Believe it or not, but there are actually people who think of the refrigerator as an appliance that doesn’t really require maintenance. This is especially true for some people who own self-defrosting refrigerators, as that convenient feature allows for periodic defrosting without any effort from the homeowner.
But not all refrigerators are self-defrosting, and even those that have this feature will still require some basic maintenance at least. So to make sure that your fridge lasts at least a decade, follow these tips:
- If your fridge doesn’t have a self-defrosting feature, you’ll have to do it manually every time the inside walls of the freezer shows frost about half an inch in thickness. Remove all the contents of your refrigerator and freezer first. Then turn off the thermostat before you unplug the fridge. Once the frost has melted completely, plug the fridge back on and then wait for it get to its operating temperature before you put back your food inside.
All these things are automatic when you have the self-defrosting feature. But you’ll still need to clean the pan that gathers the melted frost, so that the water doesn’t cause any bacterial growth and unpleasant smells.
- Always check the rubber door seal (gasket). This part of the fridge seals out the warm air from coming in. But gaskets can loosen and warp over time, so you should have them replaced when they no longer seal the door properly. Always check that the gasket is clear of any food residue, and clean it twice a year using an old toothbrush and a baking soda and water solution.
- Clean the inside of the fridge every week. Just use a cloth and warm water to wipe down any food bits and spills inside the unit. You can also use an all-purpose cleaner, which can handle sticky spills and suborn stains. This cleaner can also be used on the handles and the door.
- To keep the mess inside to a minimum, try to use airtight containers for the food items. This also seals in the smells, and the food can last longer too. If you have weak fruit cartons or leaky containers in the fridge, replace the containers.
- Always try to fill up the space inside your fridge. It may be counterintuitive, but when you have more stuff inside, the unit operates more efficiently. That’s because the items inside can help absorb the warm air that comes in every time you open the refrigerator door.
- Clean the coils behind or underneath the unit twice a year. Unplug the unit, pull the machine from the wall, and use your vacuum cleaner to get rid of dirt and dust.
These are very simple tips, and they don’t require any special skills. But these tips can really be helpful in ensuring that your refrigerator lasts for a very long time.