How to Clean a Refrigerator in Ten Easy Steps

Having the windows open and enjoying slightly cooler temperatures the past couple days has jump started my fall cleaning fever. Have you caught it yet?

I decided it’s high time I cleaned out my refrigerator again…

cleaning the refrigerator

10 Steps to Cleaning the Refrigerator

1. Enlist help. Technically, you can skip this step, but if you can get your husband or kids to help the job will go much faster, which means your food will be out of the refrigerator less time.

2. Take everything out of the refrigerator. Everything. All the food, the shelves, the drawers and whatever else you can remove. While you are doing this, throw out any rotten or forgotten food.

3. Store “fragile” food in a cooler. I like to store the food that really needs to stay cold (i.e. meat, dairy products, etc.) in a cooler while I’m cleaning. I place all other food on the counters and the shelves and drawers in (or near) the sink to wash later.

4. Scrub the inside of the refrigerator. I prefer to use natural cleaners around my food, so I use baking soda and water to clean most things in the kitchen.

5. Wash the shelves and drawers. In the sink. You can use baking soda again or dish liquid soap. While you are doing this the refrigerator will have a little time to cool back down.

6. Evaluate and organize. Decide what items will go back in and where you want to store them. A few storing safety tips I got from this article:

  • Keep similar foods together.
  • Store raw meat on the lowest shelf, preferably in a bag or on a plate to avoid leaking.
  • Place vegetables in the warmest part of the refrigerator (the bottom drawers).
  • Keep eggs in their original container and store on the top shelve.

7. Check and set temperature. The best temperature range for safe food storage in a refrigerator is between 35F and 40F degrees.

8. Restock the refrigerator. Replace all shelves and drawers, then place food items in their proper place. You may want to consider adding a box of baking soda (opened) on a shelf or attach one of these cool thingsΒ to the wall to absorb odors.

9. Clean the outside of the refrigerator. Wipe down the front and sides (if you can get to them!), disinfect the handles, and dust the top.

10. Pat yourself on the back. Congratulations on a job well done!

As simple as this chore is, it never gets done nearly as often as I would like. But, at least it gets done eventually, right? πŸ˜‰

When’s the last time you cleaned your refrigerator?


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  1. says

    Love this! I actually clean my fridge quite a bit…or at least organize it. My family is always throwing things in here and there, and it gets so disorganized that we let food spoil in the chaos. So, I try to organize it at least once a week so I can see what we have :)

  2. says

    :0)…I am pleased to share that the fridge around here is cleaned every Wednesday as I go shopping on Thursdays! I wish I could say this has always been, but I have only done this for the past 3 years or so. I also wish I could say I am as diligent with my other regular chores, but that would be lying :0).
    Makes me crazy when people in the house—who shall go nameless :0)—do not keep the order in the fridge! really, this is not rocket science kids :0)!
    I find if I keep up with the fridge each week, it does not get a chance to get too bad :0). Your list is FANTASTIC!

  3. says

    Well, I am inspired. I never thought of taking everything out of the fridge. That seems a bit overwhelming but in the end you really know what is in there! With a houseful of kids, it is nearly impossible to keep the fridge clean and organized. I think I may have given up… Now I am inspired to get it cleaned out and maybe teach an older child to do it!
    Marianne @ Abundant Life recently posted..10 Everyday Uses for Lavender Essential OilMy Profile

    • says

      I don’t take everything out like that every time, but it is definitely good to do every once in awhile… This would be a great chore to delegate to an older child! :)

    • says

      Thanks, Lisa! To be honest, I don’t measure my baking soda. Usually I just sprinkle some on my wet rag or into the water until it looks good and clean efficiently…

  4. says

    Oh, I learned #6 the hard way, but I suppose we all do. Yup, the meat leaked!

    When we were doing foster care I made sure the inside of my fridge was sparkling, because our class instructor said that the caseworker would look for fresh milk and look inside your fridge, lol!

    But otherwise I just clean a shelf or two whenever it looks like it needs it, so I don’t always clean everything all at once. Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

    • says

      Thanks for sharing the home inspection tip! We will have to remember that when we begin our adoption process… I rarely clean everything all at once, but like to try to seasonally to have it all sparkling for a little while. :)

  5. says

    ah, the visual refreshment of a clean refrigerator!!

    i’ve had so many meat leaks that i’d also add to step 6 to consider putting meat packages on a plate to contain the leak even more.

    and when was the last time my refrigerator got cleaned? or when was the last time “i” cleaned it? πŸ˜‰ admittedly, the last time it got cleaned was by my wonderful, wonderful mother, who lovingly cleaned it for me amidst my health crisis. yes, i am one blessed girl.

    hopping over here as your neighbor at faith-filled fridays — thx for sharing, jenni!
    tanya @ truthinweakness recently posted..six wordsMy Profile

  6. says

    I haven’t had the chance to do a one-time cleaning. I do mine in steps. When we run out of milk, I remove the top shelf to scrub it out. When I restock meat, I take out that shelf – things like that. Maybe this fall I can hire a sitter for a few hours so I can get some deep cleaning done!
    Audra recently posted..1 John 4:16 {Scripture Sunday}My Profile

  7. says

    Oh you don’t want to know when the last time was! Haha. I keep the outside clean because it is stainless steal and you can see every fingerprint and water spot. The manufacturer of my fridge does NOT know food safety and put the crisper on the bottom of the fridge so I have to put the meat above it on a plate or clear out the drawer. Great tips! Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library!
    tulip recently posted..Mom’s Library #12: The Party is Growing!My Profile

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