How to Clean a Moldy Fridge – Step by Step Guide for Easily Clean

Does that fridge require cleaning? Well, yes. Unless it is straight outta factory.

On today’s affair of how to clean a moldy fridge, we will tell you all that you need to know about your moldy refrigerator. Mold can grow inside and outside the fridge.

Obviously, it wouldn’t ask for approval.

The fungus is responsible for causing mold, which is hard and thrives in humid and dark conditions.

Refrigerators support the growth of mold because they are damp, cold, and dark whenever closed. If you have mold in the refrigerator, it will destroy your food, cause a rancid odor, and soil the chambers.

In addition, mold can cause serious health hazards if you inhale or touch them. Why? They produce toxic compounds known as mycotoxins.

One of the common sources of mold is moldy food itself. When the food is rotting in the refrigerator, it is inevitable to prevent the mold from forming and spreading to other surfaces through air circulation.

Foods such as hard salami and cheese naturally produce mold, which is likely to spread to other surfaces. To prevent mold growth, you must clean the fridge carefully. To prevent the re-formation of mold, you must reduce the humidity level in the refrigerator and ensure that water pipes do not leak.

Extremely high humidity and the accumulation of water in the refrigerator can promote mold growth.

(Alert: please check if your other appliances like skillets or toasters require cleaning or not, cause, trust us on this, they often do.)

What does one need for cleaning a moldy fridge?

You don’t need a lot of exceptional products to clean mold inside the refrigerator. However, there are several items that will help streamline the process.

Things you will need for a job well done:

  1. Disposable or rubber gloves
  2. white vinegar
  3. 2 boxes of baking soda
  4. Garbage bags
  5. Cooler
  6. 2 microfiber cloths
  7. A bucket
  8. Small plastic bowl
  9. Paper towels, rags, or sponges
  10. Dishwashing detergent
  11. Toothbrush

What to know how to clean a moldy fridge? Keep reading.

How to clean a moldy fridge in five easy steps

Attention: you must turn off the refrigerator before cleaning out the mold.

This step is a precautionary measure that you must take to avoid the risk of electric shocks. If you have wood floorings, you may want to lay some rags or paper towels to protect the floor from spills. Once you have taken the essential precautions, you can start cleaning your refrigerator in these easy steps.

1 – Discard expired food and items with an extended stay

The first step is to check the dates for each food and throw away everything that has expired or will expire soon. Use gloves to remove old, soaked food. These are known to cause mold. Put the remaining stuff in the cooler. Don’t leave anything in the refrigerator or try to clean anything around. You will save a lot of time cleaning the refrigerator without it.

When cleaning, remove the removable door inserts, drawers, and shelves.

2 – Clean thoroughly with warm water and soap

We recommend using warm water and detergent to clean the mold from hard surfaces. Wash all detachable parts in the sink with soapy water. When cleaning these surfaces, wear gloves to avoid touching the mold with bare hands. It’s hazardous.

Before rinsing, spray the parts with vinegar and a mixture of baking soda and mild soap water. Scrub separable items thoroughly as the mold may be hard to eradicate. If you are unable to rid of the mold on the first try, spray the moldy area with vinegar, wait 10 minutes and scrub it again with soapy water.

Rinse the parts and wipe them thoroughly with clean paper towels. Discard the towels in the garbage bag.

3 – Scrub the interior focused on mold in freezer

Fill the bucket halfway with water and a little dishwashing soap and focus on cleaning the inside of your refrigerator. Wash the shelves, walls, underside, and ceiling with a microfiber cloth. The microfiber fabric eliminates fingerprints and streaks that could otherwise damage the surface of your appliance.

Spray vinegar along the seal (outer ring of the refrigerator) and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Scrub the inner surfaces with soda solution. Crush more intensively in areas of mold without breaking or scratching anything. The baking soda solution neutralizes the smell of mold and vinegar.

Use a toothbrush to achieve and scrub the mold growing in the seal.

4 – Rinse, dry, and rearrange the refrigerator

Rinse all surfaces with clean water. Wipe the refrigerator with a dry microfiber cloth. Also, completely separate the separate parts. After the refrigerator has dried, return the inserts, drawers, and shelves to the appropriate places. If you need to adjust the location of the shelves to create more space, it would be appropriate.

Then put the original contents of the refrigerator back in. Wipe the outside of food containers and bottles with a damp cloth or sponge. It is recommended to place items that are almost over on the front so that you can consume them first and avoid rot and mold growth.

5 – If the vinegar scent is too concentrated…

Once you have everything back in the fridge, do something with the lingering smell of vinegar and soap. Put an open box or bowl of soda in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Baking soda eliminates unpleasant odors; it is a naturally occurring deodorant.

If the smell persists, sprinkle some ground coffee beans on a plate and put it on a shelf for 24 hours. These two methods allow you to get rid of the musty smell without chemicals.

Avoiding mold

As they say, “Prevention is better than cure.”

If you want to avoid mold growth in the refrigerator, pay attention to the types of food you put in the refrigerator. Discard foods that have started to rot as soon as you see them. Also, cover all meals with food containers or maybe use cling films. Covering the food discourages mold spores from spreading moldy food to other parts of the refrigerator and home.

Clean the refrigerator regularly and thoroughly. After each cleaning, leave the door open for a day or two to remove any signs of moisture that could cause odor and mold. We recommend cleaning the refrigerator often to minimize ice build-up, which melts and creates an environment that supports mold.

Check for leaks and get them repaired immediately.

If possible, do not store cardboard/ paper boxes in the refrigerator, as they may absorb moisture and attract mold—store fruits and vegetables in plastic boxes to keep them fresh for a long time.

Food storage tips to avoid mold build-up in fridge

To avoid mold growth inside the refrigerator, one must follow proper food storage procedures.

how to store a food in fridge

Dairy products

Store deep-packed cheeses on shelves or in drawers. Store dairy foods on the main shelves, not the door. The shelves in the doors are subject to temperature fluctuations which can affect the quality of milk and other dairy products.

Salad, berries, and herbs

Place the fresh herbs, berries, and salad in the refrigerator drawer. You wouldn’t want to put fruits in the blender that have gone bad.


You can place the eggs on the door shelves or anywhere else with minimal interference.

Vegetables and fruits

Do not mix this type of food with ethylene-sensitive fruits and vegetables. Foods sensitive to ethylene include broccoli, green beans, unripe bananas, carrots, tomatoes, mangoes, and avocados. If the tomatoes are not very ripe, you should store them out of ethylene-producing foods.

Wrapped meat and fish

To avoid dripping, place the packaged food in a container or on a plate. Store this type of food on the lower shelves to avoid contamination of the food below.

Salad vegetables

Wrap the salad vegetables in ventilated paper to protect them from any contamination. You can also wrap these vegetables in a damp paper towel to keep them fresh longer. Store the salads in a salad container (salad drawer).


Store items like condiments, olives, and jellies on the door shelves. These are highly stable items that are barely affected by temperature fluctuations.

Follow these simple rules to keep your fridge and food free from mold.

Opened cans can also cause chemical contamination and promote mold growth. Do not overfill your refrigerator. Filling the refrigerator can block the refrigeration unit, reducing its performance. Maintain the correct temperature: below 5° C for the refrigerator and below -18° C for the freezer.

Be wary of when the items in the refrigerator expire. Discard them accordingly.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Let’s clear a few more things for you.

What temperature should my refrigerator be when I clean it?

The temperature of your refrigerator doesn’t matter. You don’t need to unplug it to clean the insides, so any temperature is perfectly fine. If you are cleaning the condenser coils, make sure they are warm to the touch. If so, wait a few minutes to be on the safe side; you don’t want to accidentally burn yourself.

How long should one wait after turning on and replacing the refrigerator before turning it back on?

You don’t have to wait at all – once your fridge is clean, it’s ready to use. If you’ve unplugged it and repositioned it to access the capacitor coils, make sure they’re dry.

If there is liquid trapped between the glass and the plastic layer of the bottom shelf, how can that be cleaned?

Find out if the layers are designed to fall apart. If so, you can take the glass out and clean it with soap and water. Otherwise, soaking might work, as soap and water would seep between the layers and the trapped liquid. If your sink isn’t large enough to completely submerge the counter, you may need to use a bathtub.

Bottom Line

Since you are now aware of the dos and don’ts of how to clean a moldy fridge, that refrigerator sitting in your kitchen space shall look pristine. It is not only about hygiene and cleanliness, but it is also about your health and those associated with you.

After all, healthy food is healthy you. We are actually what we eat.

Happy DIY cleaning.

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Hafsa Rafi

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