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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

Fridge maintenance tips: how to clean and organise a fridge

Updated: Jun 24

Fridge cleaning and organisation tips you need to try

A clean and organised fridge

Perhaps weirdly, I quite enjoy cleaning the fridge out! When it comes to fridge maintenance, there's something quite cathartic about locating all the out-of-date and almost empty jars and tubs and discarding that dried-up old carrot at the back of the fridge and sad-looking pieces of broccoli hiding in the corner of the veg drawer! I probably don't do it often enough, as regular cleanings would make the whole process quicker but possibly not as satisfying! Here's my step-by-step guide for the best way to clean and organise the inside of the fridge - fridge cleaning and organisation is essential kitchen maintenance, here are my top tips.    

Empty out the fridge

empty the fridge out when cleaning

I find the best time to clean a fridge is just before you go grocery shopping or before a food shopping delivery, so the fridge is as empty as possible. 

  • The first thing to do is remove all food items from the inside of the fridge, placing perishables in a cooler with ice packs to keep them cold while cleaning.  

Removing shelves from the fridge during cleaning
  • Check expiration dates or use-by dates on food items and discard anything that is expired.

  • Dispose of any old food or leftovers 

removing compartment from fridge door
  • Remove the shelves, drawers, and any removable parts from the fridge (like the door-mounted compartments and place them in a washing-up bowl of hot water to soak. You can add dish soap to the hot water or baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) works well.

Cleaning the Interior of the fridge

materials to clean the fridge with.
  • Mix warm soapy water in a bucket or kitchen sink or sometimes I like to use an eco-friendly cleaning spray and kitchen roll or anti-bacterial wipes for ease.

  • Dip a clean cloth or clean microfiber cloth into the warm soapy water and wring out excess liquid.

Wiping the shelves clean in a fridge

  • Wipe down the interior walls, shelves, and any drawers you didn't remove, paying special attention to food residue and stubborn stains.

  • For stubborn stains, use a solution of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the affected areas, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub gently with an old toothbrush or soft cloth. 

  • Rinse the interior surfaces including the fridge door edges and door seal with clean water to remove any soap residue.

If there are lingering odours, wipe down the interior with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar, then dry thoroughly.

Fridge maintenance tip - how to clean a blocked drainage hole

I find using cotton buds is the best way to clean the little drainage hole at the back of the fridge which can easily get blocked up. Insert the tip of. cotton bud to clear any blockages and this should stop water pooling at the bottom of the fridge. 

Cleaning the fridge exterior

Wiping down the exterior of the fridge

  • Wipe down the outside of the fridge, including the door handles and rubber gasket, with a damp microfiber cloth.

  • Use a mild detergent solution for stubborn stains or spills on the exterior.

  • Dry the exterior surfaces with a clean towel or paper towels.

Reassembling the fridge

clean fridge interior
Reassembled fridge after cleaning
  • Once the interior and exterior are clean and dry, reassemble the shelves, crisper drawers, and any other removable parts.

  • Plug the fridge back in or turn on the power source if you turned it off (I don't usually do this as I try to get it done really quickly, but if you plan to take your time it's a good idea). 

Restocking the fridge

clean and oranised fridge

  • Return the food items to the fridge, organizing them neatly and ensuring proper placement to maintain food safety.

  • I recently shared this fridge cleaning and organisation top tip on Instagram for money-saving fridge storage containers...Save the clear plastic containers that fruit and veg are sold in at the supermarket as they make great open fridge storage.

  • By not placing food directly onto the shelves, it reduces the chances of them getting dirty. Having food in containers also makes getting food in and out of the fridge easier. 

Fridge cleaning and organisation tips to reduce food waste

  • Keeping track of the food you have in the fridge prevents overbuying which can lead to bags of salad piling up and going off or fruit and veg going off before it can be eaten.

  • If you find you're buying fruit and veg with all the good intentions but tend to forget about it, meaning it is often wasted, then I recommend placing them at eye level rather than in its designated drawer. I find that unless I can see it as soon as I open the fridge door, then I'm less likely to eat it. 

  • I find that the more effort I make in arranging the food neatly and in an organised system, the more likely I am to eat it as it looks more appealing and I can easily see what's in there. 

  • ​Mealtimes can be a bit of a rush so the easier you make things the better. 

  • Use spinning storage for storing jars and bottles in the fridge because a quick spin allows you to see all the condiments you available, meaning less wastage and duplicate purchases. 

Ongoing regular fridge maintenance

  • Wipe down spills and messes as soon as they occur to prevent them from causing a dirty fridge or an unpleasant smell.

  • Clean the fridge regularly, ideally every 2-3 months, to maintain cleanliness and food safety.

By following these easy fridge cleaning and organisation tips and creating a good cleaning routine, you can keep your fridge clean and in good condition, which will prolong it's life and keep your food fresher for longer too. Plus, no-one enjoys opening the fridge only to be faced with spillages and bad smells!

Where next?

You might enjoy some of these other kitchen storage-related posts...


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