Time To Clean The Fridge. The Science Project Is Over.

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Dear Home-Ec 101,

I’m gearing myself up to finally tackling the scary fridge. It hasn’t been cleaned since the dawn of refrigeration, so there’s a ton of ultra-scary-ew-nasty-what-is-that-gunk in the fridge. But, I don’t want to use any harsh chemicals, as I’m concerned about the smell/taste of it transferring over to the food once I’m done. Is there some sort of magic baking soda/vinegar/lemon juice/elbow grease combination that might get the ew nasty out of my fridge?

On the right track

how to clean inside your refrigerator with no harsh chemicals

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

You’re definitely on the right track there.  Baking soda, vinegar, and lemons are all important parts of my cleaning process. One of the things I do when I’m scrubbing spots from the fridge is to take a lemon, sprinkle it with baking soda, and then use that to scrub the spot. It really works well on both cleaning and de-smelling.

To clean the fridge itself, I pull out all the parts that come out, and hand wash them in regular dishwashing detergent (my favorite brand is Dawn ) and then use a 50/50 water and vinegar mix to spray down the inside of the fridge. I then use the baking soda/lemon trick for any stubborn spots.

You can purchase Spray Bottles pretty cheaply and there are a lot of uses for them around the house.

how to clean appliances
Click the picture for more tips!

Keeping an open box of baking soda in your fridge really does help with keeping the smell down. Just make sure you never use that baking soda in recipes, because it absorbs the smell and then you end up with stinky cookies. That’s right, Ivy learns the hard way so you don’t have to!

Submit your household questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

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5 thoughts on “Time To Clean The Fridge. The Science Project Is Over.”

  1. Putting a cup of clean kitty litter in the fridge also helps to keep it smell-free. I tried this in the fridge at work and it worked very well.

  2. Don’t use bleach based products in the fridge. EVER! It may seem like an easy way to get rid of a stain, but you (and your food) will pay for it in the long run.

    Use products without harsh chemicals. Products like Seventh Generation and Sun and Earth brand cleaners do not use harsh chemicals, are earth friendly, and do not leave a strong lingering scent that could be absorbed by food.

    Use Brillo. It is not just for pots and pans. Brillo (or your favorite brand) pads will help get that sticky stuff out quicker and without as much need for a spray cleaner. There is no residuals smells to be absorbed by food, and you can actually get done quicker.

    If you do use the kitty litter method mentioned by HB, first of all make sure it is UNSCENTED litter. And second, make sure your refrigerator is running efficiently and not creating much humidity (usually only a problem with older or refrigerators with a bad seal on the door). Otherwise you will have a nasty sticky litter mess, and once it absorbs the moisture, it will cease working at absorbing odors.

  3. awesome, thanks! now i just need to bite the bullet and do it. with lots of trash bags for bad food. and gloves. perhaps a hazmat suit as well. (i live with five other people and we all have this bad habit of buying food and then forgetting about it.)


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