Expert advice: How to clean out your refrigerator

A view of a very full refrigerator with the doors open.

Cleaning experts say: If you spill something in your refrigerator, you should clean it up immediately.

Of course we all know what we should do, but life often gets in the way. The splotch of spaghetti sauce, dollop of sour cream or drips of salad dressing get ignored in the rush of squeezing meals and snacks into hectic schedules.

And don’t forget about the containers in the back whose contents remain a mystery. The whole family is too scared to open them and find out what is—or was—inside.

Refrigerator cleaning: Ask the expert

Jim Pell, a research scientists for Amway Home products, says keeping up on spills daily goes a long way toward keeping the fridge clean and food safe.

While some refrigerators may be worse than others, don’t think you’re alone in this challenge. Even people who keep their fridge pristine have to do some reorganizing and wiping down once in a while. Jim and other experts recommend a deep clean at least once a season.

Let’s get started!

A grouping of Amway Home cleaning products sits on a white background.

Round up your cleaning tools

Most of the items needed to tackle this job are already in your kitchen, including a multipurpose cleaner, glass cleaner, a kitchen cleaner that tackles grease and grime, dishwashing liquid, white vinegar, a lint-free microfiber cloth, toothbrush, toothpicks, cotton swabs, a butter knife, old towel, a bucket or dish tub, a trash bag and a cooler.

Jim, of course, recommends Amway Home™ L.O.C.™ Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Amway Home™ Glass Cleaner, Amway Home™ Kitchen Cleaner and Amway Home™ Dish Drops™ Dishwashing Liquid.

“An ideal cleaning solution to safely clean the inside of your refrigerator is Amway Home L.O.C. Multi-Purpose Cleaner,” Jim said. “If water won’t hurt it, L.O.C. Multi-Purpose Cleaner can clean it! Just follow either the spray or bucket dilution instructions.”

Government agencies dealing with food safety warn against using solvent cleaning agents, abrasives, bleach and any cleanser that may impart a chemical taste to food or ice cubes.

Check food expiration dates

Grab the cooler and put the old towel down in front of the fridge to avoid making a mess on the floor.

Start sorting the food. Anything obviously spoiled or past its expiration date can be thrown in the trash. Not sure? Use the “when in doubt, throw it out” rule.

Put the items that are still good in a cooler or the freezer while you’re cleaning.

A plastic container of sliced tomatoes is shown on a refrigerator shelf.

Tackle sticky shelves

Once the food is out, take a picture of your empty refrigerator. This is the most important advice when cleaning your fridge. Taking a picture will help you remember just where to put the shelves in after you remove them for cleaning. Countless hours have been lost tackling shelf puzzles.

Wipe each shelf off with the diluted Amway Home L.O.C. Multi-Purpose Cleaner. Soak challenging spots in the sink or dish tub or covering them with a hot, wet cloth for a few minutes to soften them. A butter knife, toothbrush or toothpick can be used for the nooks and crannies.

Refrigerator cleaning: The inside job

Inside the fridge, wipe down the surfaces, working from top to bottom to prevent drips from landing on clean surfaces.

Keep the butter knife, toothbrush, toothpicks and cotton swabs handy for corners and narrow spaces. Cotton swabs are also good for cleaning the drip hole when it gets grimy.

Put the puzzle back together

Make sure everything is clean and dry before returning it to the refrigerator, including food items. Install the shelves according to your handy photo and then put the contents back in an organized fashion.

That organization may last only a few days or even a few hours, but you have to start somewhere.

A clean stainless steel refrigerator is shown in a tidy, white kitchen.

Refrigerator cleaning: Shine from the outside in

Now that all the food is safely back inside, it’s time to target the outside. Your multipurpose cleaner works well on standard finish refrigerators. Make sure to pay special attention to the handles, they collect a lot of dirt.

“If your refrigerator is stainless steel or has a glossy finish, Amway Home Glass Cleaner is your go to answer,” Jim said. “When diluted correctly and paired with a lint-free microfiber cloth, it is an ideal streak- and smudge-free cleaning solution.”

Does your water dispenser tray have stains or hard water deposits? Try distilled vinegar, soaking it if necessary.

Kickplate grille: Down and dirty

Still have energy? Remove the kickplate grille from the bottom of the refrigerator and soak it in a solution of hot water and dishwashing liquid. Scrub away to get it clean, enlisting your trusty toothbrush, etc., for narrow areas.

“You can use Amway Home Kitchen Cleaner for the extra grimy spots,” Jim said. “Follow the diluting instructions and it removes grease, dirt and grime in one shot without any harmful residue.”

Grab a vacuum and broom to clean underneath the refrigerator before returning the cleaned grille.

Sit back and enjoy

You’re finished! Pat yourself on the back and enjoy that first-grade picture of your college-age son that you found under the fridge.

Want to learn more about The Amway Home cleaning collection? Visit the websites for Amway US or Amway Canada.

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