How to Clean Your Fridge From Top to Bottom


So, you think it’s time to clean your fridge? Or maybe it’s a “I have to clean my fridge right now because it smells so bad” type of cleaning? Either way, you’ve come to the right place. Refrigerator cleaning is one of the add-on services our Eldersburg cleaning company provides, so we know all about it. Here is a quick guide to all the nooks and crevices in your fridge you should remember to scrub. Or if by the end of it you don’t feel like cleaning, just give us a call.

Unplug it

Have you ever tried cleaning a working refrigerator? If so, you probably remember your cleaning spray turning into slush before you could do anything with it. Unplugging the fridge makes cleaning easier, as well as saves energy your fridge would otherwise waste trying to counteract the open door. Keep in mind that unplugging the fridge also turns off all the lights inside of it. If this makes it hard to see dirt and stains, be sure to use alternative sources of lighting, such as your kitchen lights or a task lamp.

Empty the Fridge

In order to clean the inside of the fridge, you need to empty it first. This is also a great opportunity to get rid of any foods that outstayed their welcome. Carefully sort through every jar, bag and Tupperware container and throw away the following:

  • Food that is expired (Hello, a can of olives from 2012!)
  • Food that is obviously spoiled (Hey there, moldy mozzarella!)
  • Food that may be good but that you are never going to eat (Why do I have apple sauce? I don’t even like apple sauce!)

Don’t forget to sort though the freezer section as well and toss all those freezer-burnt chicken tenders. A tip: place all of the throw-away food into a separate trash bag and take it outside to avoid stinking up your house.

Take Out Removable Parts

Your fridge probably has certain parts that can be removed, such as shelves and drawers. If you have a large enough sink, place them there or take them to your bathtub. Wash shelves and drawers with soap and water like you would wash the dishes. However, be sure to start with warm water and slowly transition to hot. Some materials, specifically glass, may crack from sudden temperature changes If there are difficult, sticky stains, soak them for a bit to loosen up the dirt. Set the shelves and drawers to dry while you are tackling the rest of the fridge.

Scrub the Inside

When it comes to choosing a cleaning agent, go with something mild, such a mild dish soap/water solution, a multi-purpose spray or the old-school water and baking soda mix. Avoid cleaners with strong scents, as they may linger and stick to the food. Wipe down all compartments with a paper towel or a washcloth and use a toothbrush to break up stubborn stains. Don’t use steel wool or other types of abrasive scrubbers inside the fridge, as they may lead to permanent damage.

Don’t forget to clean the rubber gasket attached to the inside perimeter of your refrigerator door. Wipe off any sticky residue and keep an eye out for damage, such as cracked or crumbling rubber. If your door can’t fully seal, you fridge won’t be working at its top efficiency.

Clean the Outside

The outside of the fridge can get dirty too, especially if your fridge is close to the stove. Your refrigerator handle and any buttons on the front of it will probably be the places you would want to focus on. Consider the type of finish your fridge has before you choose your cleaning supplies. For example, stainless steel may require special cleaners, as well as a cleaning motion in the direction of the grain.

Clean Behind and Underneath

A big part of the energy efficiency of your fridge has to do with the amount of ventilation it gets. Every household refrigerator is equipped with condenser coils. Their job is to remove heat from the refrigerant by releasing the heat into the environment. A fan is often pointed at the coils to help with this process, but it may not be visible on all refrigerator models.

Condenser coils are typically located on the back or the bottom of your fridge. Over time, they get covered with dust and their ability to release warm air diminishes, forcing the condenser to work harder. When you are cleaning your fridge, be sure to locate the condenser coils and clean them with a special brush. If you have a fridge with bottom-mounted coils, simply removing the front grille and vacuuming underneath the fridge may do the trick.

Restock and Refresh

Now that your fridge is clean, you can plug it back in and load it up with food. Check every food item before you put it back to make sure it’s not leaking and doesn’t have a sticky bottom. You wouldn’t want to ruin the hard work you’ve just done by adding new stains.

After the last item goes in, place an open box of baking soda somewhere in the fridge. Baking soda works great for absorbing odors and will keep your fridge odor-free for a while. At Immaculate Clean, we do this after each refrigerator cleaning to help our customers enjoy their nice, clean fridge longer.

About the Author

Picture of Dawn Fiscella

Dawn Fiscella

Dawn Fiscella, the President and Founder of Immaculate Clean, embodies the spirit of a dedicated working mom. With a degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland, Dawn founded Immaculate Clean in 2004 to alleviate the stress of juggling career, family, and home. Under her leadership, the company has flourished, offering exceptional cleaning services across Sarasota, Eldersburg, and various counties in Baltimore. A member of the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International since 2005, Dawn's commitment to creating cleaner, healthier homes is unwavering, making Immaculate Clean a trusted name in the industry.

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