How to Clean a Refrigerator

How to Clean a Refrigerator

Posted October 17th, 2022

Cleaning your refrigerator regularly is important to keep it running at its best. A clean refrigerator will allow air to flow more freely, reducing the amount of energy needed to keep your food cool and keeping your refrigerator’s lifespan.

Ideally, you should unplug and defrost your refrigerator and freezer annually to clean it fully. For the times that you cannot unplug your refrigerator, here are our tips on how to clean out your refrigerator while leaving it plugged in.

man cooking using kitchenaid refrigerator


Before you begin, you will want to gather all your cleaning supplies and prepare a cooler or backup refrigerator & freezer to house your food while you clean.

Be sure to set aside enough time to clean your refrigerator without stopping. This will reduce the amount of time your food will need to be kept in a cooler and lower the risk of spoilage.

Empty the Fridge

Start by removing everything from your refrigerator including any adjustable/removable shelves and drawers. We suggest placing these in a tub or on the counter to clean later.

Pro Tip: Letting your drawers and shelves warm to room temperature before cleaning will help prevent the likelihood of cracks or breaks.

Gather Your Supplies

There are several different cleaners you can use to safely clean your refrigerator. Choosing a natural cleaning solution will help prevent any risk of harmful chemicals contaminating your food.

If you have a preferred cleaning solution, grab that, a bucket of warm water, and a cleaning cloth. We suggest cleaning your refrigerator with a solution of three parts water and one-part white vinegar.

A non-abrasive cleaning brush and a toothbrush may also come in handy for hard-to-remove food and corners.

Clean the Interior

Once your refrigerator is emptied out, you are ready to clean the interior.

1. Gather your cloth and water/vinegar mixture.

2. Dip your cloth into the mixture, wring it out, and wipe down the entire interior of the refrigerator paying extra attention to any stains or stuck-on food.

3. For spots that are difficult to clean - Pour ⅛ to ¼ cup of white vinegar directly on the area and let it soak for 5 minutes. Then clean with your cloth or non-abrasive brush.

4. Use a toothbrush to clean in any difficult to get to corners.

5. Clean all the shelves and drawers with your warm water and vinegar mixture using the same technique above.

6. Dry the refrigerator's interior and all drawers and shelving off with a towel.

7. Replace all drawers, shelves, and your food.

woman cleaning interior of refrigerator

Clean the Exterior

As we all know, refrigerator exteriors can quickly gather fingerprints and food, especially if you have children in your home.

Wiping down your refrigerator’s exterior may be more of a regular practice than cleaning the interior, but we suggest adding this to your to-do list as well.

You can use the same bucket of warmer water & vinegar used for the refrigerator's interior to clean the outside. If needed, prep a clean solution.

Again, dip your cloth into the solution and wipe down your fridge’s door and handles carefully. Clean in one direction and with the grain of your refrigerator’s finish if applicable.

Ready to Upgrade to an Energy-Efficient Refrigerator?

At Queen City Audio Video Appliance, we carry countless energy-efficient refrigerators. Choose from our top-freezer refrigerators, French door refrigerators, side-by-side refrigerators, bottom-freezer refrigerators, chest freezers, and more.

Our kitchen appliance store has several locations you can choose from serving the Carolinas in Charlotte, Salisbury, Morganton, Monroe, Pineville, and our new store coming soon in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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