Most people would agree that refrigerators are some of the most important appliances in the home. Without them, our perishable food items would spoil in no time at all. Unfortunately, most of us do not care for our refrigerators the way we should. They need regular cleanings and maintenance to ensure they function properly and keep our food fresh at all times. If you would like to know how to properly clean and maintain your refrigerator, take a minute to check out the following tips.
Take All the Food Out
In order to thoroughly clean your refrigerator, you must remove all food items from it. During this step, check all expiration dates and throw away anything that is outdated or unusable. Keep all the good, usable items in a cooler with ice until the fridge is fresh and clean. You can also transfer these items to another refrigerator if your home has one.
Cleanse and Disinfect Shelves and Drawers
Once all the food is removed, you should take out all the shelves and drawers and place them in a safe area. If they are not removable, do not worry. You can still clean them from inside the refrigerator. Shelves and drawers that are constructed of plastic or metal can be cleaned as soon as you remove them. If your refrigerator has shelves and drawers made of glass, which is rare, you may want to wait until they reach room temperature. This will prevent the glass from breaking or cracking when it comes in contact with hot water.
Using a clean rag and a solution of hot water, mild dish soap, and a splash of bleach, thoroughly cleanse and disinfect the shelves and drawers. When they are clean, allow them to air-dry on towels or out in the sun for a few minutes before replacing them. Be very careful while handling the wet shelves and drawers to prevent drops and breakage.
Cleanse and Disinfect the Interior
While the shelves and drawers are drying, you will want to cleanse the interior of your refrigerator. First, remove any food particles with a small broom or vacuum. Pay close attention to cracks and crevices where particles easily accumulate.
Next, wipe down all interior surfaces with the same solution used for the shelves and drawers. Tough or sticky spills may need a tougher scrub brush. Don’t forget the interior surfaces of the door as well. Wipe everything dry with a soft cloth or towel before replacing shelves, drawers, and food.
When everything is clean and dry, you are ready to replace the shelves, drawers, and food items. This is also a great time to wipe down any nasty food jars that need cleaning. Place things where they belong and admire your work. You may also want to add a new box of baking soda to your refrigerator, as it will work to absorb odors and keep things smelling fresh.
Clean the Freezer and Exterior Surfaces
Once your refrigerator is clean and fresh, you can repeat the same steps to clean your freezer. Luckily freezers are much less likely to encounter spills and messes, so removing expired food may be the largest task at hand. You should also wipe down the exterior surfaces of your refrigerator and freezer with a solution of mild soap and water.
In addition to cleaning your refrigerator regularly, there are also some other things that should be done on a seasonal basis that will keep it functioning properly. The first thing you should do is vacuum the coils on the back or bottom of your refrigerator. This will remove dust that has accumulated over time and keep your refrigerator running efficiently. If the coils are on the back, have someone help you move the refrigerator out away from the wall to prevent injury. If the coils are located on the bottom of your fridge, remove the front grill to access them.
Another thing you should do is check and clean the drain hole and drip pan, which are present in most refrigerator models. The drain hole helps drain out any unnecessary condensation, which is then collected in the drip pan. Remove any food particles or deposits that may be present in either location, and then clean them thoroughly with soap and water. It is a good idea to refer to the owner’s manual of your refrigerator for the proper instructions on how to perform these maintenance tasks.
By performing these simple steps, your refrigerator will be fresh and clean in no time at all. If you remember to wipe up any spills as they occur and regularly throw away any unusable food, your refrigerator will easily last until its next deep cleaning.