How Often Should You Wipe Out the Inside of Your Refrigerator?

The general rule of thumb is to wipe out the inside of your refrigerator once a month, or more often if needed. This will help you keep your food fresh and safe, prevent odors and spills, and extend the life of your appliance. In this article, we will explain why it is important to clean your refrigerator regularly, how to do it effectively, and what to avoid when doing so.

Why You Should Clean Your Refrigerator Regularly

Cleaning your refrigerator regularly has many benefits, such as:

Preventing foodborne illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six Americans gets sick from eating contaminated food each year. Some of the common causes of food poisoning are bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can grow in your refrigerator if you do not clean it properly. These include Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and Norovirus, which can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps. To prevent these illnesses, you should keep your refrigerator at or below 40°F, discard any expired or spoiled food, and wipe out any spills or leaks as soon as possible.

Preserving food quality and freshness. Cleaning your refrigerator regularly can also help you maintain the quality and freshness of your food. This is because a dirty refrigerator can affect the temperature, humidity, and airflow inside the appliance, which can cause your food to spoil faster or lose its flavor and texture. For example, if your refrigerator is too crowded, the cold air may not circulate well, resulting in uneven cooling and hot spots. If your refrigerator is too dirty, the dust and dirt may clog the vents and coils, reducing the efficiency and performance of the appliance. If your refrigerator has unpleasant odors, they may transfer to your food and affect its taste and smell.

See also  Why are blade grinders bad? Must Know

Saving money and energy. Cleaning your refrigerator regularly can also help you save money and energy. This is because a clean refrigerator can run more smoothly and efficiently, using less electricity and lowering your utility bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 15% on your energy costs by cleaning the condenser coils of your refrigerator at least once a year. You can also save money by reducing food waste, as a clean refrigerator can help you store your food properly and prevent it from going bad.

How to Clean Your Refrigerator Effectively

To clean your refrigerator effectively, you should follow these steps:

Empty your refrigerator. Before you start cleaning, you should remove all the food and beverages from your refrigerator and store them in a cooler or another refrigerator. This will give you more space and visibility to clean the inside of your appliance. You should also check the expiration dates and labels of your food and discard any items that are past their prime or that you do not plan to eat.

Remove the shelves and drawers. Next, you should take out the shelves, drawers, and any other removable parts from your refrigerator and wash them with warm, soapy water. You can use a sponge, cloth, or brush to scrub away any dirt, stains, or residues. You should rinse them well and dry them with a towel or let them air dry. You should also sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of bleach and one gallon of water, or use a commercial disinfectant spray, to kill any germs or bacteria. You should wipe them with a clean cloth and let them dry completely before putting them back in your refrigerator.

Wipe down the interior. After you have cleaned the shelves and drawers, you should wipe down the interior of your refrigerator with a damp cloth or sponge and a mild cleaner. You can use a mixture of baking soda and water, vinegar and water, or lemon juice and water, or use a commercial refrigerator cleaner. You should avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaners, such as bleach, ammonia, or scouring pads, as they may damage the surface or leave behind harmful residues. You should pay special attention to the corners, crevices, and door seals, where dirt and bacteria may accumulate. You should also wipe down the interior walls, ceiling, and floor of your refrigerator, and remove any ice or frost buildup if you have a freezer compartment. You should rinse the cloth or sponge frequently and wring it out well to avoid dripping water into the appliance. You should dry the interior with a clean cloth or paper towel, or let it air dry.

See also  How do I know if my coffee maker is broken? Explained

Clean the exterior. Finally, you should clean the exterior of your refrigerator with a damp cloth or sponge and a mild cleaner. You should wipe down the door, handles, and sides of your appliance, and remove any fingerprints, smudges, or stains. You should also clean the top and back of your refrigerator, and vacuum or dust the condenser coils, which are located behind or underneath the appliance. You should be careful not to bend or damage the coils, as they are essential for cooling your refrigerator. You should also unplug your refrigerator before cleaning the coils, and plug it back in after you are done. You should dry the exterior with a clean cloth or paper towel, or let it air dry.

What to Avoid When Cleaning Your Refrigerator

When cleaning your refrigerator, you should avoid these common mistakes:

  • Using hot water. You should not use hot water to clean your refrigerator, as it may cause the plastic parts to crack or warp, or the glass parts to shatter. You should use warm or cold water instead, as they are gentler and safer for your appliance.
  • Using too much soap or cleaner. You should not use too much soap or cleaner to clean your refrigerator, as they may leave behind residues or bubbles that can attract dirt or bacteria, or interfere with the cooling function of your appliance. You should use a small amount of soap or cleaner, and rinse and dry the surfaces well after cleaning.
  • Leaving the door open for too long. You should not leave the door of your refrigerator open for too long while cleaning, as it may cause the temperature inside to rise, or the compressor to work harder, which can affect the quality and safety of your food, or the efficiency and performance of your appliance. You should close the door as soon as possible after removing or replacing the items, and try to complete the cleaning process within an hour or less.
  • Forgetting to replace the water filter. If your refrigerator has a water dispenser or ice maker, you should not forget to replace the water filter regularly, as it can help you improve the taste and quality of your water, and reduce the risk of contaminants or impurities. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how often and how to replace the water filter, which may vary depending on the model and usage of your appliance.
See also  How High Should Wall Sconces Be From the Floor in a Bedroom?


Cleaning your refrigerator regularly is an important task that can help you keep your food fresh and safe, prevent odors and spills, and extend the life of your appliance. You should wipe out the inside of your refrigerator once a month, or more often if needed, and follow the steps and tips we have provided in this article. By doing so, you can enjoy a clean, healthy, and efficient refrigerator that can serve you well for years to come.