Cleaning Guide – Fridges & Freezers

We rely on our fridge and freezer so much, but if we don’t clean them on a regular basis they tend to develop nasty smells, build up ice walls or develop other faults. Not to mention potential food safety issues. But fear not - a lot of these issues can actually be solved with a good clean!

For a healthy fridge, follow our ultimate fridge and freezer cleaning guide at least once a quarter each year.

fridge clean

Step 1 – Clear out your fridge

First, turn off/unplug your fridge or freezer to save energy while you clean. You don’t need the inside fridge light if you do your clean throughout the day, nor do you need your hands cooled while you’re wiping down the inside! The freezer will also need to defrost, which can take a few hours. You can speed up the process by gently removing ice as it melts, rather than waiting for everything to melt and potentially flooding your kitchen!

Take all food out of your fridge or freezer to allow yourself enough space to be able to see and clean even the last little corner. Go through all food and throw out anything that’s off or unnecessary, so that you only have edible food left. You might find the source of nasty smells in this process. If you need to keep food cold, use an esky to do so.

Go ahead and also take all shelves out of your fridge or freezer – these are best washed by hand, similar to washing dishes. Use warm to hot water and dishwashing detergent, but make sure you slowly move from warm to hot, otherwise your glass shelves can crack under the sudden temperature change when hot water hits the cold glass straight out of the fridge – or even worse the freezer!

Step 2 – Cleaning the inside of your fridge

For food safety reasons it is best to stick to natural cleaners here and avoid aggressive chemicals you use in other parts of your kitchen, e.g. cleaning the stove top. Also avoid using bleach inside your fridge as it can contaminate your food. We suggest the following:

-          Vinegar and Water (mix in a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water)

-          Dishwashing liquid and water (make sure to only use a tiny splash of the dishwashing liquid)

-          Baking soda in water (use 2 tablespoons of baking soda in 250ml water and use to soak tougher stains for 10 minutes, then wipe off)

-          White toothpaste (use for stubborn stains only)

-          Vanilla fridge wipe – this will leave your fridge with a pleasant vanilla smell

Use warm water and wipe down the inside of your fridge with a cloth soaked in your cleaning solution. Pay special attention to the corners and doors – make sure you don’t miss any spots!

Step 3 – Cleaning the outside of your fridge

Make sure you pull the fridge forward so you can see and reach all sides. Wipe all surfaces with all-purpose cleaner. Take special caution cleaning your fridge coils.

Fridge door & handles

With stainless steel you often only have to fight fingerprints, and vinegar works a charm for that. With white fridges you often get yellow stains, which are a bit harder to tackle. Bleach is your best bet here.

Gasket

You often find mould in your gasket, and the best way to get rid of it is vinegar because it also helps form a barrier against future attacks of mould and mildew. In extreme cases bleach helps too, but can dry out your gasket, causing the rubber to crack. Use petroleum jelly to keep it smooth and lubricated.

Step 4 – Keeping it clean

Once you have cleaned your fridge, place food back in and turn back on – and you’re done! Now there are a few habits that are good to get into to keep your fridge cleaner for longer!

1.      Clear out your food inventory weekly

This prevents bad smells from the get-go and will save you money – knowing exactly what is in your fridge and freezer, and what needs to be used cooking next before you do your weekly shop.

2.      Wipe down the shelves in the process

This will save you from an extensive clean for longer, and make cleaning easier because stains don’t sit in for weeks before your attack them. Same goes for spills when they happen – clean them up immediately!

3.      Store items that don’t last as long at the front

Keep items that go off quickly front and centre to remind yourself of their existence and use them in due time.

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