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How to clean a refrigerator

Supplies needed:

  • Dish Soap

  • Microfiber (lint-free) cloth

  • Vinegar (or Bleach)

  • Coil Brush

Stainless steel appliances remain popular in American kitchens. In fact, stainless appliances outsell white and black kitchen appliances, with dishwashers, ranges, and refrigerators boasting the stainless look in a big way.

But there is a downside to some stainless-steel appliances: They’re like magnets for fingerprints, smudges, water spots, and streaks. That means a lot of cleaning time to keep your appliances looking their shiny best.

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning the Inside: Clear Refrigerator

Remove all food and throw out bad/expired goods. Then, remove all shelves and drawers. Shelves and drawers can and should be cleaned by hand with hot water and dish soap.

Clean Inside Walls and Built In’s

Make a mixture of ½ water and ½ vinegar (or bleach) and put it into an empty spray bottle. Use this and a microfiber (lint-free) cloth to clean inside the wall and built in’s.

Put Refrigerator Back Together

Dry all shelves and racks and return them to the fridge. Double-check that everything is dry, then return all fresh food as well. Repeat every month at a minimum.

Cleaning the Outside:


  • Wipe with a soapy washcloth, wipe with a wet washcloth (no soap), and then wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

  • Baked on foods? Use nylon scrubby, mild detergent, and hot water.

  • Stains? Use a baking soda and liquid dish soap mix and scrub with a nylon scrubby (or old toothbrush).

  • Make it shine? Buff with a stainless polish, lemon oil, or silicone-based spray. Use one microfiber (lint-free cloth) to clean and another to wipe dry.

  • ALWAYS wipe with the grain.

  • ALWAYS rinse with a rag and dry with a towel.

Any Other Surface

  • Use a mixture of ½ water and ½ vinegar (or preferred all-purpose cleaner) to wipe down all sides of the fridge.

Toe Grill

Remove toe grill from the refrigerator. Soak in soapy water for about an hour or until grime comes off easily. Scrub clean, dry, and return to refrigerator.


Turn off the power source to the refrigerator. Gently brush dust and debris off coils with coil brush. Be extra careful not to puncture the coil. Use vacuum head to suck up debris during and after. (Note: Do NOT use a solution of any type on coils; Use coil brush and a damp rag to clean off fan blade.)

Stainless steel appliances are durable and easy to maintain, but they do require regular cleaning. The key to keeping stainless steel “stainless” include proper maintenance and care. With just a little bit of elbow grease and one of the techniques listed above, your stainless steel appliances will stay looking marvelous for a long time.

Shying Away From Stainless? If having to clean stainless steel lacks appeal, check out other finish options, such as that classic, white.

Need tips on cleaning your dishwasher? Click here.

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