Refrigerators

General Information:
These units are among the most dependable and reliable of all household appliances.  A few easy cleaning procedures will improve performance and lengthen their useful lives.

Interior

Use warm water, a mild detergent and sponge to clean the inside.  Avoid any strong and/or abrasive cleaners.

Exterior

Outside the actual unit is the condenser coil which dissipates heat.  Yearly or twice yearly (especially before summer heat), cleaning the coil will keep the unit operating efficiently. On some models you’ll need to remove a cover to access the coil.  On others it is located underneath and somewhat more difficult to service.

Many older refrigerators have a drip pan which should be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent odors.

Pay extra attention to the door gasket. Even a small accumulation of dirt can affect it’s ability to maintain a tight seal.

Whether painted metal, vinyl or plastic, it will keep better looking longer with regular cleaning – again a mild detergent works best. (For other surfaces – i.e. stainless steel – refer to our stain & surface guide).

Specialized Tools & Chemicals:
You can purchase a condenser coil dusting brush (available at appliance stores) specifically made for the purpose.  However a vacuum with a dusting brush/crevice tool or a feather/lambswool duster will also work.

Refrigerator Drip Pan

This question was submitted from Carmine

“I have a side-by-side refrigerator with an in-door water dispenser. The drip pan, though, is always nasty. I’ve tried cleaning it in a solution of vinegar and water, and some of the water deposits go away, but it doesn’t stay clean for long and not all the water deposits are cleaned. Help!”

Vinegar and water is a good way to remove water stains. However, if the dripping is on-going, it maybe hard to remove the constant staining.

Try these techniques:

  • Try using a strong acidic based cleaner, available at a janitorial supply store. It will be more effective at removing the water stains.
  • To really effectively clean the nastiness out of your drip tray you should use a bleach and water solution which will kill bacteria, hopefully the nastiness.
  • Use a mixture of 1 part chlorine bleach and 3 part water; if possible remove the tray and soak for ten minutes and rinse well with water.
  • If the tray is a color other than white there may be concern that the bleach will affect the color. If that is the case you can go to a janitorial supply store and buy a food safe disinfectant that will do the job of bleach although it will be more expensive.
  • Try to slow the growth of bacteria by empting and rinsing the drip tray as much as possible.

Solid surface counter tops refinishing or cleaning?

The following question was asked by Kathy:

I have just moved into a house that is 6 years old that has corian counter tops. There is a big stain which we tried to bleach out, however it has appeared to just change the color a bit.

There are a number of different manufacturers of solid surface materials. This stuff is fantastic! Cut it, scratch it, burn it, and you can still get it looking back to it original appearance. It is non-pourous so if bleach did damage the surface, it will not have damaged the material beneath. Start by clearing the damaged area, and give yourself room to work. You will need a vacuum, sand paper (120grit, 250 grit) scotch brite pads (which are typically green scrub pads for scrubbing your dishes). These are avaliable in different coarsenesses, and although purple is ideal, the common green ones will work as well. Start with the 120 grit sandpaper, sanding the area that is damaged to remove the offending marks. Work in a circular motion, being sure not to sand too deep in any one spot (or your counter will be uneven) The 120 grit will leave a matte finish, so depending on your finish this may be enough to remove the scratches and dull spots. You can use a palm sander, but it will create a lot more dust, and if your not careful you can sand away too much material. For a glossier finish use the 250 grit, and then the scotch brite pad. I have had some installers that keep going all the way up to a 600 grit very fine sandpaper. There are products that will restore a glossy shine, but one installer suggested using pledge furniture polish, to return the lustre and match the surrounding counter top. In any case your counter was very expensive, for the reason that it can be made to look brand new very easily. Even if you are not up to the task any Solid Surface Counter installation company would refinish your counter at a minimal expense in a couple of hours.

Marble Cleaning

Do not use anything other than Ivory liquid dish soap on marble.  Harsher cleansers will damage the surface.  Always dry marble to prevent water spots from leaving their signature mark. Marble stains easily so wipe spills immediately. Do not use vinegar or orange based cleaners to clean marble. The acid in them will damage the surface. Peroxide is safe for stain removal.