The fridge as a whole it is one of the appliances which most requires care and attention. By its nature it tends to develop bad smell and from stain even if you pay attention.

Just one day too many and the expiration of some product could make the opening of the refrigerator really unpleasant. Not to mention the health aspect: in a dirty fridge they could easily develop mold or bacteria which can contaminate other foods with unpleasant results.

The fridge should be cleaned as regularly as possible, giving at least a clean base once a week. In case any food has degenerated and has gone bad, it is necessary to do a deep cleaning of the appliance, to remove bad odors and potentially dangerous microorganisms.

To do it not need special products. Just like for the washing machine or dishwasher, you can do a perfect cleaning of the fridge with some natural products that are found in all the houses like baking soda, dish detergent and vinegar, as well as a lot of patience.

A separate discussion then deserves the freezer, whether it is integrated in the refrigerator, whether it is a separate appliance. If it is true that it is more difficult for bad smells to be created given the low temperature and the near impossibility for food to go bad, it is also true that precisely for this reason we often tend to neglect cleaning.

However, the cold of the freezer does not kill bacteria but “puts them to sleep”. By not cleaning the freezer the bacteria continue to accumulate and then pass on frozen food and “wake up” once thawed. For this reason complete cleaning of the freezer is also very important.

In addition to hygienic reasons, keeping the fridge clean also serves for keep consumption under control. A fridge that is clean on the back and inside, especially in the coldest parts, including the freezer, is in fact a great way to keep the appliance’s consumption as low as possible.

Face that the reasons to keep the fridge clean are numerous, let’s do it and get the necessary. The ideal is to do the deep cleansing operation with an empty or almost empty fridge, so we choose the right moment, let’s pull the plug and start.

Let’s start by defrosting the freezer

For convenience it is always advisable to start by defrosting the freezer. In the event that the freezer is separated, the procedure that we will describe is still valid but can be done at any time separately from the cleaning of the fridge.

To proceed to defrost the freezer, you must have basin to place in the fridge in the shelf immediately below the freezer, or in the case of an external freezer where it has the special valve for draining the defrost water. Returning to the freezer integrated in the fridge, if we were regular enough to clean the freezer and didn’t let too much ice form, then the drain valve should be reachable. Once the valve is opened, the water will begin to drip into the basin.

If instead we are less fortunate, or we have been less careful, and it ice sheet is very thick, it will take a long time to reach the valve.

In the meantime, you can help with a freezer scraper (often provided at the time of purchase of the refrigerator) to try to remove the larger blocks. In desperate cases you can use a special product to melt the ice faster, a solution that can be useful especially for autonomous freezers that could have large amounts of ice to melt.

Defrosting the freezer as well as allowing the compartment to be thoroughly cleaned also saves electricity: the ice layer in fact isolates the system, just like the walls of an igloo. More often it is more isolated and therefore more energy is consumed, which then means that the bill goes up.

Meanwhile we leave the freezer to thaw, it will take some time, let’s go ahead with cleaning the other parts of the refrigerator.

A dusting at the back to lower consumption

On the back of the fridge is the coil. A dusty coil is one of the causes that makes the bill rise. A wipe with a cloth or with a vacuum cleaner allows you to remove all the residues that prevents the fridge from cooling properly and therefore forces you to use more energy (even risking to burn the piece with consequent not indifferent payment for the replacement).

Another advice that will allow us in the future to ensure that less dust accumulates on the coil is that of leave a space of at least 10, better if 15 cm between the wall and the fridge so that the air can always circulate behind the appliance.

Once the quick cleaning procedure of the coil is finished, you can move on the inside, hoping that in the meantime all the ice has melted in the freezer and you can operate comfortably.

Clean refrigerator odors and stains

Finally we can move on to real cleaning of the refrigerator. To do this we must remove any trays and shelves that we will wash separately later. Alternatively, if the defrosting of the freezer is not yet complete, it is possible to proceed with the washing of these extractable components while the process is completed.

As always, for internal cleaning of the fridge (and freezer compartment) we will give priority to natural products such as wine vinegar and baking soda. Nothing prevents you from proceeding with cleaning with a degreaser or even with specific products depending on your preferences.

The process is very simple, armed with a sponge all surfaces must be passed well with degreaser or alternatively with wine vinegar. To remove the smells then you need to melt a little baking soda in water and use it as a cleaner to pass all the walls of the fridge and freezer.

Once all the interiors have been thoroughly cleaned, it is necessary to rinse with a damp sponge to remove all traces of the product used, since the appliance will then contain food. This operation is very important especially in the event that non-natural detergents are used for cleaning.

Once the internal walls have been washed, it is necessary to go to the gaskets, a fundamental element of the refrigerator.

Remove mold and bacteria: how to clean the fridge seals

The gaskets are a fundamental element of the refrigerator. Before cleaning them, you need to make sure they are in good condition, otherwise it is good to change them since the damaged gaskets make the insulation of the fridge worse and consequently raise the bill.

After checking the condition of the gaskets, you must proceed to clean them well as this is where can nest microorganisms and molds that can then pass on to food.

For cleaning you can use a sponge soaked in vinegar and baking soda or, in the case of seals that have not been cleaned for a long time, the bleach, which disinfects and prevents the formation of bacterial colonies in the future.

It is really important to pay attention to the cleaning of the gaskets because a wrong cleaning can also lead to health problems. After carefully cleaning all the gaskets, they should be rinsed with a damp sponge and finally we can let the fridge dry.

In the meantime we will devote ourselves to cleaning the tanks and shelves that we have previously removed.

Wash the shelves and the fruit and vegetable tanks

Washing the shelves and the fruit and vegetable basins is quite simple, enough wash them under hot water with dish detergent, also making a pass with the degreaser to remove any deposits.

Particular attention must be paid above all to those tanks that serve as a compartment for fruit and vegetables, usually it is here that the incrustations more at risk of mold which can become dangerous if not removed. Once washed it is sufficient to dry them well and then put them back in their place in the fridge which should now be dry and ready to start working again.

Put the pieces back in place

Once you’ve cleaned the refrigerator and reassembled all the pieces, you don’t have to do anything else that reattach it to the current to make it restart. It will take a while to start cooling but the wait is worth it.

If you have followed all the steps to the letter, every bad smell will be gone, bacteria and mold will have disappeared and the appliance will also be much more energy efficient, as as we have seen there are no more blocks of ice or dust on the coil to overload the appliance.

Such cleaning should be done at least 2 or 3 times a year, although a quick pass with vinegar and bicarbonate is advisable more often, especially if bad smells come back or if some distraction causes some food to go bad.

Cleaning the fridge is something that should not be underestimated, often we just throw away the food gone bad and that’s it, but this does not solve the problems of odors and it is however dangerous for the health. With this guide, now clean the fridge and freezer it’s simpler than ever, let’s not waste any more time and let’s do it!

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Amber Baker
Always passionate about creative writing. I worked for large-scale distribution for ten years as a sales rep for departments: small appliances, large appliances, and built-in appliances. Here on Spotless Homes, I express my passion for writing by making use of my experience with domestic appliances and technology.