When was the last time you gave your refrigerator a deep clean? If you cannot remember you need this post…badly. Since my New Year’s Resolution to not stock up on too much fresh food (which we never finish) my refrigerator seems to empty out by Saturday (our usual shopping day). When the fridge get really bare, I take the opportunity to clear the entire shelf off and give it a quick cleaning but even when I do that regularly, strange, sticky, gooey, smelly puddles always seem to pop up over time and when that happens, it’s time to Deep Clean the refrigerator! And here are 5 easy steps!
Step 1: Empty out the contents from the inside and on top of the refrigerator. Now is a great time to check expiration dates of condiments, cheeses and any other food items with a long shelf life. If you cannot find an expiration date, check our shelf life of foods post.
Step 2: Take out all removable shelving, refrigerator drawers and any parts that are heavily soiled. Set aside.
Step 3: Spray down the interior of the refrigerator with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth or sponge. Sticky or stuck on messes can be removed by applying a paste of baking soda and vinegar with an old toothbrush. To remove dried sticky spills like syrup or jelly, simply saturate a sponge with hot tap water and carefully place on sticky area (use tongs to spare your fingers) Leave for a minute or two and repeat until sticky area can be wiped clean.
Once you have cleaned all interior areas with your vinegar solution and baking soda paste, wipe down one last time with a microfiber cloth damp with plain water to remove any remaining residue. Don’t forget to wipe down all the seals and crevices which tend to collect crumbs and debris.
Hand wash all removable shelving and items using dish soap and water and/or baking soda paste as seen above. Dry items thoroughly and put back in refrigerator.
Step 4: Wipe down the washable exterior areas with a cloth and your vinegar solution (don’t forget the dust and clean the top too!). If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, wipe away dirt and grime with plain water and a microfiber cloth (wipe along the grain of the steel) Once clean, apply a small amount of olive oil to your cloth and apply to stainless steel (once again, go along the grain). The oil will not only remove the fingerprints and smudges but will keep them away longer. Surface scratches will also become less visible.
Step 5: Unplug the refrigerator and clean the coils in both the back and bottom (see your appliance manual for specific details). Cleaning the refrigerator coils should be done at least once a year. Regular cleaning is an important part of refrigerator maintenance and will help your appliance run more efficiently, which in turn, saves energy and money!
You did it! Your refrigerator is clean and shiny once again and it is time to stuff it back up with all that delicious food but before you do, make sure you keep these tips in mind to avoid spoilage and food borne illness.