Appliances like refrigerator need special attention while cleaning them. As we place raw and cooked food inside it, maintaining hygiene is pretty important. Apart from that, it also improves the efficiency and lifespan of the refrigerator.
But cleaning refrigerator is not that simple. It is restricted to use certain cleaning products. You have to follow some guidelines to ensure a thorough cleaning.
In this article, we provide provided all the instructions, guidelines and tips on how to clean a refrigerator properly. Follow them carefully to achieve best results.
Step-by-Step Process of Cleaning Refrigerator
1. Turn off the Refrigerator
It is very important to switch off the refrigerator before cleaning it. Cleaning while the refrigerator is working/on makes very little difference. And if you keep the doors open for a long time, refrigerator will consume more electricity. So, it is safer and easier to turn off the refrigerator. If you cannot access the socket or if the refrigerator is too heavy to move, then at least turn off the circuit breaker.
2. Empty the Refrigerator
Remove all the items from the refrigerator that include vegetables, fruits, condiments, baking soda, drinks, leftover foods, milks and other perishables. Throw out any food that is expired or gone out. This is the perfect time to remove items that no one in your family has shown interest in eating.
3. Remove the Shelves
Take out all the shelves and drawers (that can be removed). Once they are out, it eases up the process of cleaning these shelves. It also provides easy access to clean the interior of refrigerator. For cleaning the shelves, you can use sponge, liquid soap and warm water.
After that, rinse them thoroughly and ensure no traces of dish soap are available. Place them in an area where kids don’t have access to them. let it dry completely before placing them back into the refrigerator.
Tip – Before cleaning the shelves or drawers, it is better to let them come down to room temperature. Because a sudden temperature change can make cracks in them.
4. Cleaning the Interiors
There are several mild cleaners that are suitable for cleaning inside of refrigerators. But some people may like to use eco-friendly ingredients. If you are one of them, then you can use a combination of baking soda and vinegar.
You have to mix two tablespoons of baking soda and one quart of hot water in a spray bottle to make this solution. Spray the solution on the surface of interiors that include all the walls and shelves that cannot be removed.
Using a microfiber cloth, wipe the surfaces. If there are any stains left, scrub the spots with toothbrush dipper in hot water. And after that, wipe using a dry cloth. If there are stubborn, then apply a thick paste of baking soda and water. Let it stay for few minutes and wipe them.
If you want to just use vinegar solution for cleaning, then the cleaning solution has to be made up of one-part vinegar and three parts of plain water. You can use the same process mentioned above for cleaning.
Quick Tip – Cleaning with bleach is not usually recommended. However, if there are strong odors or stains that are too stubborn to remove with other solution, then you can use it. But you have to air the interiors of refrigerators for several hours after cleaning with bleach.
5. Clean the Exteriors of Refrigerator
Using a warm wet cloth and soapy water, wipe the fridge down completely. And never forget to clean the top of refrigerator. You can dry the exteriors using paper towels or dry microfiber cloth. If you own a refrigerator with stainless steel exteriors, then you have to apply stainless steel cleaner and clean it with microfiber cloth.
For cleaning the coils, you can just dust them using a clean brush. Now, empty the drip pan and dry it completely before placing it back. Vacuum or sweep and under the refrigerator to remove any dust accumulated. If you can move the fridge, then sweep behind the fridge as well. And don’t forget to clean the door handle as it is the stickiest and dirtiest part.
6. Removing Smells
If the refrigerator has weird and unpleasant smell, then apart from the above steps you have to do some additional cleaning as well. For deodorizing, place a jar containing baking soda and close the fridge for some time or until the smell goes away. Other ingredients that are helpful include coffee grounds, activated charcoal or unscented cat litter. If these ingredients prove ineffective, then leave the refrigerator open overnight.
7. Cleaning the Refrigerator Gasket
While cleaning a refrigerator you have to pay attention gasket present around the fridge door. You have to clean the gasket on regular basis to ensure its tight. If not, it can get lose and affect the performance and efficiency of the refrigerator. To clean the gasket, you have to use a solution of warm water and liquid soap. This solution is enough for removing any grime or dirt accumulated in the gasket. However, if there is any mold on the gasket, we recommend using bleach-based cleaners that are easily available in the market. After the cleaning is completed, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly so that gasket doesn’t get dry out.
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
To continue receiving clean filtered water daily, it is important to clean the dispenser once in a while or at regular intervals. Similar to refrigerator coils, you have to consider the instructions provided by the manufacturer for cleaning the dispenser. The cleaning instructions vary from model to model so manual is the right source to find the exact cleaning process.
Apart from that, you should also check for the information for trouble shooting and water dispenser issues. Also check out for ice maker filter replacement and water dispenser service schedule. Replacing the filter according to the schedule will ensure ice maker works in good working condition.
Water dispenser tray is often prone to stains and water spots. For cleaning this tray, you can just wipe it with vinegar-based cleaning solution and dry it completely. If the cleaning tray is removable, then you can happily clean it in the sink. Also make sure to clean under the tray as well. To cover the corners and vents, you can use tooth brush with soft bristles.
To reduce the cleaning time or hassle, there are several preventive measures you can consider. We have mentioned some of them below for your reference.
Make sure to check the ingredients and items present in the refrigerator regularly. If any item or ingredients is out of date, then throw it away immediately. Moldy foods can contaminate other foods and disturb the hygiene of the entire fridge.
If there are any spills, wipe them off immediately. Or else it becomes breeding ground for mold, bacteria and mildew. Apart from that, spills can also produce bad odors. Leakages are also issue to take care of immediately to prevent any odors or mold growth.
To maintain good smell in refrigerator all the time, we recommend to place a box filled with baking soda as it will absorb all the odors completely and keep the fridge smell good.
Never overfill refrigerator with things/items. Make sure there is enough space for proper air circulation.
As the interiors of refrigerators have chilled and damp environment, they are prone to mold and mildew growth. For eliminating mold and mildew, you will need a non-abrasive or bleach-based cleaning solution. You can also make this solution at home by mixing baking soda and 1 tablespoon quart warm water. Using this solution just wipe down the moldy surface. After that, dry the surface using dry towel.
Simple mold or mildew spots can be easily removed using simple solutions. But when bigger catastrophes happen like when you experience or if the food is left in refrigerator for a long time, it may require deep cleaning. In such cases, we recommend consulting a professional or approach customer service. If the mold has reached inner parts of the refrigerator, then you may deep cleaning or have to change the refrigerator altogether based on the extent of damage.
Some of the kitchen cleaning products that have gentle ingredients and natural essential oils are okay to use for cleaning the refrigerator. Some of the kitchen cleaning products are too strong which contain chemicals that are specially formulated to kill the germs and microbes commonly present in kitchen. But these chemicals should never come in contact (indirect or direct) with food. Though you can rinse the food before consumption, it is still not safe or worth of the risk as the chemical residue can still lead to contamination. Instead of using normal kitchen cleaning chemicals, use mild soap water or liquid detergent solution and some water to wipe the inside of the refrigerator. You can soak the removable shelves and drawers in warm water for cleaning them. It is better to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer just to be safe.
You should never use disinfectants, especially bleach for cleaning the interiors of refrigerator. Similar to any other kitchen cleaning products, when disinfectant comes in contact with food can make people ill as the chemicals involved in it are very strong. We recommend to use products that are formulated with fridge friendly chemicals, natural ingredients or make a solution yourself with baking soda, vinegar and warm water.
Actually, natural products are very helpful and efficient in cleaning refrigerator. Apart from being safe, they also maintain proper hygienic and don’t interact with food ingredients. Some of the natural ingredients that are helpful include baking soda and white vinegar. Baking soda is capable of removing stains and removing odors as well. White vinegar is capable of cleaning stainless steel things like the doors of refrigerator (if you have a stainless steel refrigerator model). However, to prevent any adverse effects, we recommend to test a small patch or area.
Few Words to Conclude…
Cleaning fridge on regular basis is very important. If not, it can affect the performance and efficiency of the refrigerator. But the cleaning process of a refrigerator is not a simple. Schedule it on day when you are free of any meetings or works.
We have mentioned the process clearly in step-by-step method. If you still have any further queries, write to us in the comment section below. We will reply to them as soon as possible.