Many of us just do a quick fridge cleaning whenever we spill milk or juice, or notice a bad smell or something moldy hiding on a back shelf. It’s a job we tend to neglect, and even dread. However, with other spring-cleaning projects planned or underway, it’s a good time to tackle a deep cleaning of our fridge as well. Once done, it will be easier to keep the fridge spill-free and fresh-smelling on a regular basis.
1. Prepare a cooler with ice, or a box lined and covered with blankets.
2. Set out dish towels on the counter where the fridge parts can dry. If you know your fridge shelves are too large for the sink, set out towels on the kitchen table.
3. Place garbage cans and recycling bins within reach.
Cleaning a Fridge
1. Unplug the fridge, or turn the inside temperature control to “off” (saves electricity). If there is only one control for your fridge and freezer, you must clean them both at the same time. If there are separate controls, you can clean them at different times. Loosen the light bulb until it goes out.
2. Remove the food. The best time for this is when food levels are lower, such as just before a shopping trip.
3. Place foods that must be refrigerated (e.g. fish, meat, milk, eggs, butter) into the cooler or box lined and covered with blankets. Many condiments (e.g. ketchup, pickles, mustard) will be fine if left out for a short time, unless it is a very warm day. If this is the case place them in the cooler or box.
4. Throw out items past their expiry or “use by” dates, and anything moldy or mysterious. Also throw out food you know you’ll never eat, plus jar contents you can’t remember the last time you opened. Use the garbage and recycling bins.
5. Take out all the shelves, bins, drawers, and any other removable parts, and place them on the counter by the sink. If the shelves are too awkward to wash in the sink, place them on towels on the kitchen table. Glass and ceramic shelves need to come to room temperature before washing them with warm water, or they could crack and break.
6. Take a dry paper towel and brush out any crumbs from the empty fridge as the crumbs tend to get spread out when you start washing the inside.
7. Fill the sink 1/3 full with warm soapy water. Use a mild, unscented dishwashing detergent.
8. Wash the bins, drawers, shelves, and other removable parts using a microfiber cloth or non-scratching sponge. For stubborn food substances or stains, add some baking soda to the surface and clean the area. Use a soft toothbrush to reach those hard-to-clean spots. Clean any large shelves on towels on the kitchen table, and make sure glass or ceramic shelves are warm enough to wash.
9. Rinse with clean water if possible, or wipe soapy residue off with a soft clean cloth. Let everything dry on the towels. These need to dry fully before inserting back into the fridge.
10. Take your microfiber cloth or non-abrasive sponge and wash the inside of the fridge and interior door with a warm water and mild, unscented dishwashing solution. Use a baking soda and warm water mixture for hard-to-remove food build-ups and stains. Place a warm wash cloth on really tough stains and spills for several minutes to make them easier to remove. Use a soft toothbrush for tight corners.
11. Rinse, then wipe the inside and interior door dry with a soft clean cloth.
12. Clean the gaskets on the fridge and freezer doors with warm soapy water and baking soda, being sure to also wipe between the folds. To remove any grime from the gasket use a soft toothbrush.
13. Remove the grill on the bottom front, wash it, and vacuum the area. For self-defrost fridges, remove the drip tray if it’s removable, wash, dry, replace it, and return the grill. If the grill’s at the back, vacuum with a soft brush attachment, and use the vacuum hose to remove dust from the condenser coil. For drip trays located at the back, consult your owner’s manual to see if it’s removable. Follow the instructions for access.
14. Clean the outside of the fridge, including the top, with mild dishwashing detergent and warm water. Wipe dry so there are no streaks.
For stainless steel surfaces, mix a paste of baking soda and warm water. Use a soft cloth, and rub gently with the grain to apply the paste. Take a clean wet cloth, and continuing along the grain, wipe away all the baking soda and water mixture. Then dry the surface thoroughly.
15. Plug in the fridge. Return all shelves, bins and removable parts after they’re thoroughly dry. Tighten the light bulb, and set the temperature. Let the fridge cool before returning the food. While waiting, wipe off jars and bottles, and dry them. Add an open box of baking soda to keep your fridge smelling fresh.
Clean a Self-Defrosting Freezer
1. If the freezer and fridge controls are separate, turn the freezer control to “off” whenever you choose to defrost the freezer.
2. Remove food and keep it frozen by keeping it in another freezer, a cooler with ice packs, or a box lined and covered with blankets. Throw out any items you can’t identify or are heavily freezer-burned.
3. Take out any ice trays and shelving, and wash in the sink with the warm water and mild, unscented dishwashing detergent. Rinse and thoroughly dry.
4. Wipe up any water on the bottom of the freezer using a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge.
5. Wash the inside with a small amount of mild, unscented dishwashing detergent and warm water. Rinse, and wipe dry.
6. If an area needs to be sanitized, first wash with the dish soap and warm water, dry, then apply a mixture of one tablespoon chlorine bleach in four cups of warm water. Let it dry, then rinse thoroughly.
7. Return the ice trays and shelves, and close the freezer door when you turn the fridge back on. Wait for the right temperature before returning the food. Ensure you don’t block the freezer vents.
Cleaning a Non-Defrosting Freezer
The procedure is similar, except for the following defrosting steps:
1. Prop the freezer door open if necessary.
2. Don’t use anything sharp to pry the ice off the freezer walls. You can puncture the walls and cause permanent damage.
3. Depending on the amount of ice, you can just let it melt, and then mop up the water using clean cloths. If there’s a large ice build-up, you can speed up the process by using a hairdryer set on low.
4. When finished defrosting and cleaning, turn the temperature back on, and wait until it’s cold enough to return the food.
To maintain the cleanliness of your fridge and make deep cleaning less of a chore, here are a few tips:
Wipe any spills that occur right away with a warm water and mild, unscented dishwashing solution.
Put anything leaky in a sealable storage bag or container until you cook or eat it.
Once a week, toss leftovers. Don’t let old food get to the point where it’s growing mold. Mold spores can spread to fresh foods, and some food molds can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Deep clean your fridge seasonally.
When your fridge needs repair or maintenance, be sure to call the appliance service company that does it right! Call C&W Appliance Service at (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496 or fill out our service request form for prompt customer service.