A clean refrigerator is both healthy for your family and cost-efficient in terms of both energy and food usage. To deep-clean your fridge, which is recommended at least four times per year, here is what you will need:
- Plenty of free counter space.
- A new sponge or cleaning rag that has not been used anywhere else (this is important to avoid introducing cross-contamination into your food storage space).
- A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (or similar) for removing scuffs or random color transfers from food packaging.
- A plastic scraper with thin cleaning rag to cover and protect surfaces that may need gentle scraping.
- A sink filled with hot, soapy water; a mild (preferably unscented) dishwashing liquid works great.
- Plenty of absorbent towels or cloths for drying cleaned shelves, drawers and other parts before returning them to their places,
- A large towel for the floor near your sink to catch inevitable splashes that happen when you wash items larger than your sink.
- A sizeable cooler.
- A vaccum cleaner.
- An empty-as-possible fridge (plan the cleaning task for the end of a week before you go food shopping).
- And, finally, a time block of at least four uninterrupted hours for deep cleaning properly.
A general tip to keep in mind is that refrigerators have lots of nooks and crannies that can be tough to clean; wherever refrigerator parts are designed to be removed and/or taken apart, be sure to do so as this is intended to aid with proper cleaning.
STEP 1: DOORS
Remove all bottles and jars either to countertop or cooler. Remove door shelves (if possible) and place in sink to soak while you clean and dry the insides of your refrigerator doors (working as quickly as possible to keep the fridge open for a minimum amount of time). Be sure to clean around the sides of doors and also in the grooves of the sealing gasket. Close doors and scrub shelves. If shelves are too large for your sink, rotate them so each part gets a good soaking before trying to remove dried and ‘chilled on’ gunk. As you dry door shelves, inspect for spots you missed and re-clean as needed. Return dried shelves to doors. Wipe and dry bottoms of all jars and bottles, checking expiry dates and sorting by like items before returning to fridge doors.
STEP 2: SHELVES
Food crumbs and debris will fall down as you remove shelves for cleaning, so start at the top and work downward, following the same basic sequence of steps as for doors.
STEP 3: DRAWERS
The same basic cleaning sequence applies for drawers, but they have more moving parts that can harbor grime, so pay attention for opportunities to dismantle and clean parts separately. Also, before soaking, use your vacuum cleaner to remove larger food particles and other debris. You may also encounter hardened liquid spills hiding underneath drawers; soak with a hot cloth to soften and gently scrape as needed.
STEP 4: FREEZER
Remove food to cooler. Remove and soak any baskets and/or shelves. Remove ice trays/buckets and discard old ice but do not soak ice trays in soapy water; defrost and clean with hot water only. Brush any debris to floor and vacuum. Before returning to freezer, check dates on frozen foods and discard items that have gone past their recommended safe freezing timeframes.
STEP 5: VENTS AND COOLING ELEMENTS
If your refrigerator is NOT hooked up to water filtration or automatic ice making system, pull out from wall, unplug and vacuum cooling coils and back and don’t forget to clean the top. If the fridge is hooked up to water, you may need professional assistance to complete this final important step for ensuring cooling efficiency.
If you have neither the time nor the inclination to do it all yourself, call MaidPro! Most MaidPro locations offer deep-cleaning services for refrigerators and ovens.