Can You Clean the Inside of the Refrigerator With Bleach?

Bleach is a handy household product, one that eliminates bacteria, but it can be harsh. You might hesitate to clean your refrigerator with bleach — after all, you are consuming food and drinks straight out of the fridge. While you don't want to douse the inside of your refrigerator with undiluted bleach, you can use a less harsh bleach mixture to clean the fridge in a safe way.

Keep your refrigerator clean with bleach.

The Basics

Avoid cleaning the inside of your refrigerator with 100-percent bleach. Bleach is a harsh cleaning product that, while effective, can be toxic. You don't want it coming in contact with food that you and your family will eat. You can, however, incorporate a bleach mixture into your refrigerator cleaning routine. Diluted with water and paired with softer cleaning products, bleach can ensure that your refrigerator is bacteria-free.

Initial Cleaning

Clear all of the food and drinks out of your refrigerator, and toss any foods that are old or, even worse, moldy. Use a store-bought cleaner or a vinegar-water mixture to remove stains and dirt from the refrigerator shelves. If you have tough-to-remove stains, try a baking soda-water mixture. Use these softer products for the initial cleaning of the refrigerator — this will eliminate the amount of bleach you need to use to get your fridge clean.

Bleach Mixture

Once you have removed dirt and stains from the inside of your refrigerator, you can sanitize it with a bleach-water solution that is heavy on the water. Mix 1 tbsp. of bleach with 1 qt. of water. You can even put the mixture in a spray bottle so you can spray the shelves down with this sanitizer. Let it dry before you return food and drinks to the refrigerator.

Things to Avoid

The key to using bleach to clean the inside of your refrigerator is to use it minimally and in conjunction with other less harsh products such as water. Bleach can damage the seals, gaskets and linings, according to the North Dakota State University Extension Service, so you do not want to use 100 percent bleach in the fridge — ever.

Barbie Carpenter

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.