How to clean the fridge

The fridge is one of the hardest working appliances we have in our home, on all day, every day, keeping our food cold. The fridge is prone to food spilling onto the shelves, and if gone unnoticed it will dry up or start to smell. Therefore, it’s important to give the fridge a good clean.

Keeping your fridge clean will keep your food fresh, follow my checklist on how to clean the fridge.

I wipe over my fridge the morning before I do a weekly grocery shop, which is when it’s usually the most empty. However every month or two it’s a good idea to pull all the contents out and give the shelves a thorough clean. I have a hot tip which I will share with you later this week in helping to prevent spills and easy ways to keep your fridge tidy and clean.

How to Clean the Fridge

After determining how to do this task efficiently, you will soon get into a system and be able to complete it rather quickly.

  • Move all items out of the fridge onto the kitchen bench, or if you know, this may take time put what you can into an esky.
  • Throw away anything that is out of date or spoiled. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find. It’s a good idea to bag these items to prevent them leaking through your bin.
  • Take all removable parts out of the fridge and wash in warm soapy water in the sink.  It’s important to ensure the water is warm not hot, as the sudden temperature change on a cold glass shelf may cause it to shatter.
  • While they are drip drying, wipe the inside of the fridge using warm soapy water or homemade fridge cleaner and sponge.  Don’t forget to clean the shelves in the door.
  • Dry the shelves and return to fridge.
  • Place all food items back into the fridge, however, wipe over bottoms of jars to remove any sticky spills.  As you are placing items back into the fridge group similar items together and put nearly expired food to the front as a reminder to use them up.
  • Turn temperature control back to the recommended setting.  Close fridge door.
  • Wipe down the outside of the fridge with hot soapy water, rinse and wipe dry to prevent streaks.

HOMEMADE FRIDGE CLEANER – You don’t want to use chemicals to clean the inside of your fridge as the food will absorb the smell. Try a natural homemade fridge cleaner, find my recipe here.

Keeping your fridge clean will keep your food fresh, follow my checklist on how to clean the fridge.

ELIMINATE ODOURS – If you find you have a constant smell in your fridge, you can eliminate the odour by placing an open box of bicarb in the fridge. When you next clean the fridge, change the box over for a new one.  Throw the contents of the old box down the kitchen sink, then run the hot water, this will give your drains a good clean!

CREATE THE HABIT – Before you do your weekly grocery shop, empty fridge of all spoiled food and quickly wipe down the shelves.  This shouldn’t take any longer 5 minutes. I use my homemade antibacterial wipes for this.

The benefit of a quick clean before grocery shopping:

  • all clean before a new load of food arrives.
  • you may not spend as much at the shops because you know what’s in your fridge.
  • you may have some good food in there that you can use for meals during the week, eliminating the need to buy too much when grocery shopping.

What do you struggle with most in your fridge, keeping it clean, keeping it tidy, not knowing what to cook?

Be sure to pop back tomorrow to see inside my fridge and how I keep it tidy!

Keeping your fridge clean will keep your food fresh, follow my checklist on how to clean the fridge.

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17 comments

Julia K June 1, 2016 - 8:28 AM

This may sound a bit over the top to some – but I have labelled my fridge shelves !
The shelves in the fridge are labelled Beverages (for milk, OJ and other tall bottles), then Dairy (with a separate bin on the RHS for all our Cheeses), then Deli (for cold meats, bacon, dips etc), then the fourth shelf contains three bins labelled Curry Pastes, Beverages (for smaller containers such as juice poppers), Breakfast Condiments. The fifth shelf is labelled Cut Fruit on the LHS and holds containers of cut fruit such as watermelon, grapes etc. The RHS of the fifth shelf is labelled “Leftovers”. The sixth shelf is for containers of “Veggies” and the bottom shelf has three baskets for whole fruit such as apples, oranges etc. I have removed our crisper drawer as I use sealable containers like the ones you use from HSW.
The shelves in the door are labelled Butter/Copha, Mustards, Pickles, Chilli & Garlic, Italian, Salad Dressings, Traditional Sauces, Asian and Mexican.
As I said – this may seem over the top to some, but I love that everything has a specific spot and I find that the children and hubby tend to put things back as there is no doubt as to where they go. I never waste time poking around in the back of the fridge looking for things. Perhaps the best part of it all is the leftover shelf. I know what needs to be used up / frozen and things don’t get wasted. The children know to check the leftover shelf to see if there is a container of baked beans etc rather than going straight to the pantry and opening a fresh tin. Similarly the cat food is stored (with a seal of course) so we know there is no need to open a new tin.
A little bit of effort to set up – but it works a treat !

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 2, 2016 - 9:43 AM

not over the top at all Julia, it sounds very similar to what I have done, which I shared on the blog today, have you seen it yet? helps so much to keep it tidy and help waste. Many ladies are asking to see photos of your fridge, if you get time and wouldn’t mind, can you email me some photos and I can share it in a blog post ๐Ÿ™‚

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Kylie June 1, 2016 - 12:11 PM

I actually cleaned my fridge on Monday before I did the grocery shopping and it did make a big difference. The one thing I struggle with is that I’ve got dirt in-between the plastic joins of my fridge drawers that I can’t get rid of. I don’t know how to pull the drawers apart to clean them or how to put them back together again if I did manage to get them apart.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 2, 2016 - 9:41 AM

would a toothbrush help with this Kylie?

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Lucy @ Bake Play Smile June 1, 2016 - 1:49 PM

Thanks for the tips! This job is on my list!!!!

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 2, 2016 - 9:41 AM

I’m sure your fridge would be full of ingredients and baked goods Lucy ๐Ÿ™‚

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Meg S June 1, 2016 - 4:42 PM

Wow, great tips. Julia- would love to see a pic of your fridge!

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April June 1, 2016 - 8:27 PM

I agree with Meg – would love to see a pic of Julia’s fridge!

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Clementine June 7, 2016 - 1:13 PM

Is there a shelf live for Bicarb? As in when should we replace the one we have had in the fridge since who knows when? =)

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 8, 2016 - 7:33 AM

I would replace it every 3 months Clementine ๐Ÿ™‚

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Bernardette March 28, 2018 - 7:37 PM

I replace mine at the end of each month ..it goes down a drain , along with vinegar and hot water , so my f4ridge smells nice and a Darin gets a freshen up )
free of charge and a good stress buster if you boil enough water for a cuppa before flushing it through

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J'zanne August 30, 2016 - 6:26 PM

I also put a small piece of different colour tape on each shelf (and both sides of the rungs) to be sure I get the selves back level at the same heights.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife August 31, 2016 - 10:02 AM

That’s a really clever tips J’Zanne make it easy to identify ๐Ÿ™‚

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Kendall Ryder September 14, 2016 - 5:45 AM

It is smart to clear everything out from the fridge. That way, you don’t have to try maneuvering around things. That will just make it harder to clean, and you may not clean everything efficiently. Plus, taking things out lets you put everything back in in a more organized way!

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Ileen Goldberg July 11, 2018 - 10:30 AM

I do a deep clean once a month before I go shopping. We shop once a month. I keep baking soda in the fridge and freezer. During the month I do a general cleaning and wiping.

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Robyn August 1, 2019 - 8:40 PM

I put folded chux in the bottom of my door shelves. This catches leaks or spills from jars and sauce bottles and makes it so much easier when I do my deep clean every month. I then replace them with new ones and use the old ones for doing the dishes.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife August 6, 2019 - 9:07 AM

Great tip Robyn, thanks for sharing! Kat ๐Ÿ™‚

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