Here’s How Often You Should REALLY Clean Your Freezer

The refrigerator's forgotten sister, the freezer, is often neglected. But to keep it running at peak performance, you'll want to learn how to clean a freezer every week.

Let’s start with the good news. Cleaning your freezer is not as difficult as you might think! Modern freezers have plenty of adjustable parts for easy wiping. But the bad news? You still have to clean it—and often.

Here’s how to clean a freezer:

What to Clean Weekly

Once a week or so, you can simply wipe down the shelves and nooks and crannies of your freezer. Fill a bowl with hot water and a couple drops of dish detergent. Dip a washrag or sponge into the solution and wipe down the interior surfaces of your freezer. Pay close attention to the door seal, which can be a trap for crumbs and other food debris. This is a quick job, so there’s no need to empty the freezer or turn off the unit.

By consistently wiping down your freezer, you’ll have a more manageable job when it’s time for a deep clean.

What to Clean Occasionally

About once a month, you should take an inventory of your freezer contents. Because freezers are for long-term storage, you might encounter food items that have spilled or deteriorated over time. (Here are six expiration dates you should never ignore.) Toss any unidentifiable leftovers, items that have freezer burn or foods that don’t seem appetizing any longer. Once all the unwanted food is gone, you can do another quick wipe of surfaces with a warm sponge.

Keep your freezer food organized to avoid future spills and forgotten food. Use freezer friendly containers to keep similar items together and label foods with the date so you know exactly how long they’ve been in there.

Our Tips for Deep Cleaning

It’s a good idea to deep clean your freezer about once every two or three months. Here’s how to get the job done as painlessly as possible:

  1. Turn off the freezer and empty all the contents into a cooler to keep them cold while you work.
  2. Remove any drawers and detachable shelves and wash them in the sink. Scrub them like you would dirty dishes with soap and water. Set aside to dry.
  3. Using a solution of one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle, spray the inside of your empty freezer and wipe with a sponge. For stubborn stuck-on spots, allow the vinegar solution to soak for a few minutes before wiping. (Find out more clever household uses for vinegar.)
  4. Dry the interior with a clean dish cloth, then replace the clean drawers and shelves.
  5. Return the food, turn the unit back on and enjoy your spotless freezer!

Next, find out the surprising ways you’re shortening the life of your refrigerator.

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Originally Published on Taste of Home