Most of us open our fridge doors continually throughout the day, and there’s nothing worse than being hit in the face with a blast of old Camembert and onion. Even if you wipe out your fridge regularly, it’s still well worth giving it a proper going over every so often – who knows what you’ll find lurking at the back of the shelves? Here’s our guide on how to clean your fridge thoroughly.
Time your clean for a period between food shops when the fridge is as empty as possible. Turn your fridge off at the mains, and clear out any food past its sell-by date. Other food such as salad items and milk can be packed into an insulated bag or box with ice packs for a couple of hours, although meat shouldn’t be allowed to warm up at all and should be discarded or transferred to the freezer. As you take each item out, if you’re keeping it then check that it’s clean and that jars and bottles haven’t leaked.
Prop the fridge door open and let it come up to room temperature for an hour or so. This is so that any glass shelves aren’t cold when you clean them, as this can cause them to crack. Remove anything that’s removable (shelves, racks, holders) and wash them one by one in the sink using warm water and washing up liquid. Dry them thoroughly and pile them carefully on one side to go back into the fridge when it’s ready.
Next, mix up a solution of two good tablespoons of baking soda in a litre of warm water to clean your fridge. Although you can use readymade cleaning solutions to clean your fridge, anything with too strong a scent may linger and contaminate food. If you have any stubborn deposits of old food or spills, then make up a paste of baking soda with a little drop of water. Cover the stain with the paste and leave it for a few minutes to soften – it should wipe clean. Wipe down all the inside surfaces, paying particular attention to the back and door.
Check the condition of the door seal – it’s important that this is in good condition as it’s what is enabling your fridge to stay cold efficiently! Clean off any dirt with a damp cloth and close the door to make sure the seal is working properly.
Refrigerator coils tend to attract dirt, dust and pet hair, and if they’re clogged up it may prevent your fridge from running as efficiently as it should be. The position of the coils may vary so check your handbook or the manufacturer’s website to see where it’s located and what the recommended cleaning method is. Usually a special brush or vacuum attachment is recommended.
Put all the shelves back into the clean fridge and then wipe the outside of the door. To keep it all smelling fresh, you might want to consider putting a natural ‘odour buster’ in there as well – you can use a small saucer of vinegar, a raw potato cut into two halves on a plate, a few coffee beans or some damp baking soda in a little bowl. All of these will absorb less pleasant odours and help your fridge smell fresh, although they do need changing regularly.
Finally, transfer any food you’re keeping back into the fridge and enjoy that smug glow of knowing you won’t have to deep clean again for six months!
Main image credit: @Home.on.terrace via Unsplash 2021.0