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Cleaning Your Refrigerator

Category Kitchen
Keeping your refrigerator clean helps reduce germs, and keeps everything smelling fresh. This guide is about cleaning your refrigerator.
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By 14 found this helpful
May 21, 2010

After cleaning the outside of my refrigerator, I place plastic wrap or "press 'n seal" over the entire top. Just replace as needed. Saves a lot of elbow grease.

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By 9 found this helpful
June 15, 2009

I hate cleaning my refrigerator, so I'm always thinking of ways to make it easier. I have a side by side one. I take my shelves and drawers out, and wash them in the dishwasher. The dishwasher done a great job cleaning them. I just two at a time and that way I don't have to empty the all the food out. All I have to do it just wipe the walls and the bottom out. I hope this helps another busy mom out.

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By MomSc2002 from Greenwood, SC

Editor's Note: Some drawers are not dishwasher safe and can be damaged by the hot temperatures.

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June 2, 2014

  • Next time you scrub out your refrigerator, scrub it with baking soda added to your water. It gives it a clean fresh smell. Then, remove the lid of the baking soda box and place it in the back to absorb odors. Usually, the box will last for a month until you clean it out again. When that box is ready to dump out, either dump it into your garbage disposal with water to freshen it, or sprinkle into the bottom of waste baskets.

    You can also place a bowl of coffee ground (unused) into the fridge to help absorb odors, or a cotton ball soaked in vanilla.

  • Check your refrigerator gasket seals by inserting a dollar bill into the door then shutting it. If it slides or easily pulls out, you need to have your seals replaced or the door adjusted. Do this all along the door of the fridge and freezer. If the dollar bill will do this, then you are loosing cold air, a waste of energy.

    Wipe down your refrigerator gaskets with pure vinegar. This will help prevent and kill mildew. Don't forget to remove the crisper drawers and clean under them as well.

  • Monthly, clean the coils under and in the back of your refrigerator. Clean coils use less electric.

  • If you get scratches on the outside that damage the paint, you can buy appliance paint to cover them. If you have an unusual color and can't find the correct color, check with the local auto repair shops for automobile touchup paint or even nail polish.

    If you have a damaged plastic interior part, you can often find the replacement part in second hand appliance stores, or even at the city dump. Contact scrappers and tell them if they happened to scrap a Kenmore (or whatever your refrigerator brand is) and the model number, you need a crisper drawer or whatever the part is. Since the plastic has little scrap value, often they will just give you the part.

  • Label foods with name and date. Use it before it goes bad. Remember, a clean refrigerator keeps food fresher and it tastes better.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 23, 2007

I always clean out food from the fridge every week on the day before trash day. That way, there is no rot smell in the house or rotting food in the fridge. Also, that night becomes leftover night.

By LRP from Lowell, MA

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By 2 found this helpful
February 27, 2008

I designate one day each week to go through my refrigerator to clean out any spoiled food and look for any good leftovers. Once I am finished with this task, I create a new recipe from the leftovers.

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By 1 found this helpful
October 30, 2013

When I clean my refrigerator, after removing all food and checking every thing, I take out all the shelves and bins. I then put them all in my "clean" bathtub. I fill with hot water, baking soda, and a little Dawn. I let them soak for a while, then wash. Some things might need to be turned over if they are too tall for the water. I wash the inside of the fridge with baking soda water and dry thoroughly. After all the shelves and bins are clean, rinsed, and dried I replace in the refrigerator and replace any food. Doing it this way, the food doesn't have time to get warm. Then I clean the bathtub for later use.

Source: Experience

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By 1 found this helpful
February 11, 2008

I admit cleaning the fridge is not high on my list but after I'm done cleaning the outside, I take strips of plastic wrap and place it on top of the fridge. Voila! Next time? Just replace.

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December 13, 20040 found this helpful

Pick one day a week to clean out your refrigerator and wipe the shelves out then you'll do less work and always have a cleaner fridge than if you always let it get gross.

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August 9, 20040 found this helpful

When refrigerators get old or have been in storage for a long time they can take on a stale odor, making it a less than appealing place to store your food. Often what happens is mold grows and creates the bad odors. Use the following recipe to help remove the mold and the odor.

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August 10, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about removing odors from a refrigerator. Determining the source is the first step in removing odors from your refrigerator.

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June 2, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about cleaning grease off a refrigerator. Your kitchen can be a greasy environment, leaving residue on appliances, counters, and cabinets.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
January 1, 2011

I have a GE refrigerator that is about 4 years old. The front doors are black. I think the surface is like a "vinyl" type. They are the type that won't show fingerprints. What is the best way to clean them? When the sun shines on the doors I see all the water marks left by my rag that I used to clean them. Help.

By Barbara from Dallas, TX

Answers

January 1, 20110 found this helpful

Try using vinegar or a vinegar/water mix. Make sure to dry it well. I have a cooktop that only looks good if I clean it with straight vinegar and buff dry with paper towels. No smears or streaks!

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January 2, 20110 found this helpful

The key, as with windows, is to keep buffing until they're dry.

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January 4, 20110 found this helpful

I use white (clear) vinegar. Then I put one drop (only 1) of liquid dish washing detergent. Add the water, half water half vinegar and shake well, pour on a soft cotton rag, and wash, wash, wash and polish with a clean cotton rag. Don't let it dry, polish it dry. it works.

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Anonymous
January 4, 20110 found this helpful

I used to have an all black refrigerator that was the kind that did not have the finger smudge proof coating. After wet wipe cleaning just wipe again with a dry non terry cloth type of cotton towel.

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January 5, 20110 found this helpful

I feel for you. On Thanksgiving one year our stove died. So I tell my hubby that if he don't find a stove there will be no Thanksgiving dinner. The only one he could find was black. Nothing would keep it clean. I shined it with windex and all the little lint fibers arrived back all safe and sound so I gave it away and bought me a white one.
Good luck!
Gem

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January 6, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with the vinegar and water mix.
But you might try crumbled up newspaper instead of a cloth.
Use the newsprint tho, not the glossy ads.
It will make your appliances sparkle just like it does for windows.

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Anonymous
January 23, 20160 found this helpful

I use armorall. It hides the sins

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April 16, 20090 found this helpful

I have a GE refrigerator and the handles are turning orange. They said to use a cleaner called Hot Melt which cannot be found anywhere. Can you give me the name of a cleaner to clean them?

Jo Ann

Answers

April 16, 20091 found this helpful

I use vinegar in my kitchen to clean everything. It cuts the grease & etc. Good luck.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
July 3, 20090 found this helpful

Hi, I found a silly solution on another web-site, I was so frustrated with my handles , I just tried it. It worked.

Spray shaving cream on the handles and let it sit for 10 min. I actually let it sit for about 20 minutes and then scrubbed it with a small nail brush. It's actually worked. Not sure if it was the shaving cream or the scrubbing with the brush - but who cares - it worked.

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January 25, 20100 found this helpful

My door handles are quite dirty, yellowing, some stains, etc. I tried using shaving cream and a toothbrush to clean (let the shaving cream sit for 1 hour before cleaning), and nothing! Still yellow and still stained. Shaving cream might clean off light dirt and soil, but so will anything! No, shaving cream is NOT the solution, no magic there. Read on another site the best solution for the common yellowing due to sun exposure is to paint with a paint made for plastics, like Krylon Fusion (sold at Walmart for $6). This is a sure fire won't fail method to get it white. Not sure how durable the paint is, but probably better than door handles that seem to yellow after just 5 years!

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September 8, 20170 found this helpful

Jo Ann. Please take a closer look at your GE fridge handles. Mine also was beginning to look orange. Upon closer inspection, it was found that the coating has worn away. No cleaner will help that I'm afraid.

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Read More Answers

January 26, 20050 found this helpful

Tips for cleaning out the fridge. Post your ideas.

Answers

January 26, 20050 found this helpful

When cleaning out the refrigerator I put all the stuff to be thrown out into those Walmart bags that we all collect. I always double or triple the bags and put into the kitchen garbage. This keeps for at least one day while I continue to clean and also put any garbage from meals into the can. I then can wrap up the whole kitchen trash and add the bathroom too, which I also put the walmart bags into.

By RoseMary

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January 26, 20050 found this helpful

Any leftovers that are too "old" for us to eat, I give to our dogs. If you do not have a dog, keep an ice cream pail in the freezer and save the old leftovers for a friend or relative's dog. When we had rabbits, the "bunny food" that was older went to the rabbits. Now, the old lettuce and salad stuff can go into the compost pile or just into the garbage.

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June 19, 20050 found this helpful

After cleaning out your refrigerator, dampen a cloth or clean sponge with white vinegar and wipe down the walls and shelves in the fridge. It will both cut down odors and help prevent mildew.

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 18, 20070 found this helpful

Hi, I need to sell my old fridge. What's the best way to clean it thoroughly as well as eliminating the bad smell? Somebody said to use charcoal and baking soda? Thanks.

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July 8, 2012

My double door fridge is white. The handles have turned yellow. I have tried lots of things to get them clean, my latest being oven cleaner, but to no avail. They never come clean. Any suggestions?

By HAPPYINHARNED

Answers

July 11, 20120 found this helpful

Try making a paste with baking sida & white vinegar. Apply & scrub with a net ball or old toothbrush.

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July 16, 20120 found this helpful

I used a Magic Eraser on mine. White again.

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Anonymous
October 27, 20150 found this helpful

I, too, use Magic Eraser. It gets all the grubbiness and discoloration.

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September 18, 20130 found this helpful

What do I use to to clean and freshen your refrigerator? I have tried everything and it does not work.

By Lisa from OH

Answers

September 18, 20130 found this helpful

Try a magic eraser. Also try some baking soda and water. Leaving a box of baking soda is also a good option.

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Anonymous
September 23, 20130 found this helpful

Freshening I use a brown paper bag, wad it up and place it in the back of the fridge. Change when you need to! For cleaning, I use equal amounts of vinegar and water, spray it on wipe it off.! Hopes this helps!

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May 2, 20140 found this helpful

My vegetable bin has some gunk between the front white part and the clear plastic part of the bin that I cannot get to. I am afraid of trying to take the front part off for fear of breaking it. Any suggestions?

By Claire T.

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

April 16, 20090 found this helpful

I have a white, two door refrigerator with textured handles. They look horrible. I have tried Magic Eraser to no avail. Does anyone have a successful cleaning method? I sure would appreciate any help.

Mitzi

Answers:

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

Baking Soda. It works great when mixed into a paste with water. It's the only thing that's worked on my fridge. It also works well on the textured top of the dishwasher that never seems to come clean. Good Luck to you! (09/12/2005)

By Madelynnsmama

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

Use a cloth, or sponge, dipped in Vinegar and sprinkled with Baking Soda. Vinegar & Baking Soda take out most stains, including pet stains, blood stains, and underarm stains on clothing. It works like magic. (09/12/2005)

By Denny

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

All I use on my refrigerator is just Windex. It works great for me. (09/12/2005)

By Joyce wis

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

I cleaned that today with soft scrub. The door handles were very dirty, the soft scrub made them white again.
(09/12/2005)

By sandy

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

We put hand towels through our refrigerator/freezer handles. These are great for opening the door with and drying wet hands on. When they get dirty, toss them in the wash. Though this doesn't help clean dirty handles, it sure helps preventing them from getting dirty in the first place. (09/13/2005)

By Marietta (Guest)

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

If the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser did not work, and I will assume you have tried to scrub it with some form of soft scrub or baking soda, comet or something along those lines. Then my suggestion would be steam, I have one of those steam cleaners and I use it for tough areas like this. If you do not have one maybe you could imitate the steam effect by taking a rag and get it wet, pop it in the microwave for a minute, and then take the rag and rub the handles. You might want to wear some gloves, as the rag will be hot. (09/13/2005)

By witchdancer4

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

Sometimes it's difficult to get in the little grooves, no matter what kind of cleaner you use. I have a toothbrush that I use for cleaning small places. It works great on textured handles. Dip the toothbrush in a small amount of cleaner and brush the handle, and it will come clean in seconds. (09/15/2005)

By mousie

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

Try TSP (look for it in your local hardware store). I use it on the tops of my coolers. When we go camping they get so dirty. I just moisten the top of the cooler then sprinkle on the TSP, let it sit for a few minutes and wash it off and
it comes sparkling white. For your fridge handles, try putting the TSP on a moist cloth and wrap it around the handle for a few minutes. (09/16/2005)

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

Grease Lightening cleaned mine. Just spray it on, let it sit for a second, and scrub with toothbrush. (10/31/2005)

By Marla

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

I have a white, side by side fridge, and the handles were getting dirty. I tried other products but it was the Magic Eraser that did the trick. They came so clean and look brand new. The fridge is only 3 yrs old though. (01/12/2006)

By Debbie52

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

Thanks for the great tips! (03/20/2006)

By Ron

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

Well I can't believe it. I have used soft scrub and a rag several times over the years and have never had any luck. At this point my white handles look horrible. After reading this page, I just used soft scrub and a toothbrush, duh. My 1993 fridge handles look like they are brand new. Thanks for the tip. (07/07/2007)

By CleverGirl

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

I was about to purchase new door handles for my Kenmore refrigerator because I couldn't get them clean. When I realized that it was going to cost me over $80 to do that, I went back to the drawing board. My husband suggested Armor All, and it worked like a charm. (09/06/2008)

By L.G.

Dirty Refrigerator Handles - Use Shaving Cream

The absolute best and easiest way to clean the vinyl refrigerator door handles is to use shaving cream. Yes, common variety shaving cream. Apply liberally all over the door handles and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe off with a damp towel while slightly agitating. The grit and grime melt away completely. If you have an extremely dirty handle, then you may need a second application, but most will clean completely without one. The final appearance looks like you bought some new handles. In my case, I had white handles and they look totally new. It's really quite amazing. There's no downside. (02/01/2009)

By Craig

Dirty Refrigerator Handles

I tried the shaving cream. It really works. Not too much elbow grease either. Thanks for the hint. (02/08/2009)

By Jim

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May 21, 20100 found this helpful

After thoroughly cleaning the outside of the refrigerator, I line the top with plastic wrap. No more greasy, dusty grime!

By Keeper from Morganton, NC

Answers:

Cover Top Of Fridge With Plastic Wrap

Now why didn't I think of that? Thanks! (07/26/2007)

By Graycrab

Cover Top Of Fridge With Plastic Wrap

Fabulous idea, thanks so much for sharing!:) (07/26/2007)

By

Cover Top Of Fridge With Plastic Wrap

Great idea. Makes me want to go and clean it right now! Thanks! I wonder if the plastic wrap would stay on top of kitchen cabinets as good as it would the fridge? I'll try it some day! (09/26/2007)

By Angel84dsj

Cover Top Of Fridge With Plastic Wrap

I had some of that duck shelf liner leftover after I did my cabinets, so I put it on the top of my refrigerator. I know I shouldn't, but it is the best place for my cereal boxes and big bottles that don't fit in the cupboards, so nothing slips off and I can take it off and wash it to reuse. (09/27/2007)

By camo_angels

Cover Top Of Fridge With Plastic Wrap

I love this idea! I hate cleaning the fridge and this cuts down on the time to get it done. Thanks! (02/18/2009)

By A. Billups

Cover Top Of Fridge With Plastic Wrap

The plastic wrap people should hire you for that idea! Thanks! (02/18/2009)

By Cathy S

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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