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6 minute read |

Your refrigerator might be the most crucial kitchen appliance. It undoubtedly plays has a critical job in keeping your food fresh and bacteria-free. Regular cleanings help on both counts.

In today’s article, Zanussi Hong Kong will provide you a complete step-by-step guide on how to clean your refrigerator easily, what to use to clean refrigerator, how to clean refrigerator in and out. Learn how to do the job right so you can go longer between deep-cleans to make it shiny, clean, and odor-free once again.

The satisfaction of a sparkling-clean refrigerator

The satisfaction of a sparkling-clean refrigerator

Before the cleaning

Before we roll up our sleeves for the deep cleaning job, let’s make sure to get the following things done first:

Schedule a proper timing for your refrigerator cleaning 

Timing your refrigerator cleaning before the weekly or daily delivery of your grocery shopping will make your life easier. If yours is a refrigerator freezer, you would also want the freezer compartment as empty as possible when you start the clean-up.

Besides, you may wonder how often we should clean the refrigerator. This depends on the type and quality of the refrigerator that you own. For a regular quality refrigerator, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you lightly clean the refrigerator at least once a week.

Of course, this is also determined by several factors that may necessitate the cleaning of the refrigerator, such as the expiry date and condition of the food stored in it.

Prepare surface area for temporary food storage

Since it’s obvious that we will need to completely empty the refrigerator before cleaning, preparing enough surface area for temporary food storage would be a good idea. You might want to empty your kitchen sink as well.

What to use to clean refrigerator?

Here is the list of supplies you will need for your cleaning:

  • Vinegar or baking soda
  • Spray bottle – the container for our food-safe cleaner made from vinegar/baking soda and hot water
  • Scrubby sponge or cloth
  • A large microfiber towel to place at the bottom of your refrigerator to absorb the water drops if any

And don’t forget a recycling bin. You can put it somewhere nearby as you might be tossing expired items.

Spray bottle – the container for our cleaner

Spray bottle – the container for our cleaner


Turn off & empty your refrigerator

Now turn off your refrigerator and make sure to let the plastic shelves come to room temperature before you start removing them in the next steps. Trying to remove plastic shelves from your refrigerator when it’s still cold might cause unwanted cracks or other damages.

While you are transferring all the contents of your refrigerator onto the kitchen countertops or any surface area, remember to:

  • Check for use-by dates and through away anything that’s already expired or spoiled. Our simple tips to make plant food from leftovers might come in handy here.
  • Clean the bottom of sticky jars or bottles.
  • Consider putting your perishables in a cooler, especially if you are planning for a really thorough clean.

Step-by-step on how to clean your refrigerator properly


Step 1: Remove & soak the shelves and drawers

Now that the refrigerator’s inside must have come to room temperature, take all the shelves and drawers out and soak them in the kitchen sink. If they won’t fit your sink, spray them with dish soap and hot water.

Leave them there while we are heading to work on the inside of the refrigerator.

Step 2: Soften the accumulated gunk from inside of the refrigerator

Spray all over the interior of your refrigerator
with the DIY vinegar solution mentioned earlier. Concentrate on areas with gunk. The simple combination of vinegar and water works like magic at cleaning up not only sticky germs, but also smelly refrigerators as well.

Leave the refrigerator’s interior to soak while you get back to the disassembled shelves and drawers earlier.

Step 3: Wash the shelves and drawers

The gunk on the shelves and drawers should be loosen by now. It’s time to wipe and clean them in dish soap water. Let them dry while you return to wash the inside of your refrigerator.

Step 4: How to clean inside of refrigerator

First, give the refrigerator walls an initial scrub to wipe out any gunk. Then, clean the refrigerator’s interior surfaces thoroughly with a soft, damp microfiber cloth. Make sure to have it rinsed and squeezed out regularly.

Clean inside of refrigerator thoroughly with a damp microfiber cloth

Clean inside of refrigerator thoroughly with a damp microfiber cloth

Step 5: Dry and reassemble all washed parts

When all the parts which are disassembled in the initial steps are dry completely, you can start having them reassembled.

Step 6: Clean jars and bottles before putting them back

It’d be pointless if we put sticky jam jars and crusty bottles back into a thoroughly cleaned refrigerator.

If you have already cleaned the bottom of those containers at the very first steps while clearing out your refrigerator, that’s pretty much all the main work. However, sometimes gunk has accumulated around the edges of the cap or the seal, so you might want to take the lid off and wash it in the sink before putting them all back to the refrigerator.

Step 7: How to clean refrigerator outside

Don’t forget to clean the outside of your refrigerator, too!

Don’t forget to clean the outside of your refrigerator, too!

Once everything is in place in your sparkling clean refrigerator, spray the vinegar solution all over the outside of the refrigerator. Then use a soft and clean microfiber cloth to wash it off. Don’t forget to give a good cleaning to the refrigerator handles, edges, and seals.

After the cleaning


How to turn on your refrigerator after the cleaning?

Good news – once your refrigerator is clean and dry, it's ready to go. You can turn on your refrigerator right after the cleaning without having to wait anytime at all.

Clean kitchen counters or surface areas that held food, drinks, refrigerator parts 

Don’t forget to wash your kitchen countertops or any surfaces that held your food and refrigerator parts. Give the floor a quick clean-up is also a good idea as the whole cleaning process might leave your floor dirty.

Extra tips on how to clean 2-door refrigerator

Zanussi door refrigerator give you more space for food storage

Zanussi door refrigerator give you more space for food storage

As big-sized refrigerators obviously contain a lot more stuff than 1-door counterparts, here are 2 extra tips for owners of 2 door refrigerators:

  • Use folding table or a few chairs to get more space for temporary food storage. Whatever you might use, make sure you prepare at least enough space to hold a shelf’s worth of stuff.
  • Clean shelf by shelf: Not everyone has enough space on kitchen countertops to hold all the stuff taken from the refrigerator before cleaning. So, working shelf by shelf is the go-to cleaning method for owners of side-by-side, 4-door, 2-door, or any big refrigerators. By doing so, your perishables won’t be left out for too long.

All visual images are for reference only.

FAQs about how to clean refrigerators

  • 1. How long should I leave the fridge open after cleaning?

    To clean the interior of your refrigerator and freezer, including the doors and gaskets, use hot water and baking soda. Rinse with a sanitizing solution, and then leave the door open for about 15 minutes to allow for free air circulation.

  • 2. Does vinegar smell go away after cleaning with it?
    Yes, the smell of vinegar will eventually dissipate after cleaning with it. However, if you want to speed up the process, you can add a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender or lemon, to your vinegar cleaning solution to give it a more pleasant scent.
  • 3. What type of vinegar is best to use for cleaning a refrigerator?
    If you want to clean your refrigerator with vinegar, you can make a cleaning solution by mixing one part white vinegar with three parts water. Then, fill a spray bottle with the solution and apply it using the same method as the baking soda solution.
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