Contrary to popular belief, the best way to clean your refrigerator is not by throwing it out and buying a new one. Although, many of us wish we could do just that. If it has been a while since you last cleaned out your fridge, then it's time to put on your gloves, grab some dish detergent, Arm and Hammer baking soda, vinegar, rags, and some clean, warm water.
Before you begin to clean your refrigerator, you will need to turn the temperature control to "off" so you won't over-work the compressor. Next, remove everything from the refrigerator. Throw away anything that has spoiled or expired. If you aren't sure what it is or how long it has been there, then throw it out. All the other food items that you want to keep should be kept in a cooler. If you don't have a cooler large enough, then get a cardboard box large enough to hold your food items. Place a bath towel or two in the bottom. Place your food items inside and cover with another bath towel. This will help keep your items cool while you clean.
Next, you will want to take out any removable shelves, baskets, or racks. Fill your bathtub with a few inches of hot, soapy water and put all the racks, shelves, and baskets in to soak while you clean the rest of the fridge.
Using a dish cloth or rag and a mild solution of warm water and dish detergent, thoroughly wipe down the entire inside of the refrigerator. Don't forget to clean inside the door shelves and you will also want to wipe the rubber seal around the door and where the door seal touches the refrigerator.
For tough stains, try applying vinegar with a clean cloth and rub in a circular motion. Vinegar is a great, natural cleaner that is safe to use around other food items. I don't recommend using bleach or other chemicals in your refrigerator for obvious reasons.
Next, you should mix about 1/4 cup baking soda with a half gallon of warm water. wipe down the inside of the refrigerator with this solution. Rinse and wipe dry. This will help eliminate odors. You can also place an open box of baking soda on one of the shelves to absorb odors.
Now it's time to wipe down the shelves, racks, and baskets that are soaking in your bathtub. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. Put them all back in the refrigerator where they were before.
Put all your food items back into your refrigerator, wiping off all glass jars and plastic containers with warm water and a dish cloth. Turn your refrigerator temperature control back to the factory recommended setting.
For painted or plastic exterior refrigerators, use a solution of warm water and dish detergent. A dish cloth or sponge will work well. Go back over the exterior of your fridge with a clean, damp cloth to rinse. Dry with a soft cloth.
If you have stainless steel or other type of metal alloy exterior, then use a mineral oil based stainless steel cleaner. You can purchase these at most places where basic cleaning supplies are sold. They are also available in most stores where appliances are sold.
For a glass front refrigerator, use Windex or other similar glass cleaner and a soft cloth or paper towels.