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Cleaning the inside of your refrigerator isn’t fun, but it is essential for optimal energy and cooling performance as well as assuring the health of you and your family.  Wiping down shelves, drawers and interior walls can help eliminate stains and odors. It also helps clear away mold spores or bacteria that can spoil food. Not sure how to get started? This guide provides practical tips on how to clean a fridge and keep it in better shape between cleanings.

Before Cleaning the Refrigerator, Remove and Take Stock of Your Food

When you start cleaning the inside of your refrigerator, turn off the power (via the fusebox) or unplug your appliance. Next, remove all the food from your refrigerator and freezer, placing it in coolers so everything is stored safely. Use this opportunity to throw away any spoiled or expired food, and then take out removable shelves and drawers. Let these items warm to room temperature before washing.

Deep Clean the Refrigerator With a Mild Cleanser

When cleaning the inside of your refrigerator, look for a non-abrasive cleaner that degreases and can help kill mold, mildew, and germs. Thoroughly wipe down the walls, ceiling and bottom of your refrigerator with the cleaner, then rinse it with a soft, damp cloth. Do the same with the drawers and shelves, then dry all surfaces completely before reinstalling the shelves and drawers and review our guide on how to organize your refrigerator.

Clean Underneath the Refrigerator as Well

Dirty refrigerator coils

Cleaning the inside of your refrigerator helps prevent mold, mildew and odors, but it’s important to clean underneath your refrigerator, as well.  Cleaning the condenser coils regularly can help regulate your fridge temperature and help prevent food from freezing in your fridge. Using a specialized cleaning wand, gently sweep under the bottom of your refrigerator to clean the condenser coils.

Cleaning the Outside of the Refrigerator is Important, Too

Woman cleaning the front of a refrigerator

After cleaning the inside of the fridge, take a few moments to clean the door seals, doors and handles with a mix of mild dish soap and water, then dry everything thoroughly (especially the door seals). If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, clean the doors with a specially formulated stainless steel cleaner to avoid streaks or residue.