How to clean your fridge: Cleaning expert’s top tips

a clean fridge with the door open

OK, I’ll admit it. I have no idea when I last cleaned my fridge. Am I a terribly messy homeowner, or one of many who only gets out the cloth if there’s a bit of spillage? Or discovers there’s something growing in the corner of the vegetable drawer? (OK, terribly messy homeowner it is!) So, I’m probably the best person to write these tips on how to clean your fridge. And actually put them to good use.

How to clean your fridge is important information. Here’s a fun little fact – stale food and forgotten crumbs can pollute fresh food with bacteria, increasing your risk of catching food poisoning. Eww.

With that in mind, we’ve spoken to cleaning expert at, Joyce French, who has shared her seven top tips on how to clean your fridge with us – so your fridge-freezer will be squeaky clean in no time.

Plus, for a little fridgespiration, we’ve included some snaps of some super organised fridges. Enjoy!

the interior of an organised refrigerator
How to clean your fridge: enjoy some fridgespiration first. Photography: iStock / pashapixel.

How to clean your fridge: Firstly, empty out those shelves

I know it sounds laborious, but firstly, you really need to empty out your entire fridge. (So, maybe don’t do this right after a big food shop!)

Remove everything from the shelves, drawers, and doors and organise them out onto a large space such as your counter. Sort through all items and throw away any you don’t want or which have gone off. I’m not sure I even want to know what’s on my top shelf.

Remember, throw out any jars which have been sitting there for a prolonged time (I’m sure I have many).

Bacteria can multiply at room temperature so put any perishable items into cool bags whilst you deep clean.

the interior of an organised refrigerator featuring lots of differently coloured fruit and vegetables and brightly coloured containers
How to clean your fridge: firstly, empty it out. Photography: Unsplash / elloproducts.

Secondly, give the shelves a good wash and rinse

Wash all shelving, drawers and door racks in the sink with regular liquid and warm water.

However, with glass shelves, wait until they warm up to room temperature before washing them otherwise it can crack.

Avoid using the dishwasher as some plastic can deform under a hot wash which can cause problems fitting them back into the fridge.

Leave everything to air dry on the draining board and once dry store away until you are ready to put them back. This will reduce the risk of sending bacteria back inside the fridge.

a column fridge with lots of green fruit and veg inside
How to clean your fridge: take everything out and clean the shelves. RS6121SLK1 Integrated Column Refrigerator, 61cm, £7500, Fisher & Paykel.

How to clean your fridge: Use the right products

Try and avoid using harsh detergent sprays inside your fridge as the strong odour can transfer directly onto your food.

Instead opt for a vinegar spray by mixing two parts water with one part white vinegar or make a paste mix of one part bicarbonate of soda and seven parts water to wipe down the interior.

As to where to start, begin at the top to avoid anything dripping down on clean areas. Don’t forget the ledges, walls, and condensation trough before cleaning the base of the fridge.

This is a breeding ground for crumbs and residue build up. For any difficult stains, use a plastic scrubber and toothpaste as it contains a gentle abrasive.

a large American-style fridge-freezer with lots of groceries stacked inside it
Quiet Mark UVnano GSLV91PZAE American Fridge Freezer, £1799.98, LG.

Dust the fridge condenser coils (don’t worry, we’ll explain what they are!)

To keep your appliance running efficiently, unplug and use your hoovers crevice attachment to gently dust the condenser coils. They will look like a metal grid and you can find them running up the back of the appliance or on the bottom.

Avoiding this can prevent your fridge from cooling properly and thick dust can reduce the efficiency by as much as 25%. Once dusted, use a separate brush to clear away any remaining dirt and dust from the coils.

a clean fridge in sleek black cabinetry
How to clean your fridge: dust the condenser coils. RS6121FLJK1 Integrated Column Fridge & Freezer, Black, £15000, Fisher & Paykel.

Lastly, disinfect the exterior of your fridge

Lastly, the exterior of your fridge is the most frequent touch point and can harbour a lot of bacteria.

When you clean your fridge, remember to dampen your cloth with mild soap and warm water and give special attention to the areas which attract a lot of fingerprints such as the handles and ice dispensers.

If your fridge is stainless steel, use professional stainless-steel cleaners and wipe in the direction of the grain and dry to prevent streaking.

Now, I know what I’ll be doing for the next hour or so…

a clean sea green fridge
How to clean your fridge: lastly, disinfect the exterior. Photography: Unsplash / Latrach Med Jamil.

Featured image: With a total capacity of 558 litres and three freezer drawers finished in stainless steel, Hotpoint’s appliance also has reversible doors so you can place it in any corner. Two half-width Fresh Zone+ drawers and one full width Fresh Zone 0°C drawer keep produce and meat at their best. H84BE 72 XO3 UK freestanding fridge-freezer, £1099, Hotpoint.

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