How To Clean a Refrigerator: 5 Proven Methods

Register Appliance
March 14, 2023
Refrigerator Repair

Cleaning your refrigerator: Everything you need to know 

Although cleaning your refrigerator may not seem like one of the most exciting jobs in the house, it is certainly one of the most important. Refrigerators can harbor a range of bacteria that have the potential to make us sick, especially if spoiled food or raw meats are not dealt with correctly. 

Regularly cleaning your refrigerator helps to keep your fridge looking and smelling great, while ensuring food keeps longer. This will keep you and your family safe. 

5 proven methods to clean your refrigerator 

1. Interior deep clean 

Sometimes your refrigerator needs a bit of extra love. If you’ve been neglecting your fridge for a while (life gets hectic, we’re all guilty) you may have noticed a few odors creeping in. It’s easy for food to get split in the fridge, or for old condiments to get pushed to the back of the fridge only to be forgotten. If this is the case, it may be time for a deep clean. 

Start by removing all your food. While doing this, check the expiry date on food and throw out anything that has passed its best before date, or that will not be eaten before then. Once you’ve done this, remove any shelving units and draws that you can. Many shelves can slide or be lifted out. Smaller shelves can be washed in the dishwasher, whilst larger ones can be washed with soap and warm water in the sink and towel dried. 

Start by cleaning your refrigerator’s interior from top to bottom. This way, any grime will fall to the bottom and can be wiped away last. Start by giving the fridge a quick wipe down with a warm soapy cloth. This will loosen any food particles and remove most dirt. Then, it is time to spray your refrigerator’s interior with an antibacterial cleaning spray. This should be left for a minute to effectively kill off any bacteria. After this time the spray can be wiped away with a clean cloth. 

Once you have cleaned the refrigerator’s interior, and reassembled your draws and other components, it is a good idea to clean the refrigerator seals. Some refrigerators have removable seals. They can be peeled off and washed with soap and water in the sink, before being dried and fitted back on. Other refrigerator seals are not removable and can be wiped down with a wet cloth and dried with a dry cloth to avoid any mold or mildew. 

The food can now be put back in the refrigerator — making sure to keep the meats, dairy and vegetables in separate compartments to avoid any contamination. 

2. Natural cleaning 

If you are looking at incorporating natural living into your cleaning routine this is a great method to use. Once you have removed all your food from the refrigerator, fill an empty spray bottle with vinegar, or water with lemon juice. The acidity from both the vinegar and lemon juice will effectively clean and deodorize any spills that may have occurred in your refrigerator. 

Spray the inside of your refrigerator (removing any shelves that look particularly dirty to be cleaned separately), and let the solution sit for 1 minute. This will help lift any stubborn food remnants. The spray can then be wiped away with a damp cloth. 

If you’re looking to give your refrigerator an extra boost, or want to freshen it up, place a couple of tablespoons of (ground or whole) coffee beans in a small bowl and leave it at the back of your refrigerator. This will help alleviate any lingering smells and will leave your refrigerator smelling great. 

3. Organizing your refrigerator 

This may seem like an unnecessary step when it comes to cleaning your refrigerator, but it is far from one. Correctly organizing your refrigerator is important to keep track of food that is about to spoil and reduces the risk of any cross contamination. 

  • Keep meats and fish in the bottom shelf to avoid any leakage and potential food contamination. 
  • Place fresh fruit vegetables in the fresh produce drawer, this will keep them fresh for extended periods of time. 
  • Group dairy products and smaller items together near the front of the fridge, where you can easily see them all. 

This will help keep an eye out for any food that is about to spoil. Placing foods that spoil quickest at the front is a great way to keep an eye on these dates. 

4. Maintenance cleaning

The best way to avoid needing to give your refrigerator regular deep cleans is to build a habit of giving your refrigerator a quick clean as often as you can. Some parts of your fridge are more prone to grime build up than others. Giving these a quick wipe down with a damp cloth and spray is a great way to maintain the cleanliness of your fridge. 

Start in the produce drawn by removing any fruit or vegetables that are past their best use by date. Next, check between items for any spills and wipe these clean immediately. Once you’ve done that, and checked for any expired food, take out any meats that are in the bottom drawer and give this shelf a good wipe down. If there is any risk of contamination or harmful bacteria, it likely comes from here.  

5. Cleaning nooks and crannies 

When cleaning your fridge most things will be obvious to you — such as wiping down the shelves and removing any spilled food for example. However, many parts of the fridge get missed. Cleaning these parts of your fridge is a great method when it comes to keeping your kitchen space as clean and as safe as possible. These things include: 

  • Cleaning the outside of the refrigerator doors, remembering to thoroughly wipe down the handles. 
  • Moving your fridge to clean underneath the refrigerator, where food often gets pushed under and forgotten about. 
  • Cleaning the dust and other build up from above your fridge with a wet cloth.
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