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5 Steps to Clean Your Refrigerator

If you have a recalled food item in your refrigerator, it’s important to throw out the food and clean your refrigerator. Germs in the recalled food could spread to drawers or shelves in your refrigerator.

Follow these 5 steps for cleaning your refrigerator.

Items You’ll Need

  • Sealed Bags
  • Warm, Soapy Water
  • Clean Towels
  • Optional: Water + Bleach


Throw out the recalled food, and any other foods stored with it or touching it.

Put it in a sealed bag in the garbage.

If the recalled food was stored in a reusable container, wash it with warm, soapy water before reusing.


Empty the rest of the items in your refrigerator and put them on a counter or table while you clean.

Take out shelving, drawers, and any other removable parts.

Don’t leave unrefrigerated food out for more than two hours.


Wash shelving, drawers, and any other removable parts by hand with warm, soapy water.

Dry with a clean towel.

Don’t run cold glass shelves or drawers under hot water – the glass could crack. Let them come to room temperature first.


Wipe the inside of the empty refrigerator with warm, soapy water, then wipe with clean water to rinse off soap.

Dry with a clean towel.

Don’t forget to wipe inside the doors and any drawers that cannot be removed.

Optional Step

Use a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water to sanitize your refrigerator. Do this after cleaning it with warm, soapy water.


Put the shelves, drawers, and other removable parts back in the refrigerator, along with the other items you took out.

Wipe food and drink containers with warm, soapy water before returning to the clean refrigerator.

And don’t forget!

Wash your hands with warm water and soap once you’ve finished cleaning.

Use warm, soapy water to wipe kitchen counters that held food, drinks, refrigerator parts and any cleaning materials.

Wash any towels you used to dry the refrigerator before using them again.

Stay up-to-date on the latest food recalls.