How to clean a refrigerator: 12 steps (with pictures)

How to clean a refrigerator: 12 steps (with pictures)
How to clean a refrigerator: 12 steps (with pictures)

A refrigerator very often needs to be cleaned from top to bottom. Milk splash should be removed from shelves and food should be discarded if it is past its expiration date. Although it's not the most enjoyable task, knowing how to do it effectively will save you a lot of time.


Part 1 of 2: clean the fridge

Clean a Refrigerator Step 1

Step 1. Remove all food from the refrigerator

Put it on the table or on a counter to completely empty the refrigerator. You will need a lot of space to see the damage.

Clean a Refrigerator Step 2

Step 2. Throw away any moldy, old, or inedible food

Place everything in a bag to prevent leakage or the mold from spreading. Annual or quarterly refrigerator cleaning often alerts us to things we have completely forgotten and sadly lost in their inevitable struggle with time. That's life. Dispose of them promptly or replace them at your own risk.

Don't be afraid to throw away things you never use. Those pickles that were already in the back of the fridge when Granny still had teeth should be thrown out, unless you want drama

Clean a Refrigerator Step 3

Step 3. Remove any shelves, drawers, or anything removable from the refrigerator

Sticking your head in the middle of the fridge to clean it is not very pleasant and not as effective as that. To do this faster, you will probably have to remove the shelves and everything that looks like them and place them near the sink where they will be much easier to clean.

Clean a Refrigerator Step 4

Step 4. Wash shelves, drawers and all other surfaces by hand

The majority of what you took out of the fridge won't or shouldn't be put in the dishwasher. Instead, lather up a bit, grab a good scrub brush or sponge, and start cleaning the removable parts of your fridge. This is where the problem lies.

  • Never wash a cold glass shelf with hot water. The sudden change in temperature can shatter the glass. Instead, use cold water or remove the shelf and let it come to room temperature before washing it.
  • For spills and stubborn stains, don't be afraid to use the power of hot water and ammonia. Dilute a little ammonia in hot water (a ratio of 1 / 5th should suffice) and allow items to soak before scrubbing them.
  • Be sure to leave shelves, racks, etc. dry completely before putting them back in the refrigerator.
Clean a Refrigerator Step 5

Step 5. Wipe down the inside of the refrigerator with your favorite cleaning product

Attack any stubborn or large stains and surfaces with a clean washcloth or sponge.

  • You should not use soap or chemicals inside the refrigerator since the food will absorb their odor. Instead, use one of the following natural products:

    • 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 25 cl of hot water;
    • 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts hot water.
  • For really stubborn stains or layers, try using a dab of toothpaste. It's an abrasive cleanser and it smells pretty good.
Clean a Refrigerator Step 6

Step 6. Make sure to clean the refrigerator door

If your refrigerator door has shelves that are used regularly, be sure to tackle that area as well, whether it's with a chemical or one of the milder products above.

Clean a Refrigerator Step 7

Step 7. Dry the shelves before putting them back in the refrigerator

Wipe off any excess water from your removable shelves with a clean cloth and return them to your refrigerator.

Clean a Refrigerator Step 8

Step 8. Return the food to the refrigerator

Wipe down jars, bottles and tupperware and put them back in the fridge. Double check the expiration dates on perishable foods before replacing them.

Part 2 of 2: Keeping a Clean and Tidy Refrigerator

Clean a Refrigerator Step 9

Step 1. Track your refrigerator seasonally (quarterly)

Thus, he will continue to smell and look good. Every three months, remove most or all of your food from the refrigerator and wipe down all surfaces with baking soda or vinegar-based product. Regular maintenance will save you time and energy in the future.

It goes without saying, but if you notice a stain in your refrigerator, try cleaning it up quickly and removing the source of the stain. Spills and stains that are not cleaned up quickly can set in and become more difficult to remove later

Clean a Refrigerator Step 10

Step 2. Use a homemade air freshener

This helps to absorb unpleasant odors and keep your refrigerator odorless. Before food turns and stinks inside your refrigerator, it's time to act. Here is what to equip your refrigerator to fight against these odors.

  • A clean sock filled with activated charcoal bought from an aquarium store and not caught in the briquettes on your barbecue. Charcoal absorbs bad odors for up to three months.
  • An open can of baking soda. Baking soda is another expert in odor absorption. Most baking soda packs recommend changing your baking soda every 30 days, but you can probably go up to 60-90 days.
  • Fresh coffee grounds, placed in a small dish at the back of the refrigerator, also work very well to absorb odors.
  • Chlorophyll odorless kitty litter is another odor scavenger too. One centimeter of kitty litter in a shallow dish at the back of the refrigerator should remove most bad odors.
Clean a Refrigerator Step 11

Step 3. Scent your refrigerator to give it a slight scent

This may not be the case for everyone, but some people enjoy a subtle hint of vanilla when they open their fridge, for example. The keyword for this step is “subtle”. You certainly don't want a smell to take over when you open your fridge. From cologne, a little touch is much nicer, especially in combination with food.

Pour a little vanilla extract, tea tree oil or lavender, lemon or even bergamot essence on a cotton ball and place it in a small dish at the back of the refrigerator. Change it every two weeks

Clean a Refrigerator Step 12

Step 4. Crumple a piece of kraft paper

Place it near the fruits and vegetables in the bin to protect it from odors. Crumpled kraft paper works wonders to remove odors from the bin.


  • Keep a small jar (lid open) of baking soda to absorb excess moisture. Note that you must use a jar and not a box.
  • Get organized to make things easier to find. Put milk, juices and other drinks on a shelf and your sauces, seasonings and the like elsewhere.
  • Clean your refrigerator about once a month.
  • Once your fridge is clean, emptying it and cleaning just one or two shelves or drawers at a time is an easy way to clean it. The entire refrigerator is never completely spotless, but it can stay clean without a full day of cleaning. Just be sure to browse all the shelves.
  • Check every week that there is no rotten product to avoid bad odors.
  • Make sure nothing falls out to avoid breaking or shattering anything.


  • Do not let water or cleaning product fall into the vents.
  • Old food should be bagged separately before going to your regular bin to avoid attracting animals and rodents if the bin bag is not sealed or if it tears on the outside.

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