Gross Refrigerator

Worcester, MA

I am staying with my mother who is ill. I decided among other things, to clearn her frig. YUCK. There is stuff under the crispers that is absolutely stuck -scraping got some off but made me ill. Also the grooves in the shelves. Ick. Anyone know of something that disolves unknow icky stuff? And then there's the sides...
I dread looking at the stove.

Porter, TX(Zone 9a)

You might try Greased Lightening for the stove. It might work on the icky stuff in the fridge too.

Is the icky stuff sticky? If so some hot water may help. And wet paper towels set on top for a while to soften it up.

The keyword you want to search for is Katrina. Thousands of people went through this. I've got a book about it that devotes an
entire chapter to this issue.

I would go with a paste of water and baking soda. Leave it on for a while (day or so) , then wet it again and scrape off. Get one of those windshield ice remover thingies.

The other thing that works well is a steam cleaner, but I don't think it's worth buying a good one for just this use, but it will get the job done without you having to touch the contents.

Another possibility: call someone from a cleaning service that does apartment exits. They have seen everything and for this one job would probably be cheap.

And if it's really bad, you can replace a basic fridge/freezer unit pretty cheap.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

I've done apartment exit cleaning while living in Hawaii. Andidandi is right on the baking soda paste. Keeping it wet is a key to an easier job. I had one that sat for 3 months after hurricane Iniki that boggled the mind it was so bad. I could NOT beleive that the owner wanted to keep it. Still can't. The baking soda cleaned everything perfectly. The smell was another problem. I ended up putting a crockpot full of vinegar in there and letting the steam off of that do the trick. I checked on it about every 10 hours for 2 days. After a quick wipedown, you wouldn't know that it wasn't new.

Nashville, TN(Zone 7a)

I agree with vinegar. I put it in a spray bottle. It is a great deodorizer too. Good luck!

Worcester, MA

Thanks so much for the great tips. Yuck. Now I have to face it!

Afterward, turn it off and put a can of ground coffee in there and leave the door closed for a couple of days.

Missouri City, TX

wadded up newsprint will absorb / remove odors in a frig - during our first move, the drivers told us that trick. Furniture including frig was in storage for about a month - when we removed the newspaper - the odor went, too.

And we had done the vinegar, baking soda, and even a bleach cleanup the week before the move, but still had some lingering odors.

Porter, TX(Zone 9a)

On How Clean is Your House on BBC America, they recommend charcoal briquets to absorb fridge odors.

Nashville, TN(Zone 7a)

I LOVE that show! Thanks for the newspaper idea. I remember someone suggesting once to line your crisper drawers with newspaper. It absorbs any moisture and the date also reminds you of the last time you cleaned out the fridge! I guess it would help with odors too!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Paper, cardboard, etc will definitely absorb odors. As a matter of fact, most of the odor removal that you get from putting a box of baking soda in the fridge is from the cardboard box, not the baking soda.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

If they are really bad take them out and soak them in the bathtub.

Long Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

Wrong about the cardboard box absorbing more odor than the baking soda. That's nonsense.
If that were the case, cat litter would come with chunks of cardboard in it instead of baking soda.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I'll just say that I hear that about the cardboard from people who had actually done some testing--I don't personally have the data and it was several years ago that I had this conversation so I can't prove it to you, but I believe there's something to it. Not that baking soda doesn't do anything, but it might not do as much as people think, and the cardboard does absorb odors. And for the cat litter--there's a lot of stuff in there besides baking soda, and there are cat litters without baking soda that still remove odors. Personally I suspect that the litter with baking soda probably would remove odors just fine without the baking soda, but baking soda makes for a good marketing tactic.

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

I just found this thread. I' m ashamed to admit that my refrig is " uck" also, as is my kitchen and was my bathroom. My house would win a prize for the show"clean sweep".....BUT....things are gonna change! In fact , they are changing. I still need a lot of cleaning and organizing help, tips and hints. I am fairly new to DG (July 18), so if anyone feels like directing me to an good threads , I would welcome it.
I've done the tub, BR sink & commode....the stove, kit sink and 1/2 of the counters, but sure do dread the frig.

I have found the people here at DG to be incredibly friendly and helpful, so .....
Thank you for those of you who will respond with any helpful input!
Sheri ;-)

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

I found "Fly Lady" helpful for hints, tips and (most of all for me) schedules. She has some things that I just can't see doing, but I like that website.

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

I tried that and their were too many emails, then on the daily digest, I received it for a few days then it stopped.
I did find it helpful for the brief time i received it but Fly lady apparently flew elsewhere

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

Yes, I had to drop the e-mails pretty quickly too. I just visit there when I want to now.

This is funny. A few years back I subscribed after reading the book and found the amount of email overwhelming as well. I wondered whether anyone actually followed the program of doing what she said in the emails.

Lawrenceville, GA(Zone 7b)

I watch How Clean Is Your House on BBC too! They use baking soda, with a little white vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. Mix and make a paste, leave on for an hour and then wipe off. I have used it on the rubber gasket around the fridge doors and under the cripser, cleaning the bath tub...

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

is the baking soda, vinigar, dish soap for cleaning really nasty sticky gunk? Leave it on for a while and then whipe off??

The great thing about baking soda is that it dissolves really easily in water. Just take some rags and a cup of water. Pour the water on it and wipe it off. How long it takes depends on how thick you make the paste. The other advantage is that it doesn't poison you if a bit remains behind. I would start with water and soda. Adding soap might take longer to rinse.

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

OK...Thanks, Andi!

Lawrenceville, GA(Zone 7b)

I have only had to rinse once after using the paste. You only use a dab of soap and I haven't found anything that it wont remove! Even rust stains on porcelain...

Nashville, TN(Zone 7a)

Isn't that show the best!!! My kids love it! One thing I got from FlyLady is to pour some type of soap (she says anything, shampoo you don't like, all purpous cleaner, dish soap, etc...) into the little toilet brush holder. Every time you think of it give it a quick brush for a couple seconds. Nothing big. My toilets are always fresh & never have a chance to get mildew up under the rim. Smells nice too.

I keep a stack of cheap washcloths in the kitchen drawer. I use a fresh one each morning that gets used for breakfast & lunch countertops & tables & any spots on the floor. Then it gets tossed in the laundry. After dinner I get a fresh one & wipe down the inside of the microwave, counter tops, table, and finally any spots on the floor. Then I toss it into the laundry. They are used once. It is much cleaner than sponges & less expensive than paper towels. I wash them with a little bleach & they are good to go.

I have a friend who is religous to the flylady program. Her house is under control. I am FAR from that (& really don;t want to be there). I skim the emails when I want to & delete them when I don't. Now that my kids are back in school things are more on track!

Worcester, MA

Can someone explain who the FlyLady is, is she part of the BBC show?

I believe she started as a blogger on housecleaning and de-cluttering. Now she has books, a website, and her own cleaning products. She may do tv appearances but I don't think she has a show.

She has a program/regimen you can subscribe to via email where she tells you what to do at that moment. (It's free. Or at least it was when I joined.)

Her general approach is to always do a few tasks everyday, and to do a little bit of work in short blasts. The thing is, you end up getting about 20 emails a day. For example, she believes in wearing shoes even if you are a home-based person, so every day you get the email telling you to go put your shoes on. Then later you might get an email telling you to go clean out the kitchen sink. It got old quickly for me.

Here's more on her background:

This message was edited Sep 26, 2008 10:45 AM

terichris -
I also found cheap washcloths to be underrated and very useful. Like the ones that are thin and come in a 24-pack, and you would never want to use as bath cloths. I bought a diaper pail to put them in and since they were thin they would dry on the rack before going into the pail. Then I could wash them once a week or whatever, and could use a new towel each day or for each job. Better quality kitchen towels didn't dry, or I was too concerned about them to use them.

Nashville, TN(Zone 7a)

I have also found that they have hardly any lint so I use the cheap washcloths on windows & mirrors too.

On the flylady website you can change your settings for your emails. I get one email each day & it has the five or so messages for the day. That way my email isn't clogged up. If I don't feel like reading her message I just delete the one email. She is big on setting the timer for 15 minutes. The thought is you can do anything for 15 minutes. Babysteps.

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