Cleaning the refrigerator can be…messy and wet. Plus, we hate being faced with our demons—the long forgotten takeout cartons, bottled sauces, or the opened packages of chocolates and cookies. Here’s how to tackle cleaning your ice box in just five simple steps.
Step 1: Unplug, clear out. Don’t think about cleaning without unplugging. If your freezer has turned into the Antarctic, defrost it first. Depending on how much ice has accumulated inside, it may take several hours to defrost the fridge. Use the defrosting time to start removing its contents. If you can’t remember when you placed a particular item in the fridge, throw it out especially those that are old or have long expired. Remove trays and shelving if you can.
Step 2: Spray with solution. Fill an empty spray bottle with a 1/2 cup of vinegar or lemon and water solution. Spray the inside surface of your refrigerator. Let the solution sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, scrub and wash the trays and shelving with soap and water. Rinse thoroughly and let dry. Wipe clean any bottle, jar, and container you’re returning to the fridge.
Step 3: Scrub it down. Wipe the interiors with a wet soft cloth, removing any debris, dirt, or food. For stubborn stains or tricky corners, pour a small amount of undiluted vinegar on the spot and let it sit for a few minutes. You can use an old toothbrush with soft bristles to scrub tenacious stains.
Step 4: Deodorize. Finish by wiping the whole area with a clean cloth. Place the clean shelves and trays back into the unit. To keep it smelling clean and fresh, leave a cup of baking soda to absorb odors inside the refrigerator.
Step 5: Look at the back before you plug it back. Check the fridge’s coils located at the back of the machine. If it’s dirty (it likely is), use a vacuum's crevice attachment to clear away dust. Coils that are not maintained well can make the fridge work harder and increase your electric bill. Besides, you want those coils clean since they can work as a last-minute dryer for small items of clothing like socks (seriously!)
To make your cleaning easier the next time, make sure to defrost your refrigerator at least once a month. Defrosting will also help it run smoother. Clear out your unit at least once a week—throwing out any old food that has dried up or gone bad. Cover all your food items or place them in airtight containers.
This article was originally published in the January-February 2012 issue of Good Housekeeping Philippines and adapted online on Femalenetwork.com.
*Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.