The Best Way to Clean + Organize the Refrigerator

The Best Way to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama
I receive numerous emails, messages and questions daily asking about my recommendations for cleaning and organizing. Awhile back I asked my readers to share some of their biggest frustrations and issues in the home and we’ve worked through a lot of them. Today’s topic is perfect for this time of the year when school is looming and a little organization and cleaning can go a long way – the best way to clean and organize the inside of the refrigerator.  If you’ve been with me awhile, you know that I am a big fan of using natural cleaners whenever possible to cut back on exposure to chemicals, save money, and use safer ingredients. Cleaning and organizing your refrigerator is one of those tasks that can easily be forgotten about, but it doesn’t take long for drips and spills to accumulate. Now is the perfect time to give it a good cleaning and organizing!
I like to clean my fridge when it is almost or nearly empty. Pick a day when you have grocery shopping and stocking up to do or do it the day before a planned grocery shopping trip. Begin by emptying out the entire fridge and going through everything. Take a look at expiration dates and separate things that are past their prime or are virtually empty. Rinse and recycle containers that you can and toss or compost everything else.  When your fridge is empty, it’s time to wash down shelves and drawers. My favorite cleaner for the fridge is a natural one that uses just three ingredients.
 How to Clean Your Refrigerator - Clean Mama

DIY Refrigerator Cleaning Solution:

  • Mix up 1 teaspoon of dish soap (or my favorite, Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Orange castile soap), 1 teaspoon baking soda, and about 4-6 cups of warm water.
  • Wipe down the shelves with a well rung out microfiber cloth or dish cloth.  Repeat until all shelves and drawers have been wiped clean.  Dry if necessary.

Wipe shelves via Clean Mama

When your fridge is clean and dry, it’s time to organize!  Here are five easy steps:

  1. Group like items together. Keep your dairy items on one shelf, beverages together, snacks in one section etc.
    Organize Drawers via Clean Mama
  2. This is a big fridge clutter buster for many: limit and keep an eye on those condiments! Make sure you have just one jar of mayo or bottle of ketchup open at a time. Try to limit your condiments to what you can store on the inside of the door.
    Keep Condiments Simple via Clean Mama
  3. Height matters. Store your taller bottles and containers in the back and shorter in the front.
  4. Running short on storage? I love to use clear, stackable containers to group like items together that don’t fit in the drawers. Going vertical with storage also maximizes your space and can double your options.
    How to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama
  5. Think outside the box when it comes to your crisper drawers. Not all fruits and vegetables require the higher humidity in those drawers. Consider how you could use this space for easily accessible snacks or meal components for the kids or your family or for bottled or canned beverages.
Having a clean and organized refrigerator can make such a big difference for both efficiency and peace of mind. Take a half hour and you will be surprised at just what you can accomplish in a short amount of time.


  1. How do you get water stains off that has fallen down the front of the refrigerator from the water/ice dispenser? I tried vinegar, but that didn’t work.
    Thank you!

    • Carolynn says:

      I use 1 part vinegar, 3 parts water, a few drops of dawn and a few drops of rubbing alcohol in a sprayer making sure I have a soft towel to wipe it clean. I think it’s the alcohol that helps. I have same problem with my dishwasher and I do the same. Hope this helps!

    • I used my “magic cleaning solution”.
      1 part Dawn dw liquid Blue ( I use Advanced because that is what my big warehouse store had)
      + 1 part hot vinegar ( heating the vinegar seems important) mixed, then cooled somewhat then poured in a spray bottle.

      I spray a good thick layer of this solution over the whole front of my stainless steel fridge. Some say it’s important to smear it around on the fridge surface. This probably helps it work into the micro crevices in the S/S and also helps assure an even coating.

      Leave on at least 30 minutes. I left it overnight because my mineral deposits were awful. Then section by section wipe with the grain of the S/S. I first use the soft side of a scrubby sponge, frequently rinsing the sponge. After all the solution is rinsed off, dry and polish using only a microfiber cleaning cloth.

      This DIY cleaning solution worked great on my shower doors, shower interior, kitchen S/S sink and has earned a permanent place in my cleaning kit.

  2. Lisa Eia says:

    This is an amazing idea! I can’t wait to try it out!:)

  3. I use lazy susan turntables in my fridge so items like salad dressing, ketchup, mustard, pickles etc. never end up at the back of the fridge and get forgotten. Just my tip.

    • Sharon Absher says:

      Marie, Where are you finding lazy susan turntables. I have been looking for a couple for some time now.

      • Bed, Bath and Beyond has a wonderful clear acrylic Lazy Susan and organizers for the fridge. I particularly love the Lazy Susan!

      • most the time dollar stores or even lowes..
        I think I picked mine up at the thrift store..

  4. Some great tips there. If only my own fridge looked like that; I find it impossible with two kids in the house who are constantly in and out of the fridge with sticky hands

  5. I have a white textured side by side fridge. The handle and texture never seem to come clean. After trying several things, I have found Mr. Clean erasers work best but still aren’t efficient. Any suggestions?

  6. Amazon has some good lazy Susan’s at a reasonable price

  7. I found some really cool shelf lining paper and lined my refrigerator shelves and drawers also so that the frig shelves stay clean and all I do is wipe the plastic liner. Plus it adds a decorative touch.

  8. I spent the Fourth of July Cleaning my Fridge inside and out. I used my Bissell Hand Steam Cleaner. I love it! I also use it in my microwave. I found another use for it that day which made me really happy. I used it to clean my over the stove fan on the greasy outside filters. They are supposed to be silver but were looking like bronze from all the grease etc. I cleaned both sides and they are shiny silver again. I also labeled the inside of the fridge with one shelf for me, one for my husband, one for our son etc. oh I also used shelf paper on the glass shelves hoping it will stay clean longer.

  9. after keeping house for 30 yrs I finally added a small lazy susan to the top shelf of my frig. the kind you usually put in the cupboards .
    it holds the small jars, like relishes & olives… sometimes even hubs can find the olives !:-)

  10. Cathy Miller says:

    I purchased some vinyl placemats at Walmart and use them to line my fridge shelves. They are easy to pull out between deep cleanings and rinse in the sink. They look pretty too!

  11. I love to have a special place designated for leftovers too in the fridge! Makes it easy for my family to see what we have to eat and leftovers don’t go spoil!

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