A sparkling refrigerator is always a pleasant sight, unlike one that’s full of spilled food and unnecessary clutter. Regular thorough cleaning will help you ensure that you aren’t storing spoiled products, guaranteeing food safety for you and your family. Regardless of whether your refrigerator doors are plastic or metal, stains are inevitable.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to clean refrigerators and their surfaces, both inside and outside, freezers, and condenser coils.
How to clean a refrigerator
Quick refrigerator cleaning should not take a lot of time if you regularly maintain cleanliness in it.
Before you start cleaning
Check the user manual for recommended cleaning instructions. If the shelves in the refrigerator are removable, you may not need to turn off the refrigerator. However, if they aren’t, to save on energy bills, the best solution will be to turn off the refrigerator.
Check for spoiled food
If you’re a person who cooks a lot, regularly checking for spoiled food can help free up space and avoid an unpleasant smell in the refrigerator. Things like dairy products spoil the fastest, so always be on the lookout not to pour spoiled milk into your coffee.
Remove all food
Check the shelves and drawers in the refrigerator for unwanted food. Fill the sink with ice to keep the food that needs to be chilled from spoiling. Food that can be stored at room temperature (vegetables, fruit, butter, etc.) can be placed on the counter.
Wipe the refrigerator
Wipe all shelves and drawers in the refrigerator with a damp cloth. If there are any residues or spilled products in the cracks, remove them and also thoroughly wipe.
Investing in food storage containers of various sizes can be helpful if you’re a person who cooks for more than one day. Placing the next day’s dinner in smaller containers will save you a lot of space.
How to disinfect a refrigerator with a steamer?
Remove all food
Pay particular attention to which products should already be thrown away, and which can be left, will help you organize space and give you an idea of what products you need to replenish.
Dry all stains
If you have fresh stains from spoiled food, wipe them dry with a soft cloth to avoid spreading bacteria and mess during further refrigerator cleaning.
Steam the refrigerator
With your steamer, start steaming shelves and drawers from the top, using a clean cloth to absorb excess moisture and dirt.
How to thoroughly clean a refrigerator?
Remove all food
Check the shelves and drawers in the refrigerator for unwanted food. Fill the sink with ice to keep food that needs to be chilled from spoiling. Food that can be stored at room temperature (vegetables, fruit, butter, etc.) can be placed on the counter.
Wash the refrigerator shelves
If you can remove drawers and shelves from the refrigerator, soak them in warm soapy water while the refrigerator is being cleaned. Any dish soap can serve this purpose.
Wipe the inside of the refrigerator with a baking soda solution
Work shelf by shelf
While some people have enough space for a full refrigerator cleaning, working on one shelf at a time may not be the optimal method because there is no need for easily spoiled food to stay too long outside the refrigerator. After removing everything from the shelf, assess its condition. If you see spilled liquid, remove the glass from the frame and wipe with a damp microfiber cloth soaked in a soda solution. Let it dry, using a microfiber cloth.
Dry the drain channel
When the freezer is working, it generates condensation. The refrigerator’s drain channel collects the water that flows out of the drain after defrosting. If the channel isn’t cleaned regularly, it can accumulate mold and bacteria that cause unpleasant odors. If you want to avoid issues in the future, you should clean it every three months.
To clean the drain channel, simply wipe it with a soft cloth (a paper towel will also do the trick). If the channel has collected dirt, it can be wiped with a cloth and vinegar.
Clean the refrigerator coils
Cleaning the coils in your refrigerator is the most important thing you can do to keep your refrigerator in good condition and ensure it lasts a long time. If the condenser coils are dirty, you can clean them with a vacuum and a coil brush.
Clean the refrigerator’s exterior surfaces
There are many ways to clean a refrigerator door. First, check whether your refrigerator has steel or plastic doors.
Steel doors: Metal can accumulate water stains if they’re not cleaned immediately after they appear. If there are such stains, try spraying them with vinegar and leave them for a few minutes. Then simply wipe them with a paper towel.
If you want to polish and clean steel, consider purchasing a stainless steel cleaner. This solution is excellent for deep cleaning surfaces when they need something stronger than a universal cleaner. Spray the clean surface with the cleaner and then wipe it with a cloth.
Plastic doors: Dish soap and warm water are enough. Wipe and froth the surface to help remove dust and dirt. Use a damp cloth to wash off the soap residue, then dry any remaining moisture to minimize streaking.
Install a box of baking soda to absorb odors
To definitively get rid of refrigerator odors, place an open box or can of baking soda on the side of the refrigerator. This will effectively neutralize odors.
Homemade solution recipes
Ammonia, vinegar, and baking soda solution
If you’re unsure what to clean your refrigerator with, try this homemade solution using things you have in your pantry.
- 1 cup of ammonia
- 1/2 cup of vinegar
- 1/4 cup of baking soda
Mix these three ingredients and store the mixture in a spray bottle or jar. It can be used with a sponge or a clean cloth. This formula is a degreaser that prevents mold and mildew, and does not require rinsing.
Hot water and baking soda solution
This solution is excellent for regular cleaning. All you need is 2 tablespoons of baking soda and hot water. Mix them in a spray bottle and use it to wipe shelves and drawers, baskets, and doors.
How to clean a freezer?
Remove the food
Check your shelves and drawers for unwanted food. Fill the sink with ice to keep the food that needs to be kept chilled from spoiling.
Clean the interior with hot water
There are many ways to clean a freezer. Here are some of them:
- Hot water
- Clean cloths
Mix equal parts vinegar and hot water in a spray bottle. Generously spray the inside of the freezer and wipe it with a towel or cloth. If this doesn’t suffice, you might need to repeat the process.
- Hot water
- Dish soap
- Clean cloths
- A sponge or brush
Mix mild dish soap with water and soak your brush (or sponge). Clean each shelf of the freezer, doors, and any drawers.
How to prevent odors in the refrigerator?
In addition to regular refrigerator cleaning, throw out anything that hasn’t been used for several days, unless they’re spices. If things pile up, cleaning will take you much longer. Using refrigerator filters or boxes of baking soda will also help you keep odors at bay. Pay particular attention to any spilled areas and dried-on stains.
After cleaning the refrigerator
When the refrigerator is cleaned and dry, close the door to turn off the thermostat. If available, you can use your refrigerator’s fast cooling system. Similarly, check that the freezer temperature is -18C/0F before reloading it. It’s important to store food in airtight containers. Practically all food products have clear labels indicating whether their contents can withstand freezing. If they don’t, there are special instructions for frozen goods.