How To Clean A Fridge

How To Clean A Fridge

Germs from old food, messy spills and a bad-smelling fridge aren't the most appetising things when trying to cook dinner – so keeping on top of cleaning your fridge is vital.

From how often your fridge needs cleaning to a step-by-step guide, here's everything you need to know to keep your fridge clean and fresh.

How often should you clean your fridge?

You should deep clean your fridge at least once every six months, as a minimum. To keep your fridge fully sanitary, we'd recommend aiming to deep clean it every three to six months.

You should also wipe around your fridge exterior regularly and clean up immediately if you've had a spill or found spoiled food in your fridge.

What's the best thing to clean the inside of the fridge with?

The best thing to clean the inside of the fridge is with a food-safe cleaning solution.

You can make your own cleaning solution using regular household items. Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are great cleaning agents; as they're edible, they are perfectly safe to use in the fridge and around food.

You can also buy specialist kitchen and fridge cleaning sprays – but always check the ingredients to ensure they're completely food-safe before using them in the fridge.

What should you not clean a fridge with?

There are a few things you should avoid when cleaning a fridge, to keep food safe and ensure the fridge remains running smoothly.

Avoid using hot water when cleaning your fridge – especially if it's still switched on. Hot water raises the temperature of the fridge interior, meaning it will take longer to rechill your food. This increases the chance of food being stored incorrectly and becoming unsafe for consumption.

You should also avoid harsh cleaning products, like bleach. These don't just harm the interior of some fridges but are a safety risk if the product is transferred to food.

6 steps: How do you clean a fridge?

You can clean your fridge by following these six easy steps:

  1. Empty the fridge

Before you start cleaning, remove all the food and drink items from your fridge. You should also take out any removable parts, like the drawers, shelves and salad crisper.

Put any perishable items, like dairy or fresh meat, in cool bags while you clean the fridge, as bacteria can form at room temperature.

As you're emptying the fridge, clear out the items inside. Throw away anything that is spoiled or past its use-by date.

  1. Wash removable parts

Let the removable parts you've removed reach room temperature before you put them in the sink, and wash them with hot, soapy water. If they're too cold and come into contact with boiling water, there's a chance of the glass cracking, so ensure the water you use isn't too hot.

If the fridge drawers or shelves are particularly dirty, you can leave them to soak for a while. Once they're clean, dry the parts with a tea towel or leave them to dry naturally on the rack while you tackle the rest of the fridge.

  1. Wipe down the inside of the fridge

Wipe around the inside of the fridge with soapy water to remove any spills or stains. Avoid hot water as this can raise the internal temperature of your fridge – lukewarm or cool water is best.

Once you've thoroughly cleaned inside the fridge, dry it with a clean towel or paper towel.

  1. Sanitise the fridge

For a deeper clean, you can spray the inside of the fridge with an anti-bacterial spray after you've wiped it down with warm, soapy water. Water and baking soda or water and white vinegar are also great DIY cleaning solutions – plus, they're naturally food-safe. For any store-bought cleaning sprays, always double-check that they're safe to use around food.

After spraying the interior of the fridge with your chosen cleaning solution, leave the solution to soak for five minutes, and then wipe it up with a clean cloth.

  1. Clean outside the fridge

Germs can build on frequently handled areas, like door handles.

Use a cloth and generic kitchen cleaning spray to ensure the outside of your fridge is clean. Pay extra attention to door seals where dirt and debris can gather.


  1. Refill the fridge

Once the entire fridge is cleaned and all parts have fully dried, you can return the drawers, shelves and salad crispers and refill your fridge.

How to clean a fridge drain hole

The fridge drain hole helps prevent water build-up and keep your fridge running at its best. You should clean and wipe around the drain hole regularly to keep it clean and limit the chance of it becoming clogged. A cotton bud is great for cleaning areas that are difficult to access.

If there's excessive trapped dirt in the drain hole, you can flush it out with a solution of water and bicarbonate of soda. Pour the solution into the drain hole using a jug or a turkey baster/syringe until the water runs clean.

How to clean a fridge water dispenser

If you have an American-style fridge with a water dispenser, you should clean around the dispenser and nozzle regularly to ensure it is free from dirt and mildew and that the water tastes fresh. If you notice a blockage in the line or need to carry out a deeper clean, you should:

  1. Turn off the water supply

If your fridge is hooked up to your main water supply, turn off the water before you start cleaning to eliminate the chance of spills.

  1. Rinse the line

Use a solution of white vinegar and water, or pure vinegar for a deeper clean. Vinegar is safe for consumption, so if any traces remain behind after flushing, you don't have to worry. Use a jug or funnel to pour a small amount of vinegar into the water tube. Leave it to sit for five to ten minutes, then push the water dispenser button to push the vinegar through the line. Place a bowl under the dispenser to catch the liquid.

  1. Clean the dispenser

The water nozzle can collect dirt over time. Use a fresh water and vinegar solution with a cloth, sponge or old toothbrush to scrub the nozzle.

  1. Clean surfaces

You can use a solution of white vinegar and water along with a clean cloth to wipe down the other surfaces around the water dispenser, like the drip tray. Food-safe cleaning spray can also be used for more general cleaning.

  1. Flush the line

When you've finished cleaning, you'll need to flush the line to ensure no vinegar is left behind. Reconnect the water dispenser to the water line. Then, place an empty bowl underneath the dispenser and press the button to allow fresh water to run through. You may need to fill up and empty the bowl a few times to ensure the line is totally clear and eliminate any vinegar traces.

How to get rid of fridge smells

If you're struggling with bad smells in your fridge, you should make sure there are no out-of-date foods or perishable items causing the problem. Spills at the back of the fridge can also be the culprit, so thoroughly clean your fridge on a regular basis to banish bad odours.

If your fridge still smells after it has been cleaned, there's a simple hack you can try. Fill up an open container, shallow bowl or ramekin with bicarbonate of soda, and leave it in the bottom of your fridge. The bicarbonate of soda will absorb bad odours and can last up to three months.

Looking for advice on how to clean your freezer, too? Check out our blog on How to Clean Your Freezer.

Or, if you're looking to treat yourself to a newer model, explore the full Hoover cooling collection. From standalone fridges to fridge freezer combinations, we have an excellent range of options to help transform your kitchen.