7 Tips for Cleaning Your Refrigerator

When cleaning a refrigerator, follow the simple advice and tips below to make the job easier. Keeping a refrigerator clean minimizes the potential for bacteria and mold to grow, as well as reduces power consumption as a clean refrigerator uses less energy to keep cool inside. Once mold starts to grow in a fridge, it can spread to food and make those who eat it ill.

It’s not just the food that can grow mold. Spills and drips can hide out of sight while providing the perfect location for mold and bacteria to grow. The following seven cleaning tips provide easy-to-follow guidance for fridge cleaning.


Clean Food and Drinks Out of the Refrigerator

Before attempting to clean a refrigerator, unplug the unit from the wall. You should then remove all the items within the refrigerator, including the freezer, checking them for freshness. If items are expired, throw them in the trash. Be especially observant for any mold, and if found, make sure that none of the other items in the fridge have been contaminated. Once all of the items have been removed from the fridge and checked, clean the fridge. Removing food and drink from the fridge makes it easier to clean.


Remove the Refrigerator Shelves and Drawers

Once everything is removed from the refrigerator and the freezer, remove all of the removable parts in the freezer and the refrigerator. This includes any shelving, drawers, and the pieces that keep the items on the shelves in the door. Shoppers can either put them in the sink to be washed later or on the counter. If there are any glass or ceramic pieces, allow them to warm up slowly, as getting them warm too quick once removing them from the refrigerator could cause them to break. Once the parts are removed and have reached room temperature, wash them using hot water and dish soap. After washing the parts, set them aside to air dry.


Cleaning the Freezer

Before wiping down the inside of the refrigerator, clean the freezer. Turn the setting to “defrost” or the minimum setting. Let the freezer defrost while washing the items from the interior of the refrigerator. Once the freezer has defrosted, take some of the cleaning solution listed above and wipe down the interior of the freezer using a clean cloth. For any tough stains, use a plastic nonabrasive scrubber.


Wipe the Inside and Outside of the Refrigerator

Using a cleaning solution, wet one of the clean rags, and, starting from the top of the interior of the refrigerator, clean the inside of the refrigerator. Make sure to clean from the top to the bottom of the refrigerator. When encountering tough stains, which will more than likely be at the bottom of the refrigerator, use a plastic, nonabrasive scrubber. Shoppers can soak the stain by laying a warm wet cloth on it for a few minutes to loosen it up. This should make the stain easier to remove. While washing the interior, rinse the cloth frequently to keep it clean, or use multiple cloths.

Once satisfied that the interior is clean, especially the bottom, the back, and the interior doors, clean the outside of the refrigerator. As on the inside, start at the top of the refrigerator and work downward, cleaning the top, both sides, and the front. While the outside of the refrigerator dries, use a dry cloth or paper towels to dry the inside of the refrigerator, including the inside of the doors. Also clean the rubber door gasket with the water and vinegar solution. Finally, dry the outside of the refrigerator and remove the drip pan (if the refrigerator has one) and clean it as well. On most models, the drip pan can be found by removing the front grill.


Reinstall the Refrigerator Shelves and Drawers

At this point, the refrigerator shelves, drawers, and other parts should be dry. Replace them in the refrigerator. Put any food or drink back into the refrigerator, wiping any dirty jars and containers down with a clean, dry cloth as you place them back into the refrigerator. This is also a good time to arrange the items within the refrigerator as you place them back inside.


Eliminating Odors in the Refrigerator

Cleaning a refrigerator is only part of the process. Clean up spills as they happen and go through the refrigerator on a weekly basis, disposing of food as it goes bad. Finally, place an open box of baking soda within the refrigerator to help fight any odd odors that pop up. Do not place any open containers inside a refrigerator; this helps keep refrigerators smelling fresher.


Finishing Touches

Clean the refrigerator coils every three to four months. Make sure the refrigerator is not plugged in to prevent burns from hot coils or electric shock. Use the brush attachment on a vacuum to clean exposed coils on refrigerators; use the narrow crevice attachment of a vacuum for refrigerators with a vent cover. Once finished, push the refrigerator back into place and plug it in.

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T K Garnham
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