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One of the most important spots in any home is the kitchen. The fridge is the best spot of all! It’s where the family often gathers to hunt for snacks, drinks, and meals.
Keeping your fridge clean and organized is vital to your family’s health and well-being.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, however! I’m sure we’ve all discovered weeks-old moldy cheese tucked in a drawer corner or leftovers that got overlooked and now have to be tossed. That’s painful on your budget and sad for a meal you would’ve enjoyed!
Read on for tips on how to get started, how to clean fridge, and awesome tips to maintain it easily!
Clean Out The Fridge
First, start with a deep clean of the fridge. Don’t worry, once you get in the habit of following the steps below it won’t need to be done often!
Some prefer to handle fridge clean out by emptying the entire contents of the fridge in one swoop and set it aside on the counter.
While that works great for some, I generally prefer going shelf by shelf for maintenance cleaning.
That way, if something I must immediately deal with arises, I only have a shelf-full of items to contend with before heading to deal with it.
For this first cleaning, we’ll start by taking everything out.
Prepare in Advance
If you know your fridge needs some serious cleaning, the worst time to do it is immediately after a major grocery trip.
You’ll just have more items in there to have to shuffle around!
Plan for a day before your next shopping trip so the fridge is at it’s emptiest.
Make sure you have good cleaning supplies too! You’ll need Dawn dish soap, vinegar, baking soda, and a Magic Eraser or Stainless Steel Cleaner, depending on your fridge finish.
Pull All The Food Out
Here comes the fun part. Pull allllll the food out of the fridge and set it on the counter. If you’re worried about food getting too warm, you could stick it in a cooler filled with ice.
Next, take out all the shelves and drawers and place them in the tub. Fill it with warm, soapy water and let soak for a few minutes. While that’s soaking, bounce back over to the fridge!
Start at the Top
Let gravity work in our favor and start by wiping down the walls of the fridge with vinegar. Vinegar is awesome because it’s a natural deodorizer and disinfectant.
I’m not a huge fan of the way vinegar smells, but the smell does dissipate pretty quickly. Plus, it’s way healthier than using chemical cleaners, especially where you keep your food.
Change the Water Filter
If your fridge has a water dispenser, it most likely also has a water filter.
They should be changed every 6-12 months, so might as well cross that off the list while you’re deep cleaning the fridge!
Write the date on the new filter so you know how long it’s been in there and when it’s time to change to a new filter.
Grab The Vacuum
Once you get near the bottom, bring the vacuum to suck up any crumbs at the bottom. Vacuum the bottom vents and coils too.
That helps the fridge work more efficiently and saves energy, plus the dust down there can be pretty gross!
Wipe Leaks at The Bottom
If you’re anything like me, chances are you’ve got some mystery liquids at the bottom of the fridge that have dried and are stuck. Apply vinegar to soften and scrub away!
Dry The Shelves
Now you can head back and work on the fridge shelves. Give them all a quick scrub and rinse them off.
Then drain the tub to let the shelves dry.
You can let them air dry, or if you’re ready to get moving on filling the fridge back up, dry them with clean bath towels.
Figure Out Shelf Positions
If you were constantly struggling to find a tall enough spot for a bottle of wine or a jug of milk, you’ll want to adjust the shelves to leave more room for tall items.
Go with what works for your family to best organize your fridge for your specific needs.
Use Fridge Shelf Liners
One of the easiest ways to maintain a clean fridge is to apply shelf liners to each shelf.
Shelf liners like this set work great for the fridge. You can also use Glad Peel and Stick.
If there’s a spill, you can easily pull up the liner and discard it without having to take out the entire shelf to clean.
I like this option because I can cover the edges of the glass and overlap the plastic a bit, which prevents grime from building up in the side crevices.
Sort Through Food and Toss Old Stuff
Now comes the stinky part – going through all the old food! Toss anything that is past the expiration date, smells, or just looks off. Wipe down condiment jars before placing back in the fridge.
Wipe Down Condiment Bottles
You’ve done all this hard work, so don’t let some sticky jelly ruin it!
Wipe off the bottles and jars before placing them back on the shelves to keep your fridge clean.
Don’t Forget the Freezer!
Now that the fridge is nice and clean, it’s time to do the same for the freezer.
Pull all the food out and wipe down walls with a damp cloth. Pull out any drawers to wash and then vacuum crumbs from the bottom.
Toss all freezer burned food or mystery frozen leftovers that you can’t even remember when they were put in the freezer.
If there’s any food approaching the expiration date, plan to use them for upcoming meals.
When putting food back in the freezer, have a system in place to keep meats together, veggies in a designated spot, and desserts like ice cream pulled together.
That will make future meal planning much easier!
Clean the Outside of the Fridge
Take down all menus, magnets, and artwork off the fridge. Spray with the vinegar/water solution and wipe down.
If you have a stainless fridge, Bar Keeper’s Friend works fantastic for removing fingerprints.
Don’t forget to wipe the top of the fridge as well! Since it’s out of sight, it’s an often overlooked spot that gathers crazy amounts of dust.
Our current fridge has gritty plastic handles that always seem to stay a shade darker than the less-used freezer. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers help clean that quite well.
Be selective about what you put back up on the fridge to keep it from looking cluttered.
Also, clean under refrigerator to get rid of dust, grime, and leaks under there.
Ready to deep clean the rest of your kitchen? See the blueprint to deep cleaning a kitchen here!
Tips To Maintain a Clean Fridge
While that was a fairly time-consuming task, with some maintenance it doesn’t have to be like that often.
The shelf liners will help keep it much cleaner since you can just wipe it or toss it when it gets all gross.
Give your condiment jars another quick wipe after each use if they’re dripping.
Store Produce and Leftovers in Eyesight
How many times do we find a desiccated zucchini or moldy strawberries tucked in the back of the fridge?
Keeping the things that go bad fastest in eyesight keeps us from forgetting about it, which helps ensure we use it before it’s too late. That saves on your wallet too!
Have a Plan for Leftovers
We’re huge fans of leftovers in this house, as it’s much easier to handle dinner if I’m working from last night’s meal.
If you find no one in your family ends up eating the leftovers, though, it could be an unnecessary waste and expense.
If that’s the case, consider cutting down the amount you make each night to eliminate them.
Read Next: Get Started Organizing: A Beginner’s Guide