How to Deep Clean Your Fridge
The fridge is the hardest working, most used appliance in the kitchen - and chances are, yours could use a little appreciation and TLC. Many of us more than likely don’t deep clean our fridges as often as we should, however maintaining a clean fridge can help to reduce unpleasant odors, minimize the amount of space, reduce food waste, prevent spoilage, and help to prevent mold and bacteria growth, which can be unsafe for consumption.
Cleaning our fridge often gets overlooked for many reasons - we’re often opening the fridge when we’re hungry and looking for a snack, or wondering what to make for dinner, so our minds aren’t exactly thinking about when was the last time we cleaned out the fridge (unless you open the fridge and smell an unpleasant odor, which then has you thinking, “Ew, what could that smell be?” Another reason cleaning our fridge isn’t exactly on our minds is because at a glance our fridge often looks pretty clean, especially if it's filled. We often don’t see the spills on the shelves, the expired products shoved to the back of the fridge that have gone bad, or any dirt or bacteria building up in the corners, when our fridges are full of food which can all contribute to our fridge being dirty.
That’s why we’re here to remind you that it’s time to deep clean your fridge - and to help you implement a more effective way to maintain its cleanliness. So that you can not only reduce the amount of work you have to do each time you deep clean your fridge and also minimize your food waste, but also so that the food you’re eating from the fridge is safe for you and your family to consume too!
What to Use to Clean Your Fridge Naturally
To clean your fridge naturally and safely, you really don’t need too much - Just a few household cleaning products you already have!
To clean your fridge the natural way, you’re going to need:
- All-natural dish soap
- Baking soda
- White Vinegar
- A reusable spray bottle
- A variety of cleaning utensils, such as a sponge, clean cloths, eco-friendly scrub brush, and a clean unused toothbrush
How to Make a Non-Toxic, Natural Fridge Cleaner
- Combine 1 part hot water and 1 part white vinegar into a reusable spray bottle. Ensure that you wear protective gloves or have a handle with a good grip, so as not to burn yourself when using the bottle to clean.
Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Fridge Naturally
Before you begin your big clean, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- It is best to clean your fridge before a big grocery shopping haul, so that there are less items in the fridge that you have to take out.
- It is recommended to turn off the cooling system before you start cleaning to prevent electricity waste and to make cleaning your fridge more eco-conscious.
- Do not use bleach or other harsh, harmful chemicals to clean your fridge, because the toxins can stay on the surfaces and potentially contaminate your food.
How to Prep Your Fridge for Cleaning:
- Begin with removing all items from your fridge, starting with your top shelf and working your way down (items that need to remain cold should be removed first, then this step can be followed). Place any food items that need to be kept cold in a cooler with ice or ice packs, in order to maintain their freshness and minimize the chances of spoiling.
- As you remove items from your fridge, wipe down any bottles or contains that may have leaked or spilled over in the fridge, or that have any leftover residue on the outside (ie. around the caps or on the bottom). To effectively wipe down these items, dunk a cloth into a mixture of warm water and dish soap, and ring excess water. Use the cloth to clean these fridge items. Place them on a clean surface, out of the way.
- Double check all items for the expiration dates and for spoilage. Throw away anything that is no longer good to eat.
Tips to Naturally Clean the Inside of Your Fridge
Now that your fridge is empty, it’s time to get cleaning! Here are some helpful tips to help you deep clean your fridge effectively using natural cleaners:
- If the shelves and drawers in your fridge are removable, ensure that the inside of your fridge is at room temperature before removing them. This is to help reduce the risk of the plastic or glass cracking during the removal process. Once they are safely removed, place them in a sink or a large bucket filled with hot water and dish soap and let them soak. Do not put your shelves or drawers in the dishwasher.
- If your shelves and drawers are not removable, clean from top to bottom, to ensure that if there is any spills or residue, they aren’t spilling onto already cleaned surfaces.
- If you have food or debris stuck to your walls, shelves, or drawers, you can remove them quickly and easily by mixing baking soda and warm water together, to make a paste that you can use with a sponge or scrub brush to scrub off.
- Use a toothbrush for harder to reach spots in your fridge (especially if your shelves and drawers cannot be removed), to remove any dirt or buildup from crevices and corners.
- To clean the outside of your fridge, sanitize and wipe using a microfiber cloth and a surface cleaner that is safe for a variety of surfaces, including stainless steel.
- Clean the fridge door gasket (also known as the seal) using the water-vinegar solution and a toothbrush to lift any dirt or stains. Be very gentle.
- Ensure to clean the fridge door handle as well. Spray the surface cleaner and scrub with the toothbrush to remove any caked on debris or sticky fingerprints. Wipe clean with .
- Make sure the inside of your fridge is completely dry and that your hands have been washed before placing the shelves and drawers back inside (ensure that the shelves have been rinsed and dried as well before doing this step).
- Once the inside is clean and the shelves and drawers have been put back into place, turn on the cooling system. Wait until your fridge has been dropped back to a temperature of at least 4 degrees before placing all the contents back inside.
Helpful Tips for Keeping Your Fridge Clean
So now that you’ve got your fridge nice and clean, maintain the cleanliness of your fridge using these helpful tips - to help minimize the amount of work you have to do!
- Always wipe down any containers or bottles before placing them back in the fridge, to reduce the amount of spills.
- Clean up any spills in the fridge as soon as they happen. .
- When adding new groceries to your fridge, place the older items in the front (and the new items behind) to ensure that the older items are eaten first and help reduce waste.
- Don’t overfill your fridge! This not only helps you to reduce the amount of waste, it also helps to maintain the temperature of your fridge too. The more items in your fridge the harder it is for your fridge to maintain a cool temperature, as there is less space for proper circulation.
- The back of the fridge is the coldest, make sure you put items that absolutely need to be kept cold back there (such as milk) to ensure they do not spoil.
- Put priority items (such as leftovers or food that is closer to expiry) on the middle rack. Since it is eye level, these items have a better chance of being seen and will help to ensure that they are eaten to prevent spoilage and waste.
- Check daily for expired food items to prevent bacteria growth or unpleasant odors in your fridge.
- Always place meat on a plate with a rim or tray to prevent any leaking, and store on the bottom shelf of your fridge, so incase of leaking it doesn’t spill on the other items in your fridge and contaminate them.
- Keep an open box of baking soda stored in your fridge (preferably the bottom shelf or in the back, to prevent it from being knocked over and spilling). The baking soda will work to prevent and remove any unpleasant odors from your fridge and keep it smelling clean and fresh.
- If your fridge has an ice machine, it is good to empty out the ice bin once a month and dispose of the old ice, which can prevent odors from being trapped in stale ice. It is good to clean the dispenser as well at this time too.
So you’re probably wondering, how often should you clean your fridge? And the answer is really dependent on how often you buy groceries, how many people live in your home (the more people the more food there probably is in your fridge), and how often you cook. If you have a lot of members in your home and use your fridge quite frequently, but use the tips above to maintain it, then a monthly deep clean of the fridge is good enough. If you do not have a big family and do not use your fridge as often, you can probably get away with deep cleaning your fridge every 2-3 months. However, if your fridge is looking like it could use a good cleaning or has an unpleasant smell, it’s good to give it a deep clean to maintain the quality, taste, and safety of the food in your fridge!