I Discovered a Wildly Simple Way to Get the Inside of Your Fridge Sparkling Clean

published Aug 8, 2019
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Credit: Andrey Popov

Having a clean fridge when you cook is like having a fresh palette of paint in front of an empty canvas: Everything you need is neatly accessible so you can focus on creating. A clean fridge, of course, also helps you save money by minimizing food waste.

A thorough fridge-cleaning typically involves two things: removing items from shelves and cleaning both the items and the now-empty shelves they were sitting on. While it is definitely possible to clean out your fridge in about half an hour, the task can be pretty arduous.

For me, the most cumbersome part of cleaning the fridge is washing the shelves. I like to take the shelves out, both to clean them and to be able to wipe down the interior of the fridge without obstacles. But they don’t fit in my sink, and more than once, I’ve gotten soaked as I try to rinse a shelf and accidentally tilt it toward myself.

Turns out I can use something that’s right next to me in the kitchen to wash my refrigerator shelves: my dishwasher! And it’s not only the shelves that can get washed in the dishwasher; I can add all the drawers and bins from the fridge that will fit.

Two things to note if you try this at home:

Make sure anything you put in the dishwasher is dishwasher safe: Shelves with integrated LED lighting are likely not safe for machine washing. And some plastic produce bins could be too thin to stand up to the extreme heat. If you can track down your refrigerator’s manual online, it may actually tell you which components are dishwasher-safe.

Let everything sit out before you run it: To prevent cracking or breaking from sudden fluctuations in temperature, give your shelves and bins time to come to room temperature before putting them in the dishwasher.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

Rather than spending all that time washing refrigerator parts by hand, I can now wipe down the interior and my condiments bottles while a machine does the washing for me. And I even stay dry the whole time!