With the holiday season just around the corner, our refrigerators will be hosting a lot of groceries, drinks, and leftovers. Making room for all of these extra holiday items is one thing but cleaning refrigerator beforehand is an entirely different endeavor. Yes, deep cleaning your massive refrigerator will require elbow grease but this annual cleaning is important to get your fridge up and running through the holiday season.
In fact, there’s even a special day (15th Nov) dedicated to cleaning these appliances. This National Clean Your Refrigerator Day is a blatant reminder that you need to deep-clean your fridge before the holiday festivities roll around. Thanksgiving and Christmas will require a fully functioning and spacious refrigerator so it’s a good idea to deep clean it well before time.
Why Should I Deep-Clean my Refrigerator?
Often homeowners will challenge the purpose of deep cleaning a fridge. You already have enough space to stuff your holiday food into your fridge so why bother getting into the deep cleaning? We’ll tell you why. When your refrigerator hasn’t been cleaned for a long time, it will experience inevitable leaks and smells that can mix with all your delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas food. Nobody wants that to happen and so an annual deep cleaning session of your refrigerator is essential.
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The Preparation Phase
Before any big cleaning job, you must be fully prepared and equipped to get down to the actual cleaning process. For preparing for a deep-clean of your refrigerator, you’ll need the following things close-by:
1. Trash can/bags
2. Disposable gloves
4. Cleaning liquid
5. Microfiber cloth, paper towels and sponges
With these things in hand, you can begin with the next step of the process, that is, to remove everything from the fridge.
Remove Everything From Your Refrigerator
The next step in cleaning your fridge requires you to remove and take out all the contents of your fridge. This one’s a no-brainer. You’ll need to remove everything to really clean out the appliance. Don’t be tempted in leaving a small container or a bottle of milk behind. Not only will it come in the way of the deep cleaning but it can also get contaminated by the cleaning solution you’re using and you want to avoid that.
It’s a good idea to remove everything all at once and shift it to your freezer or a cooler for the time being so that the items don’t get ruined. Deep cleaning your refrigerator will take a lot of time so you don’t want all the contents you’ve removed from your fridge to be laying out in the open for a long time.
Removing all of the items from your fridge will also give you a good idea of all the things you have stored inside. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find that box of baking soda that you thought was lost. This is also a good time to dispose everything that you don’t need. If you’ve found an old pack of expired cream in your refrigerator, it’s best to throw it out instead of keeping it.
Remember: you don’t need to transfer everything you remove from the fridge into the freezer or the cooler. Only transfer items that are perishable and can get ruined in hours like dairy or meat. The rest of your items such as jams and jellies can wait and sit on the shelf while you deep clean your refrigerator.
To thoroughly clean your refrigerator, you also want to make sure all the cabinets and drawers of your fridge are removed and kept aside.
How to Scrub Your Refrigerator
Once the refrigerator is completely empty, it’s time to get your cleaning supplies ready and your cleaning gear on. This means you’ll need to put on your rubber gloves and get your cleaning solutions in hand.
Before moving to the interior of the refrigerator, we recommend starting your cleaning from the cabinet and drawers that you’ve removed and put aside. Use dish soap or any other fridge-friendly cleaning solution you have and scrub the cabinets just as you would scrub and wash your dish. Since these drawers might not have a very regular shape, one tip is to clean them in a large bathtub or a sink. In fact, you can even take the cleaning outside and wash the cabinets with your hose for a constant supply of water. Pay special attention to areas that are stained with food and scrub them away.
After cleaning the parts of the fridge you have removed, set them to dry and move on to the next cleaning phase: scrubbing the actual fridge. There are plenty of options in the market for fridge-friendly cleaning solution. Generally, you would want to avoid harsh chemicals like bleach and instead opt for options such as white vinegar, diluted bleach, glass cleaners, or an all-purpose cleaning solution. Of course, you will also require plain warm water and your normal dishwashing liquid for this part of the cleaning phase as well.
You will also require cleaning pads such as sponges, paper towels or microfiber cloths to scrub the solution on to the fridge. Sponges are a good choice because they are less abrasive yet effective when removing sticky food particles and remains. Alternatively, you could also make use of an old toothbrush to clean the tight areas of your fridge that normal cleaning pads wouldn’t reach. You also want to target the rubber seals around your fridge including the door. This part of the refrigerator is often missed but you’d be surprised to know how much dirt and food particles can get stuck in them. Again, a toothbrush will benefit you in cleaning these areas.
Just like the interior of your fridge, you’ll need to clean it from the outside as well. The exterior of your fridge won’t be as dirty as the inside but to regain that polished look, you should still use a microfiber cloth and rub the fingerprint marks or any other stains from it. You can also use glass cleaning solution to deep clean the exterior of your refrigerator.
How to Tackle Stubborn Stains
Sometimes certain stains and food spills are impossible to remove with simple scrubbing and cleaning solution. If you’ve got those in your fridge, we have a quick and easy solution for you that you can use to get rid of these sticky, stubborn stains.
Simply soak a sponge or a clean microfiber cloth in hot water. The temperature of the water should be hot and not just warm but it shouldn’t be boiling either or else you could burn yourself. Use the soaked sponge or cloth and press on to the sticky stain or spill. The heat and moisture of the sponge will break down the sticky stain, soften it, and make it easier to remove.
Alternatively, you could also make use of a Magic Eraser to get rid of stains have discolored your refrigerator. You’ll have to soak the eraser in warm water and wipe it across the discolored area to make it break down and soften.
Place the Contents Back in the Refrigerator
Once the interior and exterior of your fridge have been cleaned successfully and to your satisfaction, it’s time to return all the items back in. Before you do that, though, make sure all the items are properly dried and removed of any stains themselves. This can be done by simply wiping each item with a dry microfiber cloth.
Place the shelves and drawers back in first but remember to place them back only if they have dried properly. You don’t want the moisture back in your squeaky clean fridge. Then, place everything that you have temporarily stored in your cooler or freezer back into the fridge.
Golden Tips for Storing Food Properly
In our hurried lifestyle, we often simply stuff all our groceries and leftovers in the fridge without thinking twice of how they should be actually stored. Simply throwing in your items into the refrigerator will do more harm than good so here we have some great and simple tips for you to store your food properly.
For fish or raw meat, always use a plate underneath because these meats can drip liquid and ruin your refrigerator as well as eliminate a bad smell. You should also always try to store these raw foods in the very bottom shelf of your refrigerator so that even if it does drip, it doesn’t ruining any other food item that you have stored.
Dairy products such as milk are perishable and sensitive to temperature changes. Always place these items at the very back so that they always remain cool and safe from external temperature or fluctuations.
Jellies, dressing, sauces and other items that are stored in jars aren’t always required to be stored in the fridge. But if you must, then you have all the liberty to store them wherever you like. Consider saving space with these and placing them in the shelves of the door.
Vegetables such as herbs and cabbages should always be stored in the drawers of your fridge while tomatoes should enjoy a place on the countertop instead.
Lastly, eggs are often kept in the fridge but these are stable products and you really don’t have to place them in the fridge to store them. Again, if you must, then place them in a safe spot or in an egg container where they are not at a risk of cracking.