How to Clean a Refrigerator
Sticky spills and greasy residue happen in even the cleanest of kitchens, and refrigerators get more than their fair share of them. Here are some easy solutions and safe products to use to keep your refrigerator squeaky clean and odor-free.
Cleaning the fridge is an easy task, but it does take a little bit of time to do it right (especially if it's been a while since the last time you've cleaned it!) The first step is to take everything out of the refrigerator. Everything! Yes, the eggs, butter, and all of that bottled water have to come out. It won't be out for very long, so you won't have to worry about spoilage. If you are worried, just group it all together so it shares the residual cold. That will be good enough.
Next, use a rag or paper towel to brush out any crumbs or bits of food.
After that, pull the shelves and crisper drawers out of the refrigerator. You could leave the shelves in if you must, but the drawers must come out. You'll be surprised at what you find underneath them, especially if you've had any major spills in your fridge. Use a vinegar and warm water solution (1/4 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water) and a cloth to wash off all of the shelves. Crisper bins, if they aren't too mucky, can be cleaned this way as well. The nice thing about this method is that rinsing isn't necessary. The slight vinegar odor dissipates after a while, leaving everything smelling fresh and clean. If the crisper drawers are fairly dirty, the best thing to do is put them in the sink and wash them with your regular dishwashing detergent. Rinse them well, and let them dry thorougly while you clean the rest of the refrigerator.
Now it's time to tackle the inside of the fridge. Use your vinegar and water solution and give everything a good wipedown. The sides, back, and any little condiment shelves should be wiped well. If you have any small sticky or greasy messes, spray them with a bit of the solution, and let it sit for a minute or two. Wipe it clean.
This is also a good time to check and clean the gasket on the refrigerator door. Often, when these become dirty, it jeopardizes the seal, and your refrigerator doesn't stay as cold as it should. Wipe the entire gasket down with your vinegar and water solution.
Follow all of these same steps with your freezer. If you have an older freezer that needs to be defrosted, this is the perfect time to do it.
Once you've finished, put everything back into the fridge, including a fresh box of baking soda. This will absorb any unpleasant odors and keep your nice, clean refrigerator smelling fresh.
There is one last important task, and this should be done every three months at least. Pull the refrigerator out from the wall, and use the hose attachment on your vacuum to clean the refrigerator coils. These are either located on the back or on the bottom of the refrigerator, depending on which brand you have. Vacuuming these regularly will keep your refrigerator running efficiently.
A clean refrigerator is within your grasp, with nothing more than warm water, vinegar, baking soda, and a little old-fashioned elbow grease.
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