When your fridge is due for a deep clean, start by taking out all food items and putting them on a clean surface. “Make sure you’re going to have enough time to clean out your refrigerator without interruptions,” Henley says. “You wouldn’t want to have your perishable food sitting out on your counters for over two hours.”
Next, “remove everything that’s removable,” she says. “The different deli trays, the produce containers, the shelves.” Wash them by hand in the sink with hot water and soap, then rinse. If you have tempered glass shelves, make sure they warm to room temperature before running them under hot water in order to prevent cracking.
Use a clean cloth or new sponge to avoid cross-contamination, Henley says. You’ll also want to make sure the cloth or sponge is non-abrasive to avoid damaging the surfaces.
Then clean the interior. Wash all surfaces, including inside the shelves in the door, with hot, soapy water. Rinse the surfaces with water and a clean cloth or new sponge. After washing and rinsing everything, let it air-dry or dry it with a clean cloth or paper towel.
For the exterior doors, use a soft cloth and dish soap, followed by a polish if you have a stainless-steel appliance. For more specialized or delicate parts of the fridge — like water dispensers or touchscreens — refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
As for freezers, their environment is less favorable to pathogens because the temperature is so much lower (-20ºF to 0ºF). Maintaining the proper temperature and wiping out crumbs and debris should suffice here.