If it’s been a while since you gave your refrigerator a good cleaning, it’s probably time to tackle it again. This is not a daunting chore, especially if you approach it systematically.
Here are 5 steps to a sparkling, clean ‘fridge. Before you begin, turn the temperature dial to “off.”
- Empty the contents. Make sure your sink, garbage can, and recycling bin are empty. You will want to dump the contents of many jars, storage containers, and boxes in the garbage (or down the disposal), rinse them out, and recycle or re-use. Anything you plan to keep should be set aside. This is the most time-consuming part of the job, so don’t get discouraged.
- Wash the removable parts of the refrigerator. Pull out the drawers and shelves. Wash the drawers with warm, soapy water, rinse, and let them air dry. Wipe down the shelves with a general, multi-purpose cleanser or white distilled vinegar diluted in warm water. Rinse and let them air dry.
- Clean the interior. Use the same general, multi-purpose cleanser or vinegar to wipe down the walls, ceiling and floor of the refrigerator. With a gentle scrub sponge or old toothbrush, work out any grime in the rubber door gasket and other crevices.
- Return the food. As you replace the contents of the ‘fridge, use a clean, damp cloth or sponge to wipe them down. Jars and bottles tend to get sticky when they are handled often and this is a good opportunity to clean them off.
- Once all is back in the clean refrigerator and it’s turned on again, use the appropriate cleanser for the exterior. Enamel ‘fridges do well when spritzed with multi-purpose cleaners and wiped with a damp sponge. Stainless steel surfaces are better cleaned with diluted white vinegar and a damp, microfiber cloth.
While the above 5 steps are great ones to ensure your refrigerator is clean and rid of old, out-of-date food, it’s a good idea to clean the condenser coils at least once a year. These are found at the back of older refrigerators and beneath new ones.
To do so, pull the refrigerator from the wall and unplug it. Disconnect any water lines for ice machines and cold water, if you can. Using a coil brush and a vacuum, clean the coils. Be gentle but thorough. You will be amazed at the amount of dust you will dislodge! It’s advisable to do this when the refrigerator is empty — but not necessary.
Plug the ‘fridge in and you’re good to go!