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Now, before we get started wiping down the refrigerator, it is prudent to prepare the cleaning tools:
Essential Tools to Clean The Fridge
Cleaning the cold closet of condiments and foods can get tiring and complicated. Set off with the right foot by ensuring you have ALL these ready!
Fridge Cleaning Equipment
- Empty Cooler Box(es) – unless your fridge is already empty
- Empty Cooler Bag(s) – unless your fridge is already empty
- Microfiber Cloths
- Dry Cotton Rags
- Dry Clean Sponges
- 2-3 Large Buckets and Pails
- Trash Bag
- Couple of Large Drying Towels
- Spray Bottle (optional)
Fridge Cleaning Supplies
- Ice Packs – for your cooler bag/box(es)
- Dishwashing Detergent
- Glass cleaning liquid
- Bleach (optional)
- White Distilled Vinegar (optional)
- Baking Soda (optional)
Prepare to Clean The Fridge
Next, ensure you set up your area and environment efficiently for the fridge cleaning. You will need:
- Logistics Area to store all tools near your cleaning area;
- Cleaning Area (Eg. Shower Area) and/or large and empty kitchen sink;
- Storage Area for the fridge items;
- Drying Area for the washed fridge parts;
Step-by-step Process To Clean The Fridge
Great! Now that you have your equipment and environment ready, half the cleaning battle is won.
Let us start the official process to clean the fridge easily:
Step 1: Read The Manual
First, read your appliances’ instruction manuals first as there are many different brands and types of refrigerators and freezers with varying construction materials.
The instruction manuals will not only recommend the best way to clean your specific type of fridge, but likely also offer tips on how to dismantle and re-assemble the refrigerator or freezer compartments for easier cleaning! *(see below
Step 2: Empty Your Fridge
An empty fridge is always a million times easier to clean. Pack your ice boxes and cooler bags with cold packs and ice, and store your loose fridge items in it whilst doing the fridge cleaning. Do not simply leave the items lying around or on the dining table as they will become less fresh or cause a puddle of condensed water around!
Step 3: Dump expired goods and foods, and wipe down jars and bottles simultaneously
If you want to achieve efficiency when you clean the fridge, use a damp cloth to wipe down each loose item as you place them into the ice box or cooler bags! Have a trash bin on your side too to quickly trash the expired foods.
Step 4: Remove and Clean The Fridge Components
Now we are going to clean the fridge inside out thoroughly. Start by removing all removable trays, drawers and shelves.* (see above)
Unless your fridge is a small one, bring all removed parts to the bathroom shower for a rinse down. Use a hose or the shower spray to squirt off all condiment stains or food bits on it. Be careful as certain fridge parts can be made of glass and fragile.
For more stubborn stains, use your sponge doused in a bit of dishwashing liquid to rub them off. (Quick add-on tip: using hot to warm water will increase the efficiency of your fridge cleaning!)
When you are done washing each tray or drawer, place them on the large drying towel at a drying area (eg. the dining table or living room floor) to dry. To prevent accidents, mark out or alert other house occupants of that drying area. Try to select a drying area with exposure to ventilation and sunlight!
Note: at this point, keep track of the clock. If there is insufficient time for the fridge parts to completely dry, use a dry cotton cloth to wipe them for faster drying.
Step 5: Wipe down the interior and exterior of the fridge
Woohoo! Now we can use the microfibre cloths to wipe away the walls, ceiling and floor of the fridge. Soak your clothes in dishwashing soap before doing the wipe down for a faster and more effective clean.
Remember to wipe down each surface at least 2 times, before rinsing it off with a separate sponge or cloth, which should be damp with clean water.
Do not forget about the freezer, drinks and other fanciful compartments that modern refrigerators come with nowadays too!
Step 6A: Use Bleach To Clean Stubborn Grime Off the Fridge (Optional)
Disclaimer: always wear protective gloves and masks when using these stronger cleaning techniques to clean the fridge. Also, some *materials that your fridge may contain are not suitable for these stronger cleaning methods.
For deeper fridge cleaning, one can use bleach to wipe down the fridge walls and surfaces. Leave them on for a few minutes, or longer for more stubborn stains. However, it is important to remember to wipe the bleach off subsequently as bleach ingredients are toxic and not suited to be mixed with consumable foodstuffs.
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Step 6B: Alternatively, Use Baking Soda and Vinegar to Clean The Fridge Intensively (Optional)
Disclaimer: again, some *materials that your fridge may contain are not suitable for these stronger cleaning methods. Additionally, bleach cleaning and vinegar cleaning should NEVER be done at the same time due to their opposing chemical natures.
Put some white distilled vinegar into your spray bottle. Then, apply pinch(es) of baking soda powder to the corners, floors, or crevices of your fridge with stubborn stains or stuck gunk. Leave the powder to sit for a few minutes before spraying the vinegar over for an explosive and powerful cleaning action.
An advantage of using vinegar is that it is less toxic than bleach, and assists to remove smelly odors from the fridge. Did you know – vinegar has anti-mold properties too!
Step 7: Replace The Fridge Parts and Items
Finally, re-install the cleaned and dried components of your fridge. Take this golden opportunity to re-organize and re-delegate sections of your fridge. For example, you may have recently switched to eating more fruits and vegetables, as compared to snacking on chocolate bars. Thus, you can choose a smaller “snacks area” and dedicate a larger section for storing your fruits and vegetables.
As you replace your items into the fridge, it would be prudent to recheck the expiry dates again, and toss away expired items. Wipe away moisture or grime if there are still any left, with your wet cloth.
Step 8: Wipe and Polish Your Fridge Exterior
Last but not least, use your glass cleaning spray and microfiber cloth to clean the fridge exterior. As most fridges are made of glass, metallic or synthetic materials on the outside, either the glass cleaning liquid or dishwashing soap will work well.
A microfiber cloth will prevent scratches when you wipe down those doors and handles. Moreover, you can use a dry cloth to buff up the area for the extra shine after cleaning!
Hooray, now you have a nice and clean fridge… till next time!
How Long Does Cleaning The Fridge Take?
As you can guess, it depends on:
- Is your fridge already empty?
- How dirty is your fridge to begin with!
- How big is your fridge?
- Do you have the right cleaning tools and area setup?
As a benchmark, a small and emptied fridge can take only 15 to 30 minutes to be cleaned thoroughly, whereas a large 250 Liter fridge with months of your family’s foodstuffs left inside will easily require 2 to 3 hours of wiping down.
How Often Should I Clean The Fridge?
There is no hard and fast rule, but generally cleaning your fridge once a month should suffice for the regular Singaporean household.
In fact, maintaining a hygienic process of keeping refrigerated and frozen foods as equally, if not more important, too! The more foodstuffs you store, and the higher number of users of the fridge, the more frequent you should clean the fridge.
This can range from once a week, to once every few months. Of course, detailed fridge and freezer cleaning should also always be done for post-tenancy and spring cleaning sessions too!
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