Cleaning the refrigerator: a task as tedious as it is important. It’s one of those chores we always put off, kidding ourselves that the fridge can’t really be THAT dirty. But oh how wrong we are.
Just the salad drawer alone can contain up to 8,000 bacteria per square centimetre. Most of these are fairly harmless, but there are also some dangerous bacteria hiding out there. Salmonella and staphylococcus like to make a home for themselves in your fridge, and these can cause serious food poisoning.
So next time you open that door looking for a snack, think about giving the fridge a good scrub first. And because we love to help, here are our top tips for getting your fridge spotless, with some green cleaning tips to boot.
Make room first
After disconnecting the fridge from the power, we need to prepare for battle. First step: remove all your food. That forgotten tupperware hiding in the back corner, open jars of who-even-knows-what, and the rest of the mysterious contents of your fridge all need to come out.
Once the fridge is empty of all things edible (or inedible, in some cases), take out the shelves, drawers, and any other removable parts. You can was these in the dishwasher, or use the methods below to clean each section. Now on to the inside of the fridge…
Ditch the dirt
Armed with a sponge and a cloth, you can now pick your cleaning method of choice to disinfect the surfaces of your refrigerator. Take any one of these ingredients – or combine a few – and get your fridge as clean as a whistle.
1. Dish soap
The classic, and by far the most popular choice. Choose a formula as gentle as possible (even an environmentally-friendly one, if possible), and combine it with warm water. Be sure to rinse the surfaces thoroughly afterwards.
A common natural cleaner, vinegar removes dirt, stains, and nasty odours from your fridge. The acetic acid acts as a disinfectant, and also cuts through grease. Combine it with water and use as you would a standard cleaning solution. If the smell of vinegar lingers in your fridge once you’ve cleaned, try placing some used coffee grounds in there to soak up the scent.
Lemons are also a great natural disinfectant. Use a cloth to remove any food debris first, then wipe over all the surfaces with lemon juice. You can even use the whole lemon itself – just cut it in half and use it like a sponge to clean. As well as removing grease, the lemon will leave your fridge smelling lovely and fresh.
4. Bicarbonate of soda
A great fridge-cleaning ally, you can use baking soda to clean both the inside and outside of the fridge. Dissolve a few tablespoons in a basin of warm water, and use a cloth to clean with this mixture. It cuts through grime in an instant.
No, we’re not joking. Dip a damp sponge in some dry rice and use it to scrub the walls of your fridge, to get rid of the toughest dried-on food. You can also create a liquid cleanser with rice. Simply soak some rice for two days, and use the resulting starchy liquid to clean the surfaces, rinsing with a damp cloth after. This will get rid of any nasty smells lingering in your fridge.
You can also create a natural cleaning solution with salt. Simply mix it with water and bicarbonate of soda and wipe this solution on the surfaces with a cloth. You can also put this mixture in a spray bottle and use it to get tough-to-clean spots sparkling again.
7. Castile soap
Another super simple solution for fridge cleaning. Dissolve some flakes of castile soap in warm water, and add a few drops of lemon juice or tea tree oil. These will act as a disinfectant and also leave a beautiful fragrance in your fridge.
Put it all back
With your valliant cleaning efforts over, dry off the inside of the fridge and the shelves, drawers, and other removable parts with a clean tea towel. Pop these parts back in the fridge, along with all the food you took out at the start (though that mysterious tupperware can probably go in the garbage…).
One last trick to keep your fridge odour-free: put a few tablespoons of baking soda in a small container and sit it in one of the corners of your fridge. It’ll soak up any smells without any extra work from you.
Do you have any fridge cleaning tips we missed? Let us know in the comments!
And if you don’t have time to take care of fridge cleaning yourself, why not let us give it a go? You can add fridge cleaning on to your cleaning package – an even easier solution to your cleaning woes!