How to Clean Your Refrigerator

by fargasch

Let's face it: if we don't do a good job maintaining the fridge it can become quite grody. On this page I share some tips to help keep your refrigerator clean and in top shape.

David Allen, during his "Getting Things Done" lecture, asks a "profound" question:

"Have you ever cleaned your fridge by accident?"

And then proceeds to explain that it happens when you find something expired, start looking for another expired items, and next thing you know you've removed everything from your fridge and find yourself cleaning it with a damp cloth.

Now, while this may be the case with some people, most of us have to make a decision [ugh!] to clean the fridge and then follow through with it.

Luckily, cleaning your refrigerator is not as daunting a task as it may seem.

* Photo Credit: Alexa's Photos via Pixabay, kindly released this piece into the Public Domain/CC0. Thank you, Alexa!

Getting Ready to Tackle the Task

Your tools may be a little different...
Photo credit: kevincole on flickr, licensed under a CC BY 2.0. Thank you Kevin!
Photo credit: kevincole on flickr, licensed under a CC BY 2.0. Thank you Kevin!

Kevin's Wise Words...

about cleaning a refrigerator...
"That's right, how many of you out there in flickrland will admit you hate cleaning out the Refrigerator. Refrigerator cleaning ranks up there with toilet cleaning, which is even with picking up dog poop in the yard. OK, I feel better now, I will go back to cleaning the Refrigerator...... right after a cold beer."

How About You?

What is your most dreaded household chore?

A Clean Fridge is a Happy Fridge

(A fridge completely covered in magnets is also a happy one, I might add...)
Photo credit: pinkiwinkitinki on flickr, licensed under a CC BY-SA 2.0. Thank you pinkiwinkitinki!
Photo credit: pinkiwinkitinki on flickr, licensed under a CC BY-SA 2.0. Thank you pinkiwinkitinki!

Cleaning Your Refrigerator:

Are creepy things lurking inside?
Here are some tips to get you over this predicament!

Materials:

What you will need
  • Baking soda (by the way, check out the book with over 500 uses for baking soda that you never thought of, featured just below),
  • Some rags, and
  • Your vacuum cleaner with hose attachment

Baking Soda, the most versatile item in your home?

Here are 500 uses for this inexpensive white powder!
Baking Soda: Over 500 Fabulous, Fun, and Frugal Uses You've Probably Never Thought Of

This 7" x 6", 120 page book is fully indexed. Learn how baking soda was developed into a consumer product, how it works, and more importantly how to use it in an amazing number ...

View on Amazon

Steps:

The "how to" part...
  1. Remove everything from the fridge

  2. If you think it will take a while, put whatever stuff that needs to be kept cold into a cooler

  3. Pull the fridge away from the wall, unplug it and vacuum the coils on the back (it helps you gain back some efficiency that is lost due to dust and dirt)

  4. Put a piece of tape over the light switch, or unscrew the light bulb (fridge lights are not made to stay on for a prolonged period of time) and turn up the temperature

  5. Take all the removable parts (shelves and drawers) and place them in the sink (they need to be washed thoroughly)

  6. Use a mixture of baking soda and water to clean the interior; make sure to get into all of the seams, edges and any other hidden areas

  7. Rinse with warm water and allow to dry; meanwhile wash the removable parts that are in the sink

  8. Wipe them down well with a dry rag to get rid of extra moisture, as well as any leftover moisture inside the fridge

  9. Now you are ready to start putting things back: put back the parts you removed, and turn the temperature back down

  10. Start adding things back into the fridge, wiping bottles and jars to get rid of condensation, spills and moisture

  11. While you're at it check all expiration dates and toss all the expired stuff

  12. You can keep it smelling good by placing a fresh box of baking soda in it

Closing thoughts on keeping your fridge clean

Having a clean fridge is important for your family's health and safety. Make sure to clean up spills as they happen, keep the storage bins neat and clean and dispose of old food quickly. It is a good idea to put all the leftovers on a dedicated shelf (that way you can find them easily and either eat or toss). 

Do not use any strong chemical cleaners! No 409, no PineSol, no bleach, etc. (If you wouldn't clean your dining plates with it, then don't use it to clean your fridge)!

Need help with keeping your house clean without toxic fumes?

Check out the book The Naturally Clean Home, below:
The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning

Keep your home clean, green, and healthy! Learn how to disinfect and freshen your house using powerful all-natural cleaners made by mixing essential oils together with common no...

View on Amazon

Maintaining Your Freezer

Now the freezer is a different beast...

You want to ensure that the food you freeze is stored safely. As opposed to a fridge, the more your freezer is kept well stocked, the better it will work (think of the frozen food as acting like ice blocks). So keep your freezer about 75% full and the better its efficiency will be.

Its temperature should be 0°F or below, for better preservation of your frozen food items. If your freezer doesn't come with a thermometer installed, you will want to buy one for that purpose. Don't put warm food in the freezer to cool it down, as it makes your freezer work much harder. Also, never re-freeze an item that has already been frozen and defrosted once.

As for defrosting a freezer (if it's not the kind designed to defrost itself automatically), it is better to wait until the ice has built up to around a quarter of an inch in thickness. Try not to leave it any longer than that will, as it will reduce its efficiency. It is a good idea to time defrosting to coincide with the point at which your freezer isn't too full.

For more tips on cleaning your refrigerator as well as ensuring its safe operation, you should refer to your fridge's owner manual.

Updated: 02/24/2017, fargasch
 
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