How to Clean & Sanitize the Refrigerator
Cleaning out your fridge is quite a bit of work, but it is important to do it regularly. If you have a bigger model, then the chances are higher that you will miss out on some food items rotting in the back. When this happens, you should do a thorough clean to be sure all your other food is still safe for consumption.
Of course, even without anything rotting, you should always make time to clean your fridge. This simply ensures that your food stays fresh and free from any bacteria. Moreover, the habit allows you to check out the contents and remove what is already beyond its expiration date. Lastly, a clean fridge smells and looks better. As a rule, you should try to do a deep clean as often as possible, following these simple steps on how to clean refrigerator.
Steps To Deep-cleaning Your Fridge
- Plan When To Do It
It only makes sense to do your cleaning when the fridge is relatively empty. This means you should do it before your regular grocery shopping so that it is mostly empty anyway. Other remaining items should be stored in a cooler with some cool blocks to keep them safe from bacteria.
While emptying your fridge, take the time to remove things that look rotten or off. Check the expiry dates of the contents and throw out what is beyond this date. Fridge cleaning is the best time and opportunity to truly clear out what needs to be thrown out already.
- Wash The Shelves And Drawers
The next step is removing all parts that can be taken out, like the salad drawers at the bottom and the shelves. If you are not sure how to remove them, you can check out the manual. Once they have been removed, wash them with hot water and liquid soap. Make sure you watch out for glass shelves, letting them warm up to room temperature before putting them in very hot water. This will prevent them from shattering due to the huge temperature difference.
Once you have finished washing the shelves and drawers in soap, rinse them with clean water and leaving them to air dry or wiping them with a clean towel.
- Clean The Interior
With all the shelves out of the way, you can easily clean the interior of your fridge. Instead of using hot water as it may make your fridge too warm to quickly put back your food inside, you can use some cleaning liquid. Go for a product that can sterilize, although a simple soap is also a good idea. Make sure you clean the insides very well, especially the groves and the holes for excess water. Any dirt left behind can be a source of bacteria later on, so be as thorough as you can be.
If you cannot clean it with a towel, use a cotton bud to clean the hard-to-reach places. The last step is to dry the fridge fully with the use of a tea towel or paper towels.
- Clean The Outer Surfaces
Lots of people forget to clean the outside of the fridge, which is just as important during a fridge clean out. Specifically, you should sterilize the handles and the door because germs can build up here due to frequent hand contact. The door seal is just as important, so make sure you fully wipe these surfaces dry afterward.
- Switch It Back On
After your thorough clean, you can start putting back the shelves and the drawers. You can switch the fridge back on, though it is best to wait until it is cool before putting back the food items you removed at the start. It may take a while, though some models have a fast-cool function to make this process much faster. You may also want to invest in a fridge thermometer to allow you to check the temperature accurately. Wait until the temperature hits 5 degrees Celsius or below before putting your food back in.
What To Consider When Cleaning Your Fridge
While other parts of the house can be wiped down with store-bought cleaners, you should think twice before using them in your fridge. Remember, this is where you store food and you do not want to use harsh and dangerous chemicals here. In most cases, using ordinary dishwashing liquid or special fridge cleaners is enough although some use natural ingredients like vinegar or even baking soda.
The most important thing is to read the label to make sure that there are no added harsh ingredients or to make sure they are safe to use for your fridge. Kitchen cleaners might be safe for the fridge but should not come in contact with food. However, the risk is high that there are residues in the shelves that might lead to contamination.
Another huge mistake is to use bleach or similar disinfectants. These products should never go near food items and using them on your fridge can make you or your family members sick because of the strong chemicals.
Instead, you can use some natural products that are sure to be safe for your fridge. For example, white vinegar is good for stainless steel parts while baking soda is effective in removing any stains or absorbing some bad odors. To be safe, though, try them out first on a small area to be sure that there will be no serious effects. If you have any stubborn stains, mix a bit of baking soda with water until you make a thick paste. Apply this to the stain and wait an hour before wiping it off.
Keeping Your Fridge Clean
Doing a thorough deep clean can take a lot of time especially if you have not done it for a long time. However, taking some daily steps to keep your fridge clean can lessen the work. This means, regularly checking out products or food items that are out of date or rotting. Removing them as soon as possible will reduce the risk of contamination.
Spills should also be removed as soon as you see them. Not only can they drip on to other food items, but they can also lead to unpleasant smells. Lastly, if your fridge has a funky smell, leave a small plastic container with baking soda at the bottom. This helpful kitchen ingredient will absorb all the strong odors.