What Should You Not Clean a Fridge With? Explained

You should not clean a fridge with bleach, ammonia, or any abrasive or flammable products. These substances can damage the surface of the fridge, create harmful fumes, or cause a fire hazard. Instead, you should use mild and natural cleaners, such as baking soda, vinegar, or dish soap, to keep your fridge fresh and hygienic.

Why You Should Avoid Bleach, Ammonia, and Other Harsh Cleaners

Bleach and ammonia are two common household cleaners that you might think are effective for sanitizing your fridge. However, these chemicals are too harsh for the delicate material of the fridge, and can cause more harm than good. Here are some reasons why you should avoid using bleach, ammonia, or any products that contain them, to clean your fridge:

  • Bleach and ammonia can corrode the metal, plastic, rubber, and silicone parts of the fridge, making them brittle and prone to cracking or leaking.
  • Bleach and ammonia can discolor the surface of the fridge, leaving behind stains or spots that are hard to remove.
  • Bleach and ammonia can react with each other or with other substances in the fridge, such as food residues, and produce toxic gases, such as chlorine or chloramine. These gases can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, and can be fatal in high concentrations.
  • Bleach and ammonia can contaminate your food, especially if you do not rinse the fridge thoroughly after cleaning. These chemicals can alter the taste, smell, or appearance of your food, and can cause food poisoning or allergic reactions.
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Other cleaners that you should avoid using to clean your fridge include:

  • Abrasive products, such as scouring pads, steel wool, or sandpaper. These products can scratch the surface of the fridge, making it easier for dirt and bacteria to accumulate.
  • Flammable products, such as alcohol, acetone, or gasoline. These products can ignite if they come into contact with an electrical spark or a hot surface, and can cause a fire or an explosion.
  • Acidic products, such as lemon juice, tomato juice, or cola. These products can erode the enamel coating of the fridge, and can also damage the metal parts.

How to Clean Your Fridge Safely and Effectively

To clean your fridge safely and effectively, you should use mild and natural cleaners, such as baking soda, vinegar, or dish soap. These cleaners are gentle on the surface of the fridge, and can remove dirt, grease, odors, and bacteria without leaving any harmful residues. Here are some steps to follow to clean your fridge with these cleaners:

  • Unplug the fridge and empty it of all the food items. Throw away any expired, spoiled, or moldy food, and store the rest in a cooler or another fridge.
  • Remove the shelves, drawers, and bins, and wash them with warm water and dish soap. Rinse them well and let them air dry.
  • Mix one quart of warm water with one tablespoon of baking soda, and use a sponge or a cloth to wipe the inside of the fridge. Pay attention to the corners, crevices, and door seals, where dirt and bacteria tend to accumulate.
  • Spray some white vinegar on a clean cloth, and use it to wipe the outside of the fridge, including the handles and the top. Vinegar can dissolve grease, fingerprints, and stains, and can also disinfect the surface.
  • Replace the shelves, drawers, and bins, and refill the fridge with the food items. Make sure to organize the food according to the temperature zones of the fridge, and to label and date any leftovers or opened packages.
  • Plug the fridge back in, and enjoy your clean and fresh fridge.
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How to Maintain Your Fridge and Prevent Future Messes

Cleaning your fridge is not a one-time task, but a regular habit that you should practice at least once a month. To maintain your fridge and prevent future messes, you should follow these tips:

  • Check the temperature of your fridge, and make sure it is set between 35°F and 40°F. This will keep your food fresh and safe, and prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.
  • Cover your food with plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or airtight containers, and avoid storing raw meat, poultry, or seafood on the top shelf, where they can drip and contaminate other food.
  • Clean any spills or leaks as soon as they happen, and use a paper towel or a cloth to blot the excess liquid. Do not use hot water or soap, as they can spread the mess or damage the fridge.
  • Deodorize your fridge by placing an open box of baking soda, a bowl of coffee grounds, or a cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract on a shelf. These items can absorb and neutralize any unpleasant odors, and keep your fridge smelling fresh.


Cleaning your fridge is an important task that you should do regularly to keep your food safe and your fridge in good condition. However, you should not use bleach, ammonia, or any abrasive or flammable products to clean your fridge, as they can damage the surface, create harmful fumes, or cause a fire hazard. Instead, you should use mild and natural cleaners, such as baking soda, vinegar, or dish soap, to clean your fridge safely and effectively. By following these simple steps and tips, you can have a clean and fresh fridge that will serve you well for years to come.