How to Clean Your Fridge
Your fridge is one of the most important appliances to keep clean – if left for too long, you risk food contamination and unsavoury odours. But, it’s still one of the places we all tend to forget!
Whether it’s leaks and spills or food that’s gone off, plenty of things can leave your fridge in need of a clean. Wondering where to begin? Get your rubber gloves at the ready – we’ve got you covered with our handy cleaning tips.
1) Prepare Your Fridge for Cleaning
Before you get started, you’ll need to get your fridge ready for a thorough clean. Turn off your appliance and follow these easy steps:
- Remove all food from your fridge so that it’s completely empty. Doing so means you can avoid awkward navigation and reach every nook and cranny. Place all of the items in a cooler to keep them chilled while you’re cleaning.
- Take out any removable drawers or shelves to avoid missing any spots. Soak them in warm water with dishwashing soap before wiping and rinsing them. If any items are too large to soak, lather up the soap and scrub them with a microfiber cloth, brush or sponge.
2) Clean Inside Your Fridge
Now, you can start cleaning the inside of your fridge. We recommend doing so at least once a month.
The best method is to mix dishwashing liquid with warm water, and wipe down. You can also use commercial wipes, but check the directions first. Many cleaning products like bleach and disinfectants contain harsh chemicals that shouldn’t go near your fridge. Lingering residue could contaminate food, so always read the product’s label. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Also, pay attention to the door seals, which can collect crumbs and dirt over time. Once you’re all done, dry down the interior with a soft cloth.
Prefer to use a more natural solution? Then why not try one of these alternatives?
- Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with just over a litre of hot water.
- Mix one part apple cider vinegar to three parts hot water.
3) Scrub Away Fridge Stains
You may come across stubborn stains while you’re cleaning inside your fridge. Not to worry, though, as it’s easy to get everything looking good as new:
- Use baking soda to remove stains and absorb bad odours. To tackle stains, mix the baking powder with a small amount of water until it creates a thick paste. Apply this to any marked areas for an hour, then buff it away with a damp cloth or sponge.
4) Clean Outside Your Fridge
It’s not just the inside that counts – you’ll also need to scrub up your fridge’s exterior. This involves pulling your appliance forward, so it might be worth using appliance gliders to avoid damaging your flooring.
The exterior door and handle should be washed weekly – here’s how:
- Use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down all surfaces, including the front, sides and top. It’s best to do this with a microfiber cloth or a soft sponge.
- If you have a stainless steel fridge, white vinegar is a brilliant cleaning agent. However, test a small area first to avoid unwanted results. Also, make sure to wipe in the direction of the grain.
5) Clean the Fridge’s Condenser Coils and Fan
Once your fridge is gleaming inside and out, it’s time to focus on the out-of-sight areas. To keep your fridge running as it should, you’ll also need to clean the condenser coils and fan. We recommend doing this every six months.
If your fridge’s coils are clogged, the compressor might not be releasing heat properly. Here’s how to clean them:
- Locate the coils by checking your user manual.
- Make sure to unplug your fridge from the power source.
- Carefully remove dust from the coils with a coil brush.
- Use a handheld vacuum to clean away excess dirt. Be sure not to use any cleaning products on the coils.
Once you’ve cleaned the coils, move onto the fan. The fan circulates air across the coils, so if the blades are obstructed, the coils have a hard time releasing heat. Here’s how to clean the fan:
- Remove dust from the fan blade with a coil brush.
- Vacuum the fan.
Vacuum away any dirt and dust that made its way onto the ground while cleaning. Don’t place your fridge back into position just yet, though, as there’s one more step you should take.
6) Replace Your Fridge’s Water Filter
You should change your fridge’s water filter around once every six months. Build-up can cause unpleasant odours and contaminants to linger in the water.
Changing the filter depends on the fridge’s manufacturer and model, so check your user manual to make sure you get it right!
Tips to Keep Your Fridge Smelling Fresh
Follow the steps above, and your fridge will be as good as new. Want to keep it this way? Along with regular cleans, there are other things you can do to prevent unpleasant odours:
- Open a small box of baking powder and place it on a fridge shelf. Replace it after the period recommended on the packaging.
- Put freshly-ground coffee beans on a plate in your refrigerator to absorb and mask any smells.
- Add two cups of activated charcoal into an open container near an air vent to absorb odours. Refresh whenever it loses its effectiveness – usually after a month.
- Stuff newspaper in the fridge’s drawers and shelves for a couple of days. Sounds bizarre, but it really works!
All of these options are non-toxic and can take some time to work – but they’re really effective in the long-term. For an even quicker fix, dab some cotton wool in vanilla essential oil and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
Tips to Keep Your Fridge Clean
Once your fridge is sparkling clean, you can take some simple measures to prevent it getting dirty quickly:
- When you put food back in the fridge, wipe down any jars, bottles, or Tupperware. Also, check use-by dates and throw away any expired items to avoid odour.
- A logical fridge layout can help prevent any clumsy spills. Keep your most used items towards the front of the fridge to avoid having to reach back, potentially knocking something over.
- Use baskets to store items and keep them in place. Arrange items into categories like condiments, meats and so on.
- Line the shelves with placemats or plastic wrap if you’re storing messy items. This means you can easily wash or dispose of the lining for quick clean ups.
Cleaning your fridge requires extra care, but it doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t need harsh chemicals. Follow our fridge cleaning checklist, and it’ll be gleaming inside and out in no time. Natural odour fighters and a good fridge layout also make upkeep easy – so what are you waiting for?