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Living with your friends is awesome. But living with their less-than-hygienic hoarding habits? Not so much. The cutlet they bought last month for that meal they never got round to cooking you is still festering in the fridge. Their old veggies have given a different meaning to greens. And the egg they dropped that cracked and spread in a gooey gunky layer beneath the fridge shelf? Yep, that’s still there.
But that’s life at home with your besties, and you wouldn’t change a thing (almost).
So when’s best to clean a fridge? We know it can’t be out of action for more than half an hour – what if you want a snack?! No worries, we’ve got you sorted.
How to clean your fridge quickly: 4 golden rules
Operation Clean Fridge is a team effort, so it shouldn’t take more than half an hour, even if you’re dealing with one spattered in sticky cola after its lid wasn’t tightened enough.
- The best time to clean the fridge is when it’s relatively empty. The less food you have to take out or work around, the better. Treat this as an opportunity to clear out items like that one jar of mystery paste that you bought for a that fancy recipe and never used again.
- Work together. If you scrub the removable parts while your partner cleans inside the fridge, the job will get done in half the time.
- Use kitchen paper to wipe down surfaces speedily. Don’t waste precious time rinsing out an increasingly gungy, claggy sponge – a few sheets from a high-quality, absorbent kitchen roll (we like Plenty) can help you work faster.
- Clean a little, but often. Keep your future fridge cleaning sessions brief by mopping up spills with kitchen paper and a bit of water or cleaning spray as they happen. Easier said than done, we know, but keep a roll of absorbent kitchen paper next to the fridge for when something gets spilt. And try to make time every week to use up or dispose of any items that are starting to look unhealthy … or alive.
Use a kitchen paper that’s strong even when soaked through. Plenty is wringable, and it’ll even withstand scrubbing. Try The Extra Big One for extra-large, durable sheets that are perfect for bigger household tasks.
Ready to find out how to clean a fridge like lightning? Let’s get started.
How to clean a refrigerator in 30 minutes
First, the equipment. This is what you’ll need to clean a fridge:
What you’ll need
- Plenty kitchen paper
- Washing up liquid
- All-purpose kitchen spray
Okay, start the clock! Here’s how to clean inside a fridge thoroughly, and quickly, and even have some fun while you’re doing it:
1. Take everything out of the fridge. As you go, dispose of anything that’s starting to smell gross or leak juices everywhere.
2. Place the remaining contents of the fridge on the kitchen table. Wipe up the bases of mucky jars and storage containers with some moistened paper towels. Now is a great opportunity to reorganise your fridge, so arrange your food on the kitchen table in the following groups to put back afterwards:
- Raw meat, fish, and poultry. These items will need to go back on the bottom shelf once you’re done.
- Fruit and veg. Destined for the produce drawer, above the meat.
- Awkwardly tall bottles and jars. The ones that keep you playing regular games of fridge Tetris. There’s usually only a few places these items can go. Group them together so you can put them back in first.
3. If your shelves are removable, it’s time to take them out. Fill any produce drawers or door inserts up with warm water and washing up liquid, and scrub off any decomposing fruit or mouldy veg. Rinse them well before leaving them upside-down to air-dry while you clean inside the fridge. Spray shelves with all-purpose cleaner, and wipe down with Plenty paper.
4. Take your all-purpose cleaner and apply it to the inside of the fridge. Then take a sheet or two of kitchen paper (choose one that is strong when wet, like Plenty, so that it holds together even when the going gets tough) and wipe down the inside surfaces (including the inside door), starting at the top. Fridge corners and shelf brackets usually hiding some brown/green slime too, so don’t forget to sort them out.
5. Dry off the shelves and drawers and put them back in the fridge, followed by the food. And you’re done! Congratulations on your beautiful, clean fridge.
A quick eco-friendly tip: Fridges are designed to stay at around the same temperature, meaning they use more power if the door is left open and the cold air starts to escape. If yours doesn’t have removable shelves, think about unplugging or turning off the mains while you clean the fridge.
Everyone in the house will know that you’ve taken on the grubby fridge because you love them and you care about them eating safely. Now for the oven …