If you use a home appliance as frequently as you use the fridge, you would expect that it gets stuffy and dirty over time. The fridge is one of the areas in the house that needs to be cleaned before moving. This is an important point in move-in or move-out cleaning, but it’s also one of the most important parts of deep cleaning or spring cleaning. It would be good if you included this in regular cleaning.
Fortunately, you can make your fridge as clean as new with the tips provided in this article. The best part is that these tips for fridge cleaning are easier to apply while offering faster and impressive results?
Tip #1 – Check the contents of your fridge while emptying it
Always remember to check the contents of your fridge in the process of cleaning. Do not just remove and replace them, check for possible expiration of contents. Also, clean the underside of jars and sticky bottles. If you have meat and dairy products around, keep them in a cool bag with freeze blocks. This incapacitates the bacteria, especially on a hot day.
For best results, clean your fridge just before you shop for new items – the contents are fewer, so cleaning is easier, and there is more space to stock the incoming delivery.
Tip #2 – Detach the shelves and fittings and wait
If you try to remove the plastic shelves as soon as you switch off your fridge, chances are you will break them. Instead, leave the fridge for a while so that the plastics come to room temperature before removal. This reduces the chances of splitting the plastics.
Transfer the detached plastic and glass shelves immediately into hot soapy water. Leaving them in the bowl put them at the risk of cracking. The hot water takes them to room temperature faster, and the waiting time can be used in cleaning the interior of the fridge.
Tip #3 – Fast-cleaning your fridge
Having removed your drawers and shelves from the fridge, prepare a solution of water and vinegar. Use it to spray the interior of your refrigerator, while focusing on areas with gunk or stains. Proceed to wash the removed shelves while the interior stays soaked. Now, go back to wipe out the wet interior completely – use a soft, damp cloth for best results. You will be surprised at how effective the water-vinegar mixture is in getting rid of the sticky mess, fridge smells, and germs.
Leave the interior to dry sufficiently before replacing the content and shutting the door. Avoid the use of chemical cleaners – they may release harmful chemicals and odors into the content of your fridge.
Tip #4 – Using bicarbonate of soda to clean your fridge
Bicarbonate of soda is a natural and safer fridge cleaner compared to chemical products. The added advantage is that it gets rid of the offensive smells in your fridge. If your fridge is still relatively clean, you can use a paste of bicarbonate of soda and hot water instead. Wipe your fridge’s interior with a soft cloth dampened by this paste. Use a clean cloth to rinse off and use a kitchen roll to dry the cleaned area.
Tip #5 – Cleaning a smelly fridge
Do you have a smelly fridge? Start by identifying the source of the smell – spoilt or sour foods. Next is to set your fridge’s temperature correctly. For best results, less than 4 degrees for the fridge and -18 degrees for the freezer. After this, do a comprehensive cleaning of the interior, as well as the drainage channel, using vinegar or bicarbonate of soda solution.
An alternative to these cleaners are listed below;
– Ground coffee or activated charcoal. Just spread on a tray and leave in the fridge. The coffee works by soaking up the nasty smells within a few days.
– Lemon halves or orange peel. Place them face down on a shelf. It neutralizes the bad smell and adds a citrusy fragrance.
– Vanilla-soaked cotton wool will add some inviting smell to your fridge.
– Porridge oats work similarly to activated charcoal and ground coffee.
Lastly, use airtight food containers to store food. It preserves the food and contains the smell.
Tip #6 – Dealing with water at the bottom of your fridge
A couple of reactions occur in your fridge, including condensation. When condensation happens, the resulting water goes into the drain hole at the back of the fridge. The drain hole is as high as the lowest shelf. There is an evaporation pan that evaporates this water.
When the drain hole gets blocked, either by food or similar items, condensation results in pools of water accumulating at the bottom of the fridge. Most times, you will find the water in your vegetable drawer.
If this is the case, start by checking for apparent blockages. If there is none, proceed to clean the drain hole, as described below.
Tip #7 – Cleaning your fridge’s drainage hole.
Get your vegetable drawers out of the fridge. Use a plumbing-snake-like drain hole cleaning device to clear the blockage. In the case of a persistent obstruction, you may find mold or mildew at the back of your fridge. You can remove this by pouring some vinegar solution into the drain hole with a basting syringe.
Once the drain hole cleaning device cannot get out any more gunk, use a cotton wool bud to apply the vinegar-water solution to the hidden parts of the hole. This should get rid of any remaining deposits (if any).
Wipe the bottom of the fridge with a soft damp cloth soaked in vinegar and water. Now return your vegetable drawers into the fridge. Do not wait until your drainage hole gets blocked entirely before attempting to clean it. For best results, do it every few months.
Tip #8 – Cleaning your fridge shelves
Withdraw the soaked shelves from the hot soapy water. They should be very clean by now, except for the hidden gunk between the shelf surface and the surrounding. To get this out, you will need the toothpick. Run a toothpick along the joints on the shelf. Use a soft cloth to wipe the collected dirt.
Pick up the cotton bud you used in cleaning your drain hole, and use it to remove the stuck food in the hard-to-reach spots of your fridge’s interior. An alternative to soapy water for cleaning your shelves, drawers, and fridge bins is a mixture of bicarbonate and warm water.
Whatever you do, do not use a dishwasher to wash your fridge fittings. The water in the dishwasher is usually too hot for the plastics.
Tip # 9 – Cleaning your fridge seals
Considering how frequently we open and close the fridge doors, it is understandable why the door seal is prone to accumulating dirt from spills and crumbs. This area can be cleaned by using a crevice tool or a stiff washing-up brush. After this, get a soft cloth, wrap it around a blunt knife, and dip it in a vinegar-water solution. Run the soaked cloth around and along the holes in the seal.
Once the gunk has been removed, repeat the process using a kitchen towel or any other fresh, dry cloth. The second round is necessary to dry the crevices hygienically before closing the fridge door.
Tip #10 – Cleaning a freezer
Start by placing a towel at the bottom of the freezer. This will keep the water from defrosting from escaping the freezer.
Switch off the freezer (from the mains). Remove all the contents. If there are food items, keep them in a freezer bag to keep them frozen. Wait till shelves and trays are at room temperature before transferring them into warm water. This ensures that they do not crack.
Open the door of the freezer and leave for a couple of minutes. While the ice melts, work on other parts of the fridge. You can get the large pieces of ice using a freezer defroster ice shovel. Do this with care s that the lining of the freezer is not affected.
Find a spray container. Pour warm water and distilled vinegar of equal amounts into the container. Spray the freezer walls with the combined solution, and use a soft cloth to get the mixture into the surfaces. Dry thoroughly before replacing the contents of the freezer.
For best results, do not overload your freezer. Store food evenly to ensure proper circulation. Keep all foods in airtight containers before putting them in the freezer. Wipe ice tray spills as soon as you find them – this keeps the containers ice-free.
Tip #11 – Do not restock until the fridge and freezer is cool
It is best to leave a cleaned and dried fridge for a few minutes before restocking. This will allow the temperature to return to 4 degrees or below. If there is a fast-cool function in your fridge, use it. For the freezer, the temperature should be -18 degrees before returning the foods.
Tip #12 – Cleaning the outside of your fridge
Either the bicarbonate soda solution or soapy water works fine in cleaning the outside of a white appliance like your fridge. All you need is a soft damp cloth, pour the soda on it and use it to wipe the surfaces. Pay attention to the top of the doors and the handles – they tend to become sticky also.
If your appliance is made from stainless steel, clean in the direction of the grain using a stainless-steel cleaner. This is the best way to achieve a fingerprint-free shine.
Tip #13 – Going away for a while? Here is what to do
Put some measures in place when leaving your home for some time. The first is to freeze all food items that could go off if left for a long time. If you are not sure of power availability, finish up the food before leaving. For very long breaks, empty your fridge. Switch it off from the mains and open the doors.
Tip #14 – Deodorizing a fridge during cleaning
It does not matter if you clean your fridge regularly, or these items are in good condition, foods like cheese, garlic, and other strong-smelling foods in your fridge create not-so-pleasing smells in your fridge often.
You can fix this by keeping strong-smelling foods in airtight containers. Alternatively, keep a cup filled with baking soda in your fridge. If your fridge is larger, place a cup on each shelf. The role of the baking powder is to absorb these smells and ensure they do not make the whole place stuffy.