Spring Cleaning Your Refrigerator

April 3, 2012 by Amy Clark

Spring Cleaning Your Refrigerator

Spring Cleaning Your Refrigerator
It is that time of year again where our thoughts turn to freshening up our homes and restoring order in our cluttered spaces. Of course, our homes might not be the only thing that is being neglected. Our appliances in our home can often get overlooked, but maintaining them is essential for your home to run smoothly and to save your family money.

Your refrigerator might be one of those appliances that may get overlooked, but it is one of the most important appliances in a home. Simple maintenance and cleaning procedures though can greatly extend the life & efficiency of your refrigerator.

Today I wanted to share with you some tips for spring cleaning your refrigerator and keeping it running smoothly for your family.

Vacuum Your Condenser Coils
When was the last time you vacuumed the condenser coils on your refrigerator? This is the perfect time of year to tackle this to help your fridge run smoothly through those looming hot summer days. To maintain your refrigerator, this simple task should be done once every three to six months.

Begin by unplugging your refrigerator and locate the condenser coils on your refrigerator. Older refrigerators have the coil (a grid-like structure) mounted on the rear of the refrigerator. Newer refrigerators usually have the condenser coil placed at the bottom of the fridge. You can use a flashlight to assist locating the coil and fan if needed.

With a plastic vacuum crevice tool or brush attachment, carefully vacuum dirt and dust wherever it is seen. Be very careful to not damage the fins or coil. If the fan is visible and accessible, cleaning it will help it move air across the condenser coil as designed. Dirt and dust, if allowed to accumulate on the fan blades, decreases airflow, which can affect balance and can contribute to early failure of the compressor.

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Deep Clean the Interior
The interior of your refrigerator can benefit from a periodic deep cleaning. I recommend tackling this task the day before you go to restock your refrigerator to cut down on items that need to be moved around, as well as to help establish inventory of items needed.

You will need two dishwashing tubs and a cookie sheet to clean the interior of your refrigerator. Begin by filling one of these tubs with two tablespoons of baking soda and one quart of warm water for wiping down the interior of your refrigerator. Then use your cookie sheet and other dishwashing tub to put all of the condiments on and empty your drawers into for removing items quickly and easily so you can wipe down the interior without a hassle.

Before cleaning the interior of the fridge, fill each drawer with the same amount of baking soda solution in each one and let the baking soda solution do the dirty work of cleaning them while you are wiping out the inside of the fridge.

Using a rag or microfiber cloth, dampen the cloth with the baking soda solution. Gently wipe the interior of the refrigerator and all of the surfaces. If the washing solution begins to look murky, be sure to dump it and get another tub full for cleaning. For any stuck interior stains, you can sprinkle a little baking soda directly on the spot and add just a little water to it to make a paste. Allow the paste to work on the setin stain and then scrub gently to remove the gunk.

Go back to your drawers and empty them and wipe the interiors of these. Now place these back into the fridge and then take your dishwashing tub of solution and empty it into the sink.

Refill the tub with just warm water and add a dash of lemon juice to the water. Use your rag to do a final swipe using just this water & lemon juice solution. This will remove any grit that might be left in the fridge and the lemon juice will give it a nice fresh scent throughout. Dry thoroughly with a terry towel.
Take your cookie sheet of condiments and make sure to give each of these a quick swipe with the rag before returning them. Half the battle is not having clean items in your fridge and this is a good way to start fresh. Return all of the items in the other tub to their proper homes.

Clean the Exterior
The exterior of your fridge can often be overlooked, but it needs attention too. As a mother of two little ones, fingerprints and smudges are all over my fridge on any given day. To remove these, I use an all-purpose cleaner on my fridge.

You can use a microfiber cloth to clean the outside of your refrigerator, as it is gentle but also abrasive enough to remove any marks. Any scuffs still left? Break out your Mr. Clean Eraser (a mom’s best friend!) You can find a generic equivalent of one of these at your local dollar store.

If you have a stainless steel appliance, dip your microfiber cloth into a little vinegar and give the outside of the fridge a good swiping with the vinegar. Then give the appliance another swipe with just plain water and dry thoroughly with a terry towel.

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark has been the driving force behind MomAdvice since 2004. In addition to running a successful community for women and running after her two kids, she has appeared on The Early Show, and in Parents magazine, Redbook, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, MSN Money and The New York Times.