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A Handy Guide to Basic Refrigerator Maintenance

New Bedford Tenant Cleaning Out His Fridge to Prepare for MaintenanceOne of the hard-working appliances we rarely think too much about is the refrigerator, that is until something goes wrong. All appliances need regular maintenance, as well as cleaning, to continue working properly, and your refrigerator and freezer are no exception. 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 condition of your fridge –whether it has issues or you just want to keep it running– 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 great way to keep your refrigerator and freezer in good condition is to clean them properly and several times a year. Wiping the interior of the fridge when things get grimy is the most basic way to clean, but there are other areas you should clean regularly to keep your fridge 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. Just unplug the fridge and move it away from the wall to clean the coils. After opening the back of the fridge, you have to vacuum out any dust or debris you find. If the dust seems stuck on, a dry paintbrush can help wipe it off the coils.

It is also important to clean the door seals regularly to maintain a consistent internal temperature. Use a damp cloth to clean the seals. Remember to wipe between the fold of the seals on both the fridge and freezer doors.

Finally, do not forget to wipe down the whole 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 with regular maintenance and cleaning, refrigerators can still suffer from a range of ailments. Here are some common ones and ways to fix them:

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

Frost in the freezer. If you notice a buildup of frost or ice crystals in the interior of your freezer, your freezer door might not be sealed tightly enough. If a freezer door isn’t tightly sealed, water can get inside, freeze, and form frost. It is important to defrost the freezer completely and clean it thoroughly if this happens. To defrost a freezer, unplug it, open the door, and wait for the ice to melt on its own. This is something you must do at least once a year. However, if you need to defrost more frequently, you may have 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. You can simply adjust the thermostat in your fridge to fix this. However, if you still find frozen food in the refrigerator after troubleshooting it yourself, you should consider hiring a handyman.

The refrigerator is not cold enough. If you notice that your fridge doesn’t seem very cold and the food inside spoils quickly, you have an urgent problem. Issues related to dirty coils, an incorrectly set thermostat, or a faulty thermostat are some reasons why a fridge doesn’t seem to get cold. Anyone can do the first two fixes themselves. (A defective thermostat will likely be a repair job for a professional.)


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

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