Your kitchen is a hub of activity throughout the year, but this is particularly true during the holiday season. If you plan on hosting a holiday gathering, you’ll definitely want to get the most out of your premium kitchen appliances, and there are plenty of small tips and tricks you can employ to ensure your kitchen runs smoothly.

To help, we’ve compiled some suggestions for kitchen appliance use this holiday season.

1. Do Not Self-Clean Your Oven Before Holiday Cooking

The self-cleaning feature on your oven is intended to make cleaning easy, but if used right before you begin cooking for the holidays, it could cause a major disaster.

Many homeowners do not use their oven’s self-clean option frequently, and if you use this feature right before a big event, you risk causing an oven malfunction that can seriously damage your appliance. If your oven’s self-cleaning feature isn’t used at least every six months, you run the risk of damaging the appliance when it is activated.

You should also avoid using chemical oven cleaners right before holiday cooking. These products can be effective, though they often leave a layer of chemical residue that needs to be burned off before heavy oven use. This residue can be cooked into your holiday dishes, creating a foul taste while providing a health risk to your holiday guests.

 2. Use Your Oven’s Convection Settings

Many homeowners have a convection oven, though they are unsure of how to properly use its convection setting. Your unit’s convection option helps it cook food faster and more evenly, and is generally better for browning dishes — making it a great choice for a host of holiday favorites.

If you want to take advantage of this feature, be sure to reference your appliance’s owner’s manual for instructions. In general, you should try to follow these basic rules on how to use a convection oven:

  • Lower the recommended cooking temperature by 25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, or cut the baking time by 25 percent.
  • For small pastries, reduce the cooking time by 10 to 15 percent
  • For large roasts, reduce the cooking time by approximately 30 percent

3. Do Not Overwork Your Dishwasher

Once your holiday feast is done, it’s time for the dishwasher to do its job. However, you don’t want to risk ineffective wash cycles by overworking your appliance.

When washing dishes post-holiday dinner, be sure to use the proper amount of soap for each cycle. Too much soap will fill your machine with excess suds, making your cycles less effective. You should also be sure to scrape off all food residue from plates, bowls and silverware, as excess food particles can clog your unit’s jet streams. You should also be sure not to over-rinse dishes, as enzymes in dishwasher detergent require the presence of food residue in order to activate and be effective.

 4. Empty Your Ice Maker Before Gatherings

Nothing ruins a delicious drink like dirty ice, and you’ll definitely want to supply your holiday party with a steady stream of fresh and clean ice. If you notice that your ice maker produces chalky or smelly ice, you’ll have to take action to ensure your guest receive what they deserve.

As air moves throughout your refrigerator and freezer, the unit’s ice maker can become polluted by the flavors of food stored in the appliance. This often results in chalky, smelly and odd tasting ice. To prevent such impurities, you should first empty out your entire ice compartment and allow it to refill with fresh ice. Once the compartment if full, empty the fresh ice into a plastic bag and store it on your freezer shelf. The bag will protect your ice from air that circulates in the unit. You can feel free to continue this process until you have enough ice for your holiday party.

Meet Your Home Appliance Needs This Holiday Season

Your kitchen needs to work at peak efficiency during the holiday season, meeting your cooking and cleaning needs at each and every turn. Armed with a deeper understanding of how your kitchen appliances operate, you’ll be in the perfect position to have a memorable holiday season.

If you notice any issues with your home appliances, the holiday season is also a great time to upgrade to more modern options. You can browse this online collection of cooking appliances to explore your choices, or contact a home appliance expert for further details.