A refrigerator helps to curb the rapid growth of bacteria, however, if it is poorly maintained, it can quickly become a factory for micro-organisms.
In order to avoid any proliferation and contamination of bacteria, methodically check the general condition of your refrigerator.
Cleaning, defrosting and maintaining the cold chain are the main actions to take to maintain your fridge as well as possible.
To ensure the best functioning of your appliance, check daily that its interior temperature is between 0°C and 4°C. If this is not the case, the food is either frozen or covered with bacteria due to too high a temperature.
Your refrigerator is one of the most essential appliances in your kitchen. It stores perishable food, preserves leftovers, and keeps beverages chilled. Given its importance and continuous operation, it’s essential to maintain it correctly to ensure it works efficiently and lasts as long as possible. Here are some effective maintenance tips for your fridge:
1. Regularly Clean the Interior
Spills, crumbs, and food residues can accumulate over time, leading to unpleasant odors and potential mold growth. To keep your fridge clean, remove all food items periodically, wipe down the shelves, drawers, and interior walls with a solution of warm water and mild dish soap. Rinse with clear water and dry thoroughly before returning items to the fridge. Don’t forget to check expiry dates and discard any expired or spoiled items.
2. Clean the Exterior
Just as you clean the interior, the exterior needs care too. Wipe down the outer surface, door handles, and top of the fridge with a damp cloth and a mild cleaner. If your refrigerator is stainless steel, use cleaners specifically designed for this material to avoid streaks or scratches.
3. Clean and Inspect Door Seals
The door seals are vital for maintaining the refrigerator’s efficiency as they keep cold air inside. Clean the door gaskets with warm water and a mild detergent, and then rinse and dry them thoroughly. Regularly inspect the seals for cracks or tears. A weak seal allows cold air to escape, causing the fridge to work harder to maintain its internal temperature.
4. Keep Coils Clean
The condenser coils on the back or bottom of the fridge play a critical role in cooling the fridge. When these coils are covered in dust or pet hair, your fridge has to work harder to stay cool, leading to higher energy consumption. Twice a year, use a coil brush or your vacuum’s brush attachment to clean the coils.
5. Set the Correct Temperature
The ideal temperature for your fridge is between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (3-4 degrees Celsius), and the freezer should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius). These temperatures will keep your food preserved without overworking the appliance.
6. Keep Your Fridge Well-Stocked
A well-stocked fridge retains cold better than an empty one. The items in the fridge help absorb warm air that streams in when you open the door. If it’s too empty, the fridge has to work harder to cool down once the door is closed. However, don’t overcrowd it as cool air needs to circulate.
7. Regularly Defrost Your Fridge
If your fridge doesn’t have an auto-defrost function, you will need to defrost it manually when frost buildup becomes about half an inch thick. Excessive frost makes the fridge work harder and takes up storage space.
8. Position Your Fridge in a Cool Place
Where you place your refrigerator matters. Keep it away from heat sources like ovens, dishwashers, or direct sunlight. These heat sources force your fridge to work harder to stay cool.
9. Inspect and Replace the Water Filter Regularly
If your refrigerator has an ice maker or water dispenser, it likely has a water filter. Replace this filter every six months or as recommended by the manufacturer to ensure your ice and water are clean and your dispenser runs efficiently.
By adhering to these maintenance practices, you’ll prolong the life of your fridge, ensure it runs efficiently, save on energy costs, and keep your food safe and fresh. Regular maintenance may seem like a chore, but in the long run, it’s well worth the effort.