The refrigerator is one of the biggest appliances you’ll have in your home. In the kitchen, it’s the most hardworking since it’s basically plugged in 24/7. There’s no stopping it from doing its job, and only a power interruption or a broken part will make it stop working.
This also makes the refrigerator one of the dirtiest in your kitchen because it’s rarely not plugged in. We know it’s a hassle to clean it out completely but when the New Year comes around, you’ll want to start fresh and clean. This includes the inside and the outside of the refrigerator.
How To Clean the Refrigerator
Cleaning the refrigerator means more than taking out the leftovers and old food from the shelves. While it is one of the steps you will have to do, a spotless refrigerator requires total commitment, and you’ll have to set aside a day to do it properly.
Here’s what you should do to clean your refrigerator:
1 Unplug the refrigerator.
It’s the very first thing you need to do, not only to clean it but to keep you safe while you do it as well. Kitchen accidents can be avoided, and this is an important one to not forget.
2 Remove all food.
You’ll need to completely take out every box, can, bottle, package, and container inside to get to all the spaces that need cleaning. Be prepared with iceboxes and coolers loaded with ice to store your food while you clean. Frozen food will especially need extra care since these will thaw as you work.
While you’re removing food, pick out the ones that you’ll probably never eat and those that are best thrown out, such as those with mold, have gotten hard, or are basically now inedible.
3 Remove and clean the shelves and drawers.
Once all the food are out, you might see that your appliance definitely needed a scrub down, especially if anything spilled. Remove all the shelves and drawers and take these to the biggest sink you have or even the bathroom so you can easily clean these without worrying about splashes. Scrub clean and then dry every shelf and drawer with water and soap.
4 Clean the refrigerator walls, too.
You may forget but the drawers and shelves are not the only things that need to be cleaned. The refrigerator walls need to be wiped down, too. Use a sanitizing solution that’s food-grade to do this so you won’t worry about contamination. Vinegar and water is a simple sanitizing solution to use that’s safe for food. Use a big sponge to wipe up water when you rinse off the soapy residue and a bucket or two nearby to help you wash and rinse properly.
Cleaning the refrigerator includes the freezer. If you have a freezer that’s no frost, you’re in luck! It’s easier to do if you keep your food dry before placing it in the freezer. If you have a freezer that develops frost, you may need to clean it out more regularly to keep the ice at bay. If that’s the case, cleaning out your freezer as well as your refrigerator will be more frequent than once a year.
5 Let the refrigerator dry while you clean the food containers.
You can wipe down the shelves, drawers, and walls until dry or let it dry on its own with the doors open.
While you let the refrigerator dry out, you will also need to clean the food that will go back in your newly cleaned refrigerator. Clean and rinse or at the least wipe down bottles, canisters, and other items that you will place back in. You can use the vinegar cleaning solution for wiping these down.
6 Put the food back.
When you’re ready to place back all the food that it previously contained, remember to organize the food right. Arrange the refrigerator as per food safety standards, where ready-to-eat food such as leftovers and fruits and vegetables is on the top shelf of the refrigerator and any raw meat, especially raw chicken, is at the bottom where it won’t drip onto food and contaminate it.
7 Close the door and plug the refrigerator back in.
You did it! You completely cleaned out the refrigerator and are ready for it to go back to work. Once everything is clean and organized, close the door and plug it back in.
If you feel you need more help and tips on how to clean the refrigerator, here are more articles to read: