No Need for Chemicals
Is your refrigerator getting grungy? If you can’t remember when you last gave it a thorough cleansing, now may be a good time. The good news is you don’t need harmful chemicals! Here’s how.
Begin by taking everything out. This is also a good opportunity to toss any food that’s expired or past its prime. Check “use by” dates and FDA guidelines to determine what’s “old.”
Wet a clean microfiber cloth with lukewarm water and give it a good wring. Fold it a couple of times so you have plenty of clean sides to use, unfolding to a fresh side as needed. No need for any cleaning chemicals, which could leave a residue and wind up on your food.
- Start from the top and wipe down your refrigerator’s shelves and walls, keeping the cloth flat against the surface, not scrunched.
- Wipe down the shelves in the door too, taking care to remove sticky spills that could harbor bacteria.
- Remove and wipe down the produce drawers and dry them thoroughly. Be sure to also clean the areas where they rest before replacing them.
- Clean the door gasket/seal too. It’s amazing what can get stuck in that little groove!
- Wipe down the outside of the refrigerator as well as the door’s edges and handle.
- Before replacing items in the fridge, wipe down any sticky bottles and containers.
Don’t forget the coils!
Condenser coils are the black coils found on the bottoms of newer refrigerators and on the backs of most older ones. Cleaning the coils every six months or so will help your fridge run more efficiently and can extend its life.
Be sure to unplug it or turn it off first. Then if you have an older refrigerator and you’re able to, pull it away from the wall, taking care not to scrape the floor. For a newer fridge, unclamp the bottom panel at the front.
Use a soft-bristled brush to remove as much dust and dirt as you can. Go over it with a vacuum till the dirt is all gone.
Got a water dispenser?
Because yeast and mold can build up on the spout, you’ll want to clean it every month or so. A pipe cleaner or drinking-straw cleaning brush works great.
Check to see if it’s time to replace the external water filter as recommended by the manufacturer.
What to know about your ice dispenser.
Your freezer’s ice bin can also harbor yeast and mold. To clean it, turn off the ice maker, remove the bin and discard the ice. Using lukewarm water, your microfiber cloth and a mild dishwashing liquid, wash the bin and rinse it well. Make sure it’s dry before replacing it in the freezer.
Not only can a neglected or dirty fridge cost you more money in energy bills and cause food to spoil more quickly, it’s also not healthy. According to WebMD.com, food labeled with a “sell-by” date should be used within five days of that date. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Norwex Movement: Clean Your Refrigerator Coils—You’ll Be Glad You Did!
- Today: How often you should clean your refrigerator — and the right way to do it
- FoodSafety.org: Cold Food Storage Chart
- WebMD: Avoid Food Poisoning: Keep Your Refrigerator Safe
- WikiHow: How to Clean Refrigerator Coils