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Yes, You Have to Clean the Fridge; Here's the Best Way

When you open the door to your refrigerator, what's your first thought? For me, it's always: Wait, how did I acquire so much cheese? But a close second is: Ugh, I really have to clean this thing out. There's the little orange juice spill in the back, little bits of vegetable stems or leaves, and have you ever really checked the bottom of the yogurt carton? It's not pretty.

How To Clean a Fridge

Even if you keep things pretty clean by wiping up after raw meat or fish or keeping containers well-sealed, your fridge is still going to collect grime. Cleaning the fridge might seem like a daunting task, but fear not, because we've got the quick and easy way for how to clean the fridge. Promise it won't take more than 20 minutes and you don't need any special cleaners.

Take everything out

The first thing you have to do is clear everything out. Try doing this before grocery day, since that means you should have less food to move. Food safety is still rule number one, but everything will be fine on your counter for the 20 minutes it takes you to clean (unless it's 105 outside and you don't have air conditioning).

Remove the crisper drawers and shelves, too, if you can. You can wipe them out if they're still inside the fridge, but it's a lot easier to deep clean them if you can wash them in the sink.

Wipe down the inside

Take a damp cloth or paper towels and thoroughly wipe down the inside of the fridge. Make sure you get into all the crevices and corners. Your cleaning solution can be white vinegar and hot water, dish soap or your favorite brand of all-purpose cleaner. If you have any dried-on food or stains, put some baking soda and warm water on them and then use an old toothbrush to scrub. Wipe down the door seals and don't forget the inside of the fridge door!

Wash the drawers

Wash the drawers and shelves, if you took them out, in soapy water. Rinse them thoroughly and dry them with a soft cloth. One thing to note: If your fridge has glass shelves, don't use hot water. The glass could crack going from cold to hot that quickly.

Sort and toss

Cleaning your fridge is a good opportunity to take a close look at expiration dates (condiments are especially easy to lose track of when they are past their prime). Toss anything that's expired, moldy or smells bad.

Put everything back together

Now that your fridge is clean, you can put everything back in. Here's a quick cleaning tip that will keep your fridge sparkling clean for a bit longer: Before you put a container back in, wipe it down with a damp cloth so that it's just as clean as your fridge.

Clean the outside

If you have a stainless steel fridge, use a microfiber cloth and vinegar to wipe down the outside. If it's any other material, you can use your favorite cleaning solution and paper towels.

Once you know the best way how to clean a fridge quickly, it's easy to keep your biggest kitchen appliance in top shape.

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