How To Clean a Refrigerator Inside and Out (Including Streak Free Stainless)

When is the last time that you cleaned your refrigerator? Not just wiped up a spill, but gave the whole refrigerator a good deep cleaning inside and out? Do you know how to clean a refrigerator inside and out? If not, just keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about how to clean your refrigerator inside and out and leave it sparkling clean. 

Before You Get Started Cleaning Your Refrigerator 

Before you can begin cleaning out the inside of your refrigerator, first you have to take everything out, and by everything, we mean everything. You may want to have a cooler or freezer bag handy to put your meats and dairy products in while you clean. Your sauces and condiments should be okay on the counter for the length of time it takes you to clean the inside of your refrigerator. 

As you take everything out make sure to check the expiration dates, and throw anything that has expired in the trash bin. Any leftovers that may have been pushed to the back of the refrigerator and forgotten should be thrown out as well. Whether or not you want to try to salvage the containers that they are in is up to you.

Cleaning the Inside of Your Refrigerator

Now that you have everything out of the refrigerator it is time to very carefully remove the shelves. Set the shelves to the side and allow them to come to room temperature before attempting to clean them. Once the shelves are out carefully remove the drawers and set them aside to come to room temperature as well. It is very important that you allow the shelves and drawers to come to room temperature before cleaning them. Taking them straight from the fridge into a sink full of hot soapy water is when they are most likely to crack or break. 

While you wait for the shelving from your refrigerator to come to room temperature start wiping down the walls and doors on the inside of your refrigerator. Warm water mixed with vinegar can work wonders at getting any sticky gunk off. The vinegar and water also help to remove any nasty odours, germs, mould, and mildew. Once the inside of the refrigerator is clean it is time to clean the seals around the doors. Crumbs can often get stuck in the seals and they can harbour mould and mildew as well. Spray the seals with the vinegar and water mixture and then wipe them down with a rag, if you encounter any stubborn areas an old toothbrush and a paste of baking soda and water should do the trick. 

Now that your shelves and drawers have come to room temperature they are ready to be cleaned as well. A rag and a sink full of warm soapy water are all that you need to clean your shelves and drawers. Make sure that you wash and rinse them thoroughly and that they are good and dry before you very carefully put them back into the refrigerator. Before you start putting your food back inside of the refrigerator you might want to consider placing some shelf liner or Glad Press and Seal paper down on the shelves. Either of these can be easily removed and replaced if you have a spill in your refrigerator. 

Wipe down the tops and bottoms of your condiments as you begin to put them back inside of the refrigerator. Place your meats, dairy products, and produce back inside of the refrigerator in their proper places. Pop a fresh box of baking soda, or an old clean sock filled with activated charcoal (you can find it at the pet store for aquariums) somewhere out of the way in the refrigerator to keep down odours. 

Cleaning the Outside of Your Refrigerator

Now that the inside of your refrigerator is sparkling clean it is time to tackle the outside. If you have a stainless steel finish on your refrigerator skip this part, and learn how to clean it with no streaks left behind down below. For other finishes, you can continue to use your vinegar and water solution in the spray bottle to clean the outside of your refrigerator. Wipe down the sides, top, and handles of your refrigerator. If you run into any stubborn marks on the outside of your refrigerator you can use a paste of baking soda and water to scrub them away. You could also use a Magic Eraser or another brand of melamine sponge if you like. 

Streak-free Stainless Doors

Now if you have a stainless steel refrigerator cleaning the outside of your refrigerator will be a bit different, especially if you want it to be fingerprint and streak-free. You can use dish soap and warm water to clean the outside of your stainless steel refrigerator, but make sure that you have a clean, dry microfiber cloth to dry it off with.

Now if you want to remove fingerprints, and/or keep your stainless steel refrigerator looking shiny and streak-free there are a few different methods that you can use. The first option that you can try is to use a window cleaner like Windex and a clean microfiber cloth. Spray the window cleaner on the cloth and not directly on the refrigerator or you may leave watermarks or drips. Wipe the window cleaner off by using circular rubbing motions. Furniture polish with lemon oil can also be used to leave your stainless steel refrigerator streak-free. Again, apply the polish directly to the rag and use circular motions to wipe down the refrigerator. 

Now you know exactly what you need to do to clean the inside and outside of your refrigerator. Remember to pull your refrigerator away from the wall a couple of times a year to vacuum any dust around the coils. This will help your refrigerator run more efficiently and you don’t want dust bunnies living behind or under your refrigerator anyway! Do you have any tips to share for cleaning a refrigerator or keeping it clean? 

Next, learn how to clean your washing machine, tumble dryer, and dishwasher or, check out the best washing machines or find out more helpful cleaning tips here!

Sophie is a cook and food enthusiast who has owned and run a cafe in her remote community since 2017. She wants to show that, no matter how busy you are, there is a way to make cooking and family life simpler and more enjoyable.