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How to Clean a Refrigerator

Cleaning and disinfecting the refrigerator is crucial to maintaining a healthy home, whether it’s part of a regular routine, or to clear out spoiled or contaminated food.

More from Clorox experts
By Mary Gagliardi
Kills 99.9% of
viruses & bacteria*.

*When used as directed on hard nonporous surfaces.

Kills 99.9% of
viruses and
bacteria*.

*When used as directed on
hard nonporous surfaces.

Clorox Product Family

It’s hard to beat bleach for deep cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, but the Clorox® Free & Clear line can simplify your regular kitchen cleaning routine. Free & Clear products are formulated without bleach, ammonia or dyes, and they’re safe to use around kids, pets and food.*

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Cleaning with Free & Clear

What you need

Steps to clean and disinfect a refrigerator with Free & Clear

  1. 1

    Empty the shelves

    Remove food from the refrigerator. Check any expiration dates as you work and set aside items you want to keep. 

    Tip

    Clean and disinfect in zones to keep the job more manageable: shelves first, door storage next, vegetable bins last. 

  2. 2

    Pre-clean surfaces

    If needed, wipe any obvious dirt or grime off surfaces with Clorox® Free & Clear Compostable Cleaning Wipes before the disinfecting step. Or spray with Clorox® Free and Clear Multi-Surface Spray Cleaner and wipe clean with a paper towel before disinfecting. 

    Tip

    No rinsing is required after cleaning with Clorox Free & Clear products. 

  3. 3

    Disinfect

    Hold Clorox® Free & Clear Disinfecting Mist 6-8 inches from surfaces and spray until thoroughly wet. 

    Tip

    Surfaces must remain visibly wet for 2 minutes to disinfect. 

  4. 4

    Air dry

    No rinsing is required after the disinfecting step, and food items can be replaced immediately.  

    open window with curtains

Cleaning with bleach

What you need

Steps to clean and disinfect a refrigerator with bleach

  1. 1

    Empty the shelves

    Remove food from the refrigerator. Check any expiration dates as you go and set aside items you want to keep. 

    Tip

    Clean and disinfect in zones to keep the job more manageable: shelves first, door storage next, vegetable bins last. 

  2. 2

    Make up the bleach solution

    Measure 1 gallon of water (16 cups) into the plastic bucket, and then add 1/3 cup bleach to the water. 

    liquid pouring from glass container
  3. 3

    Pre-clean the inside

    If necessary, use a sponge dampened with water to wipe any obvious dirt or grime from shelves and other surfaces before the disinfecting step. 

  4. 4

    Apply the disinfecting bleach solution

    Wearing gloves, use the sponge to wipe down surfaces with the bleach and water solution, including the walls, door handle and the door seal. Reapply as needed to keep surfaces wet for 6 minutes to disinfect. 

    Tip

    To remove mold or mildew in the refrigerator, let the bleach and water solution contact the surface for up to 10 minutes. 

  5. 5

    Rinse

    Rinse the sponge with clean water and then wipe surfaces again to rinse them.  

    Tip

    Removable shelves and bins can be treated and rinsed in the sink. 

  6. 6

    Air dry

    Let surfaces air dry before replacing food items.  

    open window with curtains
  7. Frequently asked questions

    Can I clean food containers with the Free & Clear products?

    The Free & Clear product line is safe to use around food, pets and kids so you can clean food containers with both the Free & Clear Compostable Cleaning Wipes or the Free & Clear Multi-Surface Spray Cleaner. No rinsing after cleaning is required. 

    • *

      When used as directed.