The Dirty Truth About Cleaning Behind Your Fridge
Just because company can't see it doesn't mean you should skip this important chore.
You already know how much dust can accumulate on the top shelf of your bookcase in just a few weeks — and that's not even an area of your home that gets a ton of regular use. Now image that, compounded by months worth of debris in a highly-trafficked part of your home. Gross, right?
That's pretty much what the area behind your fridge probably looks like, if you haven't cleaned behind it recently. Since refrigerators are such huge appliances — and far too heavy to move regularly — some people choose to skip cleaning behind their fridges completely.
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 Porch.com 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 that's not the end of the world, giving the space behind your refrigerator a thorough cleaning 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 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 and learn how to clean behind your fridge properly, follow these steps:
1. Unplug your refrigerator, and pull it completely away from the wall so you can access the space behind it easily. 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, and use a hand-held vacuum ($58; walmart.com) 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 ($11; walmart.com) or specialty coil brush ($5; lowes.com) in detail, keeping an eye out for any rips or loose seals while you're at it.
3. Using a microfiber cloth ($3; target.com), wipe down the walls behind your fridge with a homemade cleaning mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. This will remove caked-on grease and grime and prevent your paint from getting permanently stained. Wipe down the back panel of your fridge with the water-vinegar mixture now, too.
4. Next, sweep and mop the floorspace your fridge was sitting upon, paying special attention to the seams of your baseboards where dirt can collect. Allow it to dry completely, since any residual moisture could cause mold to grow.
5. Finally, return your refrigerator to its proper spot, and plug it back in. Once it's re-installed, check to ensure the fan turns back on and that all cooling systems are working properly.