The Popular Cleaning Agent You Should Avoid Using On Your Fridge

The fridge gets used every day. It is a prime location for chunky milk and random sticky spills. The brunch leftovers you forgot about need to be tossed, along with the wilted celery. Plus, the ice maker has seen better days. However, there is a method for this madness. When the new season rolls around, that's the cue to deep clean your fridge. Leaks and spills should be tackled right away. But don't grab the bleach. It can spoil the appliance's interior as well as the goods inside.

Bleach is ideal for brightening whites in the laundry, eliminating mildew in the bathroom, and sanitizing countertops in the kitchen. Yet, this powerful cleaning agent can't be used everywhere with anything. Mixing chlorine bleach with ammonia or acidic products creates a toxic gas. It can also eat away the fibers of certain fabrics. Inside your fridge, the cleaning agent does more harm than good. 

Don't clean your fridge with bleach

Bleach is a go-to for killing germs, and the refrigerator can harbor food-borne bacteria. You would think the disinfectant is ideal for tackling messes in your ice box, but experts disagree. "Most appliance manufacturers urge against the use of bleach for cleaning the fridge, as it can harm the materials of the fridge interior and can be a safety risk if transferred to food," Angela Bell, a cleaning expert with Grove Collaborative, told The Kitchn.

Using bleach in the fridge will increase the harsh chemicals present where you store food. Cross-contamination is highly likely. Even if you dry the shelves afterward, items like produce absorb the smell. Plus, bleach is not an all-purpose surface cleaner. It doesn't remove dirt or grime but rather breaks down chemicals to kill germs. You'd still have to wipe your fridge before disinfecting it with bleach anyway. So skip the harmful sanitizer. You can clean the appliance effectively without chlorine, spoiling the interior, or tainting food.

The best way to clean your refrigerator

A little dish soap goes a long way when cleaning your fridge. Think of the appliance like one giant container you're handwashing. First, remove all the food items. Discard anything expired or rotten, and place perishables like meat and dairy in a cooler with ice. Next, detach the shelves and baskets, washing them thoroughly with hot water and dish soap. Use a sponge to scrub the interior of the fridge before rinsing. 

Finally, dry the removable parts and inside the appliance with a microfiber cloth. For a deeper clean, use two tablespoons of baking soda with one quart of hot water to scour the interior. It will combat dirt and grease without leaving an odor behind for your food to absorb. A one-to-one ratio of white distilled vinegar and water mixture works well too. Once everything is dry, replace the shelves, baskets, and food.

Plus, you can also put charcoal in your fridge to eliminate smells. It works even better than baking soda.