How to Clean a Fridge: Specialist Guides And Cleaning Products Reviews
Your fridge is likely one of the appliances that you use most of all in your kitchen. Be it a midnight snack or a three-course dinner, the refrigerator is one of those things that can’t be replaced. Simply put, you need it, and you need it to be in the best shape possible.
Even though the fridge is so important, many people forget that they need to clean it regularly. If on the surface everything looks fine, you may think that it’s not the time for a deep clean yet. However, most researchers say that you should clean your fridge every 3-6 months, even if it looks fine at a first glance.
Avoid unpleasant smells and germs on your food by cleaning your fridge regularly. Are you wondering how to clean a refrigerator? It’s really not all that hard and can be done in as little as 30 minutes! Keep reading as we help you through the process of cleaning a refrigerator.
The Best Ways to Clean a Fridge
There’s more than one way of cleaning. Refrigerator is one of those appliances that require several kinds of maintenance.
Over the years, many new cleaning products have cropped up and dominated the market. This means that you can now pick and choose your favorite cleaning solution. However, if you’d rather go with something that has been in use for a long time, even a bit of vinegar will do!
You won’t always have to clean your fridge the same way, either. You should try to perform a regular quick clean now and then, and a deep clean once every few months. Of course, if any spills occur or something spoils, that’s a reason for a good clean, too.
Before we get into the specific steps, let’s talk about the various cleaning solutions you can use on your quest. It’s time to learn how to clean a refrigerator in the right way.
Method #1: How to Clean a Fridge Using a Professional Cleaning Detergent
While many people resort to homemade cleaning solutions, you can use professional detergent if you prefer. There are many options on the market that clean the fridge safely and quickly, getting rid of mold, grime, and odor. They all provide a quick & easy solution to a clean refrigerator.
If you want to wash the inside of the fridge, you can try a spray such as Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaning Spray. This plant-based spray can safely be used inside the fridge. Moreover, it doesn’t contain any harmful substances that can’t be used around food.
If your fridge is of the stainless steel kind, you should buy a detergent that is made for use on steel. This is necessary if you want to clean the exterior, which you should, if only to preserve that beautiful shine.
There are lots of steel cleaners out there. One of the best is Weiman Steel Cleaner and Polish Spray. You can also use cleaning wipes if you’re not fond of sprays. Lastly, another option is Fuller Brush Full Gleam Cleaner, which you can also use for cleaning your pans and pots.
Some people resort to using chlorine bleach for issues like mold or mildew, but we don’t recommend it. It’s better to use methods that are not in any way toxic to your produce. Even though you’ll rinse it all off, the fumes may still linger inside the fridge & affect the products you put inside it.
Method #2: How to Clean a Fridge Using Vinegar
Vinegar is one of the most popular solutions to keeping your fridge clean. Many people, instead of buying detergents, opt to simply use white vinegar when they clean their refrigerators.
White vinegar can be used anywhere inside the fridge. You can use it to clean the shelves and drawers, the walls, the freezer, and everything else in the interior part of the fridge.
Preparing a White Vinegar Solution
There are two ways to clean a fridge using white vinegar. You can either use undiluted vinegar or dilute it with a bit of water.
- If your refrigerator is in good condition, you can grab a spray bottle and mix ⅔ white vinegar with ⅓ water. Next, shake the bottle well and use the produced cleaning solution.
- If you’d rather clean everything extra thoroughly, simply pour in undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle and use that.
Remember to use a clean cloth to apply the solution to any part of the fridge. A soft sponge will also do fine.
Method #3: How to Clean a Fridge Using Baking Soda
If you find any stubborn stains in the fridge, you can use good ol’ baking soda to remove them. Moreover, it’s fantastic for absorbing odors.
- If you have issues with mold or a still-wet spill, simply pour some baking soda onto the problem area and let it sit for a while. Scrub it off with a sponge and rinse with water.
- Want to clean the whole shelf with baking soda? You can! Simply mix 2 tablespoons of with 1 quart (1 liter) of hot water and stir it well. Next, apply the soda & hot water mix all over the shelf and scrub gently. Lastly, rinse it off with water on a clean cloth.
- If you’ve had food overstay its welcome in the fridge, the end result may be a bad smell. You can combat it by simply putting a bowl with baking soda into the fridge overnight. It will absorb all the bad smells in a natural way.
Method #4: How to Clean a Fridge Using Borax
Borax finds its uses in the world of cleaning. However, we don’t recommend using it for cleaning the entirety of the fridge. Instead, try it if you’ve got some green mold growing in the refrigerator and you want to disinfect it completely.
Prepare your borax by mixing one cup of it with one gallon of water (or an equivalent proportion). Next, apply the solution to moldy surfaces and rub it in well. You don’t have to rinse it off afterward. Why? Because the borax residue that remains in your fridge will inhibit future mold growth.
Method #5: How to Clean a Fridge Using Hydrogen Peroxide
This is yet another substance found in most households which can also be used for cleaning the refrigerator. Hydrogen peroxide excels at getting rid of stubborn stains and mold.
Unlike the previous solutions, you should apply it to stains undiluted. You can do so generously if you have to. Simply leave the stain to soak for a while, and after about 10 minutes. wipe it off with a clean, dry cloth.
Hydrogen Peroxide has antifungal properties and it is capable of getting rid of stains, so it’s a reliable cleaning solution. Try it in situations where other detergents didn’t do the job.
How do I clean and disinfect my refrigerator?
You know all the possible methods now, but what is the best way to clean and disinfect a refrigerator? If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide, you’ve certainly come to the right place.
The answer is simple, but not very straightforward. Ideally, you should aim to perform some small cleaning tasks every single day. As soon as you see a spill or a scent you dislike, it’s time to — at the very least — take care of that. However, from time to time, you should deep clean the refrigerator to ensure that no harmful bacteria ever affect you.
Below, we will discuss all the methods of fridge cleaning, from a quick swipe to a thorough deep clean.
Quick Clean — Step By Step
The key to a pristine fridge lies not just in the seasonal cleans, but also in regular maintenance. If you make daily cleaning a habit, you will never have a refrigerator that’s not safe to store produce.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you should do to keep your fridge clean every single day.
- Store things well. Ensure that you don’t allow any leaks or spills inside your fridge. Store raw meat in a secure container. The same applies to fruits that may leak, such as strawberries. Lock everything tightly and prevent cross-contamination.
- Act fast. If something does spill, don’t wait for the next cleaning session — wipe it up right away using some hot water.
- Check carefully. At a glance, everything might seem fine, but you should try to look inside your fridge properly at least once every few days. Make sure that there is no ickiness happening somewhere out of sight.
- Use the right tools. If you have to wipe off a spill, ensure that you use an antibacterial spray that is food-safe. Other than the aforementioned Better Life spray, you can check out ECOS Orange Plus Cleaner.
Weekly Cleaning — Step By Step
If you’re diligent and you clean your fridge every so often, there won’t be that much to do on a weekly basis. However, there are some things you should be mindful of that will take about 10 minutes to do, if not less. If you let these tasks build up, they’ll take a lot longer, so it’s good to keep them in mind.
- Check the state of your consumable items. Once a week, go through each and every item in your fridge. Check if it’s nearing the best before date. Double-check open containers, bottles, etc. to be sure that they are not about to spoil.
- Inspect all food for mold. You may not know this, but mold spores are capable of spreading to fresh foods. Inhaling mold can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems, especially in people with asthma. That’s why it’s important not to allow any mold to form in the first place. The moment you see the slightest hint of something green and/or fuzzy, toss the product.
- Cook items that are about to spoil. Being wasteful is not good — you’re throwing away money, after all. Plan a day for leftovers once a week and get creative with your recipes. Produce that is nearing expiration will hold a little longer once it has been made into a meal.
- Act fast. If you do find any hints of mold, it means that you should remove the surrounding products. Next, clean the area thoroughly with a detergent or one of the solutions we mentioned above. Don’t forget hot water.
- Check your containers. Make sure that all containers and bottles are closed tightly. Try not to leave products out in the open without a container or a food bag, especially if it’s prone to leak or leave a residue.
- Check all shelves and drawers. It’s easy to forget to check the less-accessible parts of your fridge, but it should be done frequently. Especially in huge refrigerators, you may be surprised to find something deep in a drawer or far back on the top shelf. Often, these things are left forgotten, and their bad smell spreads throughout the whole refrigerator.
- Check for smells. Do you know that feeling when you open the fridge and something just smells off? It happens to us all. Leftover scents may linger inside the fridge even after you remove the culprit. If you’re sure that the fridge is clean & food is not out of date, but there’s still an odor, act. Leave some baking soda in the fridge or buy a dedicated product.
Deep Cleaning Your Refrigerator — Step By Step
The above steps are certainly helpful and play a big role in the safety of your food, but deep cleaning should never be overlooked. Thorough cleaning is necessary and should be repeated once every few months. It doesn’t take long — around 30 minutes should suffice — and it will ensure that you and your family stay healthy & eat delicious food every day.
For this form of cleaning, you should prepare at least one, if not several, of our cleaning methods listed above. You’ll definitely need some hot water, several clean cloths and/or sponges, and a refrigerator cleaning solution of some sort. We recommend having white vinegar, baking soda, and a dedicated food-safe cleaning spray at hand at all times.
Additionally, you will need a way to store your food below room temperature. This can be done using a portable freezer, a thermal bag, an insulated grocery bag, or an ice chest.
Preparing the Fridge
- Start by removing each and every item found in your fridge, even the condiments. Lay them all out on the counter for a quick inspection.
- Check the due date and ensure everything is still safe to eat.
- Double-check every item, especially fresh produce, to make sure that it’s not about to spoil.
- Put all your perishables someplace cool. Hint: check out the cooling solutions we mentioned a few lines above.
- Pull out all the drawers and shelves, leaving the interior bare.
Cleaning the Shelves/Drawers
- Start with the drawers. Fill the bathtub or the sink with warm water. Add some dishwashing liquid.
- Leave the drawers to soak for a while. In the meantime, get started on the shelves.
- Fill a spray bottle with either an antibacterial spray, a solution of white vinegar, or a solution of baking soda.
- Spray down the shelves generously and clean them with a sponge or a wet cloth. Don’t be afraid to scrub a little. If needed, you can leave them to soak to get rid of old stains. Keep them in for as long as necessary.
- Wipe the shelves dry with a paper towel or a clean rag.
- Next, rinse off the drawers and clean them the same way you cleaned the shelves, then also wipe them dry. Be thorough and make sure they’re dry before you put them back in.
Cleaning the Interior of the Fridge
- Using the same solution as for the shelves, spray down the inside of the fridge, including the bottom and the walls.
- Wipe every nook and cranny very thoroughly with a sponge.
- Apply the same kind of treatment to the door panels, the top of the fridge, the door shelves, and the seals.
- Rinse everything with a wet cloth soaked in warm water.
Cleaning the Exterior of the Fridge
- If your fridge is coated in stainless steel, spray it with a steel cleaner.
- Next, wipe all of the spray off with a clean, wet cloth.
- If your fridge has a regular coating or paint, you should be gentle. We recommend using a food-safe all-purpose cleaner, such as Better Life.
Once all of that is done, put everything back in. You should also change the water filter in your fridge if you own an ice maker.
Frequently Asked Questions
The above methods are a sure-fire way to keep your refrigerator in the best possible condition. However, there may be some things that you’re still wondering about. We’re here to address those concerns and to tell you how to clean a fridge efficiently, so keep reading for our FAQ.
How often should you clean your fridge?
This is a question that gets asked a lot, but there’s no simple answer. We recommend following all of our steps as often as needed. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to deep clean your fridge every week. Here are some general tips.
- Quick Clean — We recommend that you do this every day, or at the very least, every few days.
- Weekly Clean — You should check on your produce & inspect the shelves quite often. Around 7-10 days is an optimal time frame.
- Deep Clean — A general rule of thumb is to deep clean your fridge once every 3-6 months. We recommend doing it once every season, 3-5 times a year.
What is the easiest way to clean a refrigerator?
Fridges are generally easy to clean. You don’t have to do a whole lot to maintain a secure & shiny refrigerator.
The easiest way to clean a refrigerator would be to try a dedicated all-purpose cleaning detergent. This removes the requirement to prepare a cleaning solution beforehand.
Do I need to turn off the fridge before cleaning?
If you’re only doing a quick check & clean, there’s no reason to turn off your fridge. As long as you are keeping your food inside it, you should avoid turning it off.
However, if you know you’ll be scrubbing for a longer time, it’s best to unplug your fridge. You’ll save energy and you’ll be able to clean more thoroughly in a secure way.
A clean refrigerator is a key to delicious & safe food. It doesn’t matter whether you shop every other day or you tend to stock up — spoiled food is almost unavoidable. To prevent any unpleasant side-effects, such as mold or odors, clean your fridge regularly.
As long as you keep up with regular maintenance, all of our methods should take anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes. Make sure to find the time in your day and take good care of your fridge — you’ll thank yourself later!