Afraid to open the fridge door, lest the stench of old greens, leftovers and who knows what else starts to permeate the rest of the house? A clean fridge is a happy fridge.
But it's also a fridge that keeps food fresher longer and prevents contamination. Sounds good to me!
But all too often I find myself cramming in just a few more things, and before I know it, the fridge is so full that I've completely forgotten about the leftovers and something smells 'off.'
DIY Disinfecting Fridge Cleaner
Fridges can get sticky and greasy—and, yes, sometimes stinky—from all of the things we store in them. I prefer to use cleaners that will disinfect, deodorize and still be safe for food. You definitely don't want to be using toxic cleaners where you store your food!
To make this disinfecting fridge cleaner, mix ¼ cup of vinegar and a squirt of dish soap into a spray bottle and add tap water to fill the remainder of the bottle along with a few drops of essential oil for fragrance—citrus oils are great for this!
Shake well to blend (and again before each use) and then spray on fridge surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth. Be sure to read the tips below for doing a thorough clean and deodorizing!
How to Deep Clean Your Refrigerator
For tough sticky areas, saturate a cloth with the cleaning solution (see above) and squeeze a little of the excess from it, then let it sit on the area for a few minutes to loosen the stain. It should wipe right away.
Hand wash the drawers and any removable shelves with warm, soapy water. Dry well before putting back into the fridge.
If you're cleaning up spills from raw meat or poultry, wipe up the spill, then wash the area with hot water and disinfect with a spritz of hydrogen peroxide or full-strength white vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes, then wipe dry.
For the exterior, the same solution can be used as for the inside. Remove the cover on the bottom of the fridge and clean well.
Cotton swabs and toothpicks are great for small areas that are difficult to wipe clean, like the seals around the door or the handles.
DIY Fridge Deodorizer
After you've cleaned out the fridge, removed any stinky culprits (check the crisper!) and cleaned/disinfected thoroughly, it's time to make a super-easy fridge deodorizer to prevent future issues.
The only ingredients you'll need to make this DIY deodorizer are baking soda and essential oil. Just mix 2 cups of baking soda with 20-30 drops of essential oil in a jar and pop it into the back of the fridge (and leave the lid off). It's really that easy!
How to Deep Clean Your Fridge FAQ
How often should you deep clean your fridge?
The general rule of thumb is every 3-4 months, so I like to make it a point to deep clean it with each new season. Using this cleaning schedule is a great way to streamline all of the random condiments that collect after each big holiday, too!
Should you clean behind your fridge?
Yes, you should clean behind the fridge about as often as you deep clean it (every 3-4 months), especially because dust and crumbs tend to congregate back there. Cleaning behind the fridge can also help with pests and allergies.
While you've got your fridge pulled away from the wall, check for mold. Because this can be a damp area, it's susceptible to mold growth.
How long will this baking soda fridge deodorizer last?
This recipe should last 3-4 months (see a trend here?), so you should replace it with a new batch of deodorizer whenever you deep clean. If you notice that the fresh smell has started to dissipate over time, you can periodically stir the mixture to release the scent or add more essential oil.
What essential oils are best to use when making all-natural fridge deodorizer?
You can use any oils you like or have on hand, but we recommend lighter oils like orange or lemon. It's better to use essential oils without scents that are too overpowering, such as floral or mint oils. Vanilla essential oil is also a great option if you don't have a citrus essential oil on hand.
DIY All-Natural Fridge Deodorizer
- Pint size jar
- Place baking soda in jar (if using), and stir in the essential oils.
- Place open jar or box in back of fridge to absorb odors and make fridge smell fresh and clean.
- To give it a burst of freshness, periodically stir the baking soda to release the scent from the essential oils.
- Add more if the scent starts to dissipate. Replace with fresh baking soda and essential oils every 3-4 months.