How To Clean a Refrigerator With Vinegar

Nicole Austin

Learn how to us safe and inexpensive white vinegar to keep your refrigerator clean and smelling fresh!

Cleaning with vinegar is one of the simplest, safest, most cost-effective cleaning methods I have ever tried in my home.

Vinegar is budget-friendly, environmentally friendly and makes a powerful cleaning solution perfect for cleaning appliances, countertops, floors and more!

In addition to these benefits, the natural of vinegar dissipates quickly, making it best way to clean for anyone with air pollution sensitivities, allergies or asthma.

I also love that my kids can use vinegar to clean without worrying about how it will impact them, because it's entirely non-toxic.

Vinegar is safe to touch with bare hands and won’t ruin or stain your clothing, making it an excellent introductory cleaner for tiny helpers.

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How To Clean a Refrigerator With Vinegar

Vinegar is an excellent choice for cleaning refrigerators across the board. It's great for cleaning the exterior of your refrigerator, the top of the refrigerator and the inside of the refrigerator!

The cleaning process is simple and you'll just need a few basic supplies along with some elbow grease to ensure a thorough cleaning:

  • White vinegar (you don't want to use another vinegar variety such as apple cider vinegar)
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Soft sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Old toothbrush (optional)

A simple vinegar solution of white vinegar mixed with water creates an effective all-purpose cleaner that’s great for cleaning anything from glass to plastic to stainless steel.

You can buy an empty, ready-to-use spray bottle at almost any retailer that stocks cleaning supplies - check near the mop section!

Adding one part warm water and one part vinegar and swirling gently to mix is a less than two minute task that will pay off big time!

Buying vinegar in bulk will also save you money. A gallon of distilled white vinegar typically costs less than $5 and can last you several months.

If your fridge has any tough stains, you may wish to add a bit of dish soap to your mixture to help scrub things clean.

Baking soda is also an effective way to tackle stubborn stains or funky odors.

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To clean the inside of your fridge you will want to follow these basic steps:

  1. Empty out the entire contents of the fridge, checking expiration dates and discarding old items as needed.
  2. Store any temperature-sensitive foods in another fridge or a cooler while you work.
  3. Use a clean microfiber cloth to brush out any food residue before you begin scrubbing
  4. Carefully remove any removable parts such as removable shelves and soak those in the sink in warm soapy water.
  5. While the glass shelves and/or fridge drawers soak, spray the inside of the fridge generously with your all-purpose vinegar cleaning solution.
  6. Use a sponge or soft cloth to scrub the entire fridge interior, using an old toothbrush or cotton balls to get into hard to reach nooks and crannies such as the rubber door seal.
  7. With a clean interior, wipe everything down with a clean towel then set to scrubbing the shelves and drawers.
  8. When the removable components are thoroughly clean and dry, replace them and then return your food and condiments to your clean fridge!
  9. Repeat the same step for cleaning your freezer as needed, being sure to remove any ice trays before cleaning.

How to Clean a Stainless Steel Refrigerator

Stainless steel fridges can be also be effectively cleaned with vinegar blend cleaners, as long as you follow necessary precautions.

Over time, excess exposure to the acetic acid of vinegar can wear away at stainless steel, but with proper care, you can avoid this issue.

Vinegar can remove oil, grime, and streaks. It is important to dilute the vinegar with a 1:1 solution of water.

While it might seem like more acid equals more cleanliness, too much can damage or wear away at your appliances. Less is more!

These same steps work for the cleaning the outside of the fridge regardless of material:

  1. Spritz your homemade all-purpose cleaning spray onto your stainless steel refrigerator and wipe it off with a cloth - microfiber works great.There is no need to rinse, though you can if you wish.
  2. Using microfiber or even old clothing rags will help prevent streaking and make your stainless steel look brand new again.
  3. For heavy stains, you can spray and allow the mixture to sit for ten minutes.
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How To Clean Refrigerator Coils

When deep cleaning your refrigerator, don’t forget that there is an essential area to clean - the coils on the back of the refrigerator.

Coils cool and condense the refrigerant. If they are clogged with dirt or dust, they do not perform efficiently.

This can use more energy and shorten the life of an essential component of your fridge - refrigerator coils should be cleaned every six months or so.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this task, which should take you only about fifteen minutes!

Depending on the age or brand of your appliance, the coils are typically located at the base of the fridge or in the back.

Here are some simple steps to cleaning your refrigerator coils:

  1. Unplug the unit and, if necessary, pull it away from the wall. You do not need to worry about food spoilage, as this is a quick and simple task!
  2. Locate the condenser coils. Some are behind toe-grills and some are located on the back of the appliance.
  3. Wear a dust mask to protect your lungs and sinuses from the dust.
  4. Brush away the dust with a coil condenser brush. These are available at most home or DIY stores for $10 or less.
  5. While dusting off the coils, run a vacuum hose and suck up as much as possible.
  6. Vacuum the floor and other areas where dust is still collected.
  7. Don’t forget to plug it back in and move the fridge back where it belongs if you have to move it for better access to the coils.
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Cleaning your refrigerator on a regular basis will prevent major issues, keep your food from spoiling sooner, and prolong the life of your appliance.

There are many simple ways to clean your appliance that keep it in top condition and extend the life of an expensive appliance.

We love cleaning with vinegar and suggest it for just about everything in your kitchen from cleaning your coffee maker with vinegar (including cleaning your Keurig coffee maker with vinegar) to cleaning your microwave with vinegar!

It's affordable, effective and leaves your kitchen sparkling clean without the need for a bleach-based cleaner or any harsh chemical cleaners. Give it a try!

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Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.