Comprehensive Guide To Refrigerator Cleaning In Detail!

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Comprehensive Guide To Refrigerator Cleaning In Detail!

Refrigerator cleaning is an essential household task ensuring proper functioning and hygiene. Even though the job might sound tedious, regular cleaning is necessary to ensure food safety and the refrigerator’s lifespan. This series of steps and guidelines will help you efficiently clean and organise your refrigerator, providing fresh and sanitary storage space for your food items.

Why Keeping A Clean Refrigerator Is Necessary?


  • It ensures the freshness and quality of your stored food, preventing odours and cross-contamination.
  •  Regular cleaning helps you identify and discard expired or spoiled items, reducing food waste.
  •  A well-maintained refrigerator is more energy-efficient, leading to lower utility bills. So next time you get lazy to clean it, remind yourself that you will lose some extra bucks next month for it.
  • Additionally, a clean and organised refrigerator creates a pleasant kitchen environment. Thereby promoting a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.

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Cleaning your fridge is a matter of aesthetics but also of health and safety. A dirty fridge can harbour harmful bacteria, mould, and fungi that can cause food poisoning, spoilage, and unpleasant odours. 

According to FDA, you should clean your fridge at least once every three months or more if needed. 

Step By Step Procedure For Refrigerator Cleaning


To effectively clean your refrigerator, it’s essential to follow these initial steps:

1. Emptying the Refrigerator

  • Begin by emptying the contents of your refrigerator.
  •  Remove all food items, condiments, and beverages. 
  • Check expiration dates and discard any expired or spoiled items. As you remove the contents, please place them in a cooler or insulated bag to keep them at a safe temperature.

2. Unplugging and Defrosting (if applicable)

  • In case your refrigerator has a freezer compartment that tends to accumulate frost. It is better to unplug the appliance and let it defrost. 
  • This step is essential if you notice ice buildup on the freezer walls. 
  • Place towels or absorbent materials around the base of the refrigerator to catch any water that may drip during the defrosting process.


Note: Not all refrigerators require defrosting. If your refrigerator is frost-free, you can skip this step.

This step is necessary as you will create a clear and accessible workspace for thorough cleaning.

3. Gathering Cleaning Supplies

List of Cleaning Supplies That You Will Require 

  • Mild dish soap or a refrigerator-safe cleaning solution
  • Warm water
  • Microfiber cloths or soft sponges
  • Baking soda (for stubborn stains or odours)
  • A toothbrush or soft-bristle brush (for crevices and seals)
  • Empty spray bottle (for mixing your cleaning solution)
  • Optional: White vinegar (for removing mineral deposits)
  • Optional: Reusable cleaning wipes (for a more eco-friendly option)

These supplies will ensure you can efficiently clean and sanitise your refrigerator’s interior and exterior surfaces.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Options

  • You can curate a natural cleaning solution by mixing water and white vinegar in equal quantities in a spray bottle. It works wonders for removing stains and odours without harsh chemicals.
  • Tough stains and residue can also be addressed with Baking soda, as it’s a gentle abrasive. Sprinkle some of it on a damp cloth to create a mild abrasive paste.
  • Reusable cleaning wipes from cloth or bamboo are a sustainable alternative to disposable paper towels.
  • Opting for eco-friendly cleaning supplies promotes a healthier environment while keeping your refrigerator clean and fresh.

Things To Do Before Interior Refrigerator Cleaning

  • Removing Shelves and Drawers When cleaning your refrigerator. This allows you to access all areas and clean them thoroughly.
  • For cleaning interior surfaces, wipe down the interior surfaces of the refrigerator using a mixture of mild soap and water. 
  • Pay special attention to corners, crevices, and seals.
  • For the case of Spills and Stains, make a paste with baking soda and water. Then apply it to the stained area, let it sit for a while, then gently scrub and wipe clean.

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What You Will Need 

  •  A cooler or another fridge to store your food temporarily
  •  A large surface, such as a kitchen counter or a table, to place your shelves and drawers
  •   Warm water and mild soap or detergent
  • A sponge, cloth, or brush
  •  In a spray bottle, pour distilled vinegar and water (1 part vinegar to 7 parts water)
  • A clean towel or paper towel
  •  A drying rack or a flat surface

Procedure For Interior Refrigerator Cleaning


  • Empty your fridge of all the food items and temporarily store them in a cooler or refrigerator. This will make accessing the shelves and drawers easier and prevent food from spoiling while you clean.
  • Unplug your fridge or turn it off to save energy and avoid electrical hazards.
  • Detach the shelves and drawers from your fridge and place them on a large surface. Lift them slightly and slide them out carefully. Some shelves and drawers may have clips or screws that must be undone before removal.
  • Wash the shelves and drawers with warm water and mild detergent or soap. Utilise a sponge, cloth, or brush to remove any dirt, stains, or spills. Try not to use abrasive cleaners as they often scratch the surface of the shelves and drawers.
  • If the shelves and drawers are too large or dirty to wash in the sink, spray and wipe them clean with a solution of vinegar and water. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and an excellent deodoriser, as it helps remove bacteria or odours from your fridge.
  • Dry the shelves and drawers thoroughly with a clean towel or paper towel. You can also let them air dry on a drying rack or a flat surface.
  • Put them back in your fridge in their original positions. Make sure they are securely fitted and aligned with the fridge walls. You may need to reverse the steps you took to remove them.
  • Plug your fridge back in or turn it on, and return the food items to their proper places. Wipe down any jars, bottles, or containers before returning them to the fridge to remove dust or dirt.

Doing this regularly lets you keep your fridge clean and fresh, protect your food from spoilage and contamination, and save energy and money. Try it today and see the difference for yourself!

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Cleaning the Freezer Compartment

Your freezer is a vital appliance that helps you store and preserve your food for extended periods. However, paying attention to defrosting and cleaning your freezer regularly can become efficient and unhygienic.

Ice and frost can build up in your freezer, reducing its cooling capacity and increasing its energy consumption. Dirt and spills can also accumulate in your freezer, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and mould that can contaminate your food and cause unpleasant odours.

Therefore, it’s crucial to defrost and clean your freezer at least once every six months or more often if needed. 

What You Will Need

To naturally defrost and clean your freezer, you will need the following items:

  • A cooler or another freezer to store your food temporarily
  • Some towels or trays to catch any dripping water
  • A hair dryer, a fan, or a bowl of hot water (optional)
  • Warm water and mild soap or detergent
  • A cloth or sponge
  • Fill spray bottle filled with distilled vinegar and water (1 part vinegar to 7 parts water)
  • A clean towel or paper towel
  • A drying rack or a flat surface

Procedure To Follow


  • Empty your freezer of all the food items and temporarily store them in a cooler or another freezer. This will make it easier to access the freezer compartment and prevent any food from thawing while you defrost.
  • Unplug your fridge or turn it off to save energy and avoid electrical hazards.
  • Open the freezer door and let the ice and frost melt naturally. You can place some towels or trays under the freezer to catch dripping water. Depending on the amount of ice and frost in your freezer, this may take several hours or even a day.
  • If you want to speed up the defrosting process, you can use a hair dryer, a fan, or a bowl of hot water to melt the ice and frost faster. However, be careful not to use sharp or metal objects to scrape or chip the ice, which may damage the freezer walls or coils.
  • Once the ice and frost completely melt, you can wipe down the freezer walls with a cloth or sponge soaked in warm water and mild soap or detergent. You can use vinegar and water solution to spray and wipe the walls. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant in every household that can help remove bacteria or odours from your freezer. 
  • Remove the shelves and drawers from your freezer and place them on a large surface, such as a kitchen counter or a table. Lift them slightly and slide them out carefully. Some shelves and drawers may have clips or screws that must be undone before removal.


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  • Wash the shelves and drawers of your fridge with warm water mixed with any mild soap or detergent. You can utilise a cloth, sponge, or brush to remove any dirt, stains, or spills. We advise you not to use any abrasive cleaner as it can scratch the surface of the shelves and drawers.
  • If the shelves and drawers are too large or dirty to wash in the sink, you can use a spray bottle with equal quantities of water and vinegar to spray and wipe them clean.
  • Dry the shelves and drawers thoroughly with a clean towel or paper towel. You can also let them air dry on a drying rack or a flat surface.
  • Put them back in your freezer in their original positions. Make sure they are securely fitted and aligned with the freezer walls. You may need to reverse the steps you took to remove them.
  • Plug your fridge back in or turn it on, and return the food items to their proper places. Wipe down any jars, bottles, or containers before returning them to the freezer to remove dust or dirt.

Exterior Refrigerator Cleaning

Your fridge is one of the most critical appliances in your kitchen, but it can also be one of the most neglected. The fridge exterior can get dirty and dull over time, especially if you have a stainless steel or painted fridge that shows fingerprints and smudges quickly. 

A dirty fridge can also harbour germs and bacteria, affecting your health and food quality. Therefore, it’s essential to clean the exterior of your fridge regularly to keep it looking new and fresh. 

What You Will Need

To naturally clean the exterior of your fridge, you will need the following items:

  • A soft cloth or microfiber cloth
  • In a spray bottle, pour distilled vinegar and water (1 part vinegar to 7 parts water)
  •  A lemon or baking soda (optional)
  •  Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide
  • A toothbrush or cotton swab

Procedure To Clean The Exterior of Your Fridge

  • Determine the material of your fridge’s exterior. Different materials may require other cleaning methods and products. For example, stainless steel fridges may need special cleaners or polishes to remove fingerprints and smudges, while painted or plastic fridges may be easier to clean with mild soap and water.
  • Choose a suitable cleaner for your fridge’s exterior. You can use a good quality commercial cleaner designed for your fridge’s material or make your natural cleaner with some common household ingredients.

For example, you can use a solution of distilled vinegar and water in equal parts for cleaning and disinfecting any fridge surface. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice or baking soda to the distilled vinegar for that extra cleaning power and freshness.

  • Spray or apply the cleaner to a soft or microfiber cloth, and wipe down the exterior surfaces of your fridge gently.

You can use a circular motion or follow the material’s grain to avoid streaks or scratches. Repeat this step several times until the surfaces are clean and shiny.

  • Dry the exterior surfaces with a clean cloth or paper towel. You can also buff them with a dry microfiber cloth for extra shine.
  • Clean the door handles and controls of your fridge. These parts are often touched so that they may harbour more dirt, germs, and grease than others.
  • To clean the door handles and controls, you can use the same cleaner you used for the exterior surfaces or a different cleanser that is more suitable for these parts.

For example, you can use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect and remove any sticky residue from the door handles and controls. You can take the help of a toothbrush or cotton swab to reach any crevices or corners that are hard to clean with a cloth.

  • Spray the cleaner on a cloth or cotton swab, then carefully wipe down the door handles and controls. You may need to scrub gently or use more pressure depending on the level of dirtiness.

You may also need to rinse the cloth or cotton swab frequently with clean water to avoid spreading dirt or germs.

  • Dry the door handles and controls with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Cleaning Refrigerator Coils and Vents

Regularly cleaning the coils is crucial for maintaining the refrigerator’s efficiency. Dirty coils cause your fridge to work harder, therby consuming more energy.

Use a Coil Brush or Vacuum to gently brush or vacuum the coils to remove dirt, dust, and debris. This helps improve airflow and prevents overheating of the refrigerator.

Deodorising the Refrigerator

Your refrigerator stores your food and drinks, so you want it to smell fresh and clean. However, sometimes your fridge can develop unpleasant odours from spoiled food, spills, or bacteria. These odours can affect the taste and quality of your food and make your kitchen less inviting. 

Fortunately, you don’t need to use harsh chemicals or expensive products to deodorise your refrigerator. You can use some natural and eco-friendly methods that are easy and effective. 9.1 

Natural Deodorizing Methods

After cleaning your refrigerator, you can use some natural deodorisers to keep it smelling fresh and clean. 

Two of the most effective natural deodorisers are baking soda and activated charcoal. Both substances can absorb odours and moisture from your fridge, leaving it odour-free. 

To use baking soda or activated charcoal to deodorise your refrigerator, you can follow these steps:

  • Choose either baking soda or activated charcoal as your deodoriser. 
  •   Fill a small bowl or container with baking soda or activated charcoal.

 Add some lemon peels or drops of your favourite essential oil into the baking soda for extra freshness.

  •   Place the bowl or container in a corner of your fridge, preferably on the top shelf, where it can circulate more air.
  •  Replace the baking soda or activated charcoal every month or whenever it loses its effectiveness.

Using these natural methods, you can deodorise your refrigerator naturally and effectively. You can also prevent odours from building up in your fridge by storing your food correctly, checking the expiration dates regularly, and cleaning any spills as soon as possible. 


Reorganising and Restocking Your Refrigerator for a Clean and Efficient Space

One key aspect of refrigerator maintenance is reorganising and restocking the contents periodically. 

  • Discarding Expired Items

As we go about our daily lives, it’s easy to overlook items in the refrigerator for far too long. Expired foods not only pose a health risk but can also lead to the development of unpleasant odours that can permeate other items. 

To prevent this, you must regularly check your refrigerator and promptly discard anything past its expiration date. This practice ensures your food’s safety and helps keep your refrigerator smelling fresh.

  • Organising Food and Items

When food items are organised, you can easily see what you have and what you need to restock. Start by categorising individual dairy products, meats, fruits, vegetables, and condiments separately. 

Clear bins or containers can enhance the organisation and make items easily accessible.

Labelled containers are beneficial for keeping smaller items like sauces, dressings, and leftovers in order. This approach prevents spills and saves you time when looking for specific items.

Additionally, consider placing things that need to be used sooner in a prominent position so they are remembered.

Tips for Effective Reorganization and Restocking:

  • Schedule regular checks of your refrigerator to catch items close to their expiration dates.
  • When restocking, use older items to ensure you’re using enough food.
  • Take the opportunity to wipe down shelves and drawers before putting items back in. This prevents any spills or sticky residues from accumulating.

Regular maintenance like this goes a long way in preserving the quality of your food and the overall cleanliness of your kitchen.

Maintenance Tips for a Clean Refrigerator

  • Setting a schedule for your refrigerator can significantly affect its cleanliness and efficiency. Here’s how you can create an effective routine:
  • Dedicate a specific day to check for expired items and wipe down spills or stains. This prevents the accumulation of dirt and odours.
  • Once a month, perform a more thorough cleaning. Remove all the contents, including shelves and drawers, and wash them with mild soap and water. Let them dry before placing them back.
  • With every change of season, take the opportunity to clean the exterior and back of the refrigerator. Dust and debris often accumulate on the coils and vents, affecting the appliance’s efficiency.
  • In addition to your regular cleaning schedule, practising fast clean-up methods daily helps maintain a fresh and organised refrigerator:
  • If you notice any spills or leaks, wipe them up promptly. This prevents mould and bacteria growth, ensuring a hygienic environment for your food.
  • Place an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator to absorb odours. Replace it every three months to keep the air inside smelling clean.
  • Ensure that your refrigerator’s temperature settings are appropriate. Bacteria proliferate above 40°F (4.4°C); this ensures you don’t compromise 

A well-maintained refrigerator not only extends the shelf life of your food but also reduces energy consumption. Incorporating these practices into your routine will create a healthier and more pleasant kitchen environment for you and your family.

Troubleshooting Refrigerator Odors and Issues

A refrigerator is a vital appliance in any kitchen. Still, occasionally, it can develop odours and malfunctions that need immediate attention. Let’s explore how to troubleshoot and address these common problems.

Identifying and Addressing Odors

Unpleasant odours inside the refrigerator can impact the freshness of your food and beverages. Here’s how to identify and eliminate them:      

  •  Check for expired or spoiled items and promptly discard them to prevent odour spread.
  •  Thoroughly clean the refrigerator’s interior using mild soap and water. Pay close attention to shelves, drawers, and compartments where spills or residue have accumulated.
  • Place natural deodorisers like baking soda, activated charcoal, or a bowl of coffee grounds in the refrigerator to absorb odours.
  • Implement a regular cleaning schedule to prevent odours from building up over time.

Addressing Refrigerator Malfunctions

Refrigerator malfunctions can disrupt the cooling process and compromise food safety. Here’s how to address common issues:

  • If the refrigerator isn’t cooling properly, check the temperature settings and ensure that items do not block the vents. Dirty coils can also affect cooling efficiency; clean them regularly.
  • If you notice excessive frost buildup in the freezer, it could indicate a problem with the defrost system. Check the defrost timer, heater, and thermostat for any issues.
  • Water pooling inside the refrigerator is often due to the clogged defrost drain or a malfunctioning water line. Inspect and unclog the drain or fix any leaks.
  • Rattling, buzzing, or grinding could indicate problems with the compressor, fan, or motor. Consult the user manual or take assistance from any certified technicians.

Children and Refrigerator Safety

Regarding a safe and organised home, it’s essential to consider children’s safety, especially around household appliances like the refrigerator. Let’s delve into ways to child-proof your refrigerator and educate kids about food safety.

  • Children are naturally curious and drawn to exploring their surroundings, including the refrigerator. Child-proofing this appliance can prevent accidents and keep them safe:
  • Install child-proof locks or latches on the refrigerator doors to prevent children from opening them without adult supervision.
  • If possible, adjust the shelves to keep tempting items out of reach. Store potentially hazardous items like glass containers on higher shelves.
  • Secure heavy or breakable items, such as large juice containers or glass jars, on lower shelves to prevent falling if a child opens the door.
  • Ensure that anyone who cares for your child, such as babysitters or grandparents, knows your implemented safety measures.
  • Educating kids about food safety not only protects them from potential dangers but also instils good habits from a young age:
  • Teach children to wash their hands before and after handling food, especially items from the refrigerator.
  • Help them understand which foods need refrigeration and why, such as dairy products, raw meat, and cooked leftovers.
  • Teach them to check expiration dates on packaged items before consuming them and to alert an adult if they find anything expired.
  • Explain how to properly store food in the refrigerator, such as keeping raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Children often mimic the behaviour of adults, so it’s essential to set a positive example when it comes to food safety and refrigerator use:
  • Close the refrigerator door tightly after use to prevent temperature fluctuations and potential hazards.
  • Maintain an organised refrigerator with clearly labelled items. Encourage children to ask before taking food from the fridge.
  • Show kids how to clean up spills promptly to prevent bacteria or mould growth.

Implementing these safety measures and educating children about food safety creates a safer and more organised home environment. These practices protect your children and help them develop lifelong responsible habits.

Tips for Preventing Future Buildup

Maintaining a clean and organised refrigerator is an ongoing process that involves preventive measures to avoid future buildup and mess. Here are some tips to help you keep your refrigerator tidy and efficient:

  • Store leftovers and open food items in airtight containers. This prevents odours from spreading and keeps food fresher for longer.
  • Label containers with the contents and date of storage. This helps you keep track of how long items have been in the refrigerator.
  • Keep the uncooked raw meat on the lower shelves to prevent any drips or contamination of other foods. Cooked foods should be kept on higher shelves.
  • Crisper drawers are designed to keep fruits and vegetables fresh. Use them to prevent produce from wilting or spoiling quickly.
  • Dairy products like milk and yogurt should be stored on the inner shelves where the temperature is most consistent.
  • Avoid Overcrowding the refrigerator shelves. Leave some space between items to allow for proper air circulation, which helps maintain consistent temperatures.
  • When restocking the refrigerator, move older items to the front and place newer items at the back. This helps ensure that things are used before they expire.
  • Regularly check the expiry dates of items in the refrigerator. Remove and discard any expired or spoiled foods promptly.
  • Make it a habit to clean the refrigerator regularly. Remove any expired items, wipe down spills, and sanitise surfaces.

 By following these tips, you’ll not only prevent future buildup of mess and odours but also ensure that your refrigerator remains organised and efficient. A well-maintained refrigerator keeps your food fresh and safe and saves you time and money in the long run.

Refrigerator Cleaning Products and Brands

When cleaning your refrigerator effectively, using the right products can make a significant difference. Here are some recommended cleaning products and eco-friendly options to keep your fridge sparkling clean:


  • An all-purpose cleaner effectively wipes down shelves, drawers, and exterior surfaces. Look for one with antibacterial properties to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • A mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water can clean surfaces, remove stains, and eliminate odours. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant.
  • Using water and baking soda, gently curate a paste to scrub away stubborn stains and dried spills. It’s non-abrasive and safe for food areas.
  • Microfiber cloths are excellent for wiping down surfaces without leaving streaks. They are reusable and help trap dust and dirt effectively.
  • Mild dish soap diluted with water can clean sticky spots and spills on shelves and drawers.

Brands to Consider

  • Method offers a range of eco-friendly cleaning products, including all-purpose cleaners and kitchen sprays.
  • Seventh Generation, known for its sustainability commitment, provides natural cleaning solutions for various household needs.
  • Mrs Meyer’s Clean Day offers cleaning products with plant-derived ingredients and delightful scents.
  • Better Life specialises in plant-based and cruelty-free cleaning products that are safe for your family and the environment.

Remember always to read the labels of cleaning products. Before using them, test them on a hidden area before applying them to larger surfaces. 

Whether you choose conventional or eco-friendly alternatives, regular cleaning and incorporating the right products will help maintain a hygienic and organised refrigerator.


Maintaining a clean and organised refrigerator is more than just a chore. It’s a way to ensure the safety of your food, your appliance’s efficiency, and your household’s overall well-being. By following the tips and techniques discussed in this guide, you can experience the numerous benefits of a well-maintained fridge.

From organising your items to tackling spills promptly and using the right cleaning products, each step contributes to a more pleasant and efficient kitchen.

Your efforts will surely pay off with a healthier lifestyle, reduced food waste, and a clean and comfortable kitchen. Cheers to a clean, fresh refrigerator that adds value to your home and well-being!

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