Tips for cleaning appliances, tips for using appliances to clean: here are the best hacks we've tried.

Clean your blender without touching it

Fill your blender two-thirds full of warm water. Add two drops of washing-up liquid. Blend. Rinse well. Rinse again.

Make sure you don’t add more washing-up liquid unless you want a fun foam party on your counter.

(Okay, I lied. You still have to touch the blender to empty out the soapy water.)   

Defrost your fridge with a steam cleaner

If you have a steam cleaner with a nozzle attachment (ie not just a vacuum-cleaner style head for floor cleaning), you can use it to defrost your freezer. Here’s how.

First, be safe and unplug your freezer. Take out the food. This won't take long and you can put it back in afterwards. Don some rubber gloves. Place an old towel in front of the freezer. Set up your steam cleaner and run it over the built-up ice, being careful not to scald your hands or damage the freezer.

It’s a quick process and you’ll be able to take out chunks of ice as they’re dislodged. Make sure you don’t get the plug of your steam cleaner wet.

You can also use your steam cleaner to clear out and sanitise the inside of ice and water dispensers, which are notorious for harbouring gunk and bacteria.

It’ll also come in handy to clean the inside of your oven. Rub a paste of baking soda and water onto grime and leave it, ideally overnight. Blast it away with your steam cleaner the next morning.

Buff stainless-steel appliances with olive oil

Pour a small amount of olive oil onto a cloth. Rub it all over your fridge freezer (or other stainless-steel appliance) to clean it thoroughly. Then take a dry piece of kitchen roll and buff your appliance to a shine.

You can also buff appliances with flour and it works – but I don't think it's worth it unless you want to spend twice as long clearing up flour.

Use your hairdryer to remove water rings from a coffee table

This trick works on any wooden surface, although I tried it on unvarnished wood. Put the hairdryer on a medium heat and hold it a couple of inches away from the water mark. To get rid of a stubborn ring, it may take you 15 minutes.

Let's be clear. That's a long time to listen to a hairdryer and stare at a fading water mark. However, when it disappears, you'll feel like a magician. 

Afterwards, rub the area with a little olive oil on a piece of kitchen roll.

Clean your shower head with a plastic bag and some vinegar

People say to remove your shower head before you do this but – hey, who has time for that? It works just as well on a fixed shower head. After you’ve showered, fill a plastic bag (like a Ziploc or freezer bag) with white vinegar. Tape it or use a rubber band to secure it over your shower head. Leave it on overnight. Remove the bag the next morning and give the nozzles a quick scrub with a stiff brush, then enjoy the shower.

Clean your microwave with a bowl of water and lemon slices

This works really well and makes everything smell nice and lemony. I’m not made of lemons, so I tend to do it when I have half a lemon going to waste in the fridge or when I’ve already used a squeeze of lemon and would otherwise chuck out the rest of it.

Fill a bowl with warm water and add whatever lemon you have. Put it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. To be clear, you want it to boil. Then don’t open the door but leave it to stand in the microwave for another 5 minutes. During this time, the microwave will steam up. The inside will be coated in warm, lemony water.

Take the bowl out and dip a piece of kitchen roll or a cloth into the water (be careful – it’ll be hot) and wipe down the inside of your microwave. Unless you’ve just exploded a curry in there, it should wipe clean instantly.

Clean your TV with a coffee filter

Never clean your TV with anything damp. A dry (unused!) coffee filter is ideal for removing dust and fluff but make sure you don’t touch the surface of the TV with your fingers as the oily marks left behind will annoy you every time you’re watching a scene set at night.

Clean your waste grinder/ garbage disposal with citrus peel

If there’s an evil smell coming from your waste grinder, try this. Use the ol’ baking soda and white vinegar trick to dislodge any muck in your grinder. (You might as well do your other plug at the same time, if you have a double sink.) Give it a good rinse out. Then drop in a handful of ice cubes and citrus peel and grind them up.  

Make a vinegar brew to clean your coffee machine

Coffee machines can get clogged with limescale and can also be a good breeding ground for bacteria. You should clean your machine every month. The exterior can be wiped down and all removable parts hand-washed but here’s how to clean the interior.

Fill the water reservoir with a 50-50 mix of water and white vinegar. Depending on what kind of machine you have, either brew a pot of hot, delicious vinegar water or several cups. Let the machine sit between each brew so that the vinegar has a chance to break down limescale and kill bacteria throughout the machine.

Repeat the process using only water to rinse out the machine.

You can also use vinegar to descale your kettle. Pour some white vinegar into your kettle last thing at night and let it sit until morning. Rinse it out (well!) before using it.

Leave a note to yourself so you don’t forget, wake up and accidentally brew yourself the worst morning coffee ever.

Incidentally, to protect your kettle and coffee maker, you should really use filtered water in them – especially if you live in a hard water area.

Clean your coffee grinder with rice

If your coffee grinder is coated in oils from coffee beans, it’ll be less effective and after a while, it may begin to smell. Urgh. Here’s how to clean it. Add as much dry rice as you ordinarily would coffee. Grind the rice until it’s fine. Empty it and you should see white powder stuck to the blades. Wipe it away with a cloth and the oils should come away with it. Dry rice has very little taste or smell, so it won’t affect the taste of your next cup of coffee.

Disinfect sponges in the microwave

This is especially good if your sponge has taken on a bit of an odour. Saturate your sponge with water, stand it on a plate and put it in the microwave on high for one minute.

Do not touch the very hot sponge when it comes out. If you do, use the appropriate swear words to express yourself while you run your fingers under a cold tap.