How To Properly Clean Your Refrigerator After Holiday Leftovers

The holidays are a time filled with joy, family, friends – and of course, lots of delicious food. After weeks of holiday feasting, it’s no surprise that your refrigerator is likely filled to the brim with leftovers, half-used ingredients, and who knows what else. While it may be tempting to simply shove everything back inside and shut the door, taking time to properly clean your fridge after the holidays is crucial for food safety and appliance maintenance.

Assess and Organise

The first step is to take everything out of the fridge and freezer to thoroughly assess what needs to be kept and tossed. Check expiration dates and give each item a sniff test. Toss anything that’s gone bad or looks questionable. For items you plan to keep, make sure they’re properly sealed and labelled with the name and date. This prevents accidentally eating something that has gone off.

As you put items back in the fridge, utilise storage containers and use the various shelves efficiently. Keep similar items grouped together, with meats, dairy and produce separate from one another. Place any old holiday leftovers towards the front of the fridge. That way they are more likely to get eaten up quickly.

Give it a Good Cleaning

Now it’s time to focus on cleaning. Start by removing shelves, drawers and bins that can be taken out of the fridge. Soak them in warm soapy water to loosen any dirt and residue. Use a soft cloth or sponge for wiping down interior surfaces. Avoid abrasive scrubbers or anything that could scratch.

For stubborn spills and sticky messes, make a paste with baking soda and water. Spread onto the affected area, let it sit for 15 minutes, then scrub clean. Baking soda is a gentle but effective cleaning solution.

Don’t forget the door seals and handle. Door seals should have a tight closure to keep the cold air in. Clean them thoroughly to remove any dirt buildup. The handle is a high touch area that harbours germs. Give it a good disinfecting wipe down.

Disinfect with a Bleach Solution

Even if everything looks clean, there are likely leftover germs in the fridge that can lead to contamination and food spoilage. The best way to fully disinfect the interior is with a dilute bleach solution. Mix one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water. Place in a spray bottle and liberally mist inside of the empty fridge. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes before wiping down. This kills any lingering bacteria.

Be sure to give special attention to places like the back panel, which are prone to buildup of grime and mould over time. Rinse all surfaces thoroughly afterwards to eliminate bleach residue. Let fully dry before returning food.

Maintain with Regular Cleaning

Get in the habit of quick fridge wipe downs each week to maintain cleanliness. This prevents messes from getting out of hand. Set a reminder to thoroughly deep clean the fridge every few months. Proactively replacing worn parts like door seals also helps extend the fridge’s life.

With some time and elbow grease, your fridge will be sparkling clean and ready to store all your fresh food again. Making fridge cleaning part of your regular household routine is the best way to avoid issues with contamination or spoilage after the hectic holidays.

FAQs About Cleaning Your Fridge

How often should you deep clean the fridge?

Every 2-3 months is ideal for doing a thorough deep cleaning. Quick wipe downs can be done weekly.

What’s the best way to clean glass shelves?

Use a mix of mild soap and water. Rinse and dry completely. Avoid abrasives that could scratch.

Should you wash produce before refrigerating after grocery shopping?

Yes, wash fruits and veggies before storage to remove dirt and bacteria from the store.

What temperature should the fridge be set at?

The ideal temperature for preventing bacteria growth is 37°F (3°C) or lower.


After the flurry of holiday feasts, it’s important to take time to properly clean out your refrigerator. Follow these tips for assessing leftovers, wiping down all interior surfaces, disinfecting with bleach, and maintaining with regular cleanings. Keeping your fridge clean promotes food safety and appliance longevity. For professional post-holiday or routine fridge cleaning services, contact the experts at Affordable Cleaning and Gardening Services in Parramatta. Their experienced cleaners serve the Parramatta region and can get your fridge looking sparkling after the hectic holiday season.