9 Tricks to Cleaning Your Fridge (and Keeping It Clean)

Does looking into your messy fridge make you cringe? Mighty Mommy shares 9 ways to embrace National Clean Out Your Fridge Day—just in time for Thanksgiving!

Cheryl Butler
4-minute read

November may be best known for Thanksgiving, but there’s another holiday this month you might not be as familiar and it can actually help you get ready to enjoy Turkey Day: National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, celebrated on November 15th each year.

The good folks at Whirlpool can be thanked for initiating this fun (yes, fun!) cause back in 1999. Timing is everything, and the home economists at Whirlpool felt mid-November would be the perfect time to promote this holiday because it gives people the chance to clean and organize this most important appliance before the holidays arrive.

Before you head out to purchase a turkey and all the fixings, grab your favorite cleaning products and a dose of inspiration and embrace National Clean Out Your Fridge Day with these nine easy steps.

9 Tricks to Cleaning Your Fridge (and Keeping It Clean)

  1. Create a Working Space in Kitchen
  2. Ready, Set, Empty!
  3. Remove Trays and Bins
  4. Attack all Surfaces
  5. Vacuum Condenser Coils
  6. Reorganize Your Clean Space
  7. Stock Up With Fresh Food
  8. Plan a Special Dinner to Celebrate
  9. Maintain Your Efforts

Here's a closer look at each.

1. Create a Working Space in Kitchen

Cleaning out your refrigerator doesn’t have to be as daunting as you might think if you approach it with an open mind. Play some upbeat music before you get started—you’ll add some positive, funky energy to your project!

Before you start unloading, create a workspace on your kitchen island or clear some counter space so you’ll have a place to sort food, etc. Don’t forget your sink! Make sure your sink is empty so you can place bins and racks in it for proper cleansing. Last but not least, have your garbage bin close by—you’ll need it when it comes time to ditch spoiled food.

2. Ready, Set, Empty!

Now comes the fun part—emptying the entire contents of your fridge and freezer. (Be sure not to neglect the freezer.) Take advantage of your empty counter space and group things together such as salad dressings and condiments, cheese and cold cuts, butter and dairy products, etc. If you have a slimy bottle of ketchup, rinse it in warm, soapy water before you place it on your workspace.

Check for expired items, moldy and furry produce, near-empty containers that no one will likely touch again, and anything else you know your family is not going to eat. Chuck them in that empty trash bin and get ready for step three.

3. Remove Trays and Bins

Take a look at all your empty space—now you can start to get excited! Remove any produce crispers and removable shelves/trays and place them in the warm, soapy sink. Scrub away! If you have a fridge that dispenses water and ice, when was the last time you changed your water filter? Any light bulbs burned out that need replacing? Hey, you might as well go the whole nine yards while you’re in there.

4. Attack All Surfaces

This tip doesn’t really need much explanation. With the bins and shelves out, you can get to work cleaning all the nooks, crannies, and surfaces of your fridge and freezer. This includes the outside of your unit as well. Fingerprints, hardened sauces, and smatterings of other things collect on the outside doors just as easily as the inside of your appliance. If you’re starting to lose your momentum, visualize how spectacular your food is going to look once you complete this task—it’s going to be well worth it!


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.