By Alicia Chilton
While your fridge is busy keeping food fresh and cool, it can start to show some wear and tear. Keep yours sparkling with these easy refrigerator cleaning tips for routine care and deep cleans.
The fridge is the workhorse of the kitchen, but you probably aren't cleaning it as often as other household surfaces. Without regular upkeep, stains and food residue can build up on the outside surfaces or the inner shelves and drawers, while forgotten perishables in the back can give off funky smells every time you open the door. To keep your fridge in good condition and ward off unpleasant odors, use these tips for the best way to clean a refrigerator inside and out. Gather a few natural cleaning ingredients and common household items, such as baking soda, water, dish soap, and dry cloths. Then move your food to a cooler and you're all set to tackle the task of cleaning a refrigerator.
HOW TO CLEAN REFRIGERATOR SHELVES AND DRAWERS
First, remove and hand-wash removable refrigerator shelves, wire racks, and drawers in hot water and mild dish soap. Let any glass components warm up to room temperature before bringing them in contact with hot water; otherwise, they might crack. Cover stubborn food spills with a warm, wet cloth for a few minutes to soften the spills before removal with a nonabrasive scrubber. Pay special attention to the bottom of wire racks, which is a spot that attracts debris.
HOW TO CLEAN THE FRIDGE INTERIOR
For drawers and shelves you can't remove, along with the sides of the internal compartment, grab baking soda and some water. Clean inside your fridge with a mixture of 1 part baking soda and 7 parts water. Beware of commercial cleaners as their scent might transfer to food. Work from top to bottom to prevent drips from landing on already-clean surfaces. Use a toothbrush designated for cleaning or toothpicks to reach cracks and crevices you can't get to with a cloth, such as hinges and other hardware. Wipe everything dry with a clean towel.
HOW TO REMOVE FRIDGE ODORS
Your refrigerator can foster an ideal environment for bad odors unless you take necessary action. Fortunately, you can tackle foul refrigerator smells without using any harsh chemical cleaners. Once you've rinsed and dried all surfaces, deodorize your refrigerator by filling an open container with dry baking soda and leaving it on the bottom shelf. This will absorb any future odors from lingering near your food, so keep it there when you refill your fridge. Once your refrigerator is clean and deodorized, put everything back. Now is also a good time to declutter and organize your fridge. Toss any expired or spoiled food, group like items together, and consider using bins and containers to corral items.
HOW TO CLEAN THE REFRIGERATOR GASKET
Pay special attention to the rubber gasket around the fridge door. It needs to be cleaned regularly to maintain a tight seal. Use warm water and liquid dish soap for normal grime and a bleach-based cleaner if you find mold. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. Then coat the seal with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to keep it from drying out.
HOW TO CLEAN A REFRIGERATOR EXTERIOR
Keep your refrigerator sparkling with a good exterior cleaning. Simply wipe with a cloth sprayed with all-purpose cleaner, giving a little extra elbow grease to the handles where grime tends to build up. Remember to occasionally wipe down the top of the refrigerator, too. Although this area might not see the day-to-day traffic of the handles and doors, dust can accumulate there over time.
The method for how to clean a stainless-steel refrigerator is a bit different, so use these tips to help eliminate smudges and fingerprints. For a quick cleaning, wipe the surface first with a damp microfiber cloth, then with a dry one. When the grime is a bit more stubborn, try rubbing alcohol. Place a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth and rub over the stains. When cleaning stainless-steel appliances, always wipe with the grain.