Appliance Tips to Maximize Your Kitchen

Carla Warner visited KARE 11 News@4 to share some tips for making the most of your most-used kitchen appliances.

In case you missed us, here are those tips:

Microwave Tips

Rena Sarigianopoulos of KARE and Carla Warner of Warner Stellian chat about how to help your appliances help you.

1. To get rid of that popcorn smell or other odors, squeeze a lemon into a bowl of water and boil it in the microwave it for several minutes. Allow the bowl to cool before opening the microwave door and then wipe down the interior with a soft cloth.

2. Take advantage of different power levels. Most people only cook using 100% of the microwave’s power and just nuke everything. But you can effectively use your microwave to soften and melt gently, too. To quickly soften butter, cook 1 stick for 1 minute on 10% power level.

Refrigerator Tips

1. A small amount of condensation on the fridge or freezer is normal, especially during humid weather and summer vacation. If you see more condensation than normal, check the seal (or gasket) for any obstructions and clear them. If there aren’t any, try moistening the gasket with Vaseline by rubbing a thin layer on the seal where it meets the cabinet of the fridge. This should create a stronger, air-tight seal.

2. Use refrigerator space wisely. Brands might create the perfect space for gallon-jug storage on your refrigerator door, but consider how quickly you will use highly perishable foods (like milk) before storing them here. Why? Consider the temperature fluctuations of this region of the refrigerator. Accordingly, produce like broccoli, asparagus and apples benefit from colder temperatures located near the rear, while corn and berries — for example — benefit from the warmest spot in the refrigerator, so choose those for the front. (Alternatively, fresh herbs like basil thrive in slightly warmer-than-fridge temperatures, so I keep mine in the door!)

3. Use your crisper. Those clear drawers in your fridge aren’t just for convenience. Many models allow you adjust the humidity of your crisper drawers to suit their contents. Consult your use & care manual for specifics on your model, but in general, separate your fruits from vegetables and set humidity to high for green, leafy vegetables and low for fruits and vegetables with skins. Meats should be colder – often just above freezing – so keep them in your deli drawer, which is usually designed to stay colder.

Range Tips

1. Keep your burner caps and drip pans clean. Maintaining a tidy cook surface isn’t just about impressing company. Dirty surfaces don’t reflect heat as well as polished surfaces, thus wasting energy and potentially your time. We sell range top cleaner made specifically for cooking surfaces that will help you keep your range or cooktop looking – and cooking – well.

2. Match pots and pans to the size of your burners. Unless you’re using an induction cooktop or range, you’re heating a lot of air while you try to heat your food. For instance, induction cooking – which only heats the cooking vessel and not the air – is 20% more efficient than electric and 70% more efficient than gas. To lessen energy loss, choose the appropriate-sized pot or pan for the size of burner you’re cooking on (i.e. don’t put a 1-qt saucepan on a ginormous “power burner”).

3. Cover your pots while boiling water. When you think about it, it makes no sense to boil water in an uncovered pot. Using a cover helps water boil faster while creating pressure and preventing evaporation.

What are your best appliance tips and tricks? Share them in the comments section below!

How To Clean a Grill and Prepare it for Spring

Along with shorts and mosquitoes, grilling season is coming in hot! Follow these tuneup tips to make sure your gas grill or charcoal grill is barbecue-ready.

Clean the Grill

Clean the interior using a putty knife to scrape off burnt-on food particles inside your grill. This isn’t just aesthetic. Build-up prevents your grill from heating correctly.

To clean your grates, Weber Grill suggests putting them in a dark-colored plastic bag with a cup of ammonia into the bag. After a day in the sun, residue should easily hose off.

If you have a grease drain, make sure it’s unclogged by running a coat hanger down it. Just keep your hands away from the grease bucket, because the grease will drain out fast and could burn you.

Season the Grill

Use nonstick cooking spray to oil the grates, drip pans and inside of the grill. This helps keep food from sticking to the surfaces and speeds cleaning. Light the grill and let it burn empty with the lid closed for 30 minutes to burn off the preservatives.

Level the Grill

Level the grill. If one side of your grill burns burgers while the other leaves them raw, it’s probably not level. Check both side-to-side and front-to-back to ensure even heating.

Check Grill for Leaks

Check for leaks by inspecting connections for tightness and hoses for cracks. Another good way to scope out leaks is by brushing non-ammonia soapy water around the fitting with an old toothbrush. Turn the gas on and watch for bubbles.

And if you need a new grill for spring, visit Warners’ Stellian.

How To Check Your Dryer for Lint Buildup

If your dryer’s not drying, troubleshoot your vent before calling for dryer service. Especially if you’re running your dryer twice to get clothes dry.

If your dryer’s vent system is clogged, moist air won’t exhaust as well and it will take longer for your clothes to dry.

Is There Dryer Lint Buildup?

Follow these steps to check for dryer lint buildup.

  1. Run your dryer for at least 5 minutes
  2. Find your exhaust hood on the exterior of your home. It will look like one of these


Use your hand to feel for air movement. If it’s less than a hair dryer on high speed, clean the lint from the entire length of the system and exhaust hood. This should be done about every two years anyway.

Ready for a new dryer? Shop here.

How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

If you’ve ever owned them, you know: Stainless steel appliances can carry more fingerprints than an episode of “CSI,” especially if you have kids. And the sleek, shiny finish gets pretty streaky, making you wonder how to clean stainless steel.

How To Clean Stainless Steel

Cleaning stainless steel appliances is not like cleaning other surfaces, because it’s easy to leave behind streaks from the actual cleaning process itself.

We sell a really good cleaner for stainless steel appliances called Affresh, which we use in all of our retail locations. If you think your kitchen is bad, imagine how much our appliances get touched!

But sometimes company is coming over and you don’t have time to run to the store. Try baby oil. Apply with an old towel or rag in small doses so you don’t end up with a greasy refrigerator. Wipe with the grain for the shiniest finish.

Stainless Steel Finish Options

If you’re looking for a maintenance-free option, some manufacturers make smudge-proof and fingerprint-resistant stainless steel finishes, such as Frigidaire, Whirlpool and Maytag. As a bonus, some of these premium finish options are even scratch-resistant.

What stainless steel cleaning tips do you have? Share them in the comments.

How To Defrost a Freezer

Most refrigerator-freezers and many standalone freezers feature automatic defrost, but for long-term food storage, manual defrost freezers can be the best option.

So when the ice crystals lining the walls of your manual defrost freezer stacks a quarter to a half-inch, it’s time to defrost.

Don’t lose your cool. It’s easier than you think, using these 10 steps adapted from Frigidaire.

Freezer Defrosting Instructions

1. Unplug your freezer. This keeps you from being electrocuted.

2. Open the freezer door and keep it open throughout the process.

3. Remove food into a cooler

4. On upright freezers with a defrost drain, remove the drain plug on the inside floor of the freezer by pulling straight out. To access external drain tube on models with a base panel, first remove the two screws from the base panel. Locate the drain tube near the left center under the freezer. Place a shallow pan under the drain tube. Defrost water will drain out. Check pan occasionally so water does not overflow.

A half-inch garden hose adapter can be used to drain the freezer directly into a floor drain. If your model is not equipped with an adapter, one can be purchased at most hardware stores. Replace the drain plug when defrosting and cleaning are completed. If the drain is left open, warm air may enter freezer.

5. On chest freezers with a defrost drain, place a shallow pan or the Divider/Drain Pan beneath the drain outlet. Pull out the drain plug inside the freezer, and pull off the outside defrost drain plug. Defrost water will drain out. Check pan occasionally so water does not overflow. Replace the drain plugs when defrosting is completed.

If you don’t have a defrost drain, line the freezer bottom with towels to catch
the frost. The frost will loosen and fall. Remove towels and/or newspapers.

6. If the frost is soft, remove it by using a plastic scraper.

7. If the frost is hard, fill deep pans with hot water and place them on the freezer bottom. Close the freezer door. Frost should soften in about 15 minutes, after which you can refer to No. 6. Repeat if necessary.

8. After defrosting, wash inside surfaces and removable parts of the freezer with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda in one quart warm water. Rinse and dry. Wring excess water out of the sponge or cloth when cleaning in the area of the controls, or any electrical parts. Never use metallic scouring pads, brushes, abrasive cleaners, nor alkaline solutions on any surface.

9. Replace drain plug and food.

10. Close freezer door.