Things You'll Need
Cleaning and defrosting the refrigerator is not something that most people love to do-but it can be one of life's necessities, particularly if you do not have a frost-free refrigerator. Doing this task will make your refrigerator run more smoothly, use less energy, extend the life of the appliance, keep food fresher, and even help out the environment. Although this is a fairly labor intensive task, virtually anyone will be able to do this.
Turn off the refrigerator on older refrigerator models. On newer models, turn the temperature dial to "0", or set it to defrost. Unplugging the refrigerator is not necessary.
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Remove the food from the freezer and refrigerator. Store them separately in cardboard boxes, or a cooler with ice. Store the boxes in a cool place, such as the basement.
Put a pan beneath the freezer to catch melting water. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't overflow. Don't chip at the ice, let it melt on its own.
Turn on a hair dryer and begin to blow the hot air onto the frosted areas. The ice will begin to melt rapidly so empty the drip pan as often as needed. Chunks of ice that fall can be placed into a sink where they will melt and drain by themselves.
After defrosting is complete, clean out the refrigerator with a dishwater solution mixed with three tablespoons of baking soda. Sponge it on and rinse it off. Make sure the refrigerator is dry before turning it on again.
Washing the refrigerator regularly is a good idea-once a week, if possible. It will cut down on bacteria and keep food fresh. Cleaning the refrigerator will also help the fridge work more efficiently. Don't do a grocery shopping before you defrost. Make sure to defrost at the end of a shopping cycle.
Ice build up in the refrigerator can crack the plastic or cause a refrigerator to break down.