How to Clean a Refrigerator: Step-by-Step Guide [2023 Updated]


Every home needs a refrigerator because it offers a secure and practical way to store perishable foods. It’s easy to overlook that it requires routine upkeep and cleaning to remain functional and hygienic.

Your food’s quality and freshness may suffer if your refrigerator is messy and cluttered, and it may also serve as a haven for dangerous bacteria and offensive odours. 

In this blog post, we’ll learn how to clean a refrigerator so it stays organised and fresh for longer. This guide will give you insightful advice on how to keep a clean and healthy fridge, whether you’re an experienced housewife or a first-time renter.

How To Clean A Refrigerator

How To Prepare Your Refrigerator For Cleaning?

  • It’s important to empty and organise the contents of your refrigerator before you start cleaning it. This step is essential to avoid contamination and guarantee that you don’t miss any areas when cleaning.
  • Start by unplugging your refrigerator or turning it off at the main switch to prevent electrical hazards. Then remove every food item from your refrigerator and set it on a nearby table or counter. This will enable you to see inside your refrigerator clearly and simplify interior cleaning.
  • Sort the food items into groups like dairy, vegetables, fruits, meats, and leftovers as you remove them from the container. Verify the expiration dates on each product, and throw away any food that has gone bad. If you have products that haven’t been opened but are about to expire, consider using them immediately or donating them to a nearby food bank.
  • After organising your food, it’s time to clean up any spills, stains, or crumbs that may have amassed in your refrigerator. Use a damp cloth or paper towel to clean up spills or stains from your refrigerator’s shelves, drawers, and walls. Use a gentle cleaning or vinegar and water solution to remove tough stains. Avoid using abrasive cleaners on your fridge because they could scratch or harm the surfaces.
  • After organising your food items inside your fridge and cleaning the interior, you can restock them. Place the bulkier items first, like milk, juice, and condiments, either on the shelves or in the door compartments. Put the smaller items, such as eggs, fruits, and vegetables, into the drawers. Try to group similar items; for instance, arrange all the dairy products in one area, the vegetables in another, and so on. This will make it easier to find what you need when you’re cooking or meal-prepping.
  • Lastly, remember to clean the outside of your food containers before putting them back inside the refrigerator. Doing this can avoid cross-contamination and maintain your fridge’s neat, organised appearance. 

How To Clean The Fridge Interior?

Keeping your refrigerator’s interior clean is essential to keep your food in a clean, sanitary environment. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for cleaning your fridge’s shelves, drawers, and walls:

  1. Empty the contents of your refrigerator: Start by taking everything out and setting it on a nearby table or counter.
  2. Remove the shelves and drawers: Most of your refrigerator’s shelves and drawers are simple to remove. Take them out carefully, then put them in the bathtub or sink for cleaning.
  3. Cleaning the shelves and drawers: Scrub the shelves and drawers with a sponge or cloth and a mild cleaning agent or a solution of water and vinegar. Before putting them back in the refrigerator, thoroughly rinse them with water and allow them to air dry.
  4. Clean the surfaces and walls: Using the same cleaning solution, use a cloth or sponge to wipe your refrigerator’s interior surfaces and walls. Pay close attention to any spills, crumbs, or stains that might have amassed. Use a non-abrasive cleaner or baking soda paste and water for tough stains.
  5. Clean the door seals: Though frequently disregarded, door seals are crucial for keeping your refrigerator’s efficient. After cleaning the seals with a damp cloth, completely dry them. Use water and vinegar to clean them if there is any mould or mildew buildup.
  6. Drying of the walls and shelves: Dry the shelves and walls of your refrigerator before restocking it with food, and arrange the contents accordingly. Restock your refrigerator with your food after classifying it by category.
  7. Regular maintenance: Make it a habit to wipe down your fridge once a week to avoid the accumulation of spills and stains. Additionally, you can put a box of baking soda in your refrigerator to eliminate any odours.

How To Clean A Refrigerator Exterior?

Your refrigerator needs to be cleaned on the outside and inside. In addition to being unsightly, a dirty exterior can harbour bacteria and germs. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for cleaning your refrigerator’s doors, handles, and seals:

  1. Unplug your refrigerator: Start by unplugging it or turning it off at the main switch to prevent electrical hazards.
  2. Remove any magnets or decorations from the fridge’s doors: Remove any magnets or ornaments from the fridge’s doors before cleaning.
  3. Clean the exterior surfaces: Using a soft cloth or sponge, wipe down the doors, sides, and top of your refrigerator with a mild cleaning agent or a solution of water and vinegar.  Since they can scratch your fridge’s surfaces, avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers.
  4. Clean the handles: The handles of your refrigerator should be cleaned because they serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Dry them entirely after wiping them down with a damp cloth or sponge. Use a cleaner made of stainless steel if the handles are made of this material to avoid streaks and scratches.
  5. Clean the door seals: Over time, food particles, dirt, and grime can gather on the door seals. They should be thoroughly cleaned with a solution of water and vinegar. Use a mildew remover or a bleach and water solution if there is any mould or mildew buildup. Before closing the doors, please give them a thorough water rinse and dry them.
  6. Replace any decorations or magnets that may have fallen off: After cleaning your fridge, you can replace any ones that may have fallen off.

How To Clean Refrigerator Coils?

Coils for your refrigerator are a crucial component of the cooling system. They keep your food cool and fresh by transferring heat from the fridge’s inside to the outside. These coils may accumulate dust, dirt, and pet hair over time, decreasing the efficiency of your refrigerator and raising your energy costs. 

Here’s how to clean the coils on your refrigerator:

  1. Unplug your refrigerator: To prevent any electrical hazards, unplug your refrigerator or turn it off at the main switch before cleaning the coils.
  2. Find the coils: Your refrigerator’s coils are typically hidden behind a panel or grille at the back. Consult the owner’s manual for your fridge if you’re unsure of its location.
  3. Unscrew the panel or grille: Depending on the model of your refrigerator, you might need to unscrew the panel or grille to access the coils. Remove any screws with a screwdriver before gently pulling the panel or grille away from the refrigerator.
  4. Clean the coils: Gently remove any dust, dirt, or pet hair from the coils using a soft brush or vacuum attachment. Don’t neglect to harm your refrigerator’s coils or any other parts. The panel or grille should be cleaned with a mild cleaning solution or a solution made of equal parts water and vinegar while the panel or grille is off. Before replacing it, make sure it has thoroughly dried. After the coils and panel or grille have been thoroughly cleaned, replace them and fasten them with screws.
  5. Plug in your refrigerator: Either plug your refrigerator in or restart the main switch.

For optimum performance and to avoid any breakdowns, it is advised to clean your refrigerator’s coils every six months. You can also use a coil cleaning brush to remove stubborn dirt or debris from the coils. These brushes are designed for cleaning refrigerator coils and can be found at most appliance stores.

Tips For Maintaining A Clean And Fresh Refrigerator:

Your food must be kept in a clean refrigerator to remain safe and nutritious. 

Here are some suggestions to keep your refrigerator hygienic:

  • Check expiration dates frequently: Discard any food that has passed its expiration date after frequently checking the dates on your food items. This will keep your fridge fresh and stop the growth of mould or bacteria.
  • Keep raw and cooked foods apart: To avoid cross-contamination, storing raw and cooked foods separately is crucial. Store raw meats on the lower shelves to prevent drip onto other foods.
  • Keep food in airtight containers: Do this to prevent spills and maintain organisation in your refrigerator. Furthermore, it aids in preserving the freshness of your food.
  • Absorb odours with baking soda: Keeping an open box in your refrigerator will help it stay fresh-smelling and absorb any odours.
  • Cleaning the spills: Spills should be cleaned immediately to avoid drying out and becoming more challenging to remove. Additionally, by doing this, mould and bacteria growth is prevented.
  • Cleaning regularly: Regularly clean the inside and outside of your refrigerator to avoid accumulating dirt, grime, or bacteria.
  • Organise your refrigerator: Put meats on the bottom shelves, dairy items in the middle, and fruits and vegetables in the drawers. Do this by organising your refrigerator by category. In addition to making it simpler to find what you’re looking for, this also avoids cross-contamination.
  • Avoid overstocking your refrigerator: This can prevent air from circulating, which will hasten the deterioration of your food. When arranging food, ensure enough room between each item for adequate airflow.
  • Maintain the proper temperature in your refrigerator: Maintaining the appropriate temperature is essential for preventing the growth of bacteria. Your refrigerator should be at 35–38°F (1.7–3.3°C).


To sum up, cleaning your refrigerator is a necessary chore that should be done regularly to maintain the appliance’s effectiveness, lower energy costs, and avoid any health risks that could result from the buildup of bacteria and mould.

You can keep your refrigerator clean and hygienic and increase its lifespan by adhering to the instructions provided in this article. Take safety measures before cleaning, such as shutting off the main switch or unplugging the refrigerator. 

Your food will remain fresh longer if your refrigerator is organised, expiration dates are checked, and odours are removed with baking soda.

Finally, clean your refrigerator coils every six months to ensure your fridge runs efficiently. Following these tips, you can maintain a clean, efficient, and fresh-smelling refrigerator that will serve you for many years.

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