Dirty refrigerators can quickly become a breeding zone for Coliform, Salmonella, and Escherichia coli. These bacteria cause contamination to meats and other foods stored in a fridge, such as seafood and cooked rice/pasta. To avoid consuming infected food, make it a routine to clean out your fridge every 3-6 months.
How to Clean the Fridge Step-by-Step
Refrigerator cleaning is much easier when you do it in a systematic organized manner. Here is the best way to clean a fridge.
Empty the Refrigerator
Emptying the refrigerator makes cleaning easier and allows you to sort things you want to put back inside and those that you want to discard because they’re spoiled or expired.
Please note: You’ll need a stand-by freezer or cooler to help you keep highly perishable foods such as raw meats and milk fresh. You might think it’s easier to place them on the counter and move them back in the fridge as you wipe, but that doesn’t guarantee thorough cleaning. Besides, some foods may start to spoil if left out for more than an hour.
Remove the Shelves and Drawers
Take out the shelves and drawers and set them aside for a while to come to room temperature- bringing them in contact with hot water while they’re still frozen will crack them. Alternatively, switch off power or unplug the fridge and let it cool off, especially if you’re planning to clean the coils.
Next, you should handwash the shelves, drawers, and other removable parts in hot water and mild dish soap. If your shelves are made of glass, use a glass cleaner and a cloth to remove grease and grime. Then remove stubborn stains and debris by covering them in a warm, wet cloth or soaking them in vinegar for 5-10 minutes before removal with a non-abrasive scrubber.
Clean the Fridge interior
When cleaning your refrigerator interior, avoid using scented soaps, detergents, or sprays because they leave a scent that can be absorbed by food. Instead, use homemade solutions made from everyday, versatile items such as baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and dish-washing soap. Besides being edible, baking soda absorbs the bad smell, lemon juice acts as a disinfectant, and vinegar can help eliminate foul odor, disinfect and remove tough stains.
To make a cleaning solution, dissolve two tablespoons of baking soda in a quart (a quarter gallon) of hot water. And use the solution to wipe down the walls and “floor” of the fridge. Alternatively, you can mix baking soda and lemon juice and use a clean cloth to clean using this mixture.
Clean the Refrigerator Exterior
- Simply wipe the exterior of your fridge with a cloth sprayed with an all-purpose cleaner. Try to pay more attention to areas that tend to build grime, such and handles, without forgetting the top of the refrigerator too; although this area doesn’t receive lots of traffic, dust and debris will still accumulate over time: Other exterior surfaces that need extra care include:
- The seal around the door: Using a cleaning solution and a brush, scrub the rubber gasket to get rid of debris, dirt, and dust build-up. Rinse with clean water and dry with a clean cloth.
- Sticky labels or residue: To remove sticky labels/ residue, saturate and rub the affected area with oil (vegetable oil, mineral oil, or any other oil). Clean the oil residue with hot soapy water and a cloth.
- Doors and handles: Using a disinfectant, wipe down dirt, dust, and fingerprints off the fridge doors and handle.
- Sanitize your fridge: Before putting food back in, disinfect your refrigerator by sprinkling a store-bought cleaning vinegar or make your sanitizer using vinegar or lemon juice.
- Condenser coils: Although cleaning fridge coils is a little intense, completing this chore can help it run better and last longer. To ensure that you’re doing it right, check the manual for instructions, and if you can’t find anything, you can conduct a Google search. But basically what you’re supposed to do is use a coil brush (a skinny, long brush similar to that used to clean a bottle) to clean around the coils. Then use a vacuum cleaner or sweep any debris on the floor and put the fridge back in place.
Prevent Fridge Odors Between Cleanings
To keep your refrigerator fresh, get activated charcoal, put it in a clean sock, tie it, and keep it at the back of the fridge to ensure freshness for 1-2 months. You can also buy a refrigerator freshener and stick it at the back of your fridge.
Cleaning an Office Fridge
Cleaning a fridge that many people use is a bit more tricky when it comes to getting rid of the old food. You don’t know what to keep and what to toss, and you don’t want people complaining that you got rid of their food.
Fridge Clean Out Sign
Our free fridge clean out sign printable will give anyone ample notice to remove the food they want to keep before it is tossed out.
You can edit the refrigerator clean out sign to add the time and day the fridge will be cleaned. You can also add your company logo if you want.
Use these digital or printable fridge stickers to mark fridge cleaning day in your planner, your cleaning schedule, or on your chore chart. This will help you to remember to clean out your fridge every 3-6 months.