Read The Manual:
The truth is that a manual can save you a lot of grief. Read it thoroughly so that you know where all the components of your appliance are at, and any specific maintenance instructions. A warranty on an item can be voided if it is used or cared for improperly. Take a minute and read the manual. Then file it away somewhere in case it is needed.
Start With Mild Cleaning:
For appliances, you'll want to start with the mildest form of cleaning possible, before moving to tougher cleaning methods, and then, only if needed. For most small appliances, warm water, or warm water and mild dishsoap are sufficient to clean even the biggest messes.
Always Unplug When Cleaning:
For safety, always unplug the appliance when you are cleaning it. I once forgot to unplug a hand mixer before I began wiping it down. My hand accidentally pushed the on button, and before I knew it, my fingers were caught in the rotating beaters. I was lucky to end up with only bad bruising. I've never made the same mistake with an appliance again.
Never Immerse Electrical Components:
For most appliances, wiping down the electrical portion of the appliance is the closest they should ever get to water. Not only can immersing an electrical appliance in water, ruin it forever it can also create a risk of electrocution. Even though it takes a tiny bit more time, wipe downs are the only way to clean these small appliances.
Check Electrical Cords:
No matter what type of appliance you own, you must check electrical cords for damage. It's a good idea to wipe down electrical cords when you clean the appliance, to prevent buildups of dirt and grease. This is a good time to inspect and make sure the cords don't have any damage. Damaged cords can lead to electrocution, and accidents.