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zookeeny's avatar

How do I clean my new second hand fridge to ensure it is germ free?

Asked by zookeeny (880points) May 17th, 2010

My fridge finally broke. My landlord agreed to give me a ‘new’ second hand one from another of his properties. It has arrived in a filthy state. The actual fridge is fine but the previous owner hadnt used it for a while and had it sitting in its scum. It is horrible to look at because its very dusty and she smoked so its gots its own sort of auroa of that around it! I can see its a good fridge underneath all that but I need to give it an excellent clean. What can and should I use on a fridge to get it clean and useable again? Is there any products which should not be used on fridges?


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15 Answers

le_inferno's avatar

Use a spray-cleaner that contains bleach. I returned from winter break to find my fridge covered in mold, and that’s what I used. Worked like a charm, the fridge was uber clean and spotless. Kinda smelled like bleach for a couple days, but there’s a comfort in that :D

zenele's avatar

Clean it as you would anything made of plastic that you want to disinfect – but – remember to use something that smells agreeable. A lemony smell with bleach combo should suffice – or go for the vinegar baking soda combo if you want to be gentler on the enviro.

MissA's avatar

First, if whoever had it lacked housekeeping skills, you may want to ensure there are not families of cockroaches living underneath. They love the warmth of motors. Vacuum it thoroughly, bleach the condensation pan if there is one. Then, vacuum and otherwise clean the back of the refrigerator…the coils and all.

NOW, you’re ready to clean the front, sides and interior. Depending on your refrigerator, some handles, for instance, turn yellow after using bleach. I’ve never had a problem on the main exterior, though. I’d bleach it well, paying special attention to the rubber folds. But, be sure and rinse the rubber seal thoroughly, as bleach left on will dry out the rubber.

When you are done, make sure you keep a box of baking soda inside.

After that initial cleaning, I’d use a more environmentally friendly and aromatic cleaner. Good luck…not a fun job, but, well worth the effort.

zookeeny's avatar

MissA you are a star! I didnt think about vacuming it first thats a good idea get the first layer off! Thanks

MissA's avatar

You’re welcome.

YARNLADY's avatar

After you vacuum it completely, on all four sides plus top and bottom, rent a steam cleaner and give it a through going over. Then go over the entire thing with as many antiseptic wipes as it takes, taking care to get in every crack and crevasse. Wipe it out with a cloth soaked in vinegar, and finally rinse with clear water and a white towel.

sakura's avatar

Kim and Aggie are the best!—check out some of the video links for some nasty houses and appliences, if they can get these houses clean your fridge should be a doddle!

Kraigmo's avatar

Vinegar and boiling water will clean it. Use a Loofa sponge where needed.
Then when done with that, disinfect by wiping it with bleachwater.

Scooby's avatar

@sakura Lol, Kim & Aggie, I was thinking of the very same two queens of dust busting ;-)

After the fridge has been stripped out of its shelving & drawers use a fresh Lemon (cut in half) to freshen up the inside, press half of the lemon against the surfaces & generously coat the inside with the Lemons juice , leave for several minutes then wipe out any excess with a clean cloth, re- assemble your fridge & place the other half of the lemon in a small bowl of water, place this inside the fridge for several days this will help to deodorise it inside to give a nice pleasant clean fresh mould FREE odour ..

perspicacious's avatar

Clean it with Greased Lighning (it will cut anything). Then go over it with a 50/50 water/bleach solution or any disinfecting cleaner. If it’s exterior is dull, wax it with car wax.

john65pennington's avatar

Buy a big bottle of 409 spray cleaner. 409 will clean just about anything, especially cigarette smoke and film. followup with an antibacterial spray. both can be bough at Dollar General Stores for a very reasonable price. the 409 really works.

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gailcalled's avatar

And if you are really fastidious (which you might want to be with a used appliance) use q-tips dipped in warm water and vinegar to get into the folds of the rubber gaskets that seal the door. You would be amazed to lerarn what lurks in there.)

I just used 409 to clean the scuzz off a mouse pad, with a picture of my daugther’s dog on it. The dog looks 10 years younger.

Serevaetse's avatar

I would take it outside and hose it down- then use antibacterial soap and wipes to make sure it was germ-free. Maybe use soft scrub?
It’s too bad she smoked and got it smelly, though.
Good luck!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Actually having a subcontracting job where I had to periodically clean fridges inside and out and in about 90 minute tops the way I did it was with Simply Green. I would soak the inside with it and let it sit a few minutes, then with a stainless steel or copper pot pad get the big areas. Anything I could remove, crispers, shelves, racks etc, I did. To get at the tight spots I used an old toothbrush –one with stiff bristles worked better, and pipe cleaners. On any clear plastic surface I use any quality glass cleaner. If I wanted to make sure it was germ free I would hit it with some Lysol or 10% bleach in water with a spray bottle (but you have to let the bleach sit 5 min or 1.5 min at the very min. Depends on how skuzzy it was.

The outside was cleaned with Simply Green and industrial hand towels, those blue one you get at the auto store works well. Using the tooth brush and the pipe cleaners for the tight spaces.

It seams like going over it many times but it actually doesn’t take that much time and if you really want it clean no crud left in the corners you don’t want to cut corners.

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