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How to Clean a Dirty Fridge With These Hacks and Tips

4:46 PM
No one likes cleaning out the fridge, but it doesn't have to be a hard task.  Learn how to clean a dirty fridge with these hacks and tips.

Of all the appliances in your home, your refrigerator can be the most difficult one to clean. Refrigerators have heavy shelves that need to be removed, and all sorts of nooks and crannies for dirt to collect in.



Keeping your refrigerator clean is very important to reduce the odor, germs and bacteria emanating from the fridge.

Cleaning your refrigerator can certainly be a daunting task, but thankfully there are easier ways to do it. Here are some tips for making cleaning the fridge a breeze

How to Clean a Dirty Fridge With These Hacks and Tips


Remove all the Food from the Fridge before Cleaning


One of the biggest hassles with cleaning the fridge is having to work around all the food inside. Instead of trying to clean around all of the food in your fridge, make some space in the kitchen to set it all so you can clean.

Additionally, make two piles of food, one pile of food that goes into the fridge, and another pile of food that needs thrown out. This way, you aren't putting any bad food back into the fridge.

Not only will this maximize your efficiency when cleaning out your fridge, but it will mean that you will not have to throw out food little by little.



Remove All Shelves and Drawers


After removing all the food from your fridge, be sure to remove as many shelves and drawers as possible. Not only will this allow you to scrub out your entire fridge with ease, but it will also make scrubbing your shelves and drawers down much easier.

It is recommended to start with the shelves and drawers, washing them down with dish soap and water and putting them out to dry, before moving into the interior of the fridge.

To make cleaning the fridge easier for the next time, consider making washable mats for your fridge shelves and drawers.  You can also use contact paper and replace as needed.


Ensure your Food is Clean before Putting it Back.


If your fridge is especially dirty, your food may be dirty as well. Check the bottoms of containers and make sure that they aren't dirty and clean them appropriately if they are.



For plastic containers, such as milk jugs, simply wipe them down with a wet rag. For consumable containers such as cardboard, consider placing them into reusable food containers before returning the food to the fridge.

I really like these food containers because they are easy to stack and the lids fit securely.

Scrub Out the Inside


With your shelves, drawers, and inserts drying elsewhere, now is the time to get into the fridge and scrub it clean. I like to use a microfiber cloth to clean mine.

As far as cleaners go, use what you feel comfortable with. Many choose to use bleach, but others would rather use vinegar. Additionally, you can purchase an all-purpose cleaner or make a DIY all purpose cleaner recipe.



Surprisingly, toothpaste works incredibly well at cleaning out a fridge, especially on tougher stains and spots. Additionally, baking soda can be used to scrub tough to clean grease spots inside your fridge.

You may find it rather difficult to get inside all the nooks and crannies of your fridge. To get into all the cracks and crevices, simply use a toothbrush with a little bit of soap and water to make cleaning the intricate aspects of your fridge a breeze.

Additionally, be sure to clean out new refrigerators before using them, as there will be grime and germs inside even brand new fridges.

Deodorizing Your Refrigerator


Once you take out all of the food, you may still notice a lingering odor in your fridge. If cleaning and scrubbing your fridge doesn’t remove the odor, there may be a simple solution. Simply place an open container of baking soda into your fridge, preferably on the bottom shelf.

You can leave the baking soda container in the fridge while you put all the food away, so don’t worry about taking it out.



Additionally, if you want a subtle, pleasant odor, consider dropping a minimal amount of vanilla extract into the dish of baking soda in your fridge.

If your crisper drawers are the source of a negative odor, simply crumple up a paper bag and place it into the drawer. This will work wonders at deodorizing your crisper drawers.


Clean the Seal of the Fridge


The rubber seal attached to the door is integral to your fridge's performance. The seal of a fridge keeps the inside cool as well as clean. The seal needs cleaned often, so be sure to hit it before you finish cleaning the fridge. Simply clean as much of it as you can with soap and warm water and let dry.

I have a freezer on bottom style fridge.  The seal of the freezer drawer collects a crazy amount of food and crumbs, so be sure to check that seal when you clean a dirty fridge.



Cleaning the Exterior of the Fridge


While cleaning your fridge’s interior is important, don't neglect the exterior either. Your fridge can be a giant collector of germs and dirt unless it is cleaned periodically.

The first and simplest part of cleaning the outside of the fridge is to first remove anything on the fridge. Make sure you remove all the magnets, paperwork, or foodstuffs that may be on your fridge.

Next, simply wash the exterior with warm water and soap. For tougher stains, use a cleaner that is safe for your fridge’s finish.

I use vinegar based cleaners often, but they aren't always good for the exterior of your fridge.  Check with the manufacturer's recommendations before using vinegar on your fridge exterior.

Refrigerator Maintenance


While not as important in terms of cleanliness, refrigerator maintenance is very important for a variety of reasons. Cleaning and maintaining your fridge increases your fridge's performance and reduces the risk that anything bad will happen to it.

When cleaning your fridge, it may be the perfect time to pull it out to clean the coils, or make sure the water filters are up to par.

Refrigerators are an integral part of the home, and as a primary food container, should be as clean as possible. Cleaning the fridge not only makes it look and smell nice, but it also protects your food and the health of your household.

Looking for more cleaning hacks and tips?  Check out these posts:




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Cari Dunn
Cari Dunn

Cari lives on a small farm in Ohio with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, five goats, and several chickens. She loves Gilmore Girls, glitter, coffee, and her kids. But not in that order.