Unfortunately the refrigerator takes a lot of abuse. They are stuffed to the brim, and leftovers are always forgotten and left to rot.
To keep the ice box clean to safely store what you eat, toss any old or expired food into the trash. Remove the food that is still good to a cooler with ice to keep it safe and cold while you sanitize the remainder of the ice box.
Take out all removable drawers and shelves and set them aside. Drawers and shelves that are made of metal or plastic can actually be washed with hot water and dish soap right away.
Glass and ceramic pieces need to gradually warm up to room temperature before being washed with hot water to prevent cracking and breaking. Use a clean cloth with hot water and a mild detergent like dish soap.
Work from top to bottom to prevent dripping on surfaces that are already clean. Tough stuck on spills may need a plastic, non-abrasive scrubber.
Another option is to lay a warm wet cloth over the spilled area for a few minutes. The spilled area will be softer and easier to wipe away.
Rinse cloths thoroughly or use multiple cloths to insure cleanliness. Pay special attention to the bottom crevices and back of the refrigerator where spills tend to migrate.
Finally wipe down the interior doors. Now that your shelves and drawers have had time to warm up gradually, take a few moments and sanitize and dry them thoroughly.
Be careful, especially when handling slippery glass shelving. Dishwashing gloves may be helpful to prevent breakage.
Using a clean dry cloth or towel to wipe down the interior of the ice box to make sure it is completely dry. Do not forget to dry the interior doors as well.
Put the food back into the refrigerator. Now is also a good time to wipe off any jars or containers of food that may need it, like a sticky jelly jar or a crusty salad dressing lid.
Take care to use clean cloths when working with your food jars and dry them thoroughly as well. Use the same methods to sanitize a freezer.
The great thing about freezers is that they rarely have spills and need to be scrubbed out much less often. You may need to only check for and remove expired food.
If the freezer does require more thorough cleaning, you can use the same methods used in the ice box. Starting from the top, wipe down and sanitize the exterior of the refrigerator using hot/warm water and a mild dish soap.
If you have a stainless steel ice box, you’ll need to use a soft non-scratching rag, and vinegar or a window cleaner to keep the surface shiny. Do not forget to sanitize the rubber gasket seal around the edges of the door using dish soap and warm water.
Dirt and grime can collect here and cause the seal to crack. Some refrigerator models have a removable drip pan that collects the condensation from the ice box.
Remove the grill from the bottom front of your refrigerator and use a flashlight to locate the drip pan, which will be on top of condenser coils. Drip pans can become moldy and gross over time, so wear gloves and be prepared.
Remove the drip pan and clean thoroughly with bleach before replacing. When in doubt, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them.
Dry and replace the drip pan and front grill and vacuum the ice box coils. Unplug the refrigerator and move it out from the wall carefully and slowly.
For models with the coils on the back of the ice box, use the brush attachment to vacuum the coils. Some side by side and built-in models may have coils located behind a vent on the top, bottom or back of the refrigerator.
Some models even have vents screwed on over the coils. On these models, you will need to use a long narrow crevice attachment for your vacuum cleaner.
Refer to your owner’s manual for assistance if needed. Put the refrigerator back and plug it back in. BOLA TANGKAS