Refrigerator care and cleaning might seem like a herculean task, but it’s much easier than some people make it out to be! Doing so is very important because it’s where you store loads of raw and cooked food with little separation, and where every container eventually finds itself for a while. What seems so difficult about it is that you have to follow a certain amount of steps, but that shouldn’t stop you; we’re here to tell you how!
We’ll also talk about the importance of keeping it in good condition, since it’s the appliance that you use the most in your kitchen, and one of the biggest energy consumers in the whole house. Knowing how to keep your fridge clean and fresh will greatly extend its life and its usefulness to your family along with it. We’re sure we don’t need to tell you about the health risks from a dirty or lukewarm fridge. So follow this guide and maintain a happy kitchen!
Avoid cleaning with chemical products
Ordinary cleaning products are best avoided in general when it comes to cleaning out your refrigerator, since regular kitchen cleaners tend to be very strong; that’s understandable, since they’re supposed to kill a variety of common germs, but their lingering chemical residue can come in contact with the food stored inside, risking contamination. Disinfectants like bleach are also to be avoided at all times inside of the fridge, as they can make people ill.
We suggest that you use only natural cleaners, such as the following: 1 cup of clear ammonia, ½ cup of vinegar, and a ¼ cup of baking soda. If you must use it, a mild dishwasher diluted in water is also safe to use. Leave the stronger stuff for the professionals!
Clean the condenser coils at least twice a year
These little guys are the ones that remove the heat from your fridge and freezer, so it’s in everyone’s best interest that you keep them in good condition. They look like long, radiator-like coils and are placed either at the back or under the unit, which makes them gather grime and dust as the months go by, resulting in higher energy consumption in the long run. You can keep them clean using a bristle brush with a long handle to remove the dirt stuck to it, then vacuuming it up. If you can’t find them or you’re afraid to damage your fridge, be sure to check out your owner’s manual for further instructions that you can follow.
Prevention is the best cleaning method
These are all pretty common tips on how to avoid messes in your refrigerator, but it’s never a wrong time for a quick refresher. First of all, make sure to sort through the food you’ve stored inside and throw out anything moldy, smells funny, or is simply out of date so they won’t contaminate other items. Better safe than sorry! Another useful reminder is to clean up any spills inside your fridge as soon as you notice them because they’ll not only be harder to clean if they get old, but can also cause mildew and bad smells to spread all over the rest of your food. Finally, fill a small plastic container with baking soda and keep at the bottom of the fridge to absorb any bad odors, and remember to change it regularly.
Clean or replace the door rubber seal
The rubber seal outlining your fridge and freezer doors, also called a gasket, has a critical role in keeping in the cold air and out the warm air out, but it’s often neglected. To clean it, all you have to do is use some mild dishwasher or the natural cleaner we mentioned in the first entry, and wipe down all the areas where the gasket touches the fridge. Over time, gaskets tend to get loose and eventually tear after a few years, but are fortunately very inexpensive and pretty simple to install, so there’s no excuse for not changing yours when the time comes. If you don’t the warm air from outside will start filtering into your fridge, raising its energy consumption and keeping your food at suboptimal temperatures.
Be friendly towards your fridge, so it will be friendly towards you as well. The thing about refrigerators is that we’re so dependent on them that we really shouldn’t risk neglecting their hygiene or how well they’re functioning. Getting deep inside a fridge is part and parcel of all deep and spring cleanings, anyway, so doing it a couple of times a year should be routine for you!