Isn’t your refrigerator the workhorse of your kitchen? And that’s why I am here to tell you how to clean a refrigerator.
A fridge filled with fingerprints and dirt on the outside is such an unpleasant sight. But you know what’s worse? The inside thronged with a foul odour and food splatters. The glimpse of it is unappealing and yucky. But it is harmful in many other ways. A dirty or stained refrigerator is also a potential cause of germs. Little did you know, a cluttered refrigerator uses more energy than normal and can hamper the appliance’s lifespan. Are you up for all of the above nasty and undesirable appliances?
When it comes to looking after one’s health, the COVID-19 pandemic has got everyone on their feet. People have become fitter, healthier and more conscious of their actions. What if I tell you that having your refrigerator squeaky clean is a small yet vital initiative towards maintaining your health. Also, it’s not impossible but an achievable target. Only buying the best refrigerator does not serve the purpose. You’ve got to do what it takes to maintain it as well.
Why is it important to clean a refrigerator?
Before we get to some easy ways to clean a refrigerator, I would like to emphasize how dangerous an unclean refrigerator is. Well, I don’t mean to scare you on this. But it’s about time you shake up and do what needs to be done.
- Food splatters give room to the breeding of germs. This is likely to lead to food-borne illness.
- A dirty refrigerator is a nurturing ground to dangerous bacteria.
- An overcrowded refrigerator diminishes the air ventilation in it and thereby reduces the freshness of the food. What’s the end result? Diarrhoea!
- Smudged and stained refrigerators are a host to insects like cockroaches and flies.
- Eating contaminated food can lead to stomach related issues and gas.
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How to clean a refrigerator?
Well, dirty and crowded refrigerators are more common than you think. Let’s keep the creepy crawlers away. And let’s get the appliance spotless and pristine. Trust me; it’s super simple.
1. Take your fridge tour
Of course, begin with taking your fridge tour. Know what’s inside and exactly where. I am not joking, but there are high chances you may have forgotten about some dumped food item. Inspect deeply, and in the process of doing so, you will discover tiny little spots which are not visible at a glance.
2. Unplug the appliance
In case you think this is obvious, it’s not. Some curious cleaning fanatics may get restless and begin cleaning immediately. Yes, that’s common. Unplugging the refrigerator is crucial. Banish away the slightest possibility of electrocution. It will eat up only a few seconds, but you cannot afford to skip it.
3. Empty the refrigerator
Emptying the refrigerator is a part of cleaning. You can make the appliance with food items inside. Firstly, you won’t be able to do your job perfectly. Secondly, every cleaning agent has an odour that will mix with the food odour and result in something bizarre. Therefore, remove every single thing from the inside. This is the best time to throw away old food which you have not done out of sheer laziness. Already opened cans are most likely great contenders for throw-away trash. Do it right away.
4. Have your supplies handy
Remember, you need to tackle two things – stains and odours. Therefore, you need a cleaning solution as well as a deodorizer. Along with that, you would also need an old toothbrush, toothpick, scrubber, and, dishwashing soap and a fresh sponge. For a cleaning solution, make a mixture of water with baking soda and vinegar. Fill this solution in a spray bottle or bowl. If you are looking to disinfect as well, get hold of a sanitizer as well. Make sure it’s food-safe.
5. Remove all the detachable drawers and shelves
Remove the shelves, salad crisper drawers and any other compartments (if detachable). You can go through the user manual in case of any confusion on how to detach it. Cleaning the shelves is the easiest. You only need water and the dishwashing liquid. The water can be cold or at room temperature but not hot. Use a non-abrasive scrub and dishwashing liquid to eliminate all the stains residing on it.
Now comes the tricky part. Most likely, you will find tiny food particles in the joints between the shelves and the surrounding surface. You won’t be able to reach them with the help of the scrub. Pick a toothpick and remove all the food residue. It’s going to come off easily. You need to follow the same process to clean the crisper drawers. Once done, put them on the sides and let them dry out naturally.
6. Beam the interiors
Now put all your attention onto the interiors and the sidewalls. It’s time to make use of the mixture you have prepared. Dip the sponge in the baking soda + vinegar solution. Let the mixture sit in the interiors for a while. Let all the gunk loosen up naturally. Wet the sponge and wipe off the paste with it. If there are any hard to reach spots, get hold of a toothbrush.
The area where the shelves rest will always be accumulated with grime and is not easily accessible. A toothbrush or a cotton bud can get inside fiddly places easily. So, in case there is any clog or grime, it will come off smoothly.
7. Disinfecting is a good idea
Well, you are not done with the cleaning. Disinfecting the appliance is equally important. I would totally recommend sanitizing surfaces. Drippings and remnants left behind can lead to the accumulation of moulds and bacteria. Also, stale food can pervade the contents of the refrigerator. In such a situation, sanitizing the refrigerator will keep away food-borne diseases. Remember not to go overboard with the sanitizer and use a food-safe one.
8. Don’t skip the drip pan
Here’s a refrigerator part that most people tend to forget. The drip pan requires cleaning as well. It does not require deep cleaning but just a simple wipe off. This equipment collects all the fridge condensation and is generally located at the bottom of the appliance. Remove it and simply run through water and wipe it with a microfibre cloth.
9. Condenser and coils
Undoubtedly, the refrigerators attract a lot of dirt and debris over a period of time. With the air intake, condenser and coils also absorb all the grime. This results in the condenser and coil using more energy to keep the appliance cool and sadly make the refrigerator less efficient. Less cooling, more energy bill. And that’s a total disaster! Therefore, it is important to clean them thoroughly. Simply remove the coils and vacuum to suck up all the dirt. Then reinstall it.
10. Let the outside shine
Look closely! The door seals and the exterior body of the appliance will also have dirt, grime, fingerprints, and to your surprise, some food particles as well. The outside of a fridge is cleaned most easily. Just spray the doors with some liquid soap and wipe it with a microfibre cloth. Yes, it’s that simple. Cleaning the door seals, that’s the rubber gaskets, can get slightly tricky. If your gaskets are filled with food crumbs, you will need a vacuum cleaner to suck them. If it’s just dirt, then you can do with the basics – liquid soap and cloth. Dip a clean cloth in a mixture of liquid soap and water to wipe it clean. Then you can condition it with vaseline. Well, that’s optional.
11. Don’t neglect the top and bottom
Along with the interiors and exteriors, clean the top and bottom sections as well. Your refrigerator is already unplugged. Move it slightly away and mop the floor swiftly. Once you are done with that, clean the appliance’s top and bottom section with a damp cloth.
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Tips to keep the food and fridge fresh
Here are some clever refrigerator hacks. Follow them to ensure your fridge remains less messy and the food fresher.
- Sort your food and store it wisely in containers and baskets.
- Use refrigerator mats. It keeps the shelves protected.
- Deodorizing the refrigerator is important. You can use baking soda for it.
- Do not overcrowd the appliance. That’s a no brainer.
- Toss out the leftover food regularly.
- Wipe the container, jar or any other vessel clean before putting it in.
- Use binder clips for open packets.
- Throw away mouldy food immediately.
- Avoid refrigerating tomatoes.
- Don’t wash any vegetables before putting them in. The dampness can lead to mould.
- Consume the oldest food first. That’s the ‘First in first out.’
- Don’t store any food items on the plates and cups. That increases the chances of spills.
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One Last Thought
I rest my case now. You are well versed with the easiest and effective ways of how to clean a refrigerator. When your appliance is squeaky clean, trust me, you are going to love it every time you open it. You consume every little thing stored inside. Keeping the appliance filthy is literally playing with your health.
Developing a simple habit of cleaning it periodically and storing the food correctly can help in big ways. Firstly, the refrigerator will always look spik and span. Secondly, the appliance will consume less energy. Thirdly, a de-cluttered fridge always looks welcoming and pleasing. So, adopt these minor habits today.
PS: What’s stopping you?