The refrigerator is one of the most useful equipment found in the kitchen. It’s a safe place to store perishable food until one is ready to cook them as well as leftovers. However, with all these things that gets stuck inside the refrigerator, it is also oftentimes abused and neglected. Spills, leftovers and other stuff could get stocked up in the refrigerator for days, sometimes, even weeks and that could soon cause an unpleasant odor to come out.

If you’ve ever wondered how you should clean this very important equipment in your home, here are some steps you could follow to efficiently and effectively make it seem brand new again.

1. Remove all food and things stocked up inside.
Toss into the garbage bin food that is moldy, old, expired and inedible. Do not be shy in throwing out food that has been inside the refrigerator for months but you think you could still use in the future. If you would use it for cooking, then you should have done it months ago. Make sure that you handle the food carefully so that it would not leak and transfer molds into the other food. Meanwhile, keep perishable food in an icebox with ice to keep it cool while waiting for the refrigerator to be cleaned up.

2. Take out all the drawers and shelves inside the refrigerator.
These include the crisper and other removable surfaces. Removing all these out would allow you enough space to thoroughly clean the belly of the refrigerator.

3. Wash the shelves and other removable surfaces with dishwashing soap and water.
Since most of these would not fit your dishwasher, manual labor would be needed. Ensure that you scrub it individually to get rid of crystallized sauces and drippings. If the shelves in your refrigerator are made of glass, be sure to clean it with cold water. Or if you prefer to wash it water that is hot, make sure that it’s not cold anymore and has gone to room temperature. The change in temperature from cold to hot could affect the glass and break it. After washing, let it dry completely.

4. Start with cleaning the refrigerator.
First, wipe all the surfaces with a clean rag to remove spills and other food traces. Because it’s the place where you store food such as meat, fruits and vegetables, it is recommended that you avoid the use of strong chemicals or soap in cleaning as it could leave a smell inside, which the food could absorb.

5. After wiping it clean, make a cleaning solution by mixing a quart of warm water with two tablespoons of baking soda.
Use this as a natural solution to fully clean the refrigerator. If there remains a funky smell, try using apple cider vinegar solution alternately. Mix one cup of ACV with a three cups of warm water and use this. The acidic smell in the ACV would absorb the funky odor making the refrigerator clean and smelling fresh.

6. Should there be stubborn stains that the ACV solution could not remove, use white toothpaste.
Just dab a small amount of the paste and scrub it like an abrasive cleanser. This is very effective and the minty smell is an added advantage. Do not forget to wipe clean the fridge door and exterior sides.

7. Before putting back the shelves and drawers, ensure that the inside of the refrigerator is dry.
You could also wipe it again with the use of a dry rag to remove excess water.

8. Put back the food that was removed earlier.
But before you do so, make sure that all bottles, containers and every storage bins that would be placed inside are also wiped clean off every leak and spill. Double check the expiration dates on the bottles so you don’t accidentally replace inedible food back.

9. To prolong the cleanliness and freshness of your fridge, check it weekly for any leftover that must be tossed out.
Be careful to store any food in proper containers with lids so that scent do not escape and stick inside the fridge.

10. You can also use a natural air freshener and odor absorber inside the fridge such as coffee ground to keep the smell fresh.
You could also use charcoal, however, this must be placed in a secure container or a clean sock so that it does not sprinkle any charcoal dust into the food. An opened box of baking soda would also do the trick.