You perfectly know you should clean your fridge thoroughly from time to time. You want your food to stay fresh and safe. But isn’t that a lot of work? And what about chemicals? You don’t want them around the food you serve your family.
What if you don’t need a chemical hammer? How to clean a refrigerator using simple means?
Learn how I use simple means and natural cleaners to care for the “fresh keeper”. Your favorite food deserves a clean fridge. And so do you.
Use this full guide on how to clean a fridge, keep it clean, and get rid of fridge odor, even stubborn ones!
Learn in this post:
- How to deep clean and disinfect your fridge
- How to clean a refrigerator with vinegar
- How to get rid of fridge odors naturally
- How to deodorize a fridge that smells even after cleaning
- How to spot clean dried up food spills
- How to clean a fridge outside
- How to clean the fridge door rubber
- How to clean a – nasty scary filthy – used fridge if you have to
All this with simple means and without poisoning your family!
Cleaning the fridge like a lab pro
Casablanca, 2010. I looked at the deep black mold covering the fridge’s interior, trying not to breathe. “Ok. We’ll take it.”, I heard myself saying.
When we moved to Morocco we started with nothing. Our stuff in storage, no nest egg. We rented an apartment and got some essential things like a mattress to sleep on.
The kitchen was a mess. The drain was clogged all the time. Until I found out how easy you can unclog a kitchen drain naturally using two household items from my stock! Read the post if you want to learn how and what did not work. One method even ended up in a giant ant party! But in the end, I did it.
No more clogged kitchen drain. Check.
Soon we realized we needed a fridge! But we had no cash left for a new one. We looked around for a used one and found one, old, moldy and filthy. It was the only one we could afford. We paid with a check asking the vendor to only cash it after another week when my husband’s salary would arrive.
Ok. There I was with the most filthiest fridge I had ever seen. I recapped what I had learned in my time at work. I had to get rid of bacteria and mold fungi. Well, this was totally doable with a little elbow grease and simple means from the stocks.
How to deep clean and disinfect your fridge
Chances are your fridge is not as dirty as ours was. So, forget harsh chemicals and fancy products when it comes to cleaning the fridge. All you need to clean the fridge is some dishwashing soap (scent-free if possible) and white vinegar. Period.
Dishwashing liquid and vinegar. Easy and frugal.
Vinegar is also great for cleaning a messed up microwave. Read this post on how you can clean your microwave effortless in a few minutes using vinegar.
Back to the filthy fridge that smells like death.
Turn off the power of your refrigerator before any major cleaning job. Make a nice soapy warm water with the dishwashing liquid. Take everything out of the fridge. Take drawers and shelves out and wash the entire inside of your fridge. Wash drawers and shelves in the sink and dry them.
Now comes the disinfecting part. In the cool and moist environment, mold builds up easily and you won’t see the beginning of it. Vinegar is a safe and natural means you can use to get rid of any fungi hanging around in your fridge. Wipe down everything inside the fridge. Use only vinegar for disinfecting the fridge. It is great for cleaning, kills mildew, and is non-toxic.
Perfect! Do this deep-cleaning of your fridge when you spring clean your kitchen. Your food will have a decent place to call home: a sparkly clean fridge.
How to spot clean a fridge
If you really want to disinfect special spots in the fridge, for example, because some meat juice got spilled, you could use isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70%). First wipe away contamination with paper towels, then spray rubbing alcohol on that spot only, trying not to inhale it. Let it sit for 30 seconds and wipe dry. Rubbing alcohol will vanish into the air anyway, but you should make sure it is not getting in touch with food! Only use if necessary and do not use anything else to disinfect. Disinfecting agents are usually toxic to humans, too, like bleach!
How to keep the fridge fresh all the time
- Take care that everything that goes in there is clean from the outside. Bacteria and fungi can grow in spilled food and liquids. Wipe jars and close them carefully.
- Put raw meat and fish on a plate or into a box.
- Place raw meat just above the drawer. This is not only the coolest spot but from here any dropping juices will not spoil the entire interior- or drop onto food.
- Check for and take out rotten food daily.
- If something got spilled, DO NOT plan to clean the whole fridge and rip everything out! This is a great way to procrastinate until the mess got dry and even harder to remove. Instead, grab some paper towels and wipe away the spoilage. Go after that with a damp microfiber cloth. Disinfect if necessary with rubbing alcohol as stated above. That’s how to keep your fridge clean all the time!
How to deal with dried up food spills in the fridge
It will happen. You let something dry up in there. I get it. Once the food spillage is dry it can be very hard to clean. You can try to rehydrate it by placing a wet paper towel on the spot and then clean it with a microfiber cloth. If that doesn’t help or you have no patience to wait, rub it with a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Voíla, a homemade fridge peeling!
How to get rid of bad odors
Sometimes you put something in your fridge that may be delicious but stinky. Or something rotten has poisoned the good air. Don’t worry, because you don’t have to rip this whole thing apart again. You can clean the air in a refrigerator that smells with baking soda. Put a small plate with baking soda or powder inside your fridge and it will capture the bad smell. Ground coffee works, too. To avoid bad air use air-tight containers whenever appropriate.
Now you have a super clean fridge with vinegar and baking soda!
Don’t worry if you have to deal with stubborn smells. They can be hard to get rid of because they cling to plastic and silicone so perfectly. It doesn’t mean that your fridge is dirty. If your fridge smells bad even after cleaning use a drop of natural peppermint or lemon oil on a cotton ball. This makes a natural fridge deodorizer. Place it in the fridge but let it not touch food. You could also use vanilla extract for baking to deodorize your fridge.
For my bathroom, I use an easy and frugal homemade cleaner, that makes a great all-purpose cleaner, too. I love to use peppermint or lemon essential oil in my homemade bathroom cleaner. It smells so nice and clean.
Special occasion: Clean the outside of your fridge
Occasionally, you should clean the top, sides, and back of the fridge, too. Learn how to clean a fridge door outside.
Wipe down the outsides and the fridge door rubber with soapy water using dish-washing detergent. Dry with a kitchen towel. Wipe down areas with fingerprints weekly with a damp microfiber cloth. If you have some sticky greasy layer on your fridge use baby wipes to wipe it away. If you have no baby wipes use vegetable oil and paper towels or a microfiber cloth.
Once a year, remove dust from the back of your fridge. Use a broom and gently brush it off. You can also use the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner and vacuum on low.
Now you have learned to clean a fridge, unclog kitchen drains, steam-clean a microwave, and make a bathroom cleaner yourself. Did you know there are a lot of different ways to clean your home naturally using vinegar? Acids are great cleaning agents and vinegar is a mild acid. Mild enough that you eat it. Subscribe to the newsletter and download the “10 Ways to Clean Your Home with Vinegar” Cheatsheet right now.
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So, now you have a nice and fresh sparkling clean fridge.