Tips and tricks: A guide to deep cleaning your fridge

With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to refresh your home and get stuck into the tasks you’ve been avoiding. Get started now so you can enjoy the great weather scheduled ahead, making the most out of the spring showers that currently prevent you from heading outdoors. There’s no need to rush or clean everything at once – you don’t want to get overwhelmed, after all. The best way to get started is tackling one element of the room at a time. Here, we look into how to clean your fridge.

Getting started

Worried about not having the kit you need to clean? Well, you may well already have it all anyway – and it’s important to stress that you don’t have to go out and buy lots of things to carry out this task. Black refuse bags, antibacterial cleaning spray, sponges, paper towels, bicarbonate of soda and, ideally, a cooler to keep your food in while you clean are all you need.

When choosing cleaning products, opt for unscented options as food actually absorbs heavy fragrances.

You can actually make your own natural cleaning products, if you want to go down the eco-friendly route. You may, for example, need to get rid of any nasty stains that cause lingering smells in fridges – and you can do this with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. We’ll explain more about this later.

Fridge cleaning tips

There’s more to cleaning a fridge than just chucking out your old food, although that is a good starting point. If there’s a lot to throw away, aim to do this not long before bin day so that your food waste doesn’t sit waiting for too long.

Bacteria can thrive in your fridge, which is why antibacterial spray or wipes are essential. We’ve broken this deep cleaning guide into steps to ensure you can get your fridge as hygienic as possible with ease.

Step one: Sort through your food and empty your fridge

Start by going through all of the items in your fridge – you may be shocked at what’s lurking at the back. The golden rule is that if it’s out of date and inedible, throw it away. Some items that are close to their sell-by date can be frozen instead, so do double check before you purge your fridge.

If the food is still well in date, pop it into your cooler. Don’t have a lot of room? Prioritise highly perishable items such as meat and dairy.

Once the fridge is completely empty, remove all of the shelves and place them on your kitchen counter.

Step two: Create a cleaning mixture and get scrubbing

Now that your fridge is empty, it’s time to get round to the cleaning. Start by soaking the shelving units and fresh food drawers in warm water, mixing in a solution of two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda per every one litre of warm water. It may be tempting to use the dishwasher, but this can damage your shelves. Leave them to soak for a couple of minutes before scrubbing them with a sponge or scourer.

Have a particularly tough stain? Wet a sponge or cloth with very hot water, wearing gloves to protect yourself, and then wring it out. Press tightly on the stain for a minute or so. The stain should be much easier to clean with some antibacterial spray and a sponge. Alternatively, you can use vinegar or washing up liquid should you not have any spray around. Use the same products to wipe the inside of the empty fridge as well as the door and its handles. Give everything a quick dry with a tea towel and place the shelving back into the fridge.

Step three: Organise your fridge and drawers

Once your shelves and drawers are dry, it’s time to organise your fridge. You should also wipe down jars and packets as you replace items.

Live with other people, such as housemates? You could either share your shopping or designate a shelf per person, depending on how many people there are in the household. Suggest sharing items like eggs, sauces and drinks as this will save significant space and money. For items you don’t share, simply label them for ease.

There are many ways to keep your fridge and food fresher for longer. Raw meat should be placed on the lower shelves to prevent dripping on to food below. Fruit and vegetables should be kept in separate drawers. You actually don’t have to refrigerate eggs and can save some much needed space by not doing so. If you choose to, keep them at the top in their original container.

Store leftovers in airtight containers to prevent odours and store in the middle of the fridge. Use the dairy compartment at the top for cheese and keep milk upright in the side compartments to avoid spillage.

Now that you’ve fixed up your fridge, put some ground rules in place with your family, partner or housemates:

  • Agree to put things back from where they were taken.
  • Mop up spills immediately.
  • Have a deep clean every two weeks, with a rota.
  • Check expiry dates on produce regularly.
  • Keep a store of bicarbonate of soda to hand ready for fridge cleaning.

Want some more tips on how to love your home life? Check out our blog for inspiration.