How to Clean Your Refrigerator

Messy fridge? We can help. Use these steps to simplify cleaning your refrigerator

Your step-by-step guide to cleaning your fridge

Refrigerators are where we store most of our food, and where we expect it to gain a longer shelf life. That being said, shouldn’t your refrigerator be a top priority when it comes to cleaning? We sure hope so.

While refrigerators may not receive as much wear and tear as other areas of the home, they do see their fair share of spills. After all, food can be messy, and refrigerators are the home of all that sticks, stains, and congeals.

So how does one keep a refrigerator in tip-top shape when it comes to cleaning? As it turns out, there are a handful of ways that you can make sure your refrigerator is hygenic and germ-free no matter how much you store inside of it. After all, don't you want your fridge to look and work like new, for years to come?

Empty Out Your Fridge Before You Clean It

It may seem obvious, but the first step in doing a full scrub-down of your refrigerator is emptying it of all its food and beverages. You’ll want to do this for a few reasons. The first reason is that you’ll be able to do a deeper clean with no items obstructing your way. The second, less obvious, reason is that you don’t want to contaminate any of your food items with cleaning products. Even if you’re using organic, non-toxic cleaners, it’s still a good idea to remove your food and beverages before you start scrubbing. 

In clearing out your fridge you can also do a quick sweep of expired products, making sure that nothing old and moldy ends up hiding on a back shelf long after it has hit its use-by date.

Don’t Forget About the Shelves and Drawers

Along with removing food and beverages from your fridge, you’ll also want to take out all the removable parts of your fridge, including shelves and drawers. In doing this, you’ll be able to get a better, deeper clean of your entire refrigerator.

Additionally, because the shelves and drawers can be removed, you can soak these pieces in a tub of warm, soapy water to help remove any sticky messes liked spilled salad dressing or sugary beverages.

Choose a Safe Cleaning Product

Because you’re dealing with an appliance that houses items you will later ingest, you want to be careful about the kind of cleaning products you’re using within the fridge.

Always start off by simply using a wet sponge to do an initial wipedown of the inside of your fridge. From there, dish soap is usually a safe solution to help sterilize the space and get rid of any harmful germs. You can also use store-bought cleaners, but it’s best to stay away from anything toxic or made with chemicals. Instead, search for a natural product that doesn't contain any harmful ingredients.

Go Homemade If You Prefer

If you want to avoid all sorts of store-bought cleaning products and dish soaps, there are a few simple ingredients that can work to help clean out your fridge: baking soda and vinegar. Two tablespoons of baking soda can be mixed with a quart of warm water to create a safe cleaning solution for your fridge. Alternatively, you can use equal parts white vinegar and warm water to make a cleaning solution.

Be Sure to Clean the Shelf Seams

Make sure you don’t forget to clean the shelf seams before you return items to your fridge. Refrigerator seams easily collect grime because of their rubber material, and they aren’t the easiest shape to clean. Fortunately, an old toothbrush can do a lot to help remove dirt and crusted beverages from this part of the door.

Simply apply your cleaning solution to the toothbrush and give the shelf seams a good scrub before rinsing them off with a warm, wet rag.

Use Baking Soda to Reduce Unpleasant Smells

Ever wonder why your fridge smells? Food particles are actually released by the items in your fridge and they float around, eventually landing on other meals that you have stored inside your refrigerator.

Baking soda works as an acid, attracting floating food particles and giving them a new source to bond with (rather than your leftovers). Once the floating particles bond with the baking soda, their odors become neutralized, helping to eliminate unpleasant smells from your fridge.

Finally, every few months, use a vacuum to clean the coils behind the fridge and to vacuum the vent in front, this will help your fridge run more efficiently.

Resources— Cleanpedia, The Spruce, The New York Times, Top Cleaning Secrets