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Hate cleaning the refrigerator? We’ve got your back with these 12 easy, down-and-dirty tups for deep cleaning the refrigerator.

And don’t forget to check out our refrigerator maintenance cleaning posts next to help keep your fridge clean.

1. Declutter and tidy.

You can cut down on the amount of time and energy you might otherwise spend on deep cleaning the refrigerator by decluttering and removing unnecessary items beforehand.

Then tidy anything remaining inside the fridge and lightly wipe things down with a lightly dampened microfiber cleaning cloth.


Declutter the Fridge

  • Leftovers
  • Trash
  • Unwanted foods and beverages
  • Expired foods and beverages

2. Clean the fridge when it’s close to being empty.

Consider deep cleaning the fridge and/or freezer on a day when it’s going to be nearly empty, such as before a grocery store trip and after emptying out any expired products.


3. Perform weekly and monthly maintenance cleaning tasks.

To avoid having to do a lot of scrubbing and extra work while deep cleaning your fridge, try adding maintenance cleaning tasks as part of your weekly cleaning chores and/or on a monthly cleaning basis.

Maintenance cleaning your fridge won’t just help you cut back on unnecessary scrubbing, but also steps, time, and overall effort once it’s time to do a quarterly or bi-quarterly cleaning on it.

4. Know the mechanics of your fridge ahead of time.

Get a feel for the mechanics of your fridge before you get started by reading up on the instruction manual or reviewing how-to videos by the manufacturer or professionals related to the industry, many of which you can find on sites like Youtube.

This can be handy when it comes to knowing how to change out the water filter, cleaning out the ice maker, or even when you need to know how to dismantle the glass shelf that seems to attract untouchable spills over time.

5. Break tasks down when it makes sense to do so.

As with most cleaning projects that may require some effort or time, you can spread things out by breaking cleaning the fridge down and doing it on different days.

For instance, you may find it more suitable to clean the fridge one day and the freezer later in the week. You could also declutter items that have expired or aren’t wanted anymore, and then work on cleaning the next day.

6. Practice prevention.

Try to practice preventative cleaning and measures to help reduce messes, which may also reduce how often you’ll need to do a deep cleaning on your refrigerator.

This might include having bins, liners, and trays in your drawers to help contain messes and make removing or adding items to the fridge easier while cleaning, or it may involve making the effort to lightly wipe down or spot-clean surfaces each week.

7. Pull the fridge out to clean around it.

Believe it or not, it’s fairly easy to pull out the refrigerator after you’ve tried it a few times.

It usually only takes a few minutes to dust, wipe things down, vacuum, and mop around the area, providing it’s done consistently enough.

8. Sometimes simple cleaning methods work best.

Therefore, try to use minimal cleaning products when cleaning your fridge whenever possible to speed up cleaning times and effort by using plain water and a microfiber cloth or adding a little bit of warm, soapy water to the mix.

Some exceptions might be when stuck-on spills and messes that might be hard to remove with anything more than water or soapy water.

9. Entertain yourself.

As we often like to say, it helps to entertain yourself while tackling things you might not enjoy doing.

Cleaning out the refrigerator can go by quickly when you add great music, an awesome audiobook, a talk with a friend or relative, or even your favorite podcast to the mix.

10. Schedule it in.

You can do refrigerator maintenance cleaning sessions each with weekly cleaning chores and monthly chores.

Maintenance cleaning on a weekly cleaning schedule or monthly basis can help minimize the amount of time and effort you might otherwise spend trying to do a more detailed deep refrigerator cleaning, such as what you might do with your quarterly or seasonal cleaning chores.

11. Wash the washable.

Spend some time washing any washable items in the sink or while they’re still inside the refrigerator units.

This is also a good time to clean any glass shelving where spills may have become trapped beneath the glass surface.

12. Be thorough.

Even though it’s beneficial to do maintenance refrigerator cleanings each week or at least every month to tackle surface cleaning, it’s also important to do detailed cleaning and maintenance on the unit at least every quarter or so.

This usually means tackling some of the following and making sure that they’re properly cleaned, serviced, and in good condition.

Items to Wipe Down

  • Gaskets and seals
  • Hinges
  • Underneath glass
  • Water filter
  • Drawers and drawer tracks
  • Handles
  • Displays and exterior
  • Accessories (i.e., egg crates, bins, mats)


In this post, we covered 12 easy steps you can do to make deep cleaning your refrigerator faster, easier, and less tedious.


Refrigerator Deep Cleaning Recap

  1. Declutter and tidy first.
  2. Clean it when it’s nearly empty.
  3. Perform maintenance cleaning for continued upkeep.
  4. Know your refrigerator’s mechanics.
  5. Break down tasks when it makes sense to.
  6. Practice prevention measures and methods.
  7. Clean around the fridge at least every other quarter.
  8. Have the right tools for the job.
  9. Entertain yourself as motivation and to help time fly by faster.
  10. Schedule it into your cleaning routines and schedules.

Happy Cleaning 🙂

Photos courtesy of Erik McLean, Kevin Malik, and Fox via

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