Must-Do Kitchen Maintenance (NewsUSA) - As cooler weather approaches, folks start preparing their home for the long winter months, when entertaining moves from the deck to the kitchen. As you clean your home, consider giving your appliances tune-ups to keep them running more efficiently. The home economists at Whirlpool Corporation offer several quick tips and tricks to prepare the kitchen for the holiday entertaining season: * Change the water filter. Be sure to change the refrigerator water filter every six months to keep water fresh and free of contaminants. * Use the dishwasher. According to ENERGY STAR, the U.S. government program that certifies energy-efficient appliances, washing dishes by hand uses much more water than using a dishwasher. Using an ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwasher instead of hand washing will save 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs and 230 hours of your time each year. * Stop pre-rinsing dishes. When you pre-rinse dishes, the detergent doesn't have any grease or grime to stick to. As a result, the detergent will attack dishes, making them appear cloudy, scratched or etched. * Get rid of dust bunnies. Use a slender vacuum attachment or hosiery wrapped around a yardstick to clear out dust and debris from behind and underneath the refrigerator. Dusting will help the fridge run more efficiently. * Switch to electric. Electric cooktops are about twice as energy-efficient as gas. Electric elements have high-efficiency insulation surrounding the element, and the close proximity to the pot or pan allows efficient heat transfer. * Do a clean sweep. Cleaning appliances on a regular basis can keep unwanted odors at bay, since it has the tendency to exist anywhere moisture is present in a closed environment. Dishwashers and garbage disposals fit the bill -- clean them every 30 days to prevent odors from leftover food particles and residue. To help make this chore a little easier, Whirlpool Corporation developed affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner, the only two-in-one product on the market that removes unwanted odors in dishwashers and garbage disposals. Recommended for monthly use, consumers simply drop the tablets into the dishwasher and disposal for a convenient and affordable solution to unpleasant odors. For additional information and product availability, please visit