How Often Should You Clean Out Your Freezer/Refrigerator?
Cleaning the refrigerator is a chore most people don’t enjoy. But without cleaning it, we risk living with a stained and sticky fridge/freezer at the very least. A lack of cleanliness also raises the risk of cross-contamination and spoilage, not to mention reduced appliance efficiency and longevity.
There’s no need to be obsessive compulsive—you don’t have to do a complete refrigerator clean-out every day. But wiping away spills promptly, using a cloth with a food-safe antibacterial spray, is a good habit. Also, so is sealing raw meat in leak-proof storage bags or containers.
Otherwise, here are some other important time-sensitive freezer/refrigerator cleaning tips:
At least once a week:
- Throw away any leftovers that have accumulated.
- Check for moldy food, which can cause respiratory problems and allergies.
- Write down the dates of foods when you store them to help remember their age.
- If food is past its expiration date, throw it away.
- Thoroughly wipe down the shelves, door seals, and vegetable bins.
Likewise, wipe down freezer shelves, walls, nooks, and crannies with a sponge or washrag moistened with hot water and a little dish detergent. Make sure to check and clean the door seal for crumbs and food debris.
Monthly, inventory your freezer inventory. Freezers are meant for long-term storage, so it’s possibly you might find food items that have spoiled or even spilled. If you can’t identify what a particular leftover is, throw it away. Do the same if it doesn’t look right or has freezer burn. And then wipe down any surfaces after unwanted food is discarded.
Give your fridge a deep cleaning every season. Schedule this for the beginning of each season, so you make sure thorough cleanings are performed at least once every three months. To start, remove everything from the fridge. You can put perishable items in a cooler with ice. Empty all freezer contents into a cooler; then turn the freezer off.
For every item you find, check it’s “use by” date. Throw it away if the package lists a past date, and then remove all detachable drawers and shelves. Clean these with soap and water in a sink like you would do with dishes.
Leave the drawers and shelves to soak or dry and wipe down the interior, door panels, seals, and top of the fridge. You can make your own cleaning solution using either one-part vinegar and one-part water or two tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of hot water, and use it to wipe down every surface inside the refrigerator and freezer with a sponge.
Once you have wiped everything down, use a clean dishcloth to dry the interior. Then replace all the drawers and shelves in the fridge and freezer. You can then return and organize all foods, condiments, and packaging.
Also, consider some even longer-term refrigerator maintenance tips. For units with ice makers, replace the water filter every six months. Condenser coils can accumulate dust, grease, and pet hair; clean them once a year (after unplugging the unit and removing the base grill) with a vacuum cleaner brush attachment. It will help your fridge run more efficiently.
Call Wilshire Refrigeration & Appliance, Inc. for Maintenance
We specialize in maintaining, installing, and repairing Sub-Zero refrigerators. If your fridge isn’t cooling food as well as it used to, or you notice noise or something else unusual, our expert technicians can get to the root of the problem. Contact us today for reliable, factory-certified service.