If not, you might be in for a little fun with calibration, so consult your oven’s user manual, look online, or call a pro.
Clean and test your dishwasher
Yes, it’s true that some of us still have older machines. If you’re wondering how to clean plastic kitchen appliances, the basic answer is vinegar. It’s a miracle cleaning solution, and it works well both inside and out for your dishwasher. Place a cupful in the top rack and run a cycle. If all looks (and smells) nice and clean after this cycle, make a 50-50 solution with vinegar and water in a spray bottle and clean the outside. If not, look into changing the filter or having a professional look at your machine to be confident that your dishwasher will be ready for the holidays. And hold onto that spray bottle. It’s basically the best cleaning solution ever.
Clean and test your fridge
If you look around online, you’ll find differing opinions on the best way to clean stainless-steel kitchen appliances. We like to keep things simple. First, clear everything out, remove the shelves and clean them, and toss any junk. Then put everything back inside and clean the outside, either with your trusty 50-50 vinegar-water spray bottle or some fancy stainless-steel cleaning product. Make sure your fridge functions well, including the ice maker.
Clean and test your microwave
Even small kitchen appliances like your microwave deserve a little pre-holiday love. You definitely don’t want to gross out any guests who try to reheat something delightful but discover something disgusting. Use your standard cleaning spray solution here too, inside and out. If your microwave isn’t operating as it should, check the manual for testing or call a pro.
Prep your cookware
Take inventory of what you’ll need to cook based on your planned menu. Pull out everything and clean it. You know you haven’t used that turkey roasting pan for a while, and it’s probably dusty. Once you’re confident that all the essential tools are clean, go ahead and sharpen your knives, polish your flatware, and make sure your serving dishes and place settings are in satisfactory order. You might even consider making a schedule for cooking so each dish has adequate time and space based on your oven’s size and number of burners.
Try a practice run
No matter the size of your group, if you’re nervous about hosting and don’t mind buying the food twice, do a dry run. A week or two before your holiday gathering, prep and cook everything you plan to prepare and serve on the big day to work out the kinks. This way, you’ll learn more, have extra leftovers, and earn more confidence.
Allergies and restrictive diets
When hosting for the holidays, don’t forget that some of your guests might have allergies or don’t eat certain things. This doesn’t mean you have to deprive the rest of your guests, but you should offer some alternatives for those with restrictive diets.
If you serve filtered water, change your filter. Again, make sure the ice maker operates at full capacity and efficiency. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, whether with the meal or your appliances. If you think any of your most essential kitchen appliances aren’t going to make it past late November, look for some great Black Friday kitchen appliance deals.
Thanks for reading our post about making sure your kitchen appliances are ready for the holiday season. We hope it was helpful. While you’re at it, you might also enjoy our articles on fall home maintenance, experiencing Thanksgiving at a distance, and what makes an oven smoke.
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.