The Dirty Truth About Cleaning Behind Your Fridge

Just because company can't see it doesn't mean you should skip this important household chore.

Refrigerator, fridge on kitchen tiled floor, blue wall background, copy space. 3d illustration
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Here's the Dirty Truth About the Area Behind Your Fridge

We all know how much dust can gather on the top shelf of a bookcase in just a few weeks — and that's not even an area of the home that gets a ton of regular use. Now imagine that, compounded by months' worth of debris in a highly-trafficked part of your home. Gross, right?

Well, that's probably what the area behind your fridge looks like, especially if you haven't cleaned it recently. Since refrigerators are such huge appliances — and far too heavy to regularly move — some people avoid cleaning behind their fridges entirely.

Even the more diligent kitchen cleaning wizards will go to great lengths to avoid some of the more difficult, dirtier jobs, according to a survey done by about household chores — such as the 57 percent of women and 33 percent of men who admitted to regularly wiping down visible spots on the floor with a cloth, instead of actually mopping.

And while it's not the end of the world, thoroughly cleaning the space behind your refrigerator should be done regularly for health and sanitation reasons.

How Often Should You Clean Behind Your Fridge?

Experts recommend that you clean behind your fridge at least once every three months. This will keep dust and bits of food to a minimum, which in turn can prevent bad odors and reduce the occurrence of pests and allergies. Additionally, if there is any dampness in the area, mold could start to grow.

What's the Best Way to Clean Behind Your Fridge?

If you're ready to face the dirty truth, follow these steps to properly — and safely — clean behind your fridge:

1. Unplug your refrigerator

Pull it completely away from the wall so you can easily access the space behind it. Be sure to keep the fridge doors closed to maintain the cool interior temperature as long as possible.

2. Remove the grille or vent cover at the base of your fridge.

Use a hand-held vacuum to carefully remove any dust that's built up on the coils underneath your refrigerator. Then, go back over the coils with a small duster or specialty coil brush in detail while keeping an eye out for any rips or loose seals.

3. Using a microfiber cloth

Wipe down the wall behind your fridge with a homemade cleaning mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. This will remove caked-on grease and grime and prevent the paint from getting permanently stained. Wipe down the back panel of your fridge with the water-vinegar mixture, too.

4. Sweep and mop

Now it's time to sweep and mop the floorspace your fridge was sitting on, paying close attention to the baseboard seams where dirt can collect. Allow it to completely dry since any residual moisture could cause mold to grow.

5. Move the refrigerator back to its original spot.

Finally, return your refrigerator to its proper spot, and plug it back in. Once it's re-installed, check to ensure the fan turns on and that all cooling systems properly work.

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