1. Remove Food
When’s a good time to schedule your deep-clean? When you find yourself saying, “There’s nothing to eat!” Less food in the refrigerator means fewer items to take out in preparation for a big wash-down. Place the foods that are in there in a cooler until you’re ready to return them post-cleaning.
2. Wipe Interior
Slide out shelves and bins. Clean the inside of the fridge with a solution of two tablespoons baking soda and one quart hot water. (Food absorbs odors, so it’s best to use unscented mild cleaners.) Rinse with a damp cloth, then dry with a towel. Soak the removable sections in the same solution; scrub, rinse, and dry.
3. Dry Drip Pan
Remove the base grille to find the drip pan under the fridge. If it’s full of water, mop it with paper towels, then pull out and wash the pan with warm, soapy water. To clean a drip pan that’s fixed in place, wrap an absorbent cloth around the head of a long-handled brush; dip it in warm, soapy water and clean the pan.
4. Dust Coils
In order to keep your unit running efficiently, unplug it and use a coil brush or your vacuum’s crevice attachment to clean the condenser coils twice a year. “Models that have coils on top should be vacuumed more often. Same goes for units in homes with pets,” says Attanasio.
5. Clean Exterior
Wipe the doors with a cloth dampened with mild soap and water. Give the areas around the handles special attention, as they are often smudged with fingerprints. For stainless steel exteriors, use commercial stainless steel spray and wipe in the direction of the grain; dry to prevent streaking.
Think you'll have trouble remembering all that? Print out this to-do list and hang it on...well, the fridge!
And, if you are feeling inspired enough to deep-clean your other kitchen appliances, here are step-by-step directions on how to get every crumb out of each major item.
Meanwhile, this is what we consider the best way to organize a refrigerator: