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A Handy Guide to Basic Refrigerator Maintenance

San Mateo Tenant Cleaning Out His Fridge to Prepare for MaintenanceAmong the most hard-working appliances in our homes is the refrigerator. However, we don’t give much thought to it unless something goes wrong. All appliances need regular maintenance and cleaning to keep them working properly, and this includes your refrigerator and freezer. If you neglect basic refrigerator maintenance, you not only shorten the useful life of the appliance but could also incur unnecessary and expensive repairs, too.

Regardless of the current state of your fridge, this guide can help you! We’ll go over fridge maintenance and cleaning basics and a few easy fixes to common problems.

Basic Refrigerator Maintenance

One of the great ways to keep your refrigerator and freezer in tip-top condition is to give them a good cleaning several times a year. Aside from wiping out the fridge’s inside when things get grimy, there are other areas you should clean regularly to ensure that your fridge keeps working properly.

Proper refrigerator maintenance includes cleaning the coils behind the fridge once or twice a year. These coils keep your refrigerator’s motor working efficiently. To easily clean the coils, unplug the fridge and pull the unit away from the wall. Open up the back of the fridge and use a vacuum to clean out any dust or debris you find. If there is any dust that is stuck onto the coils, a dry paintbrush can help wipe it off.

You also have to clean the door seals on a regular basis since these help your refrigerator keep a consistent internal temperature. The seals are fairly easy to clean. Just use a damp cloth and wipe between the folds of the fridge or freezer door seals.

Finally, you have to wipe down the entire inside and outside of your fridge and freezer. The CDC recommends using hot, soapy water or, to disinfect, a solution made from 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Either of these is able to kill any bacteria in your refrigerator and leave it sparkling clean!

Common Problems and Fixes

Even if you regularly maintain and clean your refrigerator, it can still suffer from a range of ailments. Here are some of the common ones as well as ways to fix them:

  1. Freezer Frost
  2. Frozen Food
  3. Lukewarm Food

Frost in the freezer. Frost or ice crystals buildup forms inside your freezer if your freezer door is not sealed tightly enough. If your freezer door is not sealed tight, water can get inside, freeze, and form frost. When that happens, defrost the freezer completely and clean it using the following steps. To defrost a freezer, unplug it, open the door, and wait for the ice to melt on its own. Do this at least once a year. If you notice that you need to defrost more frequently, it might be time to replace the seal.

Food freezing in the refrigerator. If you observe that some food in the fridge tends to freeze, especially toward the back, you might have an issue with the temperature control or the thermostat. The easy way to fix this problem is to adjust the thermostat in your fridge. But if that doesn’t seem to work and you still find frozen food in the refrigerator, you should hire a handyman.

The refrigerator is not cold enough. If food in your fridge spoils quickly or does not seem very cold, you have an urgent problem. A fridge that doesn’t get cold could have a range of issues from dirty coils, an incorrectly set thermostat, or a faulty thermostat. The first two fixes are easy and can be done by almost anyone. (A professional will probably be needed to repair a defective thermostat.)


Are you thinking about moving to a new San Mateo rental home, maybe one with a fridge provided? If so, reach out to Real Property Management Mid Peninsula! You can contact us online or view our listings.

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