When it comes to cleaning the kitchen, appliances are usually an area that could use some extra attention. Pizza toppings drip onto an oven’s floor. Produce drawers are littered with specks of dried vegetables. Fingerprints create a collage on refrigerator doors. And boiled-over meals crust onto stovetops. Not exactly a pretty picture. 

We’ll start you on your quest for a clean kitchen with the most daunting appliance – the refrigerator.  

The refrigerator is the one appliance that never gets a rest – it’s always in use, keeping our food fresh. This means it usually needs more care on the cleaning front. 

Step 1: Gather your supplies and prepare your area. 

You’ll need some countertop and sink space cleared and ready for organizing, purging, and cleaning. Keep a cooler nearby so your temporarily relocated food stays chilled. Gather your cleaning tools: microfiber cloths, sponges, rags, paper towels. Create a cleaning solution from three parts warm water and one part white vinegar, and pour it into a spray bottle. And keep organic waste bags and your recycling and trash bins close.

Step 2: Purge.

Shelf by shelf, drawer by drawer, empty the contents of your refrigerator. Check expiry dates, examine mysterious leftovers, and question all those jars of condiments and sauces that were used once months (or years) ago. You may be surprised by how much food is no longer edible. Some expiry dates can be deceiving, though – read this article and this one. Finally, organize food into keep and toss sections on your countertops. 

Step 3: Get cleaning. 

Remove shelves and drawers to wash them with hot soapy water in your sink. Set them aside while you tackle the inside of your refrigerator. Spray all surfaces with your vinegar solution or other favourite cleaning solution and start scrubbing. Get into all nooks and crannies, and wipe away the sticky spots. 

Step 4: Put it all back.

Once the inside is sparkling, carefully replace the shelves and drawers. Next, return still-edible food. But be sure to wipe down any sticky jars or bottles. 

Step 5: Repeat the above with your freezer!

Step 6: Polish the outside.

The vinegar and water solution paired with a microfiber cloth will work wonders on stainless steel facades. 

Step 7: The last bit of dirty work.

Time to discard all that spoiled food. We know it’s easiest to simply toss it into the garbage, containers and all, but the responsible method is to scrape food into your organic waste bins, clean recyclable containers, and maintain a clean conscience. 

Daily or weekly maintenance will make this larger cleaning task less of a chore. Wipe up spills as they happen and do a regular audit of your food before your refrigerator starts to overflow. 

Here’s another great source for deep cleaning your fridge.