How To Clean A Refrigerator [With Video]

In an effort to keep yourself and your family safe, it is important that we regularly clean the refrigerator. This will help it to function efficiently and keep the food fresh and safe from proliferation of harmful bacteria. This article explains how to clean a refrigerator and keep it functioning optimally.

cleaning a fridge
cleaning a dirty fridge like this one requires these effective steps on how to clean a refrigerator

Upon looking at the spilled beverages, milk and molds growing on the shelves of our refrigerator, it is common for us to get discouraged and think cleaning “that stuff” out of the refrigerator is going to take us ages. So we leave expired condiments and remnants of old produce to pile up in the refrigerator, molds to grow and Mal-odors to intensify in the fridge. However, cleaning a refrigerator will only take you a few minutes of your time. You do not have to clean the appliance every day, however, maintaining and following a specified cleaning schedule will ensure that you have a safe and clean environment inside your refrigerator. Just follow this guide on how to clean a refrigerator. These steps will work for you whether you are cleaning a mini fridge or a French-door refrigerator. You can also check out our review for the 5 best mini fridge and for the best 5 refrigerators on sale today.

Refrigerator Cleaning Material You Will Need.

A good quality non-abrasive sponge
Multipurpose cleaning spray
commercial wipes
Microfibre cleaning cloths
Normal dishwashing soap
Special stainless steel cleaner spray (Optional)
Stainless steel wipes (Optional).
• Dish towels
• Paper towels
• An old toothbrush (optional)

Steps to cleaning a refrigerator.

1. Unplug the fridge: If the shelves of the refrigerator are not removable and you will need to scrub them, then you must unplug the fridge before you embark on cleaning. Unplugging the fridge helps to minimize energy wastage while you clean your fridge. But if the shelves are removable and you will remove them during cleaning (see step 4 below) and you are particularly concerned about closing the door between steps, you may leave the refrigerator plugged in.

2. Completely empty the refrigerator by taking out everything. You may be tempted to clean the shelves by just shifting the tins, bottles or food inside the refrigerator. However, taking everything out before you clean will help you to effectively assess the extent of the dirtiness and damage inside the fridge. So remove all the food and place it on the kitchen island or any available table or countertop in the kitchen. This way, you can also see which foods are expired and which are old and need to be discarded.

clean refrigerator

3. Safely discard any expired, moldy and aged items that you have removed from the fridge. Sort through the items you have placed in the table. Identify any aged/ expired foods and ones which have grown molds. At this stage, you can also identify foods which look normal but have bad odors. Then securely discard these items in their respective trash/garbage/waste bags. Then safely dispose of these garbage bags through the proper channels.

4. Remove any removable accessories inside the refrigerator. These will include shelving, grill, drawers and others. Place them near the sink where you will easily clean them. Removing these helps you to clean them effectively without having to stick your head into the inside of the refrigerator.

cleaning a fridge
Photo © Youngthousands via flickr under creative commons License

5. Clean all the removed accessories using your hands. If you are able to wash some in the dishwasher, you can do so. If not, then you will have to use your hands. By now, they should have already been placed near the sink.
Fill the sink or a basin with warm water and regular dish washing soap and then soak these parts in that solution for a few minutes before wiping and rinsing. The wiping can be done using commercial wipes microfibre cleaning cloths or good quality cleaning sponge which will not leave particles on the shelves or inside the fridge.

• If there is any cold glass shelve, do not wash it in warm water as the sudden temperature changes will break the glass. For these, use cold water or leave it until it reaches room temperature and then you can use the warn water and soap solution.

• For heavy-duty stains, molds and other spills, these will succumb to the power of either ammonia or baking soda. If you use ammonia for this, dilute a little bit of ammonia in hot water (1:5 ratio) and let the item(s) soak before scrubbing. If you chose to use baking soda, mix a little amount with a little water to produce a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain and leave for an hour before wiping with any of your chosen cleaning materials above (commercial wipes, cleaning sponge or microfiber cleaning cloths). The ammonia or baking soda will loosen the stain, making it easy to wipe away.
After you have cleaned them all, leave them to dry on completely before you insert them back into the refrigerator. Do not put them back when they are still dripping with water.

6. Thoroughly clean the inside of the fridge.
Yes, this is where you may need to stick your head inside the fridge to effectively clean away all the stains and mold build up inside. Use a non-abrasive sponge or clean cloth soaked in cleaning solution to attack and remove the sticky, caked-on spills.
It is recommended to use natural cleaning products to clean inside the refrigerator, instead of using soap or a chemical cleaner. So do not use soap or synthetic chemicals for this step as food will absorb the smell. Recommended natural cleaners include.
• 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart hot water
• 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts hot water
A dab of white toothpaste can be used for very stubborn stains. The toothpaste serves as an abrasive cleanser and it will not smell offensively.

You can also use your normal kitchen dish washing liquid with some warm water to clean the insides of your refrigerator.
Also make sure to clean the inside of the fridge doors. A sponge will work here. You can also use an old toothbrush for getting into crevices.

7. Clean the refrigerator gasket: cleaning the gaskets help to protect them from cracking, drying, and mildew thus the refrigerator doors can seal better.
When you search for “how to clean a refrigerator gasket”, some people suggest that you use bleach to clean the gaskets, but this is wrong. do not use bleach, diluted or undiluted, as it breaks down the rubber. Instead, use a dissolved solution of ½ water and ½ vinegar. After you have cleaned the gasket, let it dry or you can pat it to dry. Finally, apply lemon oil, mineral oil, or a very thin coat of Vaseline on the gasket. This keeps the rubber supple and improves the seal.

8. Re-introduce the food back into the refrigerator: Before you put back the tins, jars or any other food container material, wipe their surfaces clean using towel, cloth or tissues. Also confirm the expiration dates on all the items. Then place everything back ensuring they are in the correct temperature zones of the fridge to keep the food safe. Close the refrigerator doors.

9. Plug the fridge back into the power supply: If during step one you unplugged the fridge, don’t forget to plug it back into the power source. This is very important because if you leave it un-plugged, with the food inside, the perishable food will start spoiling in a few hours and you may get bad odors.

10. Clean the exterior of the refrigerator: Wipe down the exterior surfaces. These will include the front, back, sides, and top of your fridge. You can spray the surfaces with a Multipurpose cleaning spray and clean with sponge, cloth or wipes. Or you can clean the surfaces with a damp cloth that’s been soaked in clean, soapy water. For stainless steel surfaces, you may use a special stainless steel cleaner spray and stainless steel wipes. Dry immediately with a paper towel, dish towel, or microfiber cloth. To prevent streaking of the surfaces, the drying should be done in the direction of the grain.

That wasn’t hard. right?. This is the easiest how to clean a refrigerator guide . Normally I follow through the above steps in just 20-30 minutes. I am sure you can even do better than me. so get busy and start to clean your refrigerator today.

1. Video of How To Clean a Refrigerator

2. Check out more videos on how to clean a refrigerator on youtube
Sources and Citations
4. Youtube videos on how to clean a refrigerator

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