Eating at home is great, but if you’ve had restaurant reservations, or ordered fast food in, those crunchy cucumbers and crisp lettuce heads can soon turn into a soggy mush. Luckily, it needn’t take all day if you know a few fridge cleaning hacks.

Empty the fridge and audit its contents

We’d love to say that it’s okay to simply empty the contents of the fridge onto the kitchen countertops before cleaning, but it’s way wiser to a) check use-by dates and bin anything that’s expired, b) wipe the underside of sticky bottles and jars before you transfer them and c) put meat and dairy products in a cool bag with freezer blocks, especially if it’s a hot day (bacteria will multiply speedily at room temperature). We like the XL Plus Insulated Grocery Bags by NZ home(opens in new tab), with Fit & Fresh XL ice packs(opens in new tab), both available from Amazon. Melissa Maker author of Clean My Space(opens in new tab) likes to be eco-conscious also during this process, and rather than completely unplugging the fridge: ‘What I actually did was I turned off the cooling mechanism so that I wasn’t wasting electricity during the cleaning process.’ Timing your fridge cleaning before your shopping delivery will make your life easier; similarly, you’ll want a freezer you’re about to defrost to be as empty as possible before considering the clean-up.  

Wash shelves and salad crisper drawers

Take out the salad crisper drawers from the bottom of the fridge and all the removable shelves. If it’s not obvious how to get them out, check the user manual before you start so you know exactly how to do it without damaging anything – it will also help you to get them back in! If you can’t find the user guide, check the manufacturer’s website or try

Next, wash the shelves and the salad crispers thoroughly with washing-up liquid and hot water. If the shelves (or any other removable parts) are made of glass, it’s best to let them reach room temperature first to reduce the risk of them shattering in very hot water – remember you can always whack them in the dishwasher!

Use a toothpick to remove food residue that has collected in the join between the surface of the shelf and the shelf surround. Rinse the shelves and salad crispers with clean water, then allow them to dry naturally on the drainer or dry with a clean tea towel and put them to one side if your drainer isn’t big enough.

S.O.S. Holidays

Before going on holiday ensure that you remove all food in the refrigerator that is at risk of spoiling, check all expiry dates.  Avoid leaving meat, fish and vegetable in the fridge, this will limit the damage in case of unexpected electric interruption.

If you have a fridge or freezer in a holiday home that remains closed for a long period of time, ensure that you complete empty, switch it off and after cleaning it, leave the doors open.  This will prevent the formation of mildew and bad odours forming.

Book a call from our appliance repair company – and we help you!

Updated at: June 5, 2023