If there is one thing that our mom pounded into us while growing up, it is keeping the refrigerator spick and span. My mother is one serious neat-freak when it comes to our house, especially in the kitchen area, which understandably is her ‘domain.’ She would always remind us, siblings, to keep our kitchen top, stovetop, and refrigerator clean at all times if we don’t want to eat germs and bacteria. And boy, moms definitely know best, particularly when it comes to cleaning.
Refrigerators are our food-keeping appliance, functioning as a storage compartment and shelf-life extender at the same time. Since they deal with food, keeping them clean is our top priority. And here, we have compiled several helpful cleaning and disinfecting tips that you can use to keep your refrigerator spotless.
When it comes to cleaning the refrigerator, using typical kitchen cleaning chemicals is a big NO. These cleaning materials are proven to get the grime off; however, the strong chemical residue they leave on surfaces is too harmful and often toxic once ingested. This is why I would typically use dish washing liquid diluted in water as my cleaning agent.
You can also create your own DIY cleaning mixture using common household materials that are as effective but non-toxic. The most common and favorite go-to combo is baking soda and vinegar. Mix half a cup of vinegar with ¼ cup of baking soda and dilute in a gallon of water. It is an excellent disinfectant plus mold removing solution. For tough and hardened stains, using any toothpaste is also a great option.
Meanwhile, for deodorizers, I would generally place a cup of baking soda on a small container and place it around the center or bottom shelf. Most moms would also recommend using activated charcoal, which you can easily buy in your local market. Simply put it on a net bag or even a new clean sock and hang it at the back of your fridge. It could effectively suck up all the bad smells for about a month or two, depending on how large your fridge is and how much food you stock it.
You can still commercially available kitchen cleaning agents but be sure to use the mild ones or those made explicitly for refrigerator cleaning. Don’t use strong-scented chemicals as it could remain on your fridge for a long time and can attach to your food.
All refrigerator appliances have some removable components such as racks, drawers, and shelves in them. They must be cleaned separately, and that means removing them firsthand. If you don’t detach them, then chances are you wouldn’t be able to get off all the dirt and grime, especially those stuck on the nooks and crannies. And since they are removable, they have crevices and spaces in between, which are often the breeding ground of molds and serves as catch basins for spilled liquid such as sauces and beverages.
Use a cotton rag or a soft sponge to scrub and clean out all the removed parts’ grime. You can also use a soft toothbrush to get to the crevices and clean out the racks properly. Place them on a clean surface and allow them to dry out before returning them to the refrigerator.
The water dispenser tray carefully removes it and dumps out the water before cleaning it up. It is quite prone to water spotting and staining as well as dirt build-up. However, a good wipe down of vinegar and warm water solution will help remove all the water mineral build-up.
One of the reasons why your refrigerator’s door loosens over time is due to dirt build-up on the gasket or lining. This will then lead to several problems that can ultimately break down some of your refrigerator’s machinery components. If you don’t want that to happen, then make it a habit to include your gasket whenever you do your regular cleaning schedule.
You can either use the vinegar-baking soda combo solution or just plain diluted dish washing liquid as your cleaning agent. Gently wipe down the gasket or lining with the solutions. You may also use a soft brush to remove all the dirt and debris stuck in between the crevices before wiping it all away with a moist towel. A thin coat of petroleum jelly is often rubbed over the lining to prevent it from drying out and maximize its adhesive characteristic.
More often than not, people love to neglect or forget to include the exterior during their fridge cleaning chore. Sure, it still looks great during the first few months; however, it will eventually accumulate dust and grime over time if not cleaned out regularly. Plus, if you want to keep the sleek aesthetics of your refrigerator’s exterior, then I suggest you do some extra elbow greasing to keep it that way.
A simple wipe down with your refrigerator cleaning solution is enough to keep it spick and span. However, it’s a different story if your fridge’s exterior is stainless steel. Use a damp microfibril cloth to wipe it down, then do another round of wiping, this time with a dry microfibril cloth. You can also use some metal shining solution to help give that extra sparkle and remove all the fingerprints and smudges. But, make sure to choose those that do not leave any harmful residue or scent afterward. You may also use a few drops of rubbing alcohol for more stubborn dirt build-up, just be sure to pat it dry.
If there’s one exterior component that you should regularly maintain and clean, it is the refrigerator coils or condenser coils. These tubes are typically located at the back of your fridge, while some have them placed at the underside. They are responsible for the cooling and heating the refrigerant, the liquid that keeps your fridge cold. Condenser coils are very prone to dirt and dust build-up, which leads to clogging. And this leads to several problems, which include inefficient energy and electricity usage and overworking your condenser.
Be sure to unplug your fridge first before tackling the condenser coils lest you get electrocuted. Use a soft toothbrush or one of those bottle cleaning brushes to remove all the stuck dirt on the coils. Then vacuum or sweep out all the debris from the floor. If you are hesitant to clean them out yourself, then you may call for a professional appliance maintenance technician to get the job done for you.
Allow to air-dry your refrigerator or simply wipe it down with a dry cloth before placing back all the food and containers inside. You wouldn’t want the cleaning residue to get stuck on your food. Furthermore, make it a habit to schedule regular cleaning of your fridge once every two weeks or once a week. This may sound too much; however, since the refrigerator directly deals with the food you eat, keeping it spotless is necessary. Plus, regular maintenance of any home appliance will help extend its life span and keep it working like new for a long time.
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