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How to Clean the Inside of a Refrigerator

man cleaning the inside of a fridge looking like he wants to be somewhere else

There are precious few things that can drive one mad and cleaning the refrigerator is likely at the top of the list. Alas, it must be done. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be too much of a chore. Today we will learn how to (really) clean the inside of a refrigerator, and, how to do it right, the way that actually works with the least amount of effort. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to get to work. Keep reading to find out about the best way to clean the inside of a refrigerator in 6 super easy and simple steps.

Steps to Clean Inside of a Refrigerator

Cleaning supplies inside  blue bucket

Step 1 – Gather Your Refrigerator Cleaning Tools

To save on electricity, save the integrity of the refrigerator, and basically make life a little bit easier on yourself, you should gather all of the items that you are going to need to clean the inside of your refrigerator, before beginning the task. This way everything is handy and you will not have to leave the units’ door open/unattended for long periods of time while searching for supplies. 

Supplies that you should have on hand

  • Cleaning solution: There are several types of cleaners and even homemade recipes that you can use. Bleach, especially undiluted, is not recommended as it is incredibly strong and would require the refrigerator to be aired out for an extended period of time.
  • Paper towels: Paper towels or a microfiber cloth would both work well for wiping down the interior of the refrigerator. 
  • Scrub brush: A decent, scrub brush is imperative. Specifically will be helpful with any staining or old leakages/spills.
  • Trash bags: Trash bags are an obvious necessity. Be sure that any discarded food is placed outside quickly.

Step 2 – Clear it Out

Once you have everything needed nearby, it is time to clear out the unit. Remove all food, condiments, as well as any removable parts from the refrigerator. Anything perishable can be stored in a cooler, although the food should not sit out longer than an hour at the most. 

yellow gloved hand holding a white spray bottle in front of a blue wall

Step 3 – Spray It Down

After everything has been removed and stored properly, you can spray down the interior of the refrigerator, using the cleaning solution of your choice. A popular homemade mixture calls for 3 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with hot water in a spray bottle, however, if your refrigerator is extra grimy, undiluted white vinegar works extremely well. Spray the entire inside and let it sit while you complete the next step.

Step 4 – Clean the Shelving, Drawers, Ect.

Remember those removable parts from earlier? Yea, we are going to scrub, clean, and wipe down all of the shelving, drawers, and any other parts removed. For any tough stains or spots, use your cleaning solution to soak it and let it sit for a minute or two before wiping it down.

Step 5 – Wipe It Out – With an Extra Scrub Or Two Where Needed

Back to the refrigerators’ interior. Using paper towels, wipe down the entire inside of the unit. Any particularly stubborn spots should be purposefully attacked with cleaner and your handy dandy scrub brush.

Step 6 Replace and Organize

Once the inside of the refrigerator is completely clean, it is time to replace and organize everything. Start with the actual refrigerator parts (drawers, shelving) and then replace the food and condiments. Be sure to pay attention to expiration dates, discarding what needs to be thrown away.

Helpful Tips

the back side of a dusty fridge
  • If you are able to unplug the refrigerator, now would be an excellent time to clean the drip pan and dust the coils. This would also eliminate the need to keep the refrigerator door closed. 
  • To combat lingering odors, try placing a box of baking soda, or cotton balls soaked in vanilla extract, in the inside of the refrigerator. 
  • Always ensure that the refrigerator is not overfilled. Air needs space to circulate, which keeps it running efficiently, and keeps the food fresher.

Cleaning the refrigerator might be considered evil, or at the very least a pain in the backside, but it is undoubtedly a necessary one. To keep the machine running correctly, and ensure that food is kept as fresh as possible, you should be cleaning out the refrigerator around every three months. Having a clean and fresh refrigerator will not only make your kitchen feel nicer as a whole, it can also help it use the space much more efficiently. 

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