How To Clean Your Refrigerator Effectively

How To Clean Your Refrigerator Effectively Leave a comment

Keeping your refrigerator clean is an important part of maintaining a healthy and organized kitchen.

A dirty fridge can lead to food spoilage, bad odors, and potential health hazards from mold and bacteria growth.

Follow this step-by-step guide for tips on how to deep clean your refrigerator from top to bottom.

Supplies You’ll Need

Before getting started, gather the following cleaning supplies:

  • Mild dish soap or all-purpose cleaner
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Clean sponges and microfiber cloths
  • Old toothbrush or other small brush
  • Vacuum with hose attachment
  • Trash bags

Clear Out Perishable Food Items

The first step is to remove everything from the fridge and freezer so you can access all areas that need cleaning.

  • Check expiration dates and discard any spoiled, old or moldy food items.
  • Donate any still-good items you won’t use.
  • Find temporary storage like coolers for perishable items that need refrigeration.

With everything removed, you can now start cleaning the interior.

Wash Shelves, Drawers and Bins

Wash removable parts with warm water and mild soap using a sponge or microfiber cloth. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Shelves: Let sit in warm, soapy water to loosen dirt. Scrub and rinse.
  • Drawers: Handwash or place in dishwasher if removable.
  • Bins: Same process as shelves. Soak sticky residue before scrubbing.
  • Glass shelves: Use a microfiber cloth to gently clean. Avoid abrasives.
  • Produce bins: Use hot water and soap. Replace if worn/cracked.

Set aside to dry before replacing in fridge.

Clean Interior Surfaces

Next, tackle inside surfaces using hot water, mild detergent and a sponge or soft brush:

  • Side walls: Let soap sit briefly to penetrate dirt before scrubbing.
  • Door liners: Use baking soda and water paste for stubborn stains.
  • Gaskets: Use old toothbrush and baking soda paste to remove mold. Rinse well.
  • Under shelves: Vacuum dust bunnies or use small brush to dislodge debris.

Sanitize and Disinfect

For an antibacterial cleaning solution, mix 1 cup hot water, 1 tbsp baking soda and 1 tsp white vinegar. Spray or wipe over all surfaces, let sit 5 minutes, then rinse and dry.

Pay special attention to frequently handled areas:

  • Door handles
  • Shelves and bins
  • Thermostat control panel
  • Crisper drawers

Clean Condenser Coils

For optimal efficiency, it’s important to clean dust and debris from refrigerator coils 2-3 times per year.

  • Unplug refrigerator first for safety.
  • Remove access panel on lower back of unit.
  • Use vacuum hose attachment to clean coils.
  • Replace panel when finished.

This prevents overheating and allows proper air circulation.

Replace Air Filter

Check your fridge owner’s manual to locate the air filter and see how often it needs replacement (typically every 6 months).

Follow instructions to remove old filter and insert a new one. This keeps your fridge operating efficiently.

Deep Clean Exterior

Spray down entire outside of fridge with hot water and detergent solution. Use a sponge or soft bristle brush for scrubbing:

  • Side and front exterior
  • Handles
  • Door surface
  • Top and back

Rinse and dry with a clean microfiber towel.

Clean Floor Under and Behind

  • Pull fridge out from wall.
  • Sweep/vacuum debris from underneath.
  • Wipe down sides and floor with soapy water.
  • Replace fridge against wall when done.

Optional Extras

For bonus deep cleaning, consider these additional steps:

  • Vacuum dust from compressor at back of fridge.
  • Shine stainless steel exterior with appliance polish.
  • Deodorize with activated charcoal fridge odor absorbers.
  • Place a dry erase weekly meal planner on the freezer door.

Remove Odors

Even after cleaning, odors may linger in your fridge. Try these DIY deodorizing methods:

  • Baking soda: Keep an open box or bowl inside to absorb odors. Replace monthly.
  • Activated charcoal: Use odor-absorbing charcoal packs.
  • Coffee grounds: Place grounds in an open bowl for natural odor reduction.
  • Vanilla extract: Dab a few drops on a cotton ball. Place in fridge.

Restock Fridge

Once the interior is fully dry, it’s time to reload the fridge!

  • Check temperatures: Confirm fridge temp is 35-40°F and freezer is 0-5°F.
  • Replace food items: Transfer refrigerated foods from coolers back to fridge.
  • Discard old containers: Replace stained/cracked storage containers.
  • Organize efficiently: Keep most used items at eye level. Group like items.
  • Inventory: Make a list of items to restock soon like milk, eggs, produce.

Maintain with Quick Daily Cleaning

Keep your fridge clean longer by following these quick daily habits:

  • Wipe up spills immediately
  • Remove expired items promptly
  • Discard old leftovers and condiments
  • Clean fingerprint smudges on stainless steel
  • Sweep out crumbs and dust
  • Take out trash frequently

With regular care and a periodic deep clean, your refrigerator will stay fresh and organized for optimal food storage!

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