The refrigerator is one of the hardest-working appliances in our homes that we don’t usually give much thought to — unless something goes wrong. All appliances need regular maintenance and cleaning to keep working properly, and your refrigerator and freezer are no exception. Lack of refrigerator maintenance could shorten the useful life of the appliance, as well as result in unnecessary and costly repairs, too.
Whether you have problems with your fridge or you just want to keep it in running condition, this guide can help! We’ll go over fridge maintenance and cleaning basics and a few easy fixes to common problems.
Basic Refrigerator Maintenance
One of the best ways to keep your refrigerator and freezer up and running is to clean them properly several times a year. Wiping the fridge’s interior when things get grimy is the most basic way to clean, but there are other areas you should clean regularly to keep your fridge working properly.
Proper refrigerator maintenance includes cleaning the coils behind the fridge once or twice a year. These coils are what keep your refrigerator’s motor working efficiently. To clean the coils, unplug the fridge and just move the unit away from the wall. You can then open up the back of the fridge and vacuum out any dust or debris you see. For dust that seems to be stuck on, a dry paintbrush can be used to remove it from the coils.
You also need to clean the door seals since these help keep your refrigerator’s internal temperature consistent. An effective way to clean the seals is to open the fridge or freezer door and use a damp cloth to clean between the folds of the seal.
Finally, do not forget to wipe down the whole inside and outside of your fridge and freezer. The CDC recommends using hot, soapy water or, to disinfect, a solution made from 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Using either of these will kill bacteria and keep your refrigerator sparkling clean.
Common Problems and Fixes
Even if you do regular maintenance and cleaning, refrigerators can still suffer from a variety of ailments. Here are some common problems and their solutions:
- Freezer Frost
- Frozen Food
- Lukewarm Food
Frost in the freezer. If you are noticing a buildup of frost or ice crystals inside your freezer, your freezer door might not be sealed tightly enough. Water can easily get inside when a freezer door does not have a tight seal, then freeze and form frost. When that happens, it is best to defrost the freezer completely and then clean it using these steps. To defrost a freezer, unplug it, open the door, and wait for the ice to melt on its own. This is something you should be doing at least once a year. If you find that you are needing to defrost more frequently, it may be time to replace the seal.
Food freezing in the refrigerator. You might have a temperature control or thermostat issue if you notice that the food you have in the fridge– especially toward the back– tends to freeze. The easiest way to solve this is to adjust your fridge’s thermostat. But if that doesn’t seem to work and you still find frozen food in the refrigerator, you should hire a handyman.
The refrigerator is not cold enough. Another problem that needs to be addressed immediately is if you notice food in your fridge spoiling quickly or doesn’t seem very cold. A fridge that doesn’t seem to get cold could have problems related to dirty coils, an incorrectly set thermostat, or a faulty thermostat. The first two fixes are generally easy. (You will likely have to call a professional to replace a defective thermostat.)
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.