How to Clean a Refrigerator in 6 Easy Steps

Updated: Feb. 10, 2023

Follow these step-by-step instructions to deep clean your refrigerator from top to bottom.

Organizing the fridge with clear bins and space-saving helpers is fun. But the fridge should be clean before you break out the drink organizers, food storage containers and other TikTok-famous gear.

Wondering how to clean a refrigerator the right way? There’s more to it than simply getting rid of the leftovers (although that’s an important step!). We’re breaking down the fastest and most efficient way to make your refrigerator sparkle and get rid of any suspicious smells.

How often should you clean your refrigerator?

Just like anything else in your home, keeping the fridge clean takes maintenance. We recommend keeping up with daily, weekly and occasional tasks.

  • Daily: Any splashes or spills should be cleaned up daily. Wipe with a damp cloth or sponge as soon as they happen; otherwise you’re left with sticky residue that’s just going to get harder to remove the longer it sits.
  • Every few days: Clean the exterior of your fridge, especially if you have kids. Remove finger smudges and other spots, paying close attention to the door handles (more on this later).
  • Weekly: Clean trays and drawers weekly. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of removing old food and wiping down the interior of your fridge before grocery shopping each week.
  • Occasionally: At least once every couple of months, clean the floor underneath your fridge. Have someone help you pull the fridge away from the wall. Give it a good sweep and mop before putting the fridge back in place.

How to Clean a Refrigerator

Tools and Supplies

  • Microfiber cloths. Microfiber cloths are better at removing bacteria than other cleaning cloth materials, and are great for polishing the stainless steel exterior.
  • Lysol Kitchen Pro antibacterial cleaner. An antibacterial cleaner is essential for sanitizing a fridge. This one kills 99.9% of germs and is suitable for food contact surfaces.
  • Chill Bill refrigerator deodorizer. Fill this adorable silicone penguin with baking soda and place him on a shelf to absorb bad smells in the fridge—much more fun than a boring box of baking soda!
  • Scrub Daddy sponges. These sponges work great on extra stubborn or sticky spills, and won’t scratch glass shelves.
  • Weiman stainless steel cleaner. This is a must-have product for making stainless steel sparkle! Weiman cleaner works like a polish after you’ve already wiped down the fridge with soap and water.


Step 1: Empty the fridge

Treat your fridge as you would a messy closet—which means the first step is emptying it entirely. Take out all the food and place it on the counter. If you’re worried about spoiling, you can throw the most perishable items in an ice cooler while you work.

Step 2: Clean shelves and drawers

Hand in glovews cleaning fridge inside. Detegent and cloth for cleaning refrigerator.Sergiy Akhundov/Getty Images

Start by removing the shelves, drawers and racks and scrub them down in the sink. (Take note: don’t run cold glass shelves under hot water—the glass could crack! Let the shelves come to room temperature first.) Then, wipe any remaining trays and drawers with a microfiber cloth and warm soapy water. If you have any sticky or greasy messes, try using a Scrub Daddy sponge.

Step 3: Sanitize

Once you’ve washed and dried the trays and drawers, put them back in the fridge. Spray everything, including the walls of the fridge with a disinfecting spray. Let it sit for 30 seconds, then wipe.

Step 4: Clean the gasket

Mildew and mold can get stuck in the gasket (the rubber door seal). To clean it, wipe with a mixture of one quart warm water and one tablespoon of baking soda. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth. The baking soda not only cleans the gasket, but also neutralizes odors.

Step 5: Put the food back

Put the food back in the fridge. (This is also a great time to reorganize with glass storage containers and reusable bags.) Go through every item and discard anything past the expiration date. Wipe down bottles and jars to remove any residue before returning them. Then, add a refrigerator deodorizer—like Chill Bill—to keep unpleasant smells at bay.

Step 6: Clean the exterior

Wipe down the exterior with a microfiber cloth and warm soapy water. Wipe again with a dry microfiber cloth.

Want to keep cleaning? Read up on how to clean your freezer, too.

How do you clean a stainless steel refrigerator?

Woman Cleans refrigerator Handle Using Disinfectant Wipe Paul Biris/Getty Images

The most effective product for cleaning stainless steel might surprise you—it’s soap! Yep, regular dish soap is the most recommended method for cleaning stainless steel.

Fill your sink with warm water a couple drops of dish soap. Next, dip a microfiber cloth in the water, squeeze away excess and wipe down the stainless steel exterior from top to bottom. This will get rid of any finger smudges and food stains. Pay special attention to the door handles where stains and residue often gathers.

Wipe the fridge again with a clean microfiber cloth to polish and dry. Finish with our favorite Weiman stainless steel cleaner which protects stainless steel and makes it shine!