The refrigerator is one of the hard-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. Inconsistent refrigerator maintenance not only shortens the useful life of the appliance but results in inexpensive repairs, too.
Whether you have problems with your fridge or you just want to keep it in running condition, this guide can help! 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. 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 important because they help keep your refrigerator’s motor working efficiently. Just unplug the fridge and move it away from the wall to clean the coils. After opening the back of the fridge, you have to vacuum out any dust or debris you find. A dry paintbrush is also helpful for cleaning the dust that has stuck on the coils.
The door seals are also one of the parts you should clean regularly since these seals 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, 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. These cleaning solutions will kill bacteria in the refrigerator and keep it fresh and 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 of them and their solutions:
- 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. If a freezer door isn’t tightly sealed, water can get inside, freeze, and form frost. When that happens, completely defrost the freezer and then clean it following these steps. To defrost a freezer, unplug it, open the door, and wait for the ice to melt on its own. Do this 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. If food in your fridge tends to freeze, you may have temperature control or thermostat issue. The easiest way to solve this is to adjust your fridge’s thermostat. But if you still find frozen food in the refrigerator after trying that, you should look into hiring 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. Anyone can do the first two fixes themselves. (A professional’s help is probably needed to repair a defective thermostat.)
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