Do you take the time to do what is necessary to clean out your fridge and more? In nearly every home in America there is a refrigerator. Every fifteen minutes the motor turns on and it magically keeps things cold. However, without routine maintenance and sanitation, this appliance can be a hazard. Learn how to clean out your fridge the way professionals do! From keeping it running safely to keeping it healthy / sanitary, there are several steps to keeping your refrigerator in tip-top condition.
Fridge Routine Maintenance:
Vacuum condenser coils: For most refrigerators, the heat exchange coils are underneath the refrigerator, there is an access at the front, bottom of the refrigerator. This panel pops off and allows you to clean the coils using one of your vacuum cleaner attachments. When the coils become dust covered, the dust acts as insulation which makes heat exchange more difficult. Your refrigerator has to work harder which increases the cost of operation.
Clean drain hole and drip pan: Refrigerators typically have a drain hole and a drip pan to catch water condensation. Clean any food particles or deposits out of the drain hole. Clean the drip pan in soapy water to prevent bad odors.
Change water filter (if applicable): If your refrigerator has an automatic ice-maker or chilled water dispenser, then you may also have a water filter in the water supply line. The filter in this line should be changed out in accordance with your manufacturer’s recommendation.
Keeping a refrigerator clean and sanitary on the inside is just as important as the routine maintenance. The refrigerator can be one of the most bacteria-ridden places in your home.
Fridge Sanitation Tips:
Start by removing everything from the refrigerator. Throw away any wilted produce or old leftovers. Check the expiration dates on all products, throwing away anything outdated.
De-frost/clean freezer and ice-maker: Never let frost in freezer build-up more than ¼ inch. Do not use metal or sharp instruments to scrape off frost, as this could cause damage to the inside of the freezer. After frost has melted, clean the inside with a solution of baking soda and water. Clean any mineral deposits from the automatic ice-maker, if applicable. Defrosting helps improve the energy efficiency.
Then, carefully remove all of the shelves, racks, drawers and supports and put them in your bathtub. Spray them with a bleach/water solution or a commercial disinfectant spray cleaner. Let them sit in the tub while you direct your attention to the refrigerator.
Put on a pair of rubber gloves. Use any cleaning spray containing bleach or a bowl of warm bleach water. Use a kitchen sponge soaked in the solution to scrub down the interior, from top to bottom, including door seal. Allow debris to collect at the bottom, then soak up excess water and debris from bottom with paper towels and throw into the trash. The bleach/water mixture will kill mold and its spores that you cannot see.
After the interior is cleaned to your satisfaction, use an old toothbrush to reach into the crevices, around screws and support hardware. Also clean the outside of the door and the handles.
Dump the dirty water and replace with warm clean water and a clean cloth. Rinse the inside of the refrigerator to remove the bleach. Rinse your cloth regularly during this process. Make sure that you thoroughly rinse all the bleach from any gaskets or other soft plastic on the inside. Then dry thoroughly with a clean soft, lint-free, absorbent cloth.
Now back to the racks shelves and other items that are soaking in your bath tub.
You may need to re-wet these items then give them a good scrubbing with a household sponge that has a scrubber side to remove all dried on spills. Rinse well with clear warm water and allow draining. Then dry thoroughly with a clean, soft absorbent, lint-free cloth and place them back into the refrigerator. Line the vegetable drawer with paper towels.
Place all products that did not get thrown away, neatly back into the refrigerator. Open a new box of baking soda and place in the refrigerator door to absorb any odors that may build up over time. Replace the box of baking soda once per month.
Cleaning spills as they happen is the best way to keep your refrigerator sanitized. A deep cleaning as described above should be done at least once a month, or more if needed.