The refrigerator is an integral part of any household and keeping it clean is an essential part of maintaining good family health and hygiene. The road to a healthy gut lies in the shine of your refrigerator. Essentially, a cleaning regime of once in three months is probably enough for any refrigerator. From preparing for the cleaning day to stacking up on everything, there are a lot of careful steps and tactics to follow to bring back that first shine especially if the refrigerator is much older. In this article, we have listed down the detailed guide to how to clean your refrigerator and even perform a deep clean. It’s time to bring out that notebook and prepare for the clean!
Detailed steps on how to clean your refrigerator
These 10 steps to a cleaner refrigerator are the ultimate guide you need! Whether you are a bachelor or a busy 9-to-5 employee, these 10 steps are enough to get back that first shine of your refrigerator!
1. Prepare for the clean
You will need a handful of things to perform a proper clean of the inner shelves, walls, and doors. You can use the leftover stock from your previous clean or purchase a couple of things. These are the following things that are generally needed for a deep clean of a refrigerator:
- Scrub brushes
- Paper towels
- Microfiber towels
- Cleaning rag/sponges
- Bleach (rarely needed)
- Trash bag
- Cleaning solution
Bleach is rarely needed if any surface has caught stains stubborn enough not to come up with cleaning solutions. Otherwise, a couple of delicate cleaning solutions are enough for even a deep clean. You can alternatively use detergent if you don’t have a cleaning solution as it works comparably satisfactorily. Most people look for disposable gloves if they have to work with bleach. Otherwise, you can use rubber gloves that can be reused later and are also environment-friendly.
Generally, in the preparation phase, a day off from using the refrigerator is considered. Try eating out or cooking light meals in small proportions that do not need to be stored in the refrigerator. This will also help you save time and energy for cooking which you can devote to cleaning the refrigerator.
2. Switch off Power Connection
It is not recommended that you keep the power connected to your refrigerator while cleaning it (for obvious reasons!). One being, it’s just wastage of power, and second, there can be instances of current shocks, etc when working with cleaning liquids. Switch off the power connection and unplug it from the switchboard.
3. Take Out All Food Items
Yes. It is important to empty the racks, shelves, and even ice trays. Take out everything before starting the cleaning procedure. Not using the refrigerator from a day before will help you use some of the stored food and also reduce the time you take to empty the refrigerator.
You will be tempted to leave some things behind and think that you can clean around them easily. When you start cleaning, you will find “cleaning around” to be a lot less effective and more time-consuming. So, while you are emptying the fridge, remove everything starting from cooked food to packaged food as well as powdered ones and ice cubes.
Make sure every edible object is out of the vicinity of the refrigerator before you start cleaning. This is also important to maintain the safety of the food items as you will be working with detergents, cleaning liquids, and even bleach. Contamination of the food items with any of these can have a serious and even a lethal effect on your health.
4. Review food items
Once you have removed all the food items, start reviewing the expired products. Transfer perishable goods into the cooler or any other refrigerator. Throw away empty bottles, products that have expired, and items that do not have the expiry label intact but were pretty much ago. Now, keep aside all the usable food items and remove them from the vicinity of the cleaning area.
5. Remove refrigerator components
Once you are done with all the food items, start removing all the racks, shelves, trays, etc in the refrigerator along the lines of installation. If you are not sure of how to do this alone, take help from someone who has done it before or watch tutorials (or read guides given along with your fridge). Generally, most refrigerators come with removable shelves, trays, and racks. Hence, you can fix them back into place once the work is done.
6. Scrub Time
Carry the fridge shelves, racks, doors, or trays you removed to a place with an adequate and direct water supply. Start cleaning with the liquids and rub with the cleaning rags or sponges. All the light stains will be removed by cleaning liquids or detergents. Clean them and wash them thoroughly. You might need to repeat the cleaning twice if some stains are still left behind.
Most of the time, bleach is not needed for cleaning refrigerator shelves as food items do not impart very stubborn stains. But if you at all need to use bleach on any refrigerator part, first read all instructions in the guide manual carefully to determine if the parts can be washed with bleached. If they can be used with bleach without damage, take them to an open, well-ventilated area with sufficient air before using bleach on them. Wear proper padding and goggles, if needed, to protect your body parts from harmful chemicals.
Start by applying a small amount of diluted bleach on the shelf and rub it with a sponge or rag without direct contact with your body. Use gloves on your hand or a cleaning stick. After it is done, wash it with water thoroughly, put them in the Sun to dry.
7. Clean the interiors
Give much attention to the cleaning liquid you use on the shelves, trays, and even the interior of the refrigerator. If you don’t want to impart any harm, try using a gentle cleaning liquid or detergent instead of bleach, and make sure you clean all chemicals properly with water before drying. For cleaning the interiors of the fridge, a gentle cleaning liquid or an all-purpose commercial cleaner is sufficient. Just spray it onto the walls and doors and clean it immediately with a rag or sponge. A scrubbing movement will be necessary for removing all dirt and gunk properly, especially if there’s a lot of it.
Clean thoroughly and around all nooks and corners. Glass and clear plastic surfaces are easy to clean and remove stains but need to be handled with care. Rubber surfaces will need extra attention and force to get cleaned.
8. Stubborn spills
For particularly stubborn stains, you can use white vinegar or hot water (be careful with hot or boiling water). Remember to never mix white vinegar with bleach. You can clean using a combination of white vinegar with hot water and most of the time, it will be sufficient. You might need to go over the areas a few more times or spill excess white vinegar over the stain and keep it for some time.
9. Putting everything back
This will take some time so make sure you take a break, go eat something, and hydrate yourself. Start by putting back the trays, shelves, and racks into place along the lines by following the user manual and taking help from someone. Be careful not to drop anything on your feet or crack the glass. Once all the shelves are back in place, start putting back the food items.
Start by filling the innermost shelf and working your way outwards. You can now turn on the refrigerator as you start filling in. Fill in the perishable items first and quickly before they start spoiling. Organize your shelves into cooked food, perishables, vegan, non-veg, powdered, read-to-cook, ready-to-eat, and spreads. Put back everything according to the categories and lastly fill the egg tray. Next, for the ice tray, fill it with water and put it back into the deep freezer.
After you close the ice tray and refrigerator, try not to open the freezer for the next few hours and let the ice form and temperature come down as needed.
10. Last tip
If you are too busy most of the day and cannot pay much attention to what goes into the fridge, do this. When you put something in, check if there’s something in it that has already spoiled. Throw it out as you put one good thing inside. This way, the next time you clean your fridge, the process will become much less tedious for you.
‘How to clean your refrigerator’ can be a very worrying question for most bachelors and once-in-a-year cleaners! Nonetheless, it is also a very time-consuming process so make sure you have almost a day off before you embark on the journey. The next thing to keep in mind is carefulness while cleaning as one small mistake can turn out to be disastrous. Third and last, pay attention to what chemicals you use and whether you are washing off all chemicals properly with water. A simple cleaning liquid or detergent is sufficient most of the time and it is recommended to not use bleach and harsh (and toxic) chemicals in the vicinity of food items. If at all, these do not work, very hot water or white vinegar is always there to your rescue! Happy cleaning!
Feature Image Source: FirstCry Parenting