How to: Deep-clean the Whole Fridge 🧽

Ever since completing the pantry organization project, the fridge has practically been begging for a deep clean. With cold weather encouraging indoor activities – and with spring around the corner – we decided it was time to load up our favorite music as we worked towards the vision of a gleaming fridge.

Time: about 45 minutes total, including back of the fridge

Materials needed: paper towels, vinegar or cleaning spray, vacuum for back of fridge and floor, organizational bins (optional), your favorite music and beverage to hydrate

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Step 1: Pull everything out of your fridge. Keep a cooler nearby and fill it with the fresh meats and other temperature-sensitive perishables. Throw away any old, moldy ‘science experiments’ that have taken residence at the back of the fridge.

Step 2: Remove the shelves and clean them; wipe down the sides and doors inside of the fridge.

Step 3: Because the fridge is lighter without food inside of it, this could be a good time to carefully pull fridge out a few feet to gain access to the back (this took two people for us). Unless you’ve cleaned the area recently, there’s probably everything from dog hair to Nerf gun balls and crumbs. And that’s just the floor. We were surprised by what we found too, relics of previous inhabitants:

Unplug the refrigerator before doing any sort of maintenance or cleaning to avoid electrocution. Vacuum the floor and the coils. We used canned air to get ours clean too. You might also want to wipe down the area behind the fridge, including walls and floor. Ah, that’s better.

The coils help keep your fridge cold and when they are covered and dirty, the fridge has to work extra-hard to do its job. You’ll likely notice better-performing, quieter fridge operation. Your electricity bill might be lower too. All types of winning here! Now you can plug your fridge back in, roll it back into its proper place, and pat yourself on the back.

Step 4: Put bowl or box of baking soda inside, near the back fridge, to help absorb odors. Put fresh paper towels into drawers; use or obtain plastic bins for organization and easier clean-up in the future. We used Bino Stackable Storage Bins XL (4 pack).

Step 5: Quickly check expiration dates and wipe down bottles and jars of various food items as you add them back in.

Step 6: Wipe down the top, sides, and front of the fridge after removing any old coupons, save-the-dates, and magnets. Cut and curate, then place desired artwork or magnets back.

Now that you’re done, step back and admire your handiwork.

How long will the gleam last? Probably not long enough, but there are some ways to keep your fridge fresh between deep cleans. How often should a deep-clean be done? Quarterly. Put it in your calendar and start working on your energizing playlist now. You might want to check behind the fridge every quarter to every six months to ensure the coils aren’t covered in dust and dirt. In the meantime, here’s what to do monthly:

  • Keep up with your first-in, first-out system.
  • Consider replacing drawer linings with fresh, absorbant paper towels to help with moisture and any leaking from forgotten foods.

It’s not quite a heavenly experience, but opening the refrigerator doors and the seeing light bouncing off the clean surfaces and colorful foods might just make you smile.

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