How to clean a fridge?

Refrigerators (and freezers) are nowadays almost indispensable in the kitchen. Whether it is for reasons of hygiene (and therefore health) or economic reasons (taking care of the appliance allows it to function better and increases its durability), it is important to keep them perfectly clean.
As you know, dirt, mould, bad smells… are all shar chi to eliminate. Today, I propose to give you the key steps to clean the fridge properly. In my house, it’s either before leaving on holiday, or when I get back, when the fridge is almost empty.

#1 - Empty the fridge completely

After turning off the fridge, and in order to clean it thoroughly, empty it completely and throw away any outdated (knowing that there is much more room for improvement than you think) or spoiled food.
In order not to break the cold chain, keep food in good condition in another fridge (I put everything in the garage) or in an insulated bag with cold ice packs. The best thing to do is to start the fridge cleaning procedure when the fridge is almost empty. 

#2 - Removing shelves and drawers

Take out all the removable parts (drawers, compartments) and dismantle the shelves and accessories. This will allow you to clean the inside of the fridge by accessing all the corners.
Wash all removable parts with washing-up liquid and lukewarm water.
Dry them well and collect any dismantled parts.
Tip: if you have several possible levels for positioning the shelves and drawers, remember to take a photo before you start removing and dismantling everything. This will make it easier to reassemble!

frigo vide nettoyé

#3 - Cleaning the inside of the fridge

I have a built-in fridge so I don’t have an external surface to clean. If you have one, it can be cleaned with a soft cloth and warm soapy water (you can even move the fridge slightly and vacuum where the dust bunnies graze).

To clean the inside of the appliance, I advise you to use hot water with sodium bicarbonate or white vinegar. Avoid using cleaning products that could release harmful substances or odours on the food.
Clean with a sponge or soft cloth, leaving no stone unturned, including the door seals. Remember to rinse the inside of the refrigerator thoroughly and then dry the surfaces with a dry cloth.

#4 - Defrosting the freezer

If you have a freezer or a freezer part in the fridge, you have to defrost very regularly to avoid a thick layer of ice. I don’t have a fridge with two motors so when I turn off the fridge, the freezer part turns off too. No choice, I have to clean everything at the same time!
So I leave the fridge door and the freezer door wide open. As I have a 2nd fridge and a 2nd freezer, to put my food in, I’m not in a hurry so I leave it like that, switched off and doors open, for an hour or two before starting the cleaning. I prefer to start with the freezer part as the ice melts and produces water and it would be a shame to have wiped everything in the fridge part 🙂
In my country house, it has to be done quickly because my food is waiting in an insulated bag. So I defrost preferably in winter and put my bag outside. To speed up defrosting, after 30 minutes, I put a bowl (stainless steel) filled with boiling water and close the door. I leave it for 15 minutes and then I break up the ice blocks with my wooden spoon. It’s an anti-stress activity, I assure you!

réfrigérateur plein
Photo by Ello on Unsplash

#5 - Put the food back in the fridge

Once the cleaning and defrosting is complete, switch the appliance back on and close the door. You can only put the food back in the fridge and freezer once it is cold again.
If the packaging or containers of the food you are going to put back in the fridge are not clean, remove them or wash them.
The better you organise your fridge, the more you will save because you will avoid both waste and over-consumption of electricity due to misuse: put food with the nearest expiry dates in front, do not put dishes without a lid or transparent film, wait for dishes to cool down before putting them in the fridge…

#6 - Keeping the fridge smelling clean

If you want to keep the good smell of cleanliness as long as possible, there are several grandmotherly tricks:

  • place a small ramekin with 3 sugar cubes (*)
  • place half a lemon in the door (*)
  • place a small ramekin filled with sodium bicarbonate
  • place cotton wool soaked in white vinegar
  • place a ramekin containing coffee grounds (*)

I have put an asterix next to the ones I tested and approved 🙂
For the lemon, I don’t cut one on purpose: as soon as I use it, instead of throwing the squeezed lemon in the bin, I put it in the door of the fridge and it stays there a few days. When I don’t have a lemon, I use sugar cubes or coffee grounds (we’re big users of the coffee maker at home).

Nettoyant maison
Photo by Precious Plastic Melbourne on Unsplash

In this article, I’ll talk about the steps involved in a thorough cleaning. Of course, the more you clean your fridge regularly, before going shopping for example, or when you notice dirt, the more you will create a favourable environment for your food. I remind you that health goes through the plate, and that in feng chui it is very important to keep an environment with good chi, with a beautiful energy, in any circumstance and in any place, even in the fridge! 

frigo vidé et nettoyé
Share the good vibrations of Feng Shui :)

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