Here's How You Should Actually Be Cleaning Your Fridge Shelves

Cleaning the kitchen can feel like an eternal task. There are always dishes to do, and even though you just swept the floor and cleaned the counters, somehow they're dirty again. If that isn't enough to deal with, there's the fridge. When was the last time you cleaned that thing? GQ recommends deep cleaning your refrigerator every three to four months, deeming it "the single most important appliance in your home." If that sounds like an intimidating task, there's a method that could make it easier.

If you ask Heath Goldman at the Food Network, scrubbing every inch of your fridge shelves and drawers by hand isn't the way to go. Rather, Goldman recommends removing those cumbersome components and chucking them in the dishwasher, provided they fit and the appliance owner's manual doesn't forbid it. Plus, as the Washington Post explains, today's dishwashers generally yield cleaner and more energy-efficient results than hand washing.

Other tips for a clean refrigerator

Not everyone has a dishwasher, so this convenient cleaning method isn't available to all households. Fortunately, there are plenty of other fridge cleaning methods out there, even if they do involve a bit more elbow grease. After you've removed everything from your fridge (or at least one shelf's worth of items, to start) to expose all parts of the shelves, Epicurious suggests going at it with a spray bottle filled with hot water and standard white vinegar.

Epicurious instructs to spray fridge surfaces with the vinegar solution, scrub with a sponge, and dry with a microfiber cloth. After that, don't just replace everything without a second thought. Epicurious is quick to point out that if a condiment jar is sticky before your big deep clean, it's going to bring stickiness into the clean fridge. So, remember to wipe those down, too.

Unfortunately, there are even more fridge components that need cleaning. CNET points out that other, less attended-to areas of the fridge, such as the ice maker, water filter, and freezer vents, may be even dirtier than the shelves.