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. Without basic refrigerator maintenance, you not only shorten the useful life of the appliance but incur costly repairs as well.
Whether you currently have issues with your fridge or you just want to keep it humming, 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. In addition to wiping out the fridge’s inside when it becomes dirty, there are other areas you need to be cleaning regularly as well to ensure that the fridge keeps 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. Just unplug the fridge and move it away from the wall to clean the coils. Opening up the back of the fridge will then be easier. You can now vacuum out any dust or debris you find. A dry paintbrush is also helpful for cleaning the dust that has stuck on the coils.
You also have to clean the door seals on a regular basis since these help your refrigerator keep a consistent internal temperature. Use a damp cloth to clean the seals. Remember to wipe between the fold of the seals on both the fridge and freezer doors.
Finally, wipe down the entire inside and outside of your fridge and freezer as well. The CDC recommends using hot, soapy water or, to disinfect, a solution made from 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Either of these is able to kill any bacteria in your refrigerator and leave it 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 ones and ways to fix them:
- 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, defrost the freezer completely and clean it using the following 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 probably have a temperature control or thermostat issue if you notice that food in your fridge tends to freeze. The easiest way to fix this problem is to locate and adjust the thermostat in your fridge. 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. If your fridge doesn’t get cold, it could have issues 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.)
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