One of the hard-working appliances we rarely think too much about is the refrigerator, that is until something goes wrong. All appliances need regular maintenance and cleaning to keep working properly, and your refrigerator and freezer are no exception. Inconsistent refrigerator maintenance not only shortens the useful life of the appliance but results in inexpensive repairs, too.
Regardless of the current state of your fridge, this guide can help you! We’ll go over fridge maintenance and cleaning basics and a few easy fixes to common problems.
Basic Refrigerator Maintenance
To keep your refrigerator and freezer in good shape, you have to clean them properly several times a year. Wiping the interior of the fridge 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 keep your refrigerator’s motor working efficiently. To clean the coils, you have to unplug the fridge and pull it away from the wall. After opening the back of the fridge, you have to vacuum out any dust or debris you find. For dust that seems to be stuck on, a dry paintbrush can be used to remove it from the coils.
You also have to clean the door seals on a regular basis since these help your refrigerator keep a consistent internal temperature. To clean the seals, you can use a damp cloth to wipe between the folds of the seals on the fridge or freezer door.
Finally, you have to wipe down the entire 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. These cleaning solutions will kill bacteria in the refrigerator and keep it fresh and clean.
Common Problems and Fixes
Even with regular maintenance and cleaning, refrigerators can still suffer from a range of ailments. Here are some common problems and their solutions:
- Freezer Frost
- Frozen Food
- Lukewarm Food
Frost in the freezer. If you notice a buildup of frost or ice crystals in the interior of 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. It is important to defrost the freezer completely and clean it thoroughly if this happens. 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. However, if you need to defrost more frequently, you may have to replace the seal.
Food freezing in the refrigerator. If food in your fridge tends to freeze, you may have temperature control or thermostat issue. The easy way to fix this problem is to 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. Issues related to dirty coils, an incorrectly set thermostat, or a faulty thermostat are some reasons why a fridge doesn’t seem to get cold. The first two fixes are generally easy. (A defective thermostat will likely be a repair job for a professional.)
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