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How To Clean Your Refrigerator

How To Clean Your Refrigerator: A Brief Guide

Refrigerators may appear clean but have a persistent and unsettling odor that comes out of them. While your fridge might appear immaculate at first glance, there are many things to consider, including small spaces which can accumulate rotten foods.

This article will discuss how to clean your refrigerator, eliminating any lingering odors.


How To Clean Your Refrigerator: Step by Step

There’s cleaning your fridge, and then there’s doing it the right way. This method ensures complete sanitization, to prevent a smelly refrigerator. Don’t worry: we’re covering every little thing.

1. Remove All Food From Your Fridge

First, take everything off the shelves, and put it on the counter. Once removed, you will want to wipe down every food container. Clean your food containers with an anti-bacterial, food-safe wipe.

2. Remove All Shelving

Secondly, remove all the shelving and trays from within your fridge.
Doing so will make it easier to find all the crumbs previously hidden in the small spaces of your fridge.

scrubbing refrigerator shelves

3. Scrub The Shelves

Bring the shelves and trays to your sink and scrub using dishwashing detergent and hot water.

It’s also a good idea to have a dual-sided sponge, a plastic bristle brush, and some clean cotton rags for drying. Ensure the fridge shelves are dry before putting them back into the fridge to prevent bacteria buildup.

4. Clean All The Surfaces

distilled vinegar for sanitizing fridge

Get a container, and create a solution of two parts: warm water and white distilled vinegar.

Use paper towels or disposable cleaning wipes, and go over every surface in your refrigerator. Put a heavy emphasis on anywhere that has stuck-on food.

5. Sanitize

Now it’s time to use our sanitizing agent to wipe down everything.
The vinegar will have a strong smell, but that’s because the acidity in the white distilled vinegar is killing bacteria.

The acidity level is too high for most bacteria to exist, and at the same time, it traps odors. If you can, use a white cotton rag here so you can see the coloration that comes up on your rag.

6. Dry Any Damp Surfaces

cleaning shelves

Are there any food particles left in your fridge? Is there any trapped moisture?

Now take a dry rag to soak up any remaining moisture. Are your drawers and glass crisper drawer panel completely dry?

7. Replace the Shelves and Food

If your shelves are dry, and your food containers are as well, then it’s time to put everything back into the fridge.

8. Temperature Check

We just had your fridge open for anywhere from fifteen to sixty minutes.

That’s enough to send your fridge temps to 400 and 50oc, which we want to avoid. Check the temperature right away, and then check again in two hours.

So long as it’s going down and getting close to the 40°F mark, you’re good to go.

How to Keep Your Fridge Clean for Longer

Moisture buildup is going to happen for sure, but you can control how much, as well as odor buildup, with some simple tips.

1. Use Baking Soda

fridge with baking soda in it

Open a container of baking soda and put it in the back of your fridge. This will keep things smelling clean.

This also neutralizes acids and bases, meaning that when particles and bacteria travel through the air, baking soda kills some of them.

Put your baking soda directly underneath the fan in your fridge for the best effect.

2. Use Sealable Containers

If food goes bad in the fridge, spores can spread to other foods and latch onto the surfaces inside your fridge, causing mold inside your refrigerator, which is both unsightly and unhygienic.

However, if the food goes bad in a sealed plastic container, the bacteria will stay inside that container. The same can work for food-safe Ziploc bags.

Use these to store food instead of leaving plates of food uncovered in the fridge, no matter how briefly you plan to leave them like that.


FIFO stands for first in, first out. It’s a term used in food service to ensure that new food goes behind the older food, so you aren’t allowing foods to go bad before using them.

It’s good to do when storing fresh groceries in your fridge, as these tend to reach their expiry date quicker than most foods in your fridge.


Your refrigerator stores most of the food you eat daily – so it’s best to keep it clean.

Be thorough when cleaning your refrigerator. Ensuring you’ve sanitized every surface, regardless of whether or not food will come in direct contact with it.

It’s easy to forget about it when the door is closed and it’s out of sight, but make it a habit to clean your fridge at least once every two weeks to reduce bacterial growth and remove any foods which may be nearing their expiry date.

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