How To Clean a Refrigerator Without Using Harsh Chemicals

Fred's Appliance
June 6, 2014



Refrigerators are a haven for bacteria, mold and other nasty germs that can leave you and your family susceptible to illness. These nasty microbials will make their way into open containers of food where they grow and multiply at an alarming rate. You can reduce the risk of food-borne illness, however, by thoroughly cleaning your refrigerator on a regular basis.

Don’t Clean Your Fridge With Bleach!

Now for the million dollar question: how do I clean the inside of a refrigerator without using harsh chemicals? Bleach is commonly used as a general-purpose cleaner for non-porous surfaces. It sanitizes, disinfects, dries quickly, and with a price of just $2-$4 bucks per gallon, it’s also inexpensive.

Unfortunately, bleach is a strong base chemical that can irritate the skin and respiratory system. Using bleach to clean the inside of a refrigerator isn’t recommended due to the potential for runoff. Even small trace amounts of bleach can contaminate food and beverages to the point where consuming them poses a very real threat to the person’s health.

Diluted Vinegar

Rather than taking the risk of exposing your food to bleach runoff, you should clean the inside of your refrigerator using diluted vinegar. A solution of equal parts vinegar and water creates a highly effective, all-natural cleaning solution that kills germs and leaves your unit smelling fresh. Granted, it may smell a little sour at first, the distinct vinegar odor will fully dissipate once the solution has dried.

How To Clean Your Fridge With Diluted Vinegar:


  1. Throw away any old or expired food inside your refrigerator.
  2. Remove the remaining items from the shelves and place them on your kitchen counter for the time being.
  3. Fill a microwavable-safe dish with half white vinegar and half water.
  4. Heat the solution in the microwave for about 10 seconds or until warm.
  5. Dip a sponge into the diluted vinegar and begin scrubbing the inside of your refrigerator.
  6. Continue scrubbing down the shelves, drawers, doors and other pieces.
  7. When you are finished, move your food and beverages back into the unit and double-check the temperature setting to make sure it’s correct.

Note: you can remove the shelves and drawers of your refrigerator to clean the hard-to-reach areas.

Vinegar offers a safe and effective cleaning solution for practically any surface, including refrigerators. It has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties, all of which are particularly useful in areas of high germ-activity.

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