A well-maintained refrigerator is undoubtedly the key to prolonging a fridge’s shelf life and improving its performance. So, even if your rental’s fridge is empty or virtually empty most of the time, it is still wise to clean it regularly. A clean fridge will also give your travellers a good impression when it comes to hygiene. Here are some simple tricks and gestures to disinfect, defrost and remove bad odours from a refrigerator.


Cleaning a refrigerator

Know that the inside of a refrigerator needs to be cleaned every two weeks in order to avoid the proliferation of bacteria. Saying that, it is not recommended to use household chemicals which, if improperly rinsed, can be toxic. Rather, opt for more natural products:

-White vinegar: If the refrigerator is very dirty, use pure white vinegar, otherwise dilute this antibacterial with 50% lukewarm water.

-Baking soda: Sprinkle directly on a sponge soaked in lukewarm water.

-Soda crystals: More corrosive than sodium bicarbonate, soda crystals have a degreasing power and are a natural disinfectant. It is a good idea to protect your hands with gloves when handling soda crystals. Pour a teaspoon of crystals into a container filled with half a litre of lukewarm water.

For a more efficient cleaning, empty the contents of the fridge completely, including the shelves, the vegetable drawers and the door shelves. You can wash these separate parts individually, in the sink for example. In any case, soak a sponge in your chosen cleaning product, rinse thoroughly with clean water and wipe down with a microfiber cloth. Do not forget the rubber gaskets in the door; these are real bacteria nests, which you can disinfect with a sponge, a toothbrush or a cotton bud. The front of the door also needs to be washed. Rub it with a non-abrasive sponge (so as not to scratch it) soaked in soapy water. The last thing to think about is the back of the fridge. The grid needs to be regularly dusted, not only will this help avoid breakdowns but it will also limit the energy consumption (always leave five centimetres between the appliance and the wall so that the motor is ventilated). You can use a vacuum to do this.

A hand with yellow gloves that is cleaning a fridge©Andrii Rafalskyi123RF 


Defrosting a fridge or freezer

The more the fridge or freezer gets frosted (icicles forming) the more energy it consumes as the air cannot circulate as well. Defrosting the fridge is therefore something that should be carried out at least once a quarter. Ideally, turn the unit off and wait for the ice sheets to melt a little before removing them. If you are in a hurry, accelerate the defrosting by applying hot air directly to the ice using a hairdryer or placing a container containing boiled water in the refrigerator. You can use a wooden or plastic spatula to force the ice off, but never use a knife as that could cause irreversible damage to the appliance.


Deodorizing the refrigerator        

Our grandmothers have natural, homemade recipes to eliminate bad odours from a refrigerator. You can deodorize your appliance by placing a lemon cut in half or a piece of charcoal on one of the shelves. You can also keep odours at bay by placing a dish containing white vinegar, baking soda, ground coffee or boiling milk in the fridge. These should be replaced every fortnight.M


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