How to clean a fridge in 5 easy steps and why you should never ignore the space underneath
Cleaning: Tips on how to eliminate odours from your fridge
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Keeping your fridge clean is essential to keep odours away, and more importantly to maintain good food hygiene. Even if you think your fridge looks clean, there is often more bacteria and dirt lurking in the shelves, drawers and even underneath the appliance than you think. While wiping down the inside will leave your fridge visibly cleaner, there are a few extra steps you should take to leave it entirely free from unpleasant smells, dirt and germs. Here’s how to do it.
How to deep clean a fridge
Disinfecting your fridge should be done on a regular basis, but it’s also just as important to do a deep clean every few months.
Scheduling a thorough clean isn’t always easy when your fridge is in constant use, but a good time to try it is when your fridge is looking almost completely empty – before or after a trip away is usually ideal.
Before you start cleaning, it’s important to move any existing items into a cool bag until they can be returned to the spotless shelves.
Start by disinfecting
The exterior and interior of your fridge should be wiped down to remove surface debris and loosen up any dirt stuck to the surface.
To do this, mix together a natural solution of baking soda and hot water – using two tablespoons of baking soda for every one cup of water.
Take a clean cloth and dip it in the solution before wiping over the shelves, drawers and handles on the fridge.
Remove shelves and rinse with vinegar
Take out any removable compartments and soak them in a large bucket of hot water and mild dish soap.
In a spray bottle, mix three parts water with one part white vinegar and spritz the inside of the empty fridge.
Vinegar helps to banish nasty bacteria while leaving a high shine on the glossy interior.
Pay attention to fridge seals and crevices as these are often ignored. You can use a cotton bud soaked in vinegar to clean these areas.
If you’re struggling to remove stubborn odours, use fresh lemon halves to squeeze over the surface and leave to sit for a few minutes.
Wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth and dry using a clean towel.
Once the shelves and drawers have been left to soak for at least 15 minutes, it’s time to rinse and dry the compartments before they’re returned to the fridge.
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Clean the drip pan
The drip pan on your fridge or fridge-freezer is a receptacle that catches condensation flowing from the defrost drain.
Without proper cleaning, it can harbour bacteria and odours if water is left to sit.
Luckily, they’re very easy to clean. Start by removing the liquid by mopping it with kitchen roll and wash in warm, soapy water.
To clean a drip pan that’s fixed in place, Martha Stewart recommended wrapping an absorbent cloth around the head of a long-handled brush, dipping it in warm, soapy water and cleaning the pan.
Clean underneath the fridge
Even if you think that your kitchen is clean, taking a look behind your fridge might suggest otherwise.
This hidden area can accumulate a lot of mess in a short period of time, which can be very attractive to household pests like flies and ants.
Depending on the type of fridge that you have, you may simply be able to push your fridge out of the way in order to sweep and vacuum the area.
Finish by mopping with a white vinegar and lemon juice solution to freshen up the flooring.
If this area is hard to reach, use a long vacuum attachment to remove debris.
Re-fill the fridge
Once the drip pan is clean and dry, it can be returned to its original position at the base of the appliance.
Replace clean shelves and drawers to their appropriate slot and leave the fridge shut for a while.
You will need to wait for the temperature to reach 4C or below before placing food back into the fridge.
How to maintain a clean fridge
According to Lynsey Crombie, the Queen of Clean, organisation is crucial if you want to keep the fridge clean.
She said: “It’s all in the organisation, or assigning food zones.
“It might seem silly to have zones in your refrigerator, but this helps me not only remember where things belong, but it’s helpful to other family members and guests who are helping out in the kitchen.”
Having clear compartments can prevent spillages and drizzling items from spreading across shelves too, which means fewer odours or stickiness to mop up between your deep cleans.
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