‘Tis the season for houseguests – and whether they’re invited or unexpected, it’s like you will be getting your linens ready, pulling out the fine dinnerware and prepping the home for the holidays. And part of that routine should include ensuring that home appliances are in tip-top shape by cleaning them and implementing a regular maintenance routine.

“A regular maintenance routine is important for all appliances. Much like your car needs a tune-up, your appliances need—and benefit from—regular care, particularly your washing machine and dryer,” said Tremitchell Wright, consumer scientist and engineer, Whirlpool Institute of Home Science. “Some washer models have a ‘Clean Washer’ cycle, which enables consumers to clean the inside surfaces of their machine to reduce the potential for build-up of odor-causing residue, when used along with other Use and Care Guide instructions, and a washing machine cleaning product like affresh® washer cleaner tablets. Washers that do not include a ‘Clean Washer’ cycle can be maintained by running a cycle with hot water and a washing machine cleaning product. Your appliances should have instructions on how best to maintain your specific models in the Use and Care Guide.”

To help you prepare for guests and the holiday season, Wright and the other IHS experts suggest the following:

  • Before the rush of the holidays begins, run a ‘Clean Washer’ cycle in your washing machine, using the affresh® washer cleaner tablet and following the instructions on the package.
  • When taking blankets, sheets or towels out of storage or a linen closet, remember they can be refreshed by placing them in the dryer and tumbling them for a few minutes on the air dry setting. If you have a dryer with steam, a refresh cycle can be used.
  • Throughout the holiday season, guests can drop by at a moment’s notice. Keep your home in top-shape by designating areas for sorting, ironing, folding and stain removal, rather than having the laundry process occur all over your home.
  • Whether it’s cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie or gravy, some item from the holiday meal will make a lasting impression on your shirt, table cloth or carpet. Post a stain cheat sheet in your laundry room, using the removal guidelines from our Stain Assist tool. Keep common stain-fighting products handy, such as hairspray, baking soda and bleach pens.

“Most people check dusting, vacuuming and wiping down counters off their list when cleaning on a regular basis, but forget about cleaning the interior of their kitchen appliances—especially inside their disposal and dishwasher,” said Michael Colston, cleaning and home appliance maintenance expert, Institute of Kitchen Science. “A monthly maintenance routine for disposals and dishwashers is important to help remove stuck-on particles and mineral build-up that can occur in places like hoses, pumps and grinding mechanisms. Using a product such as the affresh® disposal and dishwasher cleaner helps remove odor caused by calcium deposits, which can occur more often with phosphate-free dishwasher detergents.”

Colston and the other IHS experts offer the following tips to keep cleaning during the holiday season simple:

  • Before the holidays begin, use the affresh® disposal and dishwasher cleaner and follow the how-to instructions on the packaging.
  • Remember to take advantage of the Rinse cycle on your dishwasher to refresh your holiday dishes if they have been pulled out of storage and have not been used since the prior year.
  • Keep your dishwasher filled with rinse aid as it not only helps keep your dishes spot free, but it also helps improve drying. By using rinse aid, it helps you save time when not having to rewash or do extra hand-drying of your holiday dishware.
  • It is OK to run the dishwasher without it being completely filled. Running partial loads helps you maintain a clean kitchen while doing your holiday preparation, uses less water than hand washing and saves you personal time when you could be doing other activities.

You can find affresh® products at national home appliance retailers and supermarkets as well as Target and Wal-Mart. For more information, please visit the Affresh® website.