Keeping It Cool: How to Clean Fridge without Turning It Off

Do you want to know how to clean fridge without turning it off? Picture this: you’re in the middle of a heatwave, desperately craving a chilled drink, but opening the fridge door unleashes an unpleasant odor. It’s time to deep clean the fridge. But who has the time to turn off the appliance, wait for it to defrost, and then start the laborious task of scrubbing and wiping down the shelves, only to have to wait for it to cool down again?

Well, I have a solution for you. In this article, I will share with you the secret to cleaning your fridge without turning it off. Yes, you read that right! You can keep your fridge running while you give it a good scrub. So, put on your cleaning gloves, and let’s get to it!

The Benefits of Cleaning Your Fridge

how to clean fridge without turning it off

Have you ever opened your fridge and been hit with the smell of rotting food? Have you found expired condiments hiding in the back corner? It’s understandable – we all lead busy lives, and sometimes cleaning our fridge falls to the bottom of our list of priorities. But did you know that regularly cleaning your fridge can benefit your health and wallet? Not only will your food stay fresher for longer, but your family will also be safer from harmful bacteria. Let’s dive into the many benefits of keeping your fridge clean and organized.

1: Eliminates Bacteria

One of the biggest risks of not cleaning your fridge regularly is the buildup of harmful bacteria. Over time, this bacteria can grow on expired and rotting food; if not cleaned, it can contaminate fresh food. Regular cleaning will remove any food carrying harmful bacteria and prevent it from spreading. To deep clean your fridge, remove all the food, wash the shelves and walls with soap and water, and dry it thoroughly before restocking.

2: Saves Money

Did you know cleaning your fridge can save you money in the long run? When your fridge is packed with clutter and expired food, it’s easy to forget what you have and what needs to be used up. Keeping your fridge organized and regularly checking expiration dates will prevent waste and save on your grocery bill. Plus, maintaining your fridge properly will keep it running efficiently, which can lower your energy bill.

3: Keeps Food Fresh

When your fridge is clean and organized, your food will last longer. Food stored in a dirty fridge can absorb odors, changing its taste and making it spoil faster. By keeping your fridge clean and free from food debris, your food will stay fresher for longer. It means less waste and fewer trips to the grocery store.

4: Promotes Healthy Habits

Regularly cleaning your fridge can help promote healthy eating habits. When you can clearly see your available food, it’s easier to make healthy choices. Organizing your fridge with healthy options at eye level will make you more likely to choose these options over unhealthy snacks. It’s also a good idea to prep healthy meals ahead of time and store them in clear containers at the front of your fridge for easy access.

5: Creates a Welcoming Environment

A clean and organized fridge creates a welcoming environment for your family and house guests. When your fridge is clutter-free, you can see everything clearly and access it easily. Plus, a clean fridge just looks better. So next time you have company, you won’t be embarrassed to open your fridge door.

By promoting healthy eating habits and creating a welcoming environment, maintaining your fridge can help you take pride in your home.

How to Clean Fridge without Turning It Off

how to clean fridge without turning it off

So, how to clean fridge without turning it off? Below are the steps to do it:


Before we dive into the cleaning process, let’s discuss the supplies you’ll need to gather to get started.

Vinegar and Water Solution

Firstly, you’ll need a bowl of vinegar and hot water solution. A blend of 50/50 works best. This solution is ideal for cleaning, especially when eliminating any strong odors. It’s also effective in removing stains, gunk, and grease from the interior of your fridge.

Cleaning Sponges or Cloths

When it comes to clothes, cleaning sponges or cloths are a must-have. These are handy and practical since you can use them repeatedly. Be sure to change them as often as possible during cleaning to avoid spreading dirt around.

Microfiber Towels

Microfiber towels are also an essential part of any cleaning routine. They’re especially useful when you’re cleaning the refrigerator’s exterior. Microfiber towels are efficient in removing fingerprints, stains, and smudges. They are gentle on your fridge and don’t leave any streaks behind.

Full-sized towels are perfect if you want to avoid getting towels or cloths damp because you’re afraid of them soaking through. They’re more absorbent and less likely to drip or get too damp.

Rubber Gloves

Rubber gloves come in handy if you prefer not to use your bare hands during the cleaning process. Rubber gloves not only protect your hands, but they also help prevent bacterial contamination. Using harsh chemical cleaners with bare hands is never a good idea.

Lastly, here’s a pro tip:

Use a cooler for your freezer items while cleaning your fridge’s interior. This way, you can access everything that needs cleaning without worrying about your items defrosting.


The first step in prepping the area is to put large towels around the freezer on the floor to catch any drips or melting ice. Trust me; this will make your life a lot easier. You don’t want to spend extra time mopping up water or digging out frozen chunks from the carpet. Placing towels around the freezer will prevent water damage or staining on the floor and make cleanup a breeze.

Next, you want to make sure you adjust the temperature of your fridge, especially the freezer. Put it on the warmest setting possible to prevent more ice build-up while cleaning. This is important because your towels will be soaked in water, and you don’t want them to freeze.


You might think this is an obvious step, but it’s not as simple as it seems. Remove all the items, including the shelves and drawers, to ensure you clean all the spots. It can be a lot for some, especially if many items are in your fridge. However, it’s the only way to ensure you can clean every nook and cranny of your fridge.

After removing all the items, store the freezer items in the fridge if there’s enough space. This way, your frozen food can stay as cool as possible while cleaning your freezer. On the other hand, if storing them in the fridge isn’t an option, ensure you have a cooler on standby. The cooler is essential to remove all the food items from your fridge and freezer. All you need to do is place the frozen items in a cooler to keep them safe and cool while cleaning out your fridge.


Start by removing the top shelf, then the middle and bottom. Be sure to lift them carefully so you don’t spill any liquid or food residue on the floor or yourself. Afterward, you can clean the shelf trays using a damp cloth or sponge.


This method works well for those pesky ice patches that accumulate in the freezer. To get your soft cloth, simply run it under hot water or soak it in a warm vinegar solution. Ensure that the cloth is not too wet, as we need to avoid having any excess liquids in the fridge.

Now that you have your soft cloth, use it to wipe away all the ice patches until they dissolve or break down enough to be physically removed. Removing stubborn ice might take a few attempts, so be patient and persistent. The key here is to use a soft cloth to avoid damaging your fridge’s interior. Harsh cleaning agents and scouring pads can scratch the interior walls, causing even more damage.


Once you remove all the ice buildup, wiping down the fridge properly is important. Wiping all surfaces with vinegar and a warm water cleaning solution is ideal. Vinegar is known to remove unwanted odors that may linger in the fridge. Use a soft cloth to wipe down all surfaces in the fridge, including the walls, shelves, and seals around the door.

It is essential to clean the visible surfaces of the fridge and the areas that are often neglected. These include the handle of the fridge and the hinges of the doors. These areas build up grime and bacteria over time, leading to an unpleasant smell. Don’t forget to scrub these areas with a cleaning solution in a fridge cleaning spray and a soft cloth.

Another reason why wiping down the entire fridge is essential is to prevent bacteria and mold growth. Bacteria and food particles can easily accumulate on the surfaces inside the fridge, even if they are not visible to the naked eye. Regularly wiping down your fridge will help keep bacteria and mold at bay. It could also prolong the life of your fridge’s sealing system.

One thing to keep in mind is to avoid harsh chemicals and scouring pads when cleaning the fridge. Harsh chemicals can damage the surface of your fridge. Similarly, scouring pads are too abrasive and could scratch surfaces, which gives bacteria and mold a place to grow. Use gentle cleaning agents and a soft cloth to avoid damaging your fridge.


Once you have wiped down your fridge, it’s time to dry the freezer. Since there is a lot of condensation in this area, getting rid of excess water is important. To do so, use a microfiber cloth and gently dab the surfaces until they are completely dry. It will help prevent future ice buildup and mold growth.


When you clean, let the freezer cool before putting anything back in. This will help prevent condensation from forming on your items and reduce the risk of bacteria growth.

Finally, it’s time to return all your items to their original spots. Clean each item with a damp cloth or sponge before returning them to the fridge. This way, you can ensure your items are clean and free from bacteria or mold growth. And there you have it—a sparkly clean fridge!

Cleaning out your fridge may seem like a daunting task, but with the right steps and preparation, it doesn’t have to be. Follow these simple tips for cleaning your fridge and freezer to ensure they are free from bacteria, mold, and ice buildup. Doing this regularly will help prolong the life of your fridge and keep it looking clean and new.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Fridge

People make several errors when cleaning a fridge that can harm your fridge. I will discuss the common mistakes to avoid when cleaning your fridge to make the process easier.

❕Not Taking Everything Out of the Fridge

One mistake people frequently make when cleaning their fridges is not taking everything out first. Removing the food, condiments, and shelves can give you more space to clean. Taking inventory of everything in your fridge may also encourage you to use up leftover food that’s been sitting there for too long. It can also help prevent bacteria from spreading from one spot to another.

❕Using Harsh or Abrasive Cleaners

Cleaning agents not manufactured for refrigerators can cause surface damage or discoloration. Additionally, avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals that can emit fumes that you might inhale, causing a health risk to you and your family. Instead, clean the surfaces with a simple solution of warm soapy water and vinegar.

❕Not Allowing Enough Time for Drying

Once you have scrubbed and wiped down your fridge, you might decide to hurry up the process to put your food back in. However, one critical step is allowing time for everything to dry. Moisture can irritate bacteria and lead to mildew growth, so allowing the surfaces to dry completely is essential to prevent unwanted growth.

❕Not Cleaning the Gaskets or Drawer

The gasket around the door keeps the cold and warm air in. If the gasket fails, the fridge will work harder to maintain the right temperature, leading to higher electricity bills. Moreover, the drawers may contain different types of food spillage that, when left, can promote bacteria growth. Therefore, removing the shelves and drawers before cleaning the fridge is essential.

❕Forgetting to Check On and Monitor Expiration Dates

One of the main reasons why food gets discarded is that we fail to monitor the expiration dates. Make it a habit to check your fridge regularly and clear out items that are no longer fresh. It’s a good idea to date things like milk when you first open them to help you track when they expire.

These are the common mistakes to avoid when cleaning your fridge. So keep these tips in mind the next time you clean your fridge.

Tips to Extend the Lifespan of Your Fridge

1: Clean Your Fridge Regularly

Cleaning your fridge regularly is one of the simplest and most effective ways to extend its lifespan. Dirt and dust can accumulate on the condenser coils, making it difficult for the fridge to work efficiently. Therefore, ensure you wipe the inside and outside of your fridge with a mild detergent every two weeks. You should also vacuum the condenser coils every six months.

2: Keep the Fridge at the Right Temperature

Keeping your fridge at the right temperature is crucial for extending its lifespan. The ideal temperature for a fridge is between 36°F to 38°F. This temperature range ensures that your food stays fresh for longer and your fridge does not overwork, which reduces its lifespan. Use a fridge thermometer to help you monitor the temperature.

3: Don’t Overload Your Fridge

Stocking up your fridge with all your favorite foods is tempting, but overloading it can reduce its lifespan. When you overload your fridge, it has to work harder to keep everything cool, leading to wear and tear of the compressor. Therefore, ensure that you don’t fill your fridge to the brim and leave some space for air circulation, which helps keep your fridge at the right temperature.

4: Arrange Your Fridge Properly

Proper arrangement of your fridge can also help you extend its lifespan. Ensure you put your food correctly to avoid blocking the vents and fans, which help circulate the air. Blocked vents and fans reduce the efficiency of your fridge, which can lead to overheating and reduced lifespan.

5: Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your fridge is essential for extending its lifespan. Have a professional technician service your fridge annually, especially if it is older. Annual servicing can help detect and fix any problems before they worsen.

With these tips, your fridge will serve you for a long time, and you will get value for your money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often should I clean my fridge?

You should clean your fridge at least once a month to prevent the build-up of dirt and bacteria. However, depending on how often you use the appliance and store food, you may need to clean it more often. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on any spills or stains and clean them up as soon as possible.

Q: How do I clean the condenser coils in my fridge?

The condenser coils in your fridge transfer heat from the appliance. It can become clogged with dust and dirt over time, making your fridge work harder and using more energy. In order to clean them, first, unplug the fridge and locate the coils, usually found at the back or bottom of the appliance. Then, use a soft-bristle brush or vacuum cleaner attachment to remove the dirt and dust. Be careful not to damage the coils or any other fridge parts.

Q: Can I use baking soda to clean my fridge?

Baking soda is an excellent natural deodorizer and cleaner that you can use to freshen up your fridge. Here’s how to clean refrigerator with vinegar and baking soda. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with warm water or vinegar and use a soft cloth to wipe down the fridge’s shelves, walls, and door. Rinse with clean water and dry with a clean cloth. You can use baking soda to clean the interior and exterior of the fridge but don’t use it on the rubber gasket as it can harm the material.

Q: How long does it take to clean a fridge?

The amount of time it takes to clean a fridge depends on its size and how dirty it is. A small fridge may take around an hour to clean, while a larger fridge may take several hours. Setting aside enough time for the task is essential so you don’t rush it. Don’t forget to remove all the food before cleaning and let the fridge dry completely before putting the food back inside.

Q: Can I clean the outside of my fridge with a regular household cleaner?

Yes, you can use a regular household cleaner to clean the outside of your fridge, but make sure it’s safe for the material. For example, avoid using abrasive cleaners that can scratch stainless steel surfaces. Also, be mindful of any logos, stickers, or decals on the fridge that may fade or peel away with harsh chemicals.

Final Words

Figuring out how to clean your fridge without having to turn it off may seem like an impossible task at first. But with a little creativity and patience, getting a spotless, sparkling fridge is possible without disrupting your food storage routine. Whether you opt for the vinegar and baking soda method or the good old-fashioned wipe-and-rinse approach, the key is to take your time and be thorough. Trust me, your fridge (and taste buds) will thank you for it. So go ahead and give it a try – you might even discover a new appreciation for cleaning your fridge!

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