The Big Chill: Cleaning Your Fridge

Tips for Cleaning Your Fridge

How often you clean your refrigerator depends on how often you NEED to clean it out.  Does your fridge have a lot of spills and accidents?  Does your fridge smell bad?  Are you running out of space in your fridge?  Do you have trouble finding things in your fridge?  (Men, just skip that question, because I swear men can never find anything in a refrigerator!!)  If you answered YES to any of those questions, brace yourself, it may be time to do a big fridge clean out.

Fridge Cleaning Tip #1:  While you are cleaning your refrigerator, go ahead and clean your freezer.  It is much easier just to do both at the same time.

The easiest, and fastest, way to clean out your fridge and freezer, is to remove every single thing.  This sounds like a pain, but it is actually much easier to do it this way.  It is more efficient.

I use warm water and an environmentally friendly cleaner to clean my fridge.  I don’t like any cleaners that smell too strong for the fridge.  You can used the old-fashioned water and vinegar mix.  I’m not a fan of it.  It just doesn’t clean well enough for me, but if you like to use that, it would be safe for the fridge.

Cleaning Your Fridge

Fridge Cleaning Tip #2:  Purge and throw away old items while you are emptying out your fridge and freezer.

Don’t be afraid to throw things away.  There is no magic number for how long you can keep items before throwing them away.  It depends on the item.  I think ONE YEAR is a good number to shoot for.  If you haven’t used an item in one year, throw it away.  Excluding some freezer items that you can store longer.  Don’t be afraid to throw away freezer items either.  Just because it is a frozen item, does not mean it will last forever.  Many items stored for too long in the freezer develop freezer burn, ice crystals, or a yucky “old freezer” smell.  It’s gross to keep that giant bag of Costco chicken nuggets with freezer burn and ice crystals for 2 years just because you got it on sale.  It’s okay to let it go.

Fridge Cleaning Tip #3:  Work fast, especially with freezer items that might melt or defrost.

I move quickly when I’m doing a big clean out.  We always have ice cream in the freezer, so I use that as my guide to hurry.  It’s all about saving the ice cream for me.  If you’re concerned about any of your items, put them back in the freezer as you go.

Fridge Cleaning Tip #4:  Clean all of the drawers, shelves, and cubbies.

Since you already have everything out of the fridge, pull out all of the removable shelves, drawers, and any other storage bins.  Clean them while they are empty.  Dry them off before you put them back.

Fridge Cleaning Tip #5:  Wipe down the walls of your fridge.

While everything is out of the fridge and freezer, wipe down all 4 walls.  For the freezer, using a warm or hot cloth will help.

Fridge Cleaning Tip #6:  Remove the grate on the bottom and clean it.

Removing the vent/grate on the bottom, front part of your fridge is fairly easy to do.  Ours just has some tabs where the grate pops on and off.  If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult your user’s manual, or research it online.  You can wipe the vent/grate down and clean it much easier if you remove it first.  I use my vacuum attachment to vacuum any of the dust on the fridge components behind the grate.

Cleaning Your Fridge

Fridge Cleaning Tip #7:  Don’t forget the outside.  Wipe down the outside of the fridge too.

Additional Tips:  Visit my previous article about how to clean under your refrigerator, Spring Cleaning Project-Clean Under Refrigerator.   And visit my recent article about how you can use magazine bins to store items in your kitchen, including your refrigerator, Pantry Storage With Magazine Bins.

Happy Cleaning!



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