When you go into a kitchen, the fridge is probably one of the most massive and easy to notice appliances. Cleaning the refrigerator doesn’t come easy, especially since you have to take everything out, clean it, and put it all back in. Even if you need some time to keep it nice and shiny, cleaning the fridge isn't very complicated. Next time you think about not cleaning it, take a look at your oven and ask yourself: would you rather clean the oven instead?
Nowadays, with just one click of a button, you can find out all the hacks for cleaning the fridge. Even though these guidelines and tips are helpful, knowing what not to do when cleaning your fridge is of great help as well. Knowledge is power, so keep reading for the don'ts when cleaning the refrigerator.
1. Don’t postpone cleaning
As with any cleaning task, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be! Avoid caked-on food and clean the moment you spill something in the fridge. The cold conditions make the spills dry very quickly, and cleaning afterwards will be more challenging. You don't even need to reach for professional-grade cleaning solutions; regular kitchen cleaning wipes will work great for fridge spot cleaning.
2. Don’t let the fridge become smelly
You shouldn’t wait to clean the fridge until a foul smell comes out every time you open it. Stay on top of cleaning and remove old food every week. Deodorizers made especially for refrigerators work wonders for the fridge and are even 50 times more effective than baking soda.
3. Don’t use water and soap on stainless steel
Smudges and fingerprints on the outside of the fridge are unsightly, and you should manage them both with regular and deep cleaning the refrigerator. If you have a stainless steel model, you should avoid using water and soap to remove the fingerprints. You should use an all-purpose cleaner, a spray cleaner, or one made especially for stainless steel for such models. Spray it onto a soft cloth (microfiber is ideal) and wipe all the smudged stainless steel surfaces.
4. Don’t forget about the gasket/door seal
The gasket doesn’t allow warm air inside the fridge and traps the cold air inside. You should check it from time to time to see if it’s worn out or has tears in it. Use a universal cleaner for regular cleaning and don’t forget to replace it the moment is damaged.
5. Don’t use bleach
Don’t believe what everyone says on social media; for instance, bleach is off-limits for cleaning the fridge. As a matter of fact, most appliance manufacturers warn that you should never use bleach for cleaning the refrigerator. It can harm the materials of the fridge interior and pose a risk for our health when transferred to food.
Should you look for a strong alternative that breaks down stuck-on food, you can make your own cleaning solution. Add one part white vinegar and three parts water in a spray bottle. Apply it on food residues and give it several minutes to work. Wipe it away with a damp cloth afterwards.
6. Don’t use harsh cleaners
Since you always put the food back in the fridge, you must always be cautious about the cleaning solutions inside the refrigerator. As a result, you should turn to mild cleaners to keep food safe and avoid smells transferring to foods. You can use mild dish soap and a sponge to absorb it while cleaning. A brush is of big help to remove stubborn food residues.
7. Don’t clean the coils with the fridge plugged in
A challenging task when cleaning the fridge is cleaning the coils in the back. It’s essential to keep them clean for adequate ventilation of the refrigerator and to improve its efficiency. Dusting and vacuuming the coils are fine, but it’s best that you only do it after unplugging the fridge.
8. Don’t leave expired food in the fridge
Whether you deep clean the fridge every month or not, you should always spend time checking out the expiration dates on jarred foods and condiments. You want to use only fresh food for your family. Empty, rinse, and recycle all the recipients that have expired. Also, wipe down everything you put back inside the fridge. Do it meticulously and wipe the bottom, sides, and lid as well.
9. Don’t place the hot shelves back in
We can only imagine that you want to speed up the cleaning process as much as possible. The chances are that you will put the fridge shelves and crisper drawers in the dishwasher for the best cleaning results. However, you shouldn’t put them back in the fridge when you get them out of the dishwasher. You should allow them to cool after washing them in the dishwasher. Also, remember to let them reach the room temperature before placing them inside the dishwasher. The temperature differences can cause cracks.
10. Don’t forget about the deep clean
With the fridge presenting a high risk for mould and bacteria, it makes perfect sense to clean it on a regular basis. However, you should also run a deep clean from time to time. Your food habits affect a lot how often you should perform the deep clean. For instance, some people like to clean out old foods and condiments, so they only need to clean their fridges deep four times a year. Should you cook a lot, have a big family, or forget to throw away expired foods, monthly deep cleaning is ideal.
What not to do with your fridge
Even the don'ts on cleaning are essential, it's also necessary to know what not to do when using your fridge. After all, it can help you clean the refrigerator less frequently and expand its lifespan.
- Don’t put packaging or food against the walls of your fridge
- Don't place uncovered food right on shelves/in the freezer compartment
- Don’t overload the freezer compartments
- Don’t distribute the food unevenly throughout the freezer. You want to have an even circulation of cold air.
- Don’t forget to change the water filter every six months.
S.O.S. the holidays
Before you leave on a long trip, you should avoid some things:
- Don’t forget to check out all expiry dates of foods
- Don’t leave meat, fish, vegetables even if frozen. You want to keep the risk of damage minimal in case of unexpected electric interruption.
- Don't leave the doors closed after completely opening the fridge and don't leave it on. You want to reduce the risk of mould and foul odours while you're away, so never leave the refrigerator on if you're going away for a long holiday.