Empty it out
That’s right, grab all the stuff – from the half-consumed juice box your niece left in the back, to the cream de coconut you haven’t used since that party last summer. Put it out on the counter and take stock. Toss wilted produce, get rid of expired cartons, dump the ancient leftovers and give everything that’s going back in a good wipe-down (jelly jars are notoriously sticky). It will feel good to put clean items back in your clean fridge. But first . . .
Take out the shelves and drawers, then clean
No need to leave the fridge open for extended periods when so much of what’s inside is removable. Most of it can be easily cleaned with warm soapy water in the sink (be careful handling those glass shelves). For items with nooks and crannies holding crumbs, an old toothbrush works wonders for that seam along the no-spill rim, and other places where gunk likes to hide.
Wipe down the inside
Here’s where a good cleanser – or even just plain, old white vinegar, if you prefer no chemicals – works well and easily. Let your cleanser sit on sticky spots for a minute or two before using a non-abrasive sponge to get it up. Paper towels do double-duty for scrubbing and drying in one step, where no sponge is necessary.
Don’t forget the less obvious places
The rubbery portion on the inside of the door, and the venting slats along the bottom are notorious for unsightly stains and dust collection. Be sure to get these, as well. Don’t use anything damp for the dusty parts at first. Scrubbing with a dry toothbrush is great to get up grease-clotted dust with ease.
Replace drawers, shelves and food
Today’s models generally allow you to play with height and placement both in the body of the fridge and inside the doors. Set it up for optimum convenience with regard to your common purchases. Put all those freshly wiped-down jars back inside, and admire your work!
How to clean the outside
Now for the last step: the outside of the fridge. Learning how to clean a stainless steel fridge is a little different than how to clean a powder-coated metal. What’s more, different appliances are often made from slightly different types of steel, so you may need to experiment before you find the right method. Often times, cleaning products labeled as specific for stainless steel leave streaks. Many people swear by simple white vinegar and oil instead. Spray the vinegar first and, using a microfiber cloth, wipe down the fridge. Follow up using a small amount of olive oil and wipe in the direction of the grain, which should tease a lovely shine from your fridge’s finish.
Related: 10 great natural cleaning products
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