How to clean and deodorize your refrigerator after an extended power outage
- Unplug the refrigerator again if the power is back on.
- Put on protective gloves.
- Dispose of any spoiled or questionable food.
- Remove every part of the refrigerator and freezer that’s removable — all shelves, drawers, bins and ice trays, and the drip pan under the refrigerator.
- Fill a bucket with a mixture of 2 tablespoons liquid dish soap and hot water. Scrub removable parts with hot water and detergent, then rinse with a sanitizing solution of 1 tablespoon unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
- Wash interior of refrigerator and freezer using baking soda paste (mix a two to one ratio of baking soda and warm water). Include the walls, door and the rubber gaskets around the edge of the door. Rinse with the dish washing solution.
- Leave the doors on the refrigerator and freezer compartments fully open for 15 minutes to allow moisture to evaporate and air to circulate.
For odor removal, try one of these methods:
- Wipe inside the unit with equal parts water and vinegar; the acid in the vinegar destroys mildew. Leave the door open to air out for a few days.
- Stuff both the refrigerator and freezer with rolled newspapers. Close door and let it sit several days. Remove paper and clean with 50/50 vinegar-water mix.
If odors persist, lay newspaper on the bottom of the refrigerator and freezer. Sprinkle unbrewed coffee grounds on the newspaper. Seal up the refrigerator and freezer again, and check it after 24 hours.