Even if nothing actually blew up, the appliance has a habit of eventually looking kind of grimy. Again, you can harness the power of H2O, by heating up water to help loosen the gunk. Good Housekeeping suggests placing a cup of water (in a microwavesafe bowl or measuring cup, please, or you’ll have a whole different kind of mess) in the microwave along with some chopped citrus or a few tablespoons of vinegar and heating it for several minutes until the water boils or things look steamy. Give everything 15 minutes to cool. Then wipe down the inside of the microwave with a sponge, cloth or paper towel.
Toaster oven: This is perhaps the appliance we all promise ourselves to clean as we go and never do. But, yes, your toaster oven needs to be cleaned sometimes. For a messy rack, use the same strategy as the wire rack, above. While removing and cleaning the crumb tray is always a good idea, you can use a pastry brush or even a baster to remove smaller amounts of debris. For typical wear and tear, soap and water is fine for spiffing up the rack, baking tray and crumb tray (soak longer if you need to). To clean the inside of the oven, Consumer Reports recommends a mix of warm water, dish soap and vinegar applied to a sponge, avoiding the heating elements.
Pans/skillets: A lot of everyday cleaning can be accomplished with soap, water and a sponge. But then you burn some caramel in your saucepan, and all bets are off. Water to the rescue, again. If you’ve got time and space, let caked-on food melt away with a good long soak in the sink. Otherwise, setting the pan back on the stove top and boiling water in it can work wonders much faster. Finish things off with a regular soap-and-water clean. Because of the seasoning and possibility of rust, cast-iron skillets require a bit more care in cleaning. For extra scrubbing power, pour a generous amount of kosher salt in and use its abrasive power to dislodge stubborn bits. You can also mix the salt with water to form a paste. Just be sure to dry the skillet quickly and completely once you’re done.