Large Kitchen Appliance Problems Solved

Stove won’t light? Dishes still dirty after running the dishwasher?

These are a few common problems of larger kitchen appliances that can be fixed without a costly repair call. These and other problems/solutions are discussed below and as you read, you’ll find the answers so simple that you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t think of them in the first place.

Common Large Appliance Problems Solved

garbage disposer

GARBAGE DISPOSER: Did your in-sink disposer just stop working?

A garbage disposer can get jammed and thus stop turning. There’s a funky little tool that you’ve probably got stored under your sink that looks like an “L”. Get down on the floor and look under the bottom of the disposer to find a hole that’s a perfect fit for that tool – simply insert and turn!


REFRIGERATOR: Is your gasket keeping a tight seal around the door?

You’re wasting money if you’re not keeping the gasket clean around the door of the refrigerator. It can quickly get gunked up with spilled liquids and bits of food. This compromises the airtight seal and allows cold air to escape – which means your electric bill will increase accordingly and your foods may not be kept as cold as they safely should. So, use soap & water to clean the gasket every time you clean the inside of your fridge. And, if you see any wharping, cracks or tears in the gasket then be sure to order a new one. The gasket is easy to remove and replace, just pull it off and then pop the new one in.

Another common problem with a refrigerator is that the vent grates can become clogged with dust and pet hair. With the extension tool on your vacuum, simply vacuum out this vent usually located in the back of the fridge.


DISHWASHER: Do your top rack glasses and cups come out less than desirable or even full of chunks?

This is most likely a user error! The water spray arm is located under the bottom rack on most dishwashers. If you are putting large bowls, pots or pans on the bottom rack and thus covering this spray arm then the water is being diverted before it can ever reach the top rack! This one is easy to fix, put your bowls and larger items on the top rack if possible (if not possible, then try to stick them in the corner on the bottom or wash them by hand). Check your appliance manual for more specific loading instructions.

The spray arm located on the bottom of the dishwasher can also get full of debris and clog the holes where the water needs to spray out. A toothpick can usually break up and remove these chunks from the sprayer holes. You will probably want to unscrew the large plastic piece that holds the sprayer arm down first so that you can tip the piece over and shake out any remaining debris.


OVEN: This is just a warning.

Many newer model ovens have problems with adding a lining of aluminum foil (because it sticks to the interior of the oven) and/or the use of spray oven cleaners (because it ruins the porcelain finish). Doing either of these two things could void your warranty, so beware and read the owners manual before using a new oven.


STOVE: On a gas stove, is the igniter failing to light the burner?

Check the connection line, it may have slipped off or may be clogged from spills that occur from messy cooks and overflowing pots. You can either place the small connector back onto the burner (older model stoves) or carefully clean the igniter opening with a dry rag or an old clean toothbrush (a fingernail or toothpick can also do the trick in a pinch).

Additional Information

For problems with smaller kitchen appliances, see our smaller appliance post.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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