The refrigerator is one of those household items that we all take for granted. It just stands there rather quietly, doing its thing day in and day out. But when it breaks down, it’s a huge problem. So take a little time once or twice a year to show it a little love. Speed Cleaning previously shared tips on cleaning out the inside of your fridge, so here are tips on maintenance that you can do yourself to help keep it running smoothly.
- Dirty condenser coils make your refrigerator work harder to stay cool, so they should be cleaned about twice a year, especially if you have a furry pet. Remove the grille along the bottom front of your fridge and vacuum it with a brush attachment or wash it and set aside. Then using a coil cleaning brush, gently clean the condenser coils if they’re located behind the grille on your model. Vacuum up the debris as you brush. If the coils are on the back of your refrigerator, roll it out to get to the coils. In fact, roll the fridge out regardless to clean the floor underneath. It’s amazing what accumulates there! Note: You should always unplug an appliance before working on it.
- Wipe down the door seals (gaskets) with a mild cleaner or dish soap, being sure to clean the pliable sides of the gasket as well. Then apply a super-thin film of petroleum jelly to keep the gaskets from drying out and becoming less effective.
Tip: To test if your refrigerator/freezer door gaskets are creating a nice tight seal, close the door
on a piece of paper. If you can easily pull the paper out, it might be time to replace the gasket.
- For in-door ice and water dispensers, take the drip tray out, set it in a sink, and pour vinegar in it to dissolve calcium deposits. Let it soak for several minutes before rinsing and drying. A green cleaner that packs more of a punch than vinegar but is also safe to use around the kitchen is Speed Cleaning’s Scum Bum. You can clean your coffee pot with Scum Bum too. It works great for removing calcium and hard water deposits all around the house, inside and out! Clean the rest of the ice/water assembly with a cleaner of your choice and replace the drip tray.
- Replace the water filter if your refrigerator has one. Not only does drinking water taste bad when the filter is spent, less water is delivered to the ice maker when the filter is clogged with particles. This results in more chips and hollow cubes that may not freeze all the way through.
- Getting rid of ice chips and blocks of ice will help the dispensing motor run better. And ice cubes tend to develop a bad taste after a while so it’s a good idea to occasionally start with fresh ice cubes. Temporarily turn the ice maker off (if you haven’t unplugged the fridge) so you can remove the ice bin to empty it and give it a good wash. Dry the bin thoroughly before replacing it and turn the ice maker back on.
Did you know that a well-stocked freezer maintains a steady temperature more efficiently than an empty one?
Lastly, give the entire refrigerator a wipe-down with a soft cloth and cleaner of your choice. Speed Cleaning recommends Red Juice, another green cleaner that’s safe to use around food. And there you have it – you’re good to go for at least another six months!