How to Clean a Refrigerator? Easy Tips and Tricks

To clean a refrigerator, you need to empty it, wipe down the interior and exterior surfaces, sanitize the shelves and drawers, and replace the food items. This process can help you keep your fridge fresh, hygienic, and organized. Cleaning a refrigerator regularly can also prevent food spoilage, bad odors, and bacteria growth. In this article, we will show you how to clean a refrigerator in a simple and effective way.

What You Need

Before you start cleaning your refrigerator, you need to gather some supplies and tools. Here is a list of what you need:

  • A large cooler or a few insulated bags to store the food items temporarily
  • A trash can or a compost bin to dispose of any expired or spoiled food
  • A bucket or a large bowl to hold the cleaning solution
  • A spray bottle to apply the cleaning solution
  • A microfiber cloth or a sponge to wipe down the surfaces
  • A soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush to scrub the corners and crevices
  • A clean towel or a paper towel to dry the surfaces
  • A mild dish soap or a vinegar-based cleaner to make the cleaning solution
  • Baking soda to deodorize the fridge
  • A vacuum cleaner or a broom to clean the floor around the fridge

How to Clean a Refrigerator

Now that you have everything you need, you can follow these steps to clean your refrigerator:

  1. Empty the fridge. Unplug the fridge or turn off the power. Take out all the food items and store them in the cooler or the insulated bags. Check the expiration dates and labels of the food items and discard any that are past their prime or that you don’t plan to use. Remove the shelves, drawers, and bins from the fridge and set them aside.
  2. Wipe down the interior. Fill the bucket or the bowl with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap or a cup of vinegar. Stir well to make the cleaning solution. Spray the solution on the interior walls, ceiling, and door of the fridge. Use the cloth or the sponge to wipe down the surfaces, starting from the top and working your way down. Use the brush or the toothbrush to scrub the hard-to-reach areas, such as the door seal, the vents, and the hinges. Rinse the cloth or the sponge frequently and change the water if it gets dirty.
  3. Sanitize the shelves and drawers. Wash the shelves, drawers, and bins in the sink with hot water and dish soap or vinegar. Rinse them well and dry them with the towel or the paper towel. You can also use a disinfectant spray or wipes to sanitize them, especially if you store raw meat, poultry, or seafood in the fridge. Make sure to follow the instructions on the product label and let the shelves and drawers air dry completely before putting them back in the fridge.
  4. Wipe down the exterior. Spray the cleaning solution on the exterior of the fridge, including the handles, the top, and the sides. Use the cloth or the sponge to wipe down the surfaces, paying attention to any stains, fingerprints, or smudges. Use the brush or the toothbrush to clean the coils, the condenser, and the fan at the back of the fridge. These parts can collect dust and dirt over time, which can affect the efficiency and performance of the fridge. Vacuum or sweep the floor around the fridge to remove any crumbs, debris, or spills.
  5. Deodorize the fridge. Sprinkle some baking soda on a small plate or a shallow bowl and place it in the fridge. Baking soda can absorb and neutralize any unpleasant odors in the fridge. You can also use coffee grounds, activated charcoal, or lemon peels for the same purpose. Replace the deodorizer every month or as needed.
  6. Replace the food items. Plug in the fridge or turn on the power. Put back the shelves, drawers, and bins in the fridge. Arrange the food items in the fridge, following these tips:
    • Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood in separate containers or bags and place them on the lowest shelf to prevent cross-contamination.
    • Store dairy products, eggs, and leftovers on the middle or upper shelves, where the temperature is more consistent.
    • Store fruits and vegetables in the crisper drawers, adjusting the humidity settings according to their needs. Some fruits and vegetables produce ethylene gas, which can cause others to ripen faster. Keep them separate or store them in breathable bags or containers.
    • Store condiments, sauces, and drinks on the door shelves, where the temperature is warmer and more suitable for them.
    • Store cheese, butter, and spreads in the dairy compartment, which is designed to keep them fresh and soft.
    • Label and date the food items, especially the leftovers, and use them within a few days or freeze them for later use.
    • Leave some space between the food items to allow proper air circulation and cooling in the fridge.
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How Often to Clean a Refrigerator

You should clean your refrigerator at least once every three months or more often if you notice any spills, stains, or odors. You should also clean your refrigerator before and after a major holiday or event, when you are likely to store more food or have more leftovers in the fridge. Cleaning your refrigerator regularly can help you maintain its cleanliness, freshness, and efficiency.


Cleaning a refrigerator is not a difficult task, but it requires some time and effort. By following the steps and tips in this article, you can clean your refrigerator in a simple and effective way. You can also enjoy the benefits of having a clean, hygienic, and organized fridge that can keep your food fresh and safe.