Refrigerator Cleaning And Maintenance Tips For Every Household

Woman weaning gloves cleaning a fridge

It's no secret that the key to a clean and well-organized household is knowing how to keep your appliances in top shape. Your refrigerator is no exception—with proper cleaning and maintenance, it can stay cold and dependable for years to come.

But where do you start? Here are a few refrigerator maintenance tips to get you started.

How Often Should You Clean Your Refrigerator?

It's essential to keep your refrigerator looking new by spot cleaning any time of the year. Still, we recommend getting deep-cleaned every 3 to 4 months if you've been using it frequently. Scheduling 30 minutes of maintenance will help ensure that you're keeping food fresher and safer. 

Here are some fast cleaning and deodorizing tips for your refrigerator:


  • Maintain a well-stocked refrigerator.
Well stocked fridge

When it comes to the thermal mass of your refrigerator, more is better. A well-stocked and loaded fridge will keep its temperature more stable, reducing the work on that compressor.

  • Avoid leaving the fridge door open.
Close up hand opens the fridge

Half of the cool air inside your refrigerator escapes every time you open the door, consuming more energy. Reduce the number of times and the length of time you open your fridge to save money on energy and extend the life of your appliance.


  • Reset the thermostat.
Hand rotate temperature adjuster of the refrigerator

The temperature dials are easy to bump when cleaning or moving items in your fridge. Ensure your freezer is at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and your refrigerator is between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Deep-clean your refrigerator.
Woman cleaning a fridge

Take everything out of the fridge and place it all on the counter together. Using an all-surface cleaner or a vinegar-based solution, remove any residual organic material left behind by takeout containers and spills. 

Clean the refrigerator's interior walls, the top and bottom of each shelf, and the insides of the drawers.

  • Organized your goods and stocks
Organized Refrigerator

Arrange your goods in the fridge in a systematic manner. Be sure to organize items according to the first in, first out principle to guarantee that you use the food that will expire the earliest.

  • Neutralize odor
Baking soda placed in the refrigerator to deodorize bad odor

The ingredients in your kitchen might be able to help solve the problem of foul odor. Try using coffee beans, lemon, or oatmeal together with vinegar and baking soda for an effective way to reduce smells from your fridge. You can also use charcoal or a used tea bag to absorb the foul smell of your fridge.

  • Clean the Drip Pan

A drip pan is located at the bottom of your refrigerator to collect moisture and ice melt. Bacteria will not build up if cleaned every 2-3 months.

Easy Steps on How to Clean the Drip Pan:

What You’ll Need:

Step-by-step Instructions

  1. Locate the drip pan at the bottom of the refrigerator by reading your manual following the safe removal instructions.
  2. Empty the pan if there is a lot of water
  3. Mix one part of bleach with two parts of water. (You may use distilled vinegar if you don’t want to use harsh chemical products.)
  4. Place the solution in a spray bottle and spray it on the drip pan. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  5. Wipe it using a warm damp cloth.
  6. Inspect the pan for any cracks. Replace the pan if you find any signs of leakage.
  7. Examine the drainage hole for any debris or pet hair that has accumulated. Remove the item and adequately clean it.
  8. Carefully clean the area where you removed the drip pan from. 

Annual Maintainance

  • Defrost
Interior walls of manual defrost freezer

Clear out your freezer or refrigerator at least once a year if it has accumulated frost. To speed up the procedure, defrost the fridge entirely and use pitchers of warm water. Clean the defrosted walls with vinegar and try to modify your fridge settings to avoid future ice buildup.

  • Clean the Gasket
Broken refrigerator door seal

Maintaining the condition of your gasket is an important preventative maintenance activity that can save you money and time in the long run. It is recommended to clean your refrigerator gasket at least once a year or more frequently if you see spills or mold growth.

Easy Steps on How to Clean Refrigerator Seals:

What You’ll Need:

Step-by-step Instructions:

  1. Open the fridge door.
  2. Remove any crumbs, trash, or pet hair using a vacuum.
  3. Clean the grooves in the door seal with a toothbrush and warm soapy water mixed with a dash of vinegar.
  4. To make the seal last longer, apply petroleum jelly to it.
  5. Examine the surface for cracks and warping. If there's any, replace the gasket to ensure a tight seal. Place a dollar note on the door and close it. Slowly take the cash out without opening the door; if it comes out quickly, it's time to replace your gaskets.
  6. For the freezer door gasket, repeat steps 1-5.
  • Vacuum the Coils
Condensor coil closeup

Your refrigerator's condenser coils are one of the most important parts of energy efficiency. If they aren't cared for properly, dust can accumulate on them, which will reduce their performance and even cause damage over time.

If you want to make sure your refrigerator stays cool and running efficiently, clean those condenser coils. Check out these easy steps for how to care for them.

Easy Steps on How to Clean Condensor Coils:

  1. Unplug your refrigerator and pull it away from the wall to ensure no nearby power outlets.
  2. To locate the coils, check your user manual.
  3. Vacuum any dust and debris from around the coils and the refrigerator area with a narrow vacuum attachment. To get into all the nooks and crannies of the condenser coil area, use the slim extension.
  4. Clean the area around the refrigerator.
  5. Reinstall the refrigerator coils, allowing an inch between the unit and the wall to allow optimum ventilation.
  • Change your Water Filter
Female hand changing the water filter

Suppose you have a fridge with water filters. In that case, it's essential to change them regularly so that bacteria don't grow in the filter.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing these every 6 months but refer to your owner's manual for instructions on how often they need to be changed depending on model type.

  • Check Level
Men moving  the refrigerator in the kitchen

Test the top of the fridge on all four sides with a bubble level. If the refrigerator isn't level, adjust the feet until it is. It will enable the door not to be wing open or closed on its own, which will increase food storage and cooling efficiency.

5-year Refrigerator Maintainance 

5-year maintenance tasks are essential for household safety, water cleanliness, and fridge efficiency. Every 5 years of refrigerator ownership, perform these simple but necessary jobs to keep your appliance running smoothly.

  • Clean the Waterlines

Drain the water lines from your refrigerator. Cleaning the internal tubing through the water filter, ice maker, water dispenser, and the tubes that lead to the fridge from the wall using a moderate non-toxic solution like vinegar.

It will kill any mold stuck in the wet lines and disclose any blockages that are about to form. It also aids in the quality control of ice and cold drinking water in the home.

  • Inspect your Wirings

Open the back panels of the refrigerator and investigate the wiring with an appliance technician. Wire casing or copper itself can corrode over time, posing an electrical hazard. Periodic inspection of your refrigerator's components can ensure that no electrical disasters occur in the future.

  • Get a New Fan

The refrigerators' fans are the most prone to break and cause issues. The fans must distribute cold air over the coils and subsequently throughout the freezer and refrigerator compartments.

You could throw off your entire cold maintenance system if one fan fails. Have your fans inspected every five years as part of your wiring inspection, and if they're not operating well, have them replaced.

Common Refrigerator Problems and How to Fix It

Technician fixing a fridge

Water Leakage Problems

Flooded floor in kitchen

It's never a good thing to hear "leaking refrigerator." There are 2 most common reasons for this and how to fix them. In order not to have any more leaks in your home, here's what you need:

  • Clogged Defrost Drain

A clogged defrost drain is the most typical cause of a refrigerator leak. Filthy dirt and food particles become lodged in the drain tube, resulting in a clog. Ice forms over time, resulting in a large water puddle.

What You Need to Do:

  1. The first thing you may do is use only hot water to clear the drain from the fridge's inside. 
  2. Try using a pipe cleaner to push the disgusting accumulation out of it.
  3. Pull the appliance out and clean the rubber check valve on the back service panel as a last resort. 
  4. Reinstall the valve after removing the particles with soap and warm water.
  • Frozen Water Supply

The water supply to your fridge can be blocked or frozen, which results in leaks. You have little control over preventing this problem, and it's one of the most common issues with refrigerators today.

What You Need to Do:

  1. Unplug the appliance from the power outlet.
  2. Locate the shut-off valve beneath your kitchen sink.
  3. Check for clogs or leaks in the plastic supply line after ensuring the valve is closed correctly.
  4. Replace the water supply line if it tears.
  5. If everything appears in order but still leaking, you're dealing with an ice blockage. In this case, you should leave the refrigerator unplugged to allow the ice to melt.

Warm Temperature Problems

Unhappy woman looking at the fridge

When your fridge doesn't cool enough, it can cause food to spoil faster. If you notice that happens and are worried about the safety of what's inside—don't worry! There may be a few reasons why a refrigerator is freezing incorrectly, including:

  • Malfunctioning Evaporator Fan

You're dealing with an ice-clogged or malfunctioning evaporator fan if you hear strange chirping sounds from your refrigerator before your freezer stops working.

What You Need to Do:

  1. Simply remove all of the food from the refrigerator, disconnect it, and wait for it to defrost entirely. 
  2. The evaporator is the most likely cause of your problem, so you'll need to get a new one if it's still not working after defrosting.
  • Problems in the Temperature Sensor

The temperature in the air within your refrigerator is detected using a temperature sensor, commonly known as a thermistor. If this part fails, your refrigerator and freezer will have problems maintaining the proper temperature, cooling evenly, and defrosting.

The only way to solve it is to replace the part.

  • Defrost system Malfunctioning

An automatic defrost system aims to maintain the evaporator's air passages free by defrosting the coils every 8 hours. Ice forms around the evaporator and the back freezer compartment wall when this part fails, causing your freezer to malfunction.

It's not easy to repair a malfunctioning refrigerator system. Calling an expert to fix it for you is your best option.

Ice Maker Problems

Choosing ice-maker program at refrigerator displayer

The ice maker in your refrigerator may not be working correctly, and it's a bummer when you need something cool to drink on the hottest day of summer. The following are the 3 most common causes of a defective ice maker.

  • Blocked Waterline

The most typical cause of this type of blockage is trapped ice. A kinked waterline is another possibility. Both concerns, however, are easily fixed.

What You Need to Do:

  1. Switch off the water supply by turning the shut-off valve. 
  2. To melt the built ice, you'll need to switch off the refrigerator's power for two hours. 
  3. You can use a blow dryer or warm water to speed up the melting process, whichever is more convenient for you.
  • Wrong Location of Shut off Arm

Most refrigerator models install a shut-off arm to prevent the ice bucket from overflowing. This part might become trapped in the off position, causing your ice machine to stop working.

What You Need to Do:

  1. Fix it by locating the shut-off arm and attempting to relocate it. 
  2. Unmount the ice storage bin and remove the frost if the part is frozen. It can be done by hand or by melting the ice with hot water. 
  3. Make sure you have a towel on hand to absorb any extra water.
  • Ice Bucket Sensor Issues

A specific sensor detects the ice bucket in modern refrigerators. Over time, ice can build between the bin and the appliance's wall, causing the bucket to fall out of place and triggering the sensor. Your refrigerator detects a missing container and stops generating ice when this happens.

What You Need to Do:

  1. Entails a great deal of melting and soaking up surplus water. 
  2. Remove the ice bin and leave it to defrost for a few hours.
  3. Giving it a hot bath will help to speed up the process.
  4. Ensure sure the sensor is free of all ice. It is preferable to accomplish this by hand. 
  5. Use a clean towel to absorb any remaining moisture before returning the bin to its original location.

Refrigerator Noise Problems

Male technician repairing a refrigerator

It's not ideal to have a noisy refrigerator. You'll not only have to put up with an obnoxious buzzing sound all of the time, but you'll also have a higher monthly energy cost. With that in mind, there are 2 possible causes for such a problem:

  • Dirty Condenser Coil

Dust and dirt particles accumulate inside the refrigerator's condenser coils over time, making it work harder to maintain a set temperature. Dirty condenser coils might cause a malfunctioning freezer.

What You Need to Do:

  1. Unplug your fridge.
  2. Locate the condenser coils, which are usually near the refrigerator's bottom. 
  3. By opening the snaps, you can remove the coil-protecting grill. 
  4. Remove the accumulated buildup with a vacuum cleaner or a brush once you've gained access to the parts. 
  5. Replace the grill after all the dirt has been removed.
  • Low-temperature Mode

Suppose you set the refrigerator to a lower temperature. In that case, it will work harder again, resulting in noise, increased energy bills, freezing, and damaged food.

What You Need to Do:

  1. It's simple—you need to adjust the temperature. 
  2. Setting the refrigerator to 37.4 to 41°F (or 3 to 5°C) and waiting a few hours to see if it works typically again is recommended. 
  3. If you're still having problems, you should have a professional technician inspect the appliance.


Regular maintenance is key to keeping your fridge running smoothly and efficiently. Not only will this save you money on your energy bill, but it will also help keep your food cold and bacteria-free.

Make sure to clean the condenser coils at least once a year and defrost your freezer every few months. And don’t forget to wipe down the inside of your refrigerator regularly.

Have you tried any of these techniques? Let us know in the comments below.

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