Fridge deep cleaning: Intro
Cleaning the fridge is one of those tasks that many people put off because it seems like it will be a lot of work. However, if you break it down into steps, it’s actually not that bad.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of cleaning your fridge, step by step. We’ll also share some tips for keeping this kitchen appliance clean in the future. Let’s get to it!
Why should you clean your fridge?
Cross-contamination. If you don’t clean your fridge regularly, food and liquids can leak from one container to another. This can lead to the spread of bacteria or viruses and make people sick.
Food residue, splashes and spills can produce bacteria, leading to a bad smell and the spread of disease.
How often should you deep clean your fridge?
You should deep clean your fridge two to four times a year.
However, if you notice spills or food residue, you should clean it immediately.
How long will it take to clean a fridge?
It depends on the size and condition of your fridge, but generally speaking, it should take about an hour.
How to clean a fridge: The process
Gather your tools
- Cooler for the food
- Old towels and rags for the floor
- Sponges, brushes, paper towels and rags for the surface
- Old toothbrush for hard-to-get areas
- Microfiber cloth
- Butter knife or putty knife for those tight places
- Trash bags
- Vacuum to finish the floor
- Rubber or disposable gloves
Get a cleaning solution
Use lukewarm soapy water to clean the fridge’s interior surfaces. If you prefer a more natural cleaning solution, consider a vinegar spray (water with white vinegar).
A paste mix of baking soda and water is a standard cleaner in most households. You can add lemon and vinegar to your paste.
Avoid using harsh detergent sprays inside your fridge as the strong odour can linger and transfer to your food.
You can also use a specialized commercial fridge cleaner.
Towels and newspapers
Put towels at the bottom of the fridge to capture any spills or your cleaning solution.
Put newspaper on top of the towels so you can easily remove and grime, fat without damaging your towels.
Dispose of expired food. Prepare and eat the items that are about to expire. Remove everything else into a freezer or thermal bags.
Remove refrigerator shelves, racks, drawers and other removable items
Before you start doing anything else, take a picture of the fridge interior. You’ll have an easier time identifying what goes where and how. Trust me. This works in every industry. Let them cool down to room temperature before cleaning them with warm water.
Clean refrigerator shelves, racks and other removable items
Prepare a hot water and dish soap bath in your sink or bathtub. Let these items soak in the water for 15 minutes. Gently clean with a sponge and the solution. Use a brush if you encounter some heavy stains. Use a toothpick to clean between joints and small areas.
“That’s the only thing you can do with a mess. Start cleaning it up, a little at a time.”Lisa Wingate
Wipe the inside of the fridge to remove breadcrumbs and any solid particles. This is when the newspaper comes in handy.
Wash the interior
Get the cleaner of your choice. Use damp a sponge or a microfiber cloth and work your way from top to bottom. Don’t forget to clean the fridge drip tray at the bottom of the fridge. Dry the interior with a microfiber cloth and allow it to air dry too.
Unblock the fridge drain pipe
Use a dedicated pipe cleaner or just a simple toothpick. Really anything that can fit into to small drain pipe.
Clean the exterior of the fridge
Wipe off the dust first. Use your solution to clean the fridge door and outside walls of the fridge. Double down on the high-traffic areas like door handles.
Clean the door seal only with warm water. Lubricate with mineral oil, vaseline or petroleum jelly. The lubrication helps them seal better and prevents them from becoming brittle and cracking. Brittle seals are one of the biggest reasons refrigerators start to fail and lose the ability to maintain acceptable temperatures.
Clean refrigerator coils
Be sure to turn off the fridge for coil cleaning. Simply dust them to remove excessive dust. Dirty refrigerator coils can decrease the fridge’s efficiency so don’t hesitate to clean them. And since you’re down there, you might as well wipe the cabling.
Wash neighbouring walls
I know this is not directly related to fridge cleaning but it would be a shame to clean the exterior but not clean the walls that are almost touching the fridge. You want to get rid of bacteria and stop the spread of disease whenever you can.
Clean fridge water dispenser
Read the manufacturer’s manual to know the best practices to clean the dispenser. Generally, you should be able to detach the tank and clean it with the rest of the fridge interior like the shelves.
Don’t forget the tray that catches the water drips and the area around the dispenser. Clean the nozzle by gently scraping away any hard water build-up.
Sanitize and disinfect your fridge
Use the product of your choice and wipe the fridge interior and surface with a damp microfiber cloth. Leave the door open for a few minutes to let the cleaner fumes out.
Clean food containers
Wash, clean, wipe, sanitize and disinfect all the food containers and packaging before you put them back into the fridge.
Dry the fridge
You can use a microfiber cloth to get rid of the excess humidity and let it completely air dry.
“Housekeeping is like being caught in a revolving door.”Marcelene Cox
How to maintain a clean fridge
Set your fridge temperature to prevent bacteria growth, between 37-41 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use airtight containers for leftovers. Label and date them.
Ensure good air circulation in the fridge.
Evaluate your fridge on a weekly basis for food spoilage.
There are a few things you can do every day to lessen the need for a deep clean.
Wipe spills immediately.
Avoid putting anything in the fridge that’s sticky or saucy. Wipe that tomato sauce bottle or maple syrup jar before you put it back in the door of the fridge.
Keep your foods wrapped or in containers or jars.
Remove any food that’s passed its prime.
Every week or so give the doors, inner doors and handles a good wipe with a damp cloth and mild dishwashing liquid and water. Add these tasks to your standard house cleaning chores.
How to smell up the fridge
Add vanilla to a microfiber cloth. Wipe down freezer surfaces. Allow the vanilla to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Dry the surface with a clean wet cloth or towel, or leave it to air dry.
Vanilla cotton balls
Soak a few cotton balls in vanilla essence. Place them in the center of the freezer. Disconnect the power to the freezer and close the door. Allow the vanilla 1-3 days to absorb the odours.
Coffee grounds, activated charcoal, kitty litter or baking soda
Place coffee grounds, activated charcoal, kitty litter or baking soda in the bowl at the bottom of the freezer. Close the door and allow it to sit overnight. The next day, dispose of the coffee grounds or baking soda and wipe out any residue from the freezer.
The alkalinity of the baking soda counteracts the acidity of rotten food smells, effectively killing the smell. It also helps draw in any excess moisture, reducing the risk of mould growth.
Lemon and orange peels
Place a few lemon or orange peels in the freezer and allow them to sit overnight. Remove the peels in the morning, and discard them.
Pack each freezer shelf with crumpled newspaper. Set a cup of water on the top shelf or sprinkle the newspaper with water. Allow the refrigerator or freezer to run for approximately 5 or 6 days.
If you cannot smell up the freezer anymore, it might be time to purchase a new appliance.
Don’t forget to childproof the freezer by locking the doors before disposing of it.
So, there you have it – a comprehensive guide to deep cleaning your fridge. By following these simple steps, you can rid your fridge of harmful bacteria and restore it to its former glory.