Saturday, December 29, 2007

how to clean the outside of a refrigerator

Do you want to clean green?
I got a digital camera for Christmas, and have been going nuts creating photo essays on Facebook with it ever since. I'm including the written instructions below for cleaning the outside of a fridge, but to see the entire photo album (I recommend it), click here. (You don't need to be a Facebook member to view the album.)*

I like stuff on my fridge - even though I'm a professional organizer, and I always tell clients who are staging their homes for resale that an uncluttered fridge is more appealing to buyers. In my defense, sometimes I just don't remember to do things unless I stick them to my fridge. And I have a niece and nephew whom I love (and who make lots of drawings for me)... and I wanted to display all my Christmas cards this year...

It was the Christmas cards that inspired me to clean my fridge. I wanted to take them down, and I figured while I was at it, I might as well do the whole thing.

The first step is to take everything OFF the fridge - including things on top (in my case, a wooden dish rack and a basket of brushes and scrubbies for dishwashing). While you're at it, organize what you've taken off so that you can put things away immediately.

These are the supplies you'll need to clean the outside of the fridge:

-baking soda (in a shaker can)
-vinegar (in a spray bottle)
-TSP (trisodium phosphate, which you can buy in crystal form at hardware or paint stores)

You may also want a bucket of warm water or a spray bottle of water, and you'll need some clean rags and possibly some brushes or toothbrushes for the nooks and crannies.

Start at the top of the fridge, wiping down all the outer surfaces. If there's a lot of dust on top, wipe it off with a dry rag first to get the worst of the dust, and then wipe again with a damp rag.

If there's a lot of greasy grime up there, mix up a TSP solution according to the directions on the carton. TSP is fantastic for greasy grime - it will wipe right off.

NOTE: When using TSP, be sure to wear gloves. It is a mild skin irritant, especially at high concentrations. And don't breathe in the dust from the crystals.

(The reason I use TSP is that it does a better job than most conventional cleaners like Fantasic and Mr. Clean, without the nasty scents and fumes.)

If there are scuff marks on the fridge, they should come off with a scrubbing of baking soda. Spray well with vinegar afterwards, to remove any powdery residue.

NOTE: If you use vinegar and you're going to put photographs or important papers back on the fridge after cleaning it, be sure to rinse well with plain water after using the vinegar, so that you don't get acid damage on the photos or papers.

The fridge handles will likely be grimy - especially if they are textured like mine. A TSP solution will again easily clean up any greasy grime. (This is where a toothbrush might also come in handy.)

If you have chrome handles (or a stainless steel fridge), TSP can clean off most of the greasy fingerprints or smudges. Just spray well with vinegar afterwards, and wipe dry with a clean rag to make the chrome or steel shine.

I decided not to clutter up my fridge with photos, papers and cards after cleaning it. Who knows how long that will last, though...

*Instructions for viewing the album on Facebook: Click on the first photograph to read the description of that photo. To proceed to the next photo in the series, simply click on the current photo, or click on "Next" in top right corner of the page.


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Panamint Joe said...

Tri-sodium phosphate? Haven't seen it in stores in years. I asked about it at my local Ace Hardware a few months ago, and they told me it is no longer sold, not even for scrubbing walls prior to repainting. It was once an ingredient in many powdered detergents, but was removed because the phosphates weren't removed by wastewater treatment plants and would cause algal blooms when discharged into waterways.

TSP substitutes are sold in the U.S., but they aren't as effective. When cleaning the refrigerator, that's probably alright, because trisodium phosphate promotes rusting.

Michelle Lynne Goodfellow said...

I live in Canada, where apparently TSP is still legal. Hehe. It is readily available at any hardware, paint or home improvement store.

I know about the whole problem with phosphates in cleaning products - but in the amounts that I use TSP (for heavy-duty grease removal only), it's not the problem that was once experienced when phosphates were omnipresent.


Derek Jones said...

Thanks for a great article - your readers may be interested in a new range of Eco friendly cleaning products made in Ireland called Lilly's Eco Clean - more information can be found on their website:

New York mold removal said...

The outside of the fridge has to be cleaned well and also decorated nicely to add to the aesthetics of the home.The inside is also needed to be cleaned with good cleaning agents so that there is no dirt or damp or fungus.

green cleaning said...

Market is full of chemical products these days, but better to find the green and eco friendly chemicals, that will not harm your skin and environment.

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Anonymous said...

I know it's not an ideal way to do it, but I washed my refrigerator by pressure washing it. It worked great, but it was outside, just thought i'd throw that out there.

Elizabeth Connor said...

I like your method of cleaning a lot. I think that while cleaning the outside, one should probably clean the interior as well. Personally, that is what I do once or twice a year, and I have never had any problem.