Confession: I don’t put anything on my fridge. I’m a little non mom here. I’m going to let you know how to clean your refrigerator, or at least how I do it. It had been too long, and really, the summer Popsicle mess needed to be cleaned.
No matter what we choose to do with the outside, the inside of your fridge should be clean! Really, then you are just creating a nicer place for your food and your magnets and knick knacks and menus. And your food will taste better. And it won’t stink. Yay!
Now, I love to look at other people’s refrigerators and I need to display my kids’ masterpieces somewhere, but it will never be there. I hope my kids don’t think I am terrible! Every once in awhile I tape something up but it never lasts for long. Believe me, I’ve got some hot mess spots elsewhere, so do not think my whole house looks this clean.
I just like to look at the outside and imagine the rest of my house is so shiny and clutter free.
How to Clean Your Refrigerator
1. Clean Up Spills When they Happen: Don’t let them get sticky. Or you will spend an hour chipping caramel off the floor of your freezer like I did. Pull out your drawers and take a look. Yuck! It’s simple to wipe up spills when they happen and also to wipe off jars before you put them back in. A sticky bottom makes a mess and food on the rims of jars prevents them from closing completely and creates odors in your fridge!
2. Get Rid of the Nasty Old Stuff: The first time you do this, it might take some time, but once you are done if you keep up with it you will never think you have shredded cheese just to find that bag deep in the fridge with mold growing. You may also save some money because you will know what you have if you regularly chuck the old stuff and keep an organized fridge.
3. Clean the Doors: Wipe ’em down weekly with hot water or water and dish soap, but beware of odors in the soap. You can also use a simple baking soda and water mixture to clean your fridge. If your fridge has not been cleaned in awhile, take out all the door shelves and wash them in the sink with the same baking soda and water mixture or any non-scented cleaner. Don’t forget to wipe down the seal and get any crumbs out from it. Make sure to thoroughly dry it and check that it is working when you close the doors. A wet seal may not stick like it should. Check this regularly. Get any jelly or juice or anything sticky off as soon as you see it. If it sticks and rips the seal, you will be out a couple hundred bucks!
4. Clean the Inside Including Shelves, Drawers and Walls: You can turn your power off at the circuit breaker or just go drawer by drawer and area by area like I do. Start at the top and work your way down so anything you wipe falls to the bottom, which you clean last. Same drill with the hot water and baking soda. For glass shelves be sure to let the them warm up before hitting them with super hot water. Take them out and while you wait, wipe down the inside area where the drawer or shelf was. You may need to let shelves and / or drawers soak awhile to get the nasty out. You may need elbow grease (like when the caramel ice cream melts and makes a home for itself in the bottom of your freezer. Once you have it all clean, this can be done quarterly or whenever it starts to look like it needs a little extra love.
It can help to take all of the food out if you have a lot of purging and organizing to do. However, my sink only fits one thing at a time and I have a fairly big sink, so I choose not to take every drawer and shelf and all the food out at once.
Once you are done stick a baking soda in the fridge and freezer and replace these every three months. It takes care of any odors!
5. Make and Keep that Food Organized: I have a shelf for tall drinks like milk and O.J. Right now we are digging the liquid water flavors so we have very little in terms of other drinks. Except my Diet Coke and my box o’ wine and the nicer bottle of wine. We have a shelf for dairy and spreads and a shelf for snacks like yogurts. We have a shelf for breads and bagels. The bottom shelf is tall enough for long neck beers and that’s where we keep any soda or other individual sized drinks. In the drawers we keep sandwich meat and cheese in one and meat to cook in one. We should be using the drawers at low humidity for veggies and high humidity for fruit but it goes so fast we keep the fruit and veggies in one drawer on the middle humidity setting. In the freezer we just try to keep meals together and veggies together and then we have a whole bacon drawer at the bottom because who wants to run out of bacon? Not us.
6. Regular Maintenance of the Parts: Unplug your fridge and take a few minutes to keep it working well. Almost all refrigerators have a drip pan that is underneath to catch water. You should clean the drip pan every 6 months or so. You can access it from the front or back of your refrigerator, depending on the model. Pull it out, empty it and wash it in warm water. You also want to keep your condenser coils clean. You can use a coil cleaning brush and the vacuum hose to keep these babies working well. Finally, you want to clean out the condenser fan by locating it and cleaning all the debris from between the blades. And of course, if you have a water filter, it should be replaced at east every 6 months.
With any refrigerator, your manual is your best friend. It will point you right to what you need and let you know what is recommended for your unit. If you don’t have it, google it and save it to your computer or in Evernote in a folder called Home Maintenance. Be sure to add your model and serial number to the file so it is easily accessible should you ever need a service call or just to look up a specific problem.
Did you know that more than 70% of refrigerator service calls end up requiring nothing more than resetting a breaker or completing these simple maintenance tasks? Save your hard earned pennies and keep your fridge running cool and super efficient!
Ta Da! Now you have a clean place to store your food and show off your artwork. Now #ThatsVandy!
p.s. cleaning refrigerator shelves makes a great chore for kids. A sponge and some warm water and you have a great little activity for your little ones. I would say 5 and up can rock this task.
I am linking up with Elaine from The MisselaineousLife and Katie of Sluiter Nation for Old School Blogging. People are showing their fridges and the stories behind them. Well, my fridge isn’t exciting but here’s learning something about me. A lot of food grosses me out so I really prefer to have a clean fridge. I am a huge DIY nut and I’m working on a whole home manual. So, when asked to show my fridge, I thought I could show and tell and teach a little, just in case you didn’t know all those tidbits about your fridge. Also, yes that is a box of Target wine in there. And Diet Coke. And we need to go grocery shopping. I’m just not a fan.
So check out the refrigerator madness going on and of course, let me know if you have any questions.