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A Clean, Safe, Healthy Kitchen & Home: Cleaning Refrigerators, Ranges and Ovens

Cleaning Refrigerators

It is important to keep your refrigerator, range, and oven clean. Regular cleaning of the refrigerator cuts down on spoiled food odors. Defrosting the freezer section as needed gives you more space for storage and cuts down the electric bills. The refrigerator should be cleaned on a monthly basis.

Remove drawers and shelves to give your refrigerator a deep cleaning with hot soapy water.Faith Isreal, ©2018, Clemson Extension

Remove drawers and shelves to give your refrigerator a deep cleaning with hot soapy water.
Faith Isreal, ©2018, Clemson Extension

Once you choose a specific day to clean, use the TCRM method each time. What is the TCRM method?

T: TOSS! Look at the dates of items that are in your refrigerator. If it is expired or moldy, toss it. Also, be sure to clean sticky items.

C: COMBINE! If you have multiple items that are the same, combine them (if they haven’t expired).

R: REMOVE! Remove all of your drawers and shelves. Clean your entire refrigerator with hot water and soap. Let them air dry.

M: MAINTAIN! Whew! You’re finished! Keep up the great work by creating a schedule to clean your refrigerator monthly. Allow your children to help by putting this date on a calendar. Use All-Purpose Cleaner 1 (Recipe for Healthy Home) to help remove odors.

Also, be sure to defrost your freezer. HOW?

  • Clean out the Freezer
  • Unplug your refrigerator and leave the door open.
  • Make sure your frozen foods are kept in a cooler filled with ice.
  • Scrape ice from the freezer.
  • Wash the shelves with All-Purpose Cleaner (Recipe for Healthy Home) once the freezer is room temperature, wipe clean all of the surfaces.
  • Plug the refrigerator back in.
  • To speed up defrosting, place a bowl or pan of hot water in the freezer compartment.

Cleaning Ranges & Ovens

It is not a good idea to line the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil because foil can cause changes in the way the heat is distributed while cooking. Instead, make sure to wipe up spills when they happen and clean the oven regularly. Cleaning your oven and or range regularly will reduce the risk of fire.

Always disconnect the oven from the power source before cleaning.

  • Using Oven Cleaner I (Recipe for Healthy Home) to clean your oven, follow these steps:
  • Soak a cloth or sponge with ammonia.
  • Lay over the soiled areas.
  • Let soak for 30 minutes or overnight, depending on the amount of soil.
  • Wipe with a cloth dampened with clean water. Rinse the cloth and repeat wiping until all soil is removed.
  • If soil remains, sprinkle baking soda on the soil and rub with very fine steel wool or a steel wool pad.
  • Wipe off soil and rinse with clean water. Dry with a clean cloth.

Using Oven Cleaner II (Recipe for Healthy Home), follow these steps:

  • While the oven is still warm, sprinkle water on the soiled area.
  • Then sprinkle with salt.
  • When the oven cools down, scrape away the soil.
  • Wash the area with clean water.
  • Dry with a clean cloth.

Recipe for a Healthy Home

All-purpose Cleaner I for Surfaces 4-tablespoon baking soda

1-quart warm water

Dissolve baking soda in warm water. Apply with sponge. Rinse with clear water
All-purpose Cleaner II for surfaces 1-tablespoon ammonia

1-tablespoon liquid detergent 1-pint (2 cups) water

Mix ingredients and put in spray bottle. Spray on area to be cleaned. Wipe. Rinse with clear water.
All -purpose Cleanser for Stain Apply baking soda to damp cloth or sponge. Scrub soil or stain. Rinse with clear water.
Chrome and Stainless-Steel Cleaner Dip soft cloth in undiluted white vinegar. Wipe surface.
Oven Cleaner I Soak a cloth or sponge with ammonia. * Lay over soiled areas. Let soak for 30 minutes or overnight, depending on the amount of soil. Wipe with cloth dampened with clean water. Rinse cloth and repeat wiping until all soil is removed. If soil remains, sprinkle baking soda on the soil and rub with very fine steel wool or a steel wool pad. Wipe off soil and rinse with clean water. Dry with clean cloth.
Oven Cleaner II While oven is still warm, sprinkle water on the soiled area, then sprinkle with salt. When oven cools down, scrape away the soil and wash the area with clean water. Dry with clean cloth.
*Ammonia and chlorine bleach are toxic ingredients. Do not mix chlorine bleach with vinegar, toilet bowl cleaners, or ammonia. Handle all household chemicals with care and store safely.

References:

  1. Information for the ‘Clean, Safe, Healthy Kitchen and Home’ factsheets were adopted from:
  2. ‘A Clean, Safe, Healthy Home’ curriculum developed by Clemson University Faculty and Staff, 1994.
  3. Additional information was adopted from: https://www.fightbac.org
  4. South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control, office of External Affair

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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