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Experts Say: Easy Steps to Deep Clean Your Fridge and How Often You Should Clean Your Refrigerator

Table of Contents

Cleaning Your Refrigerator:

Wipe the inside with hot, soapy water.
Rinse with clean water and dry with a towel.
Don’t forget to clean inside doors and non-removable drawers.
Use a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water to sanitize.

Have you ever wondered if your fridge is truly clean? Sure, you might wipe down the shelves and toss out old leftovers, but is that enough? A spotless fridge is key to food safety and efficiency, yet many overlook some crucial steps.

How often should you deep clean it, and what areas might you be neglecting? Let’s explore methods to ensure every nook and cranny is spotless. You’ll discover tips that not only extend the life of your groceries but also enhance your fridge’s performance.

Frequency and Planning

 a woman wiping the fridge's exterior
Experts Say: Easy Steps to Deep Clean Your Fridge and How Often You Should Clean Your Refrigerator 3

To keep your fridge in top shape, you should deep clean it every 3-6 months. Don’t wait until it’s packed to the brim with groceries. Instead, plan your cleaning session when your fridge is relatively empty. This makes the process smoother and ensures you won’t waste food.

Start by discarding any expired or spoiled items. It’s a great opportunity to declutter and make space for fresh, healthy foods. Check the expiration date on all items, and be thorough in your inspection to ensure nothing has expired.

Preparation is key. Before diving into the cleaning, pre-prepare containers to help organize your items once you’re ready to restock. You’ll also want to keep perishable items in a cool bag to maintain their freshness while you clean. This step prevents any unnecessary spoiling and keeps your food safe.

Take a moment to plan your cleaning supplies. Gather everything you’ll need, such as sponges, cleaning solutions, and towels, so you won’t have to stop midway. Keeping these items on hand makes the job more efficient and less stressful.

Unplug your refrigerator before starting the deep clean to ensure safety. Remove all shelves and drawers, and let them soak in warm, soapy water. This helps loosen any sticky spills or drips. While these are soaking, use a cleaner to wipe down the interior walls of the fridge. Pay special attention to areas where germs can accumulate, such as the door seal and the corners.

For stubborn stains or odors, a paste of baking soda and water can be very effective. Apply it to the stained areas, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse thoroughly. Baking soda is also great for absorbing odors; you can leave an open box in your fridge to keep it smelling fresh.

Don’t forget to clean the exterior of the fridge as well. Wipe down the doors, especially around the handles, to remove fingerprints and grime. If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, use a cleaner specifically designed for stainless steel to avoid streaks.

If your fridge has a freezer section, this is also a good time to defrost your freezer. Remove all the items and place them in a cooler. Unplug the freezer and let the ice melt. Once it’s defrosted, clean it thoroughly with soapy water, then rinse and dry.

Pay attention to the drawers and shelves. These areas often collect spills and crumbs from condiments and other items. Clean them thoroughly with soapy water, rinse, and dry them before placing them back in the fridge.

Finally, restock your fridge, organizing it efficiently. Place perishable items in the coldest part of the fridge, and use bins or containers to keep similar items together. This not only makes it easier to find what you need but also helps in maintaining a clean and organized refrigerator.

By following these easy steps, you can ensure your fridge stays clean and your food remains safe and fresh. Cleaning your fridge regularly helps prevent germs, keeps odors at bay, and makes your kitchen a more pleasant place.

Cleaning the Interior

When it comes to cleaning the interior of your fridge, start by using cold water mixed with sterilizing fluid to wipe down all surfaces. Focus on every nook and cranny, including the grooves and crevices where grime tends to accumulate. Pay extra attention to dirt magnets like shelf rests and the back of the fridge. 

Use a cotton bud or a small brush to reach into tight spots and ensure they’re spotless. Don’t forget to dry the interior completely with a clean cloth to prevent mold and mildew. Cleaning thoroughly means less risk of bacteria contaminating your food from the fridge. While cleaning, keep an eye out for any spills or stains that might need a bit more elbow grease. A small amount of baking soda mixed with water can help tackle stubborn spots without leaving a harsh chemical residue.

Once everything is wiped down and dried, let the fridge air out for a few minutes before you start putting things back. This ensures that any remaining moisture evaporates and that your fridge stays fresh and clean. 

Often, you should clean your fridge thoroughly every few months to maintain hygiene and efficiency. Remember to deep clean your fridge freezer as well, as it can accumulate frost and food debris over time. Regular maintenance includes cleaning the condenser coils and ensuring that the fridge doesn’t overwork.

Organize your fridge by grouping similar items together, which not only makes it easier to find food but also helps keep your fridge cleaner for longer. Use easy steps like placing liners on the shelves to catch spills and keeping a box of baking soda inside the fridge to absorb odors.

Following these fridge cleaning tips will help keep your fridge’s interior pristine and your food in the fridge safe to eat. A well-organized and clean fridge also ensures that food in your fridge lasts longer, reducing waste and saving you money. Use dish soap for routine cleaning, but for a thorough cleaning session, stick to natural and mild cleaners that won’t leave harmful residues.

Shelves and Drawers

Start by removing all shelves and drawers from the fridge for a thorough cleaning. Once they’re out, wash each one with hot, soapy water. Don’t forget to use a toothpick to remove any stubborn food residue from corners and crevices. Rinse them thoroughly and let them dry completely before placing them back in the fridge.

While the shelves and drawers dry, turn your attention to the non-removable parts inside the fridge. Wipe these down with a cloth soaked in soapy water. Make sure to get into all the grooves and crevices where grime can accumulate. A cotton bud can help you reach the hard-to-access spots.

Once everything is clean, dry the shelves and drawers thoroughly to avoid moisture buildup, which can lead to mold. Pay special attention to shelf rests and tracks; these areas are notorious for trapping dirt.

Exterior Maintenance

While the fridge’s interior often gets the most attention, don’t overlook the importance of maintaining its exterior surfaces. Start by cleaning the handle and door surround, as these areas are high-touch and prone to germ buildup. Use a mild cleaning solution or a disinfectant wipe to ensure they’re hygienic.

Next, focus on the door seal folds, which can trap crumbs and grime. Vacuum these areas to remove debris, then wipe them down with a Milton solution for thorough disinfection. For stainless steel fridges, apply a small amount of baby oil to a cloth and rub it onto the surface to prevent fingerprints and smudges.

Don’t forget to maintain the condenser coils located at the back or bottom of your fridge. Vacuum these coils at least once a year to remove dust and pet hair, which can clog them and increase energy consumption. Regular cleaning of the coils not only boosts your fridge’s efficiency but also extends its lifespan.

Odour Control

a cleaner washing a fridge shelf in the kitchen sink
Experts Say: Easy Steps to Deep Clean Your Fridge and How Often You Should Clean Your Refrigerator 4

A simple yet effective way to keep your fridge smelling fresh is by using bicarbonate of soda to absorb odours. Place an open box or bowl of bicarbonate of soda on a shelf, and it’ll work wonders by neutralizing unwanted smells. Remember to replace it every three months to maintain its effectiveness.

In addition to bicarbonate of soda, consider using specialized fridge deodorizers available in stores. These can provide continuous freshness and are designed to fit conveniently in your fridge. Make it a habit to label opened items with dates. This practice helps you keep track of food freshness and prevents forgotten, spoiled items from contributing to odours.

Regularly checking and discarding expired or spoiled food is crucial. When you spot something past its prime, don’t hesitate to toss it. Cleaning spills immediately also helps prevent lingering smells.

For a deeper clean, remove shelves and drawers, wash them with hot, soapy water, and dry them thoroughly before placing them back.

Lastly, ensure your fridge is organized. Group similar items together and avoid overloading. This not only helps with cooling efficiency but also makes it easier to spot and remove potential odour sources. By following these steps, your fridge will stay fresh and clean.

Frequently Asked Questions – How to Deep Clean Your Fridge

How Often Should I Clean the Freezer Along With the Fridge?

You should clean the freezer at least once a year. While deep cleaning your fridge every 3-6 months, don’t forget to move freezer items to a cooler, defrost, and scrub thoroughly for optimal hygiene.

What Can I Do if My Fridge Has a Persistent Smell After Cleaning?

If your fridge has a persistent smell after cleaning, place an open box of bicarbonate of soda inside. Replace it every three months. You can also use fridge deodorizers and label opened items with dates for freshness.

Are There Any Specific Cleaning Products Recommended for Fridges?

You should use mild, non-toxic cleaning products for your fridge. Opt for solutions like baking soda, vinegar, or a specialized fridge cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals to ensure food safety and maintain your fridge’s longevity.

How Do I Defrost My Freezer Without Damaging It?

To defrost your freezer without damaging it, unplug it first. Remove all items and place them in a cooler. Let ice melt naturally or use warm water bowls. Don’t use sharp objects to remove ice.

Can I Use Vinegar as a Disinfectant for Cleaning Fridge Surfaces?

Yes, you can use vinegar as a disinfectant for cleaning fridge surfaces. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. It’s effective and natural, but ensure you wipe it down thoroughly to avoid any lingering smell.


So, is your fridge truly clean? Regular deep cleaning every 3-6 months is key. Plan ahead by gathering supplies and discarding expired items.

Focus on cleaning the interior, shelves, drawers, and exterior to ensure everything looks and works great. Don’t forget odour control to keep your fridge smelling fresh.

By taking these steps, you’ll maintain a safe, efficient fridge that keeps your food fresh and your kitchen running smoothly.

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