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How to Clean a Refrigerator

The Benefits of Routine Cleaning

Refrigerator maintenance is regularly overlooked because of the perception that it requires too much work or too much of an investment of your time for a dull, bulky appliance. But, it doesn’t have to be a difficult process and it’s actually vitally important to give your refrigerator a complete cleaning at least twice a year. If your refrigerator it neglected, then it becomes a breeding ground for mold and bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes, which flourishes in the same cold temperatures that your food is stored in. Spoilage bacteria can affect the taste and smell of your food and spread to the entirety of your refrigerator, especially the rubber seal of the door.

What You’ll Need

Mild dish detergent - Dawn or Palmolive

Bar towel or paper towels

16oz cup

Magic eraser sponge

Bleach or some other type of disinfectant solution

Microfiber cloth

Windex - If you have glass shelves

Cleaning the Shelves

First, unplug your refrigerator and take out all of the food. Take out all of the shelves and clean the top, bottom, and sides of each shelf with mild dish detergent. Put a bar towel down inside the sink to protect from scratches. Place one shelf at a time in the sink on top of the towel and fill a 16oz cup with water and an ounce of Dawn or Palmolive. Dawn and Palmolive are the best detergents for removing stuck-on food without damaging glass or plastic. Dip a magic eraser sponge into the cup completely soaking the sponge. Gently wipe the entire shelf being sure to get into all crevasses. Once all dirt is removed, turn on the faucet and rinse each shelf with warm water. Use your hand to feel for any stuck-on food or grease. Repeat this process until all food and grease are removed.


Put a dry bar towel on the counter and carefully place the shelf on top. Then place another towel over the shelf to protect from scratches. Place each shelf over top of each other in this manner until all shelves are stacked like a line of fallen dominos. This will allow for more air circulation and saves space on the counter.

Cleaning the Inside

While the shelves are drying, spray the inside of the refrigerator with bleach. If you do not want to use bleach then use some other type of disinfectant solution. Refill the 16oz cup with the solution of water and Palmolive. Using the magic eraser, scrub the entire inside of the refrigerator with the solution including the inside of the door, but not the rubber around the door. Then, wet your microfiber cloth and wipe the inside of the refrigerator and door to remove all cleaning solutions. Rinse the cloth out with freshwater and again wipe down the inside of the refrigerator until all solution is washed out.


This is where you will clean the rubber around the door. Take the microfiber cloth and wipe the inside of the rubber around the door. Be sure to wipe away any dirt stuck in the crease of the rubber. Using a dry bar rag or paper towels, dry the inside of the refrigerator removing any hair or food particles left behind. Dry off any remaining water on the shelves (If you have glass shelves, you would use Windex to clean the glass) and return them back to their original position. Once the shelves are placed, replace the food being sure to whip off the bottoms of any jars with a clean damp microfiber towel.

Cleaning the Outside

Now we are going to clean the outside. Remove all magnets and any items on top of the refrigerator. This step depends on what type of refrigerator you have. If you have a Non-Stainless Steel refrigerator with small crevasses on the surface then refill the 16oz cup with a new solution of water and Palmolive. Lay a towel down on the floor in front of the appliance. Dip the magic eraser into the solution and ring it out so it is wet but not dripping. Scrub the top, front, and sides of the refrigerator. Wipe off the cleaning solution on the outside with a bar towel or paper towels. If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, then use a stainless steel cleaning spray to spray the entire exterior. With a bar towel or paper towels, wipe the refrigerator down being sure to wipe with the grain and not against it. To avoid streaks, make sure the exploit is completely dry. Neatly replace all magnets and personal items that were stored on top of the refrigerator. Now, enjoy your clean and healthy refrigerator!

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